Volume 17, Number 41 | March 4 - 11, 2005

Letters to the editor

In defense of Stewart

To The Editor:
Paul Piccone’s letter (Feb. 25 – Mar. 3, “A just Stewart verdict”) asserting that Lynne Stewart is “a traitor to her country and should have been tried as such,” is a much needed reminder of P.T. Barnum’s wisdom: “Not only do people like to be fooled; it is profitable to deceive them.”

Since there was not a shred of evidence that Lynne Stewart’s defense of her client led to the death or injury of any Americans, nor an attack on the nation, her most serious offense was a violation of prison rules.

On the other hand, our president and his cabinet are responsible for the death and injuries of a multitude of soldiers who are fighting a war that is extremely lucrative for Mr. Bush’s pals at Lockheed, Boeing, Halliburton, and Bechtel. Mr. Bush lied to the American public about weapons of mass destruction, as he did about 9/11. We can safely assume that the paralysis of nerves above his heart have made him habitually and unconsciously dedicated to purely selfish aims, sometimes known as “patriotism.”
Shelly Estrin

Tribeca towers

To The Editor:
Your recent article on the impact of construction noise at P.S. 234 (news article, Feb. 17 – 23, “P.S. 234 wrestles with overcrowding, noise issues”) followed your earlier good reporting on the dilemma of those concerned with developer Edward Minskoff’s efforts to increase the height of the Site 5B project beyond its already staggering size (news article, Dec. 24 – 30, 2004, “Developer trying to raise Tribeca towers’ height”). The developer is now dangling a Whole Foods store before Tribeca residents as an incentive to gain community consent to build even higher with the apparent belief that a new food shop is more important than light and air.

Councilmember Gerson was right to negotiate a limit on the Minskoff project for a 70-foot street wall. His efforts followed serious community dismay about the project’s inappropriate scale and bulk. The P.T.A. is also correct in its concern about overshadowing P.S. 234. Kevin Fisher’s comment that a new food store doesn’t seem worth being hedged in by two buildings echoes the legitimate fears not only of parents but many others. It is absurd to imagine that our thriving community won’t continue to attract numerous new quality food vendors, particularly with the increase in population density that the 5B (and 5C) projects will bring to this tortured block.

It was (and still is) reasonable to ask why an over-scaled tower that has no relation to its site or the community should be permitted adjacent to Richard Datner’s award-winning P.S. 234 elementary school. Community Board 1 was absolutely right to oppose this ill-advised project from the outset.

Let’s ask that C.B. 1’s members continue to support the community’s concerns, honoring the agreement that Gerson so wisely negotiated last year.
Hal Bromm

C.B. 1 reform

To The Editor:
I was pleasantly surprised when the majority of Community Board 1 members showed concern and displeasure by voting to table a resolution called the, “Code of Conduct” by a vote of 23 to 11 — the 11 being nearly the entire Executive Committee of the board (news article, Feb. 25 – Mar. 4, “Board looks to limit speech”).

This attempt by the leadership of the community board to suppress free speech, would effectively disallow any legitimate dissent by board members to question how the leadership is running the board, and subject them to “censure” for speaking their minds, anywhere or in their words “elsewhere.” I have been critical of how the community board has been led the last several years. The push to quell free speech and legitimate dissent only confirms what I have been saying for years about how the current leadership runs the board and what my reform campaign platform was based on when I ran for chair, to reverse current policies such as; a lack of inclusion, violations of the open meetings laws, the inability to distinguish between Community Board 1 and the Friends of Community Board 1 — which shares office space, phones, computers, employees, man-hours, etc..., not to mention confusion concerning the number of hats the board leadership is wearing at the same time or when wearing one hat and then trying to figure out which hat it is.

The ironic thing is that my entire reform campaign platform, (as well as this letter to The Editor), would be banned from discussion, and could not to be mentioned “elsewhere.”  Not even my bathroom.

With regards to the open meeting laws, in the Downtown Express article board Chairperson Madelyn Wils states that, “We never have a meeting in hiding...” 

At the “first public” meeting of the Code of Conduct Committee “third overall” the committee Chair Ray O’Keefe, two committee members, and the district manager admitted the first two meetings were not open to board members, the public or press.

I also have several e-mail correspondences with the District Manager where he confirms that the first two meetings (which produced a draft resolution) were not open to the public or press.

Chairperson Wils was more concerned with setting up “disciplinary subcommittees” and on three occasions inquiring on a mechanism on how to “remove board members”.

Community Board 1 is in drastic need of reform particularly with one year terms for board officers starting next election and to diversify and delegate responsibilities to board members and maximize board member and public participation.

I hope the Executive Committee will choose not continue down this slippery slope and drop the Code of Conduct resolution, we have already suffered enough embarrassment.

The most appalling thing of that evening was that the Code of Conduct resolution was in the same room with a displayed copy of the United States Constitution at New York Law School. At one point I thought the rumblings beneath my feet was the subway, but I suspect it was the Founding Fathers turning in their graves.
Marc Ameruso

Deconstructing art

To The Editor:
In reference to Soho’s “Wall” (news article, Feb. 25 – March 3, “Soho ‘Wall’ dispute returns to the courts”), I find that I am driven to throw in my two cents worth. In the 20-25 years that I have seen “The Wall”, I did not know it was a work of someone’s art. I always thought it was to hold up the side of the building. After a few years, I figured that those beams were the finished product for the repair to the side of that building. I am hoping numerous other people thought the same thing, because I don’t want to believe I could be the only one who did not recognize it as art. I, however, would rather see the beams back up, than to pass by and see ads like the CK ads (that go up across the street.)
Joan Daniel

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