Volume 22, Number 27 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | November 13 - 19, 2009
Letters to the Editor
To The Editor:
Re “Merry Gift?” (UnderCover, Oct. 30 – Nov. 6):
I have been a resident of Tribeca for over 30 years. I have been on both sides of the fence... on the receiving and giving end. I can’t believe that someone wants to do something for the community for free, for the benefit of underprivileged children and C.B. 1 is denying that. It is simply unacceptable. Why wouldn’t anyone want to do whatever they could to benefit children? Is it because Mr. Strazzullo isn’t asking for any assistance, but is denied because they feel that this is “self-promotion?” I am beginning to think it is all about “forget about Christmas” in Tribeca. Most corporations that do “something” for the community do it for self-promotion. If that is the case, what is the problem as long as the outcome is benefiting those who need it? I don’t even like the sentence, “Salvatore Strazzullo thought he was giving his neighborhood a gift it wouldn’t refuse,” which, to me as an Italian American, is derogatory towards our ethnicity.
Does the community board want everyone to think that all Tribeca residents are financially “fit?” The truth is, probably most of Tribeca residents could benefit from some assistance and even if the proceeds aren’t directed towards Tribeca, it doesn’t matter, children in need will be the recipient of something good.
Come on C.B. 1, do the right thing.
Blame us all for greed
To The Editor:
Re “Let us apologize for Goldman Sachs” (editorial, Oct. 23-29):
I’d like to apologize to the readers of Downtown Express on behalf of the writer of this well-meaning, but misguided editorial.
Whatever greed and selfishness manifests at Goldman Sachs or other corporations is merely a mirror reflection of the greed and selfishness and mindless hedonism that pervades our entire society.
The decisions, attitudes and actions of corporate executives is determined, to a very large degree, by the values and consciousness of the masses. What we see at Goldman Sachs, at the local supermarket, at the bank, is largely the direct result of the values and priorities adopted by the vast majority of our fellow citizens.
Bluntly, there is virtually no compassion anywhere in our society.
I certainly respect and welcome the social conscience manifested by Downtown Express. But you need to understand that pointing a finger at Goldman Sachs is barking up the wrong tree. If Downtown Express wants to elevate society, readdress wrongs, then it needs to diagnose “the patient” correctly.
The “patient” (America) is suffering from a distorted mass consciousness based on distorted values adopted by our fellow citizens. This is the real cancer.
Wild for wildlife
To The Editor:
The saga of the BlackBerries has been wonderful to follow. On the one hand, here were all these people willing to step out of their own interested perspectives and see their own character as human beings defined by understanding and addressing the real happiness of this mother cat and her kittens (“Orphan kittens get homes. Goldman ‘BlackBerries’ adopted,” news article, Nov. 6 - 12). This is the sort of thing that gives one a sense there is hope for our most invasive and quite often senselessly destructive of species.
There really are good people out there.
The story also points to an interesting change: Urban wildlife is increasing — feral dogs and cats, but also pigeons (brought here to be eaten; escaped to survive against all odds) and hawks (driven to extinction, now finding a way back); starlings and sparrows and a whole host of native wildlife — squirrels and raccoons and bears and even coyotes.
This increase is a mark of our success: We keep pushing our “bedroom communities” outward from the city core, changing the old habitat to something more suited to our needs.
This increase is also a mark of the animals’ success: They have figured out how to live with us. This may be a greater success.
Part of the measure of the increase can be found in the way we react to animals. There was Simcha Felder’s chopped off city comptroller race; he took on pigeons, and it turned out more people liked pigeons than Felder (the split was 60/40, roughly). There is the increase in animals being referred for wildlife rehabilitation: the Wild Bird Fund reports the number of urban critters brought in for help has doubled each year for the last three years.
A substantial majority of New Yorkers likes our city wildlife. Borderline cases usually take little persuasion to see how charming these critters are, and how much they add. As to the hard-core: There are people who think the world is flat, too.
This is not to say there aren’t anxious moments: Pigeons poop (but a good rain storm or some warm water solves that).
The point: The Blackberries and the whole cast of human beings who stood up for them is part of a larger story, a significant part of which is unfolding around us all the time. And that is really neat, well worth watching, and even better, well worth being part of.
Secretary/Treasurer of Wildlife in Tribeca
Silver saved us coin
To The Editor:
As Battery Park City homeowners, we want to commend Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver for his decisive action in opposing the great raid on the Battery Park City Authority (“Gov shifts some on B.P.C. $$$, Silver says,” news article, Nov.6 - 12). This was the ill-conceived plan hatched in Albany to direct the authority to borrow $200 million and turn that money over to the state to help plug the budget gap.
