Volume 17 • Issue 26 | Nov. 19 - 25, 2004

Letters to the Editor

Downtown school idea

To The Editor:
As a long-time resident of Battery Park City and the mother of two preschool age children, I have been following with great interest your coverage of the various proposals for a new Downtown school. I would like to propose an idea that does not seem to have been previously considered to address our two most pressing current needs — the alleviation of overcrowding at P.S. 89 and P.S. 234, and the lack of a zoned intermediate school which could accommodate the children coming out of these elementary schools.

First, plan the new Downtown school as a zoned intermediate school for the children coming out of P.S. 89 and P.S. 234 rather than as a third Downtown elementary school. This new zoned school could be the “new” I.S. 89.  Then, when this new space is available, move I.S. 89 out of its current space, expand the size of P.S. 89 to take up the entire P.S./I.S. 89 building and change the Downtown school zoning to put the Financial District children into the expanded  P.S. 89.  

There is no issue of greater importance to Downtown parents than that of our children’s education. It is, therefore, my belief that whatever plan for the construction of a new Downtown school is ultimately approved, it must be one that ensures all Downtown children a quality K-8 education.

Angela Santoro Dowd  

Kerry supporter’s parents

To The Editor:
We’d like to thank Mr. Marmo for his sensitive concern regarding the “brainwashing” of our daughter Juliette Kessler (Letters, Nov. 12 – 18, “Kerry youth”). He is right. We have brainwashed the child in countless and perhaps irreversible ways. While the Kerry sale was in fact her own idea (news article, Oct. 29 – Nov. 4, “5th grader sells toys for Kerry”) — as was a previous lemonade stand to raise money for the Coalition for the Homeless — we, her parents, are guilty of brainwashing her to have a social conscience.

Moreover, she has been brainwashed to celebrate the religions (both of them!) of her parents, and, alas, she has been brainwashed to care about the environment and the Constitution, currently being studied in her fifth grade classroom. Perhaps Mr. Marmo should write to her school with his concerns about how the students are being brainwashed by the radical ideas of the founding fathers.

Even more troubling, our daughter has been brainwashed to question the wisdom of going to war and to question the wisdom of lying. And while the poor child is something of a Francophile(you guessed it, brainwashed) she also questions the wisdom of Mr. Marmo’s suggestion that we gift wrap the Statue of Liberty and send it back to France. However, try as we might, we have not successfully brainwashed her to clean up her room. No doubt, Juliette will carry the scars of this brainwashing with her into the future when she actually will be able to vote, as will all those children who are currently being brainwashed by the 59 million Americans who voted for the other guy.

Asti Hustvedt and Jon Kessler

Protests, politics and traffic

To The Editor:
Re “Biker’s Houston St. party raided” (news article, Nov. 5 –11):

The hypocrisy of the police department’s focus on enforcing traffic rules as they apply to bicyclists became apparent to me last year, when I was attempting to leave Battery Park City by making a left from Albany on to West St. to drive my father-in-law to the airport.  As I waited at the light, a procession of stereotypically loud and obnoxious Harley Davidsons began passing by on their way to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel.  Other motorists and I were prevented from turning on to West St. by one of the motorcyclists — in Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s vernacular, a “corker.”  Up the street, at the intersection of Liberty and West, a traffic agent decided to help out another “corker” block traffic at that intersection.  I, for one, fail to see how these “corkers” were any different from those paragons of lawlessness who block cross streets during Critical Mass rides and whom Commissioner Kelly has cited as representing potential danger to New Yorkers because, for instance, they may prevent ambulances from passing through. 

However, I am sure that Commissioner Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg are privy to sensitive anti-terrorist intelligence briefings that establish exactly how bicyclists attempting to promote alternatives to the congestion are far more dangerous than a group of motorcyclists who blocked off access to and from B.P.C. for well over half an hour. 

Perhaps the ‘threat’ has to do with the fact that the bicyclists were protesting the Republican National Convention, whereas Harley riding groups, historically anti-authority, have become establishment supporters. On second thought, I can’t imagine that our fearless mayor would ever attempt to suppress points of view that differ from his own, for instance by denying permits to R.N.C. protesters or arranging for those arrested during protests to remain in custody until President Bush (the city’s best friend, according to Mr. Bloomberg) was re-nominated. Such tactics are certainly beneath this administration.  Doesn’t the mayor say so in the papers all the time? 

I can only hope that next year the voters in this city wake up and give Mr. Bloomberg a pink slip.  Having Democratic local elected officials and Democratic members of Congress, and overwhelmingly supporting John Kerry for president, how could we elect a Republican mayor and governor?  Next election, we should remember that both of those men did much to help President Bush’s re-election, in direct opposition to the desires of the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers.  Who can say that if Mayor Bloomberg had not given N.Y.C. to the R.N.C. as a platform, or if George Pataki hadn’t tirelessly campaigned and raised money for George Bush, that the president’s slim margin of victory would not have materialized?  It’s time that New Yorkers wake up and realize that, in politics, labels do matter, and the Republican label signifies disregard for the true needs of urban centers and their populations.

Robert Renzulli

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