Volume 17 • Issue 14 | August 27 - September 02, 2004

Letters to the editor

A Benepe says no to park, yes to Times Square

To The Editor:
There is a reasonable alternative to trampling Central Park and marginalizing the protests to the edge of the Hudson River (news article, Aug. 20 – 26, “Protestors sue for park rally”). Times Square. This is where similar political demonstrations took place during the 1992 Democratic convention. Times Square, which has a history of handling large crowds, is in the heart of the city, much closer to the convention site than Central Park and more accessible to the people of New York. There would be the corollary benefit of having a traffic-free environment for a day. The Fine Arts Federation of NY has endorsed this as the preferred alternative.
Barry Benepe
Barry Benepe is the founder of the Greenmarket and the father of Adrian Benepe, the city’s Parks commissioner who denied United Peace and Justice’s application to stage a rally in Central Park.

Childish protest

To The Editor:
Re: “Two Downtowners battle G.O.P.” (news article, August 20-26):

What is it about partisan politics that makes otherwise functional adults adopt behaviors characteristic of eight-year-olds shoving one another in a schoolyard?

To mention their names here would only augment their joy following the five minutes your newspaper has already given them, but the “call out sick” campaign these guys have launched against the Republican convention is a thoroughly hare-brained venture likely to damage the economy of the city that provides them with a stimulating home base and their employers with a great place to do business and pay salaries to, well, self-important yuppies like these two guys.

Of course this infantile campaign would appeal chiefly to relatively privileged white climbers like them. Still, anyone with a sense of New York’s well-being must believe that the hotel and restaurant service economy will continue undiminished through the rejection of these tactics by the largely minority population who are the backbone of New York’s service economy. These people, unlike the aforementioned favored few, cannot afford the salary disruption and job-loss risk entailed in such a childish protest.

Mary K. Doris

Koch reactions

To The Editor:
Re : “Why Democrats should vote for President Bush” (Talking Point, Aug. 20 – 26). The Bush administration’s accomplishments over the past four years include turning a huge surplus into a record deficit, bankrupting the states through lowered federal taxes (forcing many to build casinos to earn money), lowering standards on prescription drug testing and food inspections, lowering pollution standards, blurring the line between church and state, appointing right wing radical judges, supporting faulty voting machines, intimidating African American voters in Florida, detaining prisoners with no due process, torturing prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention, and reducing civil liberties under the guise of the Patriot Act. Yet because Mr. Bush supports Israel, Ed Koch will be voting for him even though he disagrees with the rest of Bush’s policies. It reminds me of the Germans who ignored much of Hitler’s agenda because he charismatically promised a strong Germany. I am Jewish by birth, but I find Mr. Koch’s sloppy thinking offensive.

Louis Erlanger

To The Editor:
With age, often comes wisdom and the insight to accept and transcend one’s mortality, but the recent Talking Point column, “Why Democrats should vote for President Bush,” revealed former Mayor Ed Koch to have turned into a frightened, bitter old man in his senior years. It saddened me to hear a former champion of individual rights and a just society openly admit that his overarching fear of “terrorism” has caused him to abandon those beliefs to support someone with whom he doesn’t “agree with... on a single domestic issue.” His argument seems to follow the “we must destroy it to save it” approach to protecting our liberty.

Michael Doyle

To The Editor:
 Ed Koch explains his support of George Bush based on the president’s ability to protect the security of Israel and fight terrorism against the United States. I, too, am a Jew proud of the history and accomplishments of the Jewish people, and for whom the security of Israel and the United States are prime considerations. But Mr. Koch has got it wrong. Bush policies undermine rather than contribute to, the security of Israel and the United States.

Mr. Koch’s view that the Democratic Party has moved to the “radical left” is absurd. Centrism was the keynote of the Democratic Convention. While many progressives, hardly radicals, hoped for a stronger Kerry/Edwards position on ending the Iraq war we support the ticket because Bush is totally unable – morally, intellectually, practically, and ideologically — to secure the strength and safety of the United States or any semblance of world peace and cooperation.

Mr. Koch’s trust that President Bush is effective in fighting terror and protecting Israel, ignores all the evidence, both prior to and after 9/11. Bush ignored the August 6, 2001, C.I.A. daily briefing indicating that Al Qaeda might use planes in terror attacks against United States targets. Before the initial U.S. military success in Afghanistan was cemented, Bush attacked Iraq: as a result, we have NOT found Osama bin Laden; the Taliban are coming back; opium production is soaring; the government has almost no control outside Kabul; and the scale of violence has driven out all humanitarian non-governmental organizations.

Bush’s policy of unilateral, pre-emptive war, applied to Iraq, which Mr. Koch so admires, gives even clearer evidence of failure. There were no weapons of mass destruction and no evidence that Saddam Hussein was allied with Osama bin Laden. Bush has so mismanaged the Iraq war that 950 American soldiers have died, several thousand have been wounded; thousands of Iraqi civilians – the very people we were supposed to liberate and help – have also died. The American occupation has destroyed the Iraqi. There are criminal charges against 29 American companies involved in the so-called reconstruction and legal memos from the Justice Dept. paved the way for American soldiers to violate the Geneva Convention by torturing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, all in the name of the war on terror.

The Iraqi war has increased terror and violence, and the bogus, confused, mismanaged and politicized terror alerts at home have spread fear, not feelings of security. Bush’s support of Sharon’s expansion of settlements in the West Bank, is a reason to oppose Bush, not support him. On signing the recent $417 billion defense spending bill, President Bush said, “Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

 Millions of Americans agree and that’s why we’re voting for Kerry/Edwards in November.
Serena Nanda

Good Downtown deed

To The Editor:
So much is said about New Yorkers being thoughtless and/or dishonest. It is important that I mention a good example of honesty by some caring person in Lower Manhattan. I visit my daughter every month in the Greenwich St. area. On July 6th, I went to the A.T.M. at Washington Mutual on 270 Broadway. I withdrew money. At least an hour-and-a-half later I realized I did not have my credit card. Frantically I returned to the bank hoping the card was mistakenly taken by the bank. The worst scenario was I had left it in the machine. Some very thoughtful person had turned it in to the bank. This was like a small miracle to me. My card could have been taken and used for purchases by the time I got to the bank. Whoever it was, I say “thank you so much.”                                    

Patricia Izarek
Easton, Penn.

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