That additional B.P.C.A. debt would have been paid by the residents and businesses of Battery Park City. Speaker Silver saw the plan for what it was, an unfair tax on the people who live and work in Battery Park City, and he stopped it.
Battery Park City homeowners already pay among the highest taxes per square foot, both directly and indirectly, of any condo or coop owners in Manhattan. We pay real estate taxes through the B.P.C.A. as a PILOT. Residents and businesses also pay ground rents which underwrite an additional payment to the City of New York, more than $100 million per year, which is supposed to be used for affordable housing. Finally, we pay fees to the B.P.C.A., which are used to create a very beautiful place which is open for all to enjoy, no matter where they may live.
The speaker understands this and he is working to make sure that Battery Park City remains affordable for current and future residents. Huge increases in the ground rent threaten the viability of Battery Park City, both as a community and as a reliable source of funding earmarked for affordable housing in the City of New York.
Speaker Silver’s action has preserved Battery Park City’s viability for now, and we look forward to working with him and the B.P.C.A. to ensure our community remains a vitally important part of our great city.
Gene Glazer, Jim Hopkins, Anthony Notaro, Jr. and Pat Smith
Members of the Battery Park City Homeowners Coalition
Admirable but minor
To The Editor:
Jean Grillo’s characteristically self-promotional response claims that I “belittle” people who are district leaders by pointing out that it is a minor unpaid Democratic party position (Letter, Nov. 6 – 12, “Leaders lead”). To the contrary, I think it is admirable that some people are willing to devote time and energy to such minor volunteer positions in support of their political party. I have personally worked (always as a volunteer) for numerous political causes and non-profit groups over the years. Still, that does not blind me to the reality that working in such a volunteer post cannot begin to compare in importance to being a councilmember, assemblymember or state senator.
The fact that I supported a candidate in a district leader race has nothing to do with my objective assessment of that position. I was simply asked by a friend to assist in a political campaign in which she had decided to become a candidate. If the position my friend was seeking had been dogcatcher instead, my willingness to help would have been the same. I was “touting” my friend and her abilities, not making a statement about the importance of the job she was seeking.
Ms. Grillo’s characterization of my letters as “hate notes” is puzzling. My letters on this particular matter have essentially been analytical in nature.
Finally, I want to respond to the letter from Jeanne Wilcke, which characterizes me as a “political appointee of Alan Gerson” (Letter Nov. 6 – 12, “Club vote”). That remark refers to the fact that Councilmember Gerson appointed me as a member of Community Board 1, another unpaid volunteer position that requires hours of work each month on important community issues which I am very happy to have had the opportunity to do. But anyone who is familiar with my work on C.B. 1 knows that my views on matters that come before that body, as well as on other community issues, are ones that I have formed independently, regardless of whether or not those views are shared by Councilmember Gerson. I call things as I see them without giving a second thought as to whether taking a particular position on an issue might jeopardize or enhance my prospects for reappointment to C.B. 1, and that will continue to be the case.
Editor’s Notes: All community board members are appointed by the borough president, who must consider the local councilmember’s recommendations for half of the slots. Jean Grillo, author of the “Leaders lead” letter published last week, contacted us to clarify that the work she described as a poll site monitor is for pay and is distinct from her unpaid work as a district leader.
“Downtowners help mayor squeak by, voting for Dems in other races” (news article, posted Nov. 5)
I was stunned and disheartened to see the reasons people voted for Bloomberg in this article. Michael Grossman said it best when he spoke of the blatant violation of democracy represented in Bloomberg’s overturning of term limits. ... Is this the message we want to give our children? If you do a decent job of keeping things clean and tidy, and do your math homework and then pay people to be on your team you don’t have to obey the law? I was deeply disappointed in our downtown communities. Especially the people who have children attending our schools. ... Perhaps the small group of us that have been protecting their children by getting them school seats at the last minute when this mayor could not care less have done too good a job. I hope for their sake they don’t have toddlers as when this group is gone all bets are off for the younger children in the neighborhood.
“9/11 health bill”(news article, posted Nov. 5)
The sick first responders have waited so long, now this crap. [We] should have just had a bill for the responders that worked at the W.T.C. So let the others start their own bill. Everyone now wants to be included, which is wrong. Start a law suit for your own group, lady. Sorry but that’s how many are seeing you — as a trouble maker.