Letters December 21 – 28, 2011

Same old story

To the Editor,
Re. “P.A.C. funds questioned at C.B. 1 meeting” (Downtown Express article, Dec. 14):

Once again, another part of what is planned for the World Trade Center site has been found to be surpassing its original cost. However, this is not something new, especially when just about everything else there has been found to cost more as well. Even when Christopher Ward, before he resigned as the head of the Port Authority, wanted to raise the tolls to help finance it, that still wasn’t enough, though that is now being challenged in a lawsuit filed by the Automobile Association of America. Rather than trying to find a way to get funds for it, this should just be scrapped instead, because it is pretty much unnecessary.

In reality, does the site really need a Performing Arts Center?  Overall, it just shows how much money and time could have been saved if the Twin Towers would have been rebuilt rather than try to look for ways to fund something that is already breaking the bank on some parts alone.
Tal Barzilai

Against B.I.D. intrusion

To the Editor,
Re. “SoHo B.I.D. needs work” (Downtown Express editorial, Nov. 9):

As a longtime SoHo resident, I am against this new intrusion into our neighborhood.

Where were they when the SoHo streets were truly dirty?  Now that there is money to be made in gentrification, enters the “B.I.D.”..? That will only add to the already too high rents and force the few remaining small businesses and artists that were the reason this area became “Soho”! out.

Please preserve what is left, alone.
Ginny Pugliese

More to the story

To the Editor,
Re. “City Hall renovations nearly complete” (Downtown Express article, Dec. 14):

There is more to this story. Construction began in 2007 with an original cost estimate of below $50 million and a completion date of 2009. In 2008, the first of a series of cost overruns raised the price tag to $65 million.

A final price tag of $123.8 million and completion date of July 2012 is nothing to be proud of. Why was NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn silent about these huge cost overruns and the multiyear delay in the project’s completion? As she is an aspiring mayoral candidate, this should give voters pause for concern. With a multibillion dollar municipal deficit, there are higher priorities.

Consider that NYC Councilmembers meet in full session or committee on a part-time basis. They continue manipulating public campaign financing along with raising $500, $1,000, $2,750, and $4,900 in pay-to-play campaign contributions from special interest groups. They are paid inflated base salaries of $113,500 per year supplemented by lulus from $4,000 to $28,000, all for a part-time job; and enjoy personal drivers, private City Hall parking spots, and millions in pork-barrel member item projects to give out to friends. They pay staff to ghost write newsletters, speeches, op-eds, and letters to the editor; are reimbursed for out-of-town travel reimbursement; and received free tickets to all sorts of events.

Was it worth spending $123.8 million dollars to build a new “Big Top” over the Big Apple’s Greatest Circus on Earth to support the Councilmembers’ continued daily discussions of irrelevant and useless resolutions? The City Council could move in with the real circus and save the taxpayers some money. We could have two shows for the price of one admission. Now that would be a real treat!
Larry Penner

Faith restored

To the Editor,
Re. “B.R.C., a good neighbor” (Downtown Express editorial, Dec. 1):

The editors of the Downtown Express, the Villager and Chelsea Now have restored my faith in journalism. Your editorial “BRC, a good neighbor” has, for me, put you among the ranks of “pull no punches” journalists who are willing to speak their minds to power and everybody else. In spite of the prevailing lukewarm acceptance of B.R.C. by the larger community, and the outright rejection of their presence by the newer, mostly younger, richer neighbors, this little neighborhood press has said its piece, unvarnished.
My heart swells.

Our elected officials and our community leaders must now take the cue, and a deep drink of reality. This is not the 1990s, when the city’s homeless population was at a manageable level and not in your face at every street corner, subway entrance, under every sidewalk bridge and under your front stoop. The 200-bed limit imposed on shelters made great sense in light of the miserable conditions we allowed to prevail in the warehouses of that era. It might have worked if many more shelters had been established. The logic is fading.

People living on the street have a right, a legal right, to a place to sleep indoors. We have a responsibility, moral and legal, to provide the beds. It’s that simple. In these times, is it such a leap to imagine any one of us in their place? Every homeless person once had a home.

We have to recognize that there will be difficulties fitting this population into our lives. It behooves us to do so, unless we prefer to continue stepping over sleeping — or worse — forms on our way to the office.

Thank you, Downtown Express, Villager and Chelsea Now.
Pamela Wolff