Volume 17, Number 45 | April 1 — 7, 2005

Letters to the editor

Fair ways & streets

To The Editor:
Re “Playing Fair” (UnderCover, March 18 - 24):
This summer, there will be seven street fairs held just to raise the salaries of the city employees who work at Community Board 1. Is it really a good practice to close down public streets and to inconvenience our local shopkeepers and residents so that the board’s employees can have a larger salary?

I fought for over 10 years to expose this practice and to get the full board to disapprove these C.B. 1 street fairs. Well, the full board did finally get a chance to vote on this issue, but only two members voted against the practice. The Conflicts of Interest Board finally ruled that by distancing the approval process from the recipients of the funds, the practice is legal, so my efforts were not in vain. But even though the process is now deemed legal, is it in the best interest for the community?

If this is such a good idea, why not have street fairs to raise the salaries of all of our teachers, police and fire fighters? Don’t these city employees deserve raises too? If the community board wants to give its staff more money than the city budget offers, then it should do it without closing down public streets for private gain. Having street fairs for genuine non-profit community organizations is one thing, but this practice is really absurd.
Rick Landman
A member of Community Board 1

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