Volume 22, Number 31 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | December 11 - 17, 2009
Letters To The Editor
Trials and tribulations
To The Editor:
Re “Helping Downtown withstand the terror trials” (editorial, Nov. 20 -26):
Your editorial states that “the U.S. Attorney General’s Office in Lower Manhattan is the most experienced and successful in the country prosecuting terrorists.” With the incalculable expense that security will cost in securing Downtown Manhattan, and disruption to small businesses that you outline, why can’t the Attorney General’s Office hold the trials in another New York venue, one that is not so densely packed with businesses and residents? The A.G.’s Office could just as easily hold the trials in Brooklyn, Queens, Washington Heights or Yonkers, for that matter.
“It is most appropriate to give the people who were hurt the most an opportunity to witness an open, public trial.” Just how public will it be? How many people will actually be able to physically witness the trials?
The editorial correctly lists the negative aspects of holding the trials Downtown, noting they “will cause economic pain to small businesses, inconvenience Downtown residents and workers” and, I agree, very importantly, “be a burden on the New York City budget.”
Downtown Manhattan has suffered enough; straining an already overstrained community for the sake of symbolism or misguided righteousness is a disservice to everyone.
To The Editor:
This past weekend there was a rally at Foley Square protesting the trials of five of the 9/11 plotters here in New York City. Some of the people said having the trials in N.Y.C. was a political ploy by the Obama administration. Statements such as these are hard to believe after coming out of eight years of the Bush administration, which continuously used 9/11 for their political agenda.
There were speeches from some 9/11 families members opposing having these accused men tried in New York City. I, who lost my only brother, do not agree. Nor by any means was this rally a portrayal of all 9/11 families.
Many families support a trial in the federal court system here. When a crime is committed against someone in this country, it is heard in our courts. Victims of crimes want it that way. If Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the master architect of 9/11, we have the right to face the accused, hear the evidence against him and see justice served by a verdict that will be seen as legitimate. As someone who has closely followed the 9/11 independent commission, it is also an opportunity to hear information that may not have been included in their final report.
Brother of Kenneth Zelman North Tower floor 99.
Cutting Tribeca’s heart
To The Editor:
Re “Two ways to zone Downtown schools” (news article, Nov. 13 - 19):
I was surprised to see Option 1 being seriously considered. This option draws the line for P.S. 234 at the school’s southern border on Warren St. As a longtime resident of Tribeca, let me explain why I think that’s absurd.
My family has lived diagonally across the street from P.S. 234 in Greenwich Court for nearly 20 years. My son attended and graduated from P.S. 234. Had this proposed zoning been in effect long ago, his elementary school experience would have been quite different. Not just academically, but in terms of his development as a citizen and active community member. He would not have been classmates with the friends he made in the neighborhood park – even though he lives closer to the school than any one of them. He would not have been able to leave for class after literally hearing the first school bell ring each morning. We would not have been able to see him arrive safely – by peering out our living room window.
I remember visiting the school just before we enrolled our son to make sure that he was zoned for P.S. 234. The woman in the front office laughed and said, “Of course! Don’t be ridiculous. You live right across the street.”
As a former president of the Greenwich Court condominium board, I’m also perplexed by why Option 1 has made Warren St. the dividing line for P.S. 234. In doing so, our 300+ unit complex is essentially split in two. As board president, a high priority was creating a sense of community among our two buildings’ residents. What truly bonds us to the community – and to each other – is P.S. 234. Making one building’s children eligible for P.S. 234 across the street and forcing the others to enroll in a school many blocks away is an egregious decision.
This is an affront. Since when is my building not part of Tribeca?
None of this to impugn any other school in the Lower Manhattan zoning chart. My protest here is about deliberately amputating the residents of 275 Greenwich St. and all the other residents along Murray St. from the heart and soul of Tribeca. Long before this area became trendy, we were the ones who sent our kids to P.S. 234 – the “new” school, the unknown entity, the progressive pioneer – and helped it to survive and thrive when it was under-populated. We helped it rebound after 9/11. We didn’t mind fixing up and then commuting to Saint Bernard’s in the Village as we waited for the Frozen Zone to reopen because we knew that we would ultimately be coming “home” to P.S. 234. The collapse of the World Trade Center was not able to dislodge us from our community or our community school. Now some government agency is telling us that this is no longer our school and, thereby, no longer our community.
When I tell friends from around the world how wonderful it is to raise a child in New York City, my experiences at P.S. 234 are at the heart of those stories I’ve always felt grateful to be part of a large and embracing community. P.S. 234 should not be separated from the actual, organic community that it helped create.
