Volume 17 • Issue 9 / July 23 - 29, 2004

Letters to the editor

Voting rights

To The Editor:
RE “Voting problems reported in Chinatown” (news article, July 9 –15):

After monitoring numerous poll sites in New York City, we found that Asian Americans had to overcome numerous barriers to exercise their right to vote.

John Ravitz, executive director of the N.Y.C. Board of Elections, claims that he never received any complaints and that problems should have been reported directly to him on election day.

As we stated in our report, on election day, every time problems arose, we contacted the board.
Shortly after the elections we provided him with detailed compilations of all our findings. Those letters, which included poll worker names, were sent on Nov. 2, 2003 (problems in the primary election); Feb. 17, 2004 (general election); and May 21, 2004 (errors in processing voter registration forms).

If the Board of Elections took more care in administering the elections, rather than in defending the actions of incompetent, hostile, and discriminatory poll workers, voting would be easier in New York.

The Voting Rights Act requires nothing less.

Glenn D. Magpantay
Staff attorney, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Enforce clean laws

To The Editor:
Karen Pearl’s description of the unsanitary conditions around the fruit and vegetable carts on Division St. is understated (Letters, June 11-17, “Chinatown cleanliness”). She should be commended for her comments instead of being called a racist (Letters, July 2-8, “Race and Chinatown”).

The individuals who deserve a reprimand are the city and state officials who tolerate disrespect for the law as a community standard. I will never forget the remark made by then-Deputy Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty at a meeting convened by former Councilmember Kathryn Freed. After viewing photographs and videotape of egregious sanitation violations he blithely responded, “that’s Chinatown.”

I thank Karen Pearl for her letter.

Cathy Glasson

Editor’s note: To read previous letters to The Editor regarding the cleanliness of Chinatown, go to www.downtownexpress.com, click on the link to “view previous issues” and go to the letters section in the issues dated June 11 – 17, July 2 – 8 and July 16 – 22.

Rent and budget cuts

To The Editor:
We the tenants of Independence Plaza North represent a population of witnesses to the crime perpetrated against our nation on Sept. 11, 2001. The plane that hit the north tower buzzed passed 310 Greenwich St. and veered left directly into the north tower, hitting on a very high floor. Our nation has an interest and responsibility in keeping the population of witnesses as stable as possible. For months after the attack, we breathed smokey air and fumes emanating from ground zero. Most of us are registered with the World Trade Center Health Registry.

Most of the tenants of Independence Plaza North applied for and received two-year commitment grants from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. Implied in that commitment is that we shall remain in our apartments in the near future. Now due to a Mitchell-Lama buy-out, our rents are being unregulated. The result is rents that are unaffordable for two-thirds of the residents. Independence Plaza North qualifies for a federal program called enhanced sticky vouchers. These vouchers would keep our rents at current levels for qualifying tenants but this program is being threatened by federal budget cuts.

Why are we getting these mixed messages from our government?

Robert Gluckstadt

Rebuild the towers

To The Editor:
I need to voice my concerns. I am totally against the building of Freedom Tower (news article, July 2 – 8, “Freedom Tower opponents ready for a fight”). How can this dreadful thing be built?

The Twin Towers are icons. How can visitors enjoy the Freedom Tower? There is no observation deck at the very top. I have been living five blocks away from the World Trade Center site for more than 21 years, and all I hear from my neighbors is that they hate this plan. It does not belong here in New York City.

The Twin Towers at a height of 1,776 feet — now that will be awesome to say the least.

I want to join the people who are against the building of Freedom Tower and support them 110 percent. Mayor Bloomberg does not live in this area, nor does Governor Pataki. They do not have the faintest idea of what I am talking about. It is very disheartening to hear that Freedom Tower will go up as planned.

New York needs the bragging rights to the tallest and best building in Lower Manhattan. All this fanfare over the Freedom Tower makes me want to move to Italy, where I know I will be much better off.

Lawrence Jenzen

A better West Side plan

To The Editor:
Re “Stadium plan: Bad for city, worse for Downtown” (editorial, July 9 –15):

Facilitate Far West Side development — build the stadium over the Sunnyside yards.

This would be better for the Olympic bid security concerns as the athletes are to be housed in a new Hunter’s Point development. Transportation links exist with the Long Island Rail Road, N.J. Transit, Amtrak as well as several subway lines, the Long Island Expressway, etc.

Amtrak facility gets a shot in the arm and Long Island City and the city benefit in the long term from the exponential improvements achieved in untangling the transit infrastructure.

Of the West Side transit mitigation scenarios, extending the Flushing line to the vicinity of the Javits Center will improve access to this burgeoning and woefully under-served area; but it will prove palliative at best. The 7 train is already running at capacity during peak hours. Storage tracks would still have to be built for the evening peak hours. It would be chaos to add a stadium to the current mix without the necessary transportation mitigation; whether it is built over the West Side yards, or, alternatively over the Sunnyside Yards where better transit access exists (IRT, BMT, IND, L.I.R.R. even Amtrak and N.J. Transit).

Regardless, the project’s scope must be expanded to assess the citywide ramifications to changes in the subway network.

You could extend the IRT Flushing line Manhattan terminus down 11th Ave. with a provision for a Meadowland extension, stops at Javits, Chelsea Piers and possibly 14 St. at Tenth Ave. and connect to the BMT L’s Eighth Ave. Manhattan terminus.

Without transit access, the private sector is loathe to pioneer; but if you build it they will come.

Jordan Auslander

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