Volume 22, Number 52 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 7 - 13, 2010
Letters to the Editor
Great for Soho
To The Editor:
The “great grates” bike racks with benches over the subway vents are beautifully designed (UnderCover, April 23 – 29, “Great Grates”). Tell the M.T.A. that we in Soho would love to have a few of them. Soho has bike lanes and no place to park a bike. We could move some vendors off Broadway from Houston St. to Canal St. We could have bike parking and benches. It would make Broadway in Soho a pleasanter place, and complete the idea of “having bike lanes.”
It’s great functional street art. I think for once the M.T.A. has inadvertently done the city a great favor.
I also noticed that in Tribeca there are no bike lanes! This is the best idea since “white bread.”
Martin M. Hechtman
To The Editor:
I’m writing you because, as a parent, I’m at my wits end regarding the baffling path the Archdiocese of New York has chosen to execute the merger of two schools, Saint James and Saint Joseph of Lower Manhattan (news article, March 12 – 18, “Catholic school parents rally to save schools”). The archdiocese seems to be either tone deaf to the endless pleas coming from parents who are begging to keep their beloved Sister Deborah Lopez as principal; or they are simply ignoring them.
It all began earlier this year when several parents of Saint Joseph began receiving letters informing them of the merger between the two schools stemming from the archdiocese’s decision to shut down Saint James and hand over its building to Transfiguration School, thus giving it a second building. The displaced students of Saint James would merge with those of Saint Joseph under the supervision of Sister Deborah.
A month later, seemingly after the small minority of parents from the incoming school complained against the nuns’ presence, the archdiocese issued a letter essentially relieving Sister Deborah and the nuns from duty this September.
Throughout the confusion, miscommunication, and mishandling of this debacle, allegations of racism, sexism, and blatant indifference have been made against Sister Deborah. All seemingly aimed to discredit her accomplishments and dishearten her supporters, which include her entire faculty and student body, as well as parishioners and donors of Saint Joseph.
The question is why would the archdiocese forsake the students of Saint Joseph by replacing the highly successful and inexpensive administrator? Why would the archdiocese side with the only individual bidding for Sister Deborah’s dismissal? Is there in place some sort of master plan that ultimately throws the education of young children on the back burner with no better options in their immediate future?
Dismissing Sister Deborah and her staff would make sense if the school they served underperformed at every level, but the fact of the matter is quite the opposite. As documented by Melanie Wallis in an article written for your publication in 2004 (Back To School, Sept. 3 – 9, 2004, “Chinatown school’s program translates into success”), under Sister Deborah’s tenure, Saint Joseph has operated efficiently, more so than Saint James, both academically and financially — and we the parents want that to continue.
Downtown is gerrymandered
To The Editor:
Speaker Silver’s statement on partisan redistricting (news article, April 23 – 29, “Silver: Keep L.M.D.C., hands off district lines”) is inaccurate. It is precisely the gerrymandering of districts to suit the needs of politicians that upsets the “traditional community lines” Mr. Silver is concerned about. Battery Park City and the Lower East Side are two examples of cohesive Downtown communities divided into multiple Assembly districts.
Gerrymandered districts discourage electoral competition and entrench dysfunctional legislators. It is the obscene gerrymandering of the N.Y.S. Senate that has led to Republican domination in the past and utter failure today.
There is no proposal to hand the question off to the “bunch of professors” Mr. Silver dismisses. Rather, reformers propose a diverse panel of New Yorkers focused on drawing districts that make sense for our communities and will allow New York voters to choose their elected officials rather than the other way around.
Paul Newell is the Democratic District Leader, 64th Assembly District, Part C, and ran against Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in 2008.
Con Ed: Unfair burden
To The Editor:
Re “End the PAC delay” (editorial, April 23 - 28):
While we agree with the Downtown Express that Lower Manhattan needs economic recovery projects post-9/11, utility customers should not be asked to bear the burden of funding a new project.
Part of the recovery funds allocated by Congress belong to Con Edison customers whose money paid to help restore and rebuild Lower Manhattan following the terrorist attacks. The funds were allocated by Congress to reimburse utilities and their customers for costs incurred in the recovery effort.
Con Edison and its customers have received only partial reimbursement for the recovery efforts, $161 million to date. Another $176 million is pending.
We have been working side by side with state, city and federal agencies to rebuild the area’s critical infrastructure for the past nine years.
We continue to work with the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. on the reimbursements, and we believe that the remaining money should be spent on what Congress and the original legislation intended.
Vice president of government relations at Con Edison
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.