Volume 22, Number 21 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | October 2 - 8, 2009
Letters to the Editor
To The Editor:
Re “Put the brakes on rogue bicycle riding” (Talking Point by Jack Brown, Sept. 25 – Oct.. 1):
As one of the few bicyclists who does stop at red lights, I have to say I would be all for some better enforcement of bicycle behavior. But it has to come hand in hand with automobile and pedestrian enforcement as well.
After all, it’s not bicycles that kill more than 300 people in New York City every year. That would be cars. If you want to talk about protecting pedestrians, you’d get your most bang for the buck by getting the N.Y.P.D. to actually enforce laws against cars running red lights, idling with no one in the vehicle, parking in bike lanes, speeding, making illegal turns, etc., etc. I see this behavior every day and the most it seems to get from the police is a shrug, like they’ve got better things to do.
You know darn well that if 300 people a year were being killed in construction accidents there would be heads rolling somewhere. And really, “CARR” as an acronym? That’s pretty lame. It makes it sound like the group is promoting more cars on the streets. See what that would do for pedestrian safety! Pedestrian deaths caused by automobile are already way up this year. I’ve always had a problem with groups that label themselves as “against” something. How about a name that promotes pedestrian safety, instead of phrasing it in the negative all the time?
To The Editor:
Sean Sweeney just could not resist taking one last post-election cheap shot at Councilmember Alan Gerson (Letters, Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, “We D.I.D. it”), but the negative tone and content of his letter says far more about Mr. Sweeney than about Councilmember Gerson, who has served Lower Manhattan well and ably for the last eight years. Sweeney also makes a ludicrous attempt to spin Margaret Chin’s election to the City Council into some kind of victory for Sweeney’s political club, Downtown Independent Democrats.
For starters, Sweeney states, “With our support in 2001, Gerson won. Without it in 2009, he lost.” We are obviously supposed to infer cause and effect here. Compare the 2009 vote totals for Council candidate Pete Gleason, who was endorsed by D.I.D. this year, with his vote totals in the 2005 Council race, when he ran against Alan Gerson and was not supported by D.I.D. The results, based on the numbers published by Downtown Express, are very revealing. In 2005, Mr. Gleason got 1,411 votes or 19% of the total. In 2009, running with the D.I.D.’s endorsement and support, Mr. Gleason managed to get only 1,293 votes or 11% of the total. In other words, the result of the D.I.D.’s efforts was a net loss of 118 votes. This outcome is even more startling because the 11,516 votes cast in the 2009 Democratic primary represented an increase of 4,196 votes cast over the 2005 number. Yet this 57% increase in 2009 in the total number of votes cast corresponded to an 8% decrease in the number of votes cast for Mr. Gleason.
Looked at in another way, if Mr. Gleason had simply held the 19% of the vote that he received in 2005, his total in 2009 would have been approximately 900 votes higher (or 70%) than his actual total.
So what Mr. Sweeney should have said, was “Without D.I.D. support in 2005, Gleason lost. With it in 2009, he also lost but a lot worse.”
Mr. Sweeney also claims that D.I.D.’s highly negative campaign against Gerson was the deciding factor in Chin’s victory. A look at the neighborhood breakdown of the 2009 voting totals published in Downtown Express shows how preposterous that argument is (news article, Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, “Chin begins work early, promising to ‘always reach out’”). Chin topped Gerson in Chinatown by 1,477 votes, which more than accounted for the margin of 1,021 votes by which she won the election, yet Chinatown was the neighborhood in which D.I.D. candidate Gleason made his worst showing. It is likely that the heavy vote there for Chin reflected a very positive assessment of a local candidate rather than people rushing to the polls because they were stirred up against Gerson by the negative rants of the D.I.D. Also, Mr. Sweeney’s self-congratulatory letter completely ignored the possibility that the Downtown Express endorsement of Chin and the New York Times endorsement of PJ Kim may have played a role. Mr. Sweeney may wish to consider renaming his organization the Soho Independent Democrats to better reflect the reality of its very limited influence.
Finally, I had to laugh at Sweeney’s claiming Margaret Chin as a fellow D.I.D. member. That begs the obvious question as to why Sweeney didn’t attempt to get the organization to support her as an alternative to Gerson, since she is much more qualified to be on the Council than the candidate that D.I.D. supported.
Downtown Express welcomes letters to The Editor. They must include the writer’s first and last name, a phone number for confirmation purposes only, and any affiliation that relates directly to the letter’s subject matter. Letters should be less than 300 words. Downtown Express reserves the right to edit letters for space, clarity, civility or libel reasons. Letters should be e-mailed to news@DowntownExpress.com or can be mailed to 145 Sixth Ave., N.Y., N.Y. 10013.