Volume 20, Number 51 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 4 - 11, 2011
Letters to the editor
Wrong on vending
To the Editor:
Re “Concerns rise over vending; Chin targets fake bag buyers” (news article, April 27):
Politicians and the BIDS they work for always seem to get it wrong on vending. Maybe that’s because they always have a hidden BID agenda behind their seemingly well-intentioned vending proposals.
Yes, there is a problem with the sale of counterfeit goods, but no new, unenforceable laws have to be passed to address it.
Virtually all the vendors selling these materials are illegal. They have no vending license, they are not protected by the First Amendment and they are not disabled veterans. They are all subject to confiscation, summonses and arrest
every single moment they are selling on the street - no matter what they are selling.
Why would anyone think that adding more vending laws,
rather than simply enforcing the existing ones, was required?
The existing laws subject all illegal vendors to large fines and jail time.
Contrary to the claims of Senator Squadron and others, every vendor who is arrested is automatically fingerprinted. If they go through Central Booking, they are also face scanned. As an artist who was falsely arrested 43 times (and never convicted) I can assure you from direct personal experience that ALL vendors are fingerprinted when arrested.
As far as the notion of arresting those who buy a fake handbag from these vendors, it is an understandable retaliation strategy but it makes no sense legally. To prove a criminal act you need to prove intent. Unless a customer confesses to the police that they knowingly bought a counterfeit bag, they cannot be found guilty.
Lastly, as far as the hostility some residents report from vendors they tried to evict from their block, let’s get real. When a resident threatens a vendor who is standing on a public sidewalk, they can expect to be met with hostility in return. Vendors normally have no reason to harass or threaten residents. When it happens, it is almost always the result of the resident harassing and threatening the vendor first.
If a resident has a problem with illegal vending the remedy is calling the police rather than pretending to Charles Bronson or Dirty Harry. That’s what we pay the police for.
President of ARTIST
Review gas pipeline risks
To The Editor:
Re “We’re facing an even bigger problem than fracking” (talking point, by Jennifer Davis, April 20):
The causes of past gas pipeline failures, and the risks of other possible causes of failure ought to be reviewed and evaluated, together with the likely consequences of failure, and this information and review process made public.
Financial security to guarantee payment for the damages that might happen should be required. If no insurance group wishes to underwrite the risk, the public ought not listen and also decline.
Alternatives that would lessen the risk or minimize the consequences should also be reviewed — like conservation and alternative energy sources — to eliminate the need for the additional gas.
Cyclists must act like drivers
To The Editor:
Re “V.I.D. rolls out panel on bike lanes to find common ground” (news article, April 20):
Bicycles belong in New York City. However, we cyclists have to abide by the same principles as any moving vehicle. I call it “Riding by the law.” It’s simply bicycling as if you were in a car. Only by bicycling this way will we be respected by pedestrians and vehicles.
Additionally, we can influence others by behaving with restraint when someone is blocking our path or not following the rules. Shouting doesn’t solve any problems.
Regarding bike lanes, perhaps the city should have phased them in or notified businesses of the changes. I would argue that there are more upsides than down to bike lanes, and like any long-term investment, their benefits will be realized in time.
This city has been re-engineered drastically to accommodate cars. Maybe it hurts if you drive, but bikes do have their place. If we can all just give a little, the city will be better for it.
John C. Tripp
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.