Nancy R. Tag
Leaving the club
To The Editor:
Re “What’s in a political name? New club is finding out” (news article, Dec. 4 – 10):
Since you mention my name, I’d like to comment. The meeting was called by organizers to introduce and discuss, not necessarily to join. Not everyone who was interested in discussing the club supported Alan Gerson, nor were people’s dissatisfaction based only on the City Council race. Often split-offs mean growth. In the environment that existed, if you did not side with the officers of Downtown Independent Democrats, you were basically considered a traitor. Regarding people who were talking about a new club, Sean Sweeney’s comment (“These are the ones who are causing the fighting. Now they’re gone.”) is exactly the sentiment that led to people to leave. I never caused any fighting at D.I.D. but I guess I fit into the “does not side” category. One should take responsibility rather than simply dismiss a bunch of people who may want some change, BEFORE they leave. That’s a healthy way to deal. That comment, however, has further convinced me that there is no place for me there after being a member since the ‘70s. Whether I want to get involved in another political club at this moment is another story.
To The Editor:
I was struck in particular by two news items in last week’s issue that only one side of the issues was presented (news articles, Dec. 4 – 10, “What’s in a political name? New club is finding out” by Josh Rogers, and “Cries of betrayal as gay marriage is soundly defeated” by Paul Schindler). The first article I found particularly superficial, more focused on personalities than issues. And, I guess, the same could be said of the second article as well. The Tom Duane camp and sympathizers were the only ones quoted at length and their point of view was projected on the senators who voted against gay marriage, with the exception of Ruben Diaz
Also, it is laughable that the article makes a case for buying Sen. Joseph Addabbo’s vote by identifying the money given him by gay cause groups as a reason to expect him to vote Yes on gay marriage. Well, at least, it is one of the few honest public acknowledgments of how politics works in this country.
“C.B. 1 sees Asphalt Green subsidies as threat to youth groups” (news article, posted Dec. 3):
From the web:
This seems like a real conflict of interest!! With Manhattan Youth having an almost-monopoly downtown, their Executive Director, Bob Townley, sits on the community board and seems to be lobbying his cohorts on the board to restrict funding for a rival organization. Instead he should be recusing himself. His politicization was further apparent this summer when he lobbied strongly for Alan Gerson who also gives his organization lots of money, signing letters that appeared in this paper, among other political activities. 501C3s and politics and lobbying and CB membership shouldn’t be mixed. Where is the Borough President and the Corporation Counsel on all this?
“Cries of betrayal as gay marriage is soundly defeated”(news article, posted Dec. 3):
Clearly the senators voted against the bill because the MAJORITY of the people they represent must have expressed their voice to them to do just that, vote it down. The senators also must want to KEEP their job and not be voted out next term. Isn’t that why we elect those people into office, to vote according to what the MAJORITY of people want, not the MINORITY. Sorry folks, but this is still America, where the voice of the MAJORITY should and rightly so, BE HEARD AND HEEDED TOO.
Mob mentality for you, huh? As long as a majority feel it is right, then too bad for the minority, right? Hmm gonna be kinda tough on issues that split 49/51, right? But what the heck, the MAJORITY decided! There was once a time where the majority felt that women were too stupid to be allowed to vote. But ultimately that fell by the wayside, because “courageous” people spoke up. Now this thinking seems so stupid, no? I hope you find yourself in a minority position sometime soon, so you might experience the pain that simple majority votes can cause.
…some of our greatest shame comes from acts supported by majorities — slavery, persecution of Native Americans, Jim Crow Laws, Japanese Internment Camps and the continued legal discrimination against gays and lesbians. We are not at the mercy of the lowest common denominators of ignorance and prejudice that exist in our society. The senators who voted against this on the basis that “my constituency told me too” failed in their responsibilities to support the Constitution and do what is morally and ethically right. I am disappointed that my Senator, Joseph Addabbo, someone I campaigned for, was among them.
Great! Some on-the-fence legislators have gratefully found their moral voices. Morality does matter. And Eric Adams, I respectfully disagree. EVERYTHING we do is based on our belief system of right and wrong. That’s why murder, theft and fraud are “wrong” in our society (Judeo-Christian background). Further, to those legislative members, including Mr. Adams, who calls himself a Christian, I urge you to consider why God classifies THIS particular sin (homosexuality) as an abomination, rather than even murder. Perhaps it’s because it’s the only sin people want to DEMAND acceptance of. They don’t need “marriage” to live in sin. They’re already doing it. But they do need “marriage” if they intend to “spit” on God’s word — and insist under threat of law that you accept it.
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