Letters to the Editor

Yes we can

To The Editor:

I have never been so proud of my country. Not only because of a majority of voters have rejected appealing to fears based on the color of one’s skin or associations with people of different views. But because it has rejected the notion that military power is the only way to combat terrorism, and recognized that transparency in government is needed, that we better get busy on alternative fuels. In short, Americans have stood up and said no more.

George Bush and John McCain developed a politic appropriate of the past, not the new age. They’re probably good men with bad judgment. Afraid of anything different or new, they developed nothing. The attacks of Sept. 11 paralyzed them. Any positive developments that the Bush administration accomplished were small and given no attention. Now it is time to move on.

In Lower Manhattan our community was potentially paralyzed by the events of 9/11/01. We have had our difficulties with rebuilding. But we have just put Lower Manhattan’s first community center on-line; there are new residents, new businesses and a positive direction. We must not succumb to the negative reactions precipitated by international politics of fear. Terror can also be combated by community organizers who choose to create and by presidents who claim, “Yes we can.”

As President-elect Obama said, we choose our own destiny. A financial slowdown yes but financial crisis no. This is not the 1930s. It is time to have an “optimistic bias.” Good government, strong neighborhoods make a difference.

Bob Townley

Executive director, Manhattan Youth

Gerson & term limits

To The Editor:

Re Councilmember Alan Gerson’s “Why I voted for my term limit extension” (Talking Point, Oct. 31 – Nov. 6), how much more self-serving can you get?  Does Mr. Gerson take all New Yorkers for fools?   

The councilman has demonstrated once again, that he cannot be trusted, that his only interest is in currying favor with the powerbrokers and that he has no ethics, no spine.  The “give the voters the choice” argument, put forth by Speaker Quinn and Gerson is without merit because we have already chosen — twice, in fact.  The reality is that it simply does not work that way.  N.Y.C. is a Democratic city, meaning mostly one party.  There is tremendous power in the incumbent position and everyone knows that, especially the councilmembers.  The only reason these politicians voted to extend term limits is because they wanted to keep their jobs for another four years. Gerson has thumbed his nose at millions of New Yorkers who voted for term limits — TWO terms!  “Government procedures must rest on a foundation of principle,” according to the councilmember and indeed, Mr. Gerson, where is yours?  

Like the mayor, Speaker Quinn, and their other self-serving cohorts, he surely believes that he is irreplaceable and indispensable.  That’s called hubris.  The cemetery is filled with lots of people who thought they were indispensable and hopefully Mr. Gerson’s bid to continue in the City Council will be buried along with the mayor’s and all those other “indispensable” councilmembers.

Thanks, but no thanks, Mr. Gerson.

 Zelda Penzel

To The Editor:

I was very happy to hear that the Honorable Alan Gerson voted to extend term limits. I was not happy when they put term limits into effect years ago, and was glad to see Mayor Bloomberg sign the bill Monday. This does not mean the incumbents are a shoo-in: The voters can either re-elect them or vote for someone else.

 David Weinberger

David Weinberger is a Democratic district leader in the 64th Assembly District

To The Editor:

Re Alan Gerson’s Talking Point (Oct. 31 – Nov. 7):

Councilmember Gerson and his co-sponsors did right when they tried to get a third-term referendum before the next election. Though I never liked term limits (“Stop me before I vote again!”), the current two-term limit was put in by direct vote of the people and should be undone the same way. We are a republic, yes, but our expectations are democratic: we expect our will to be respected by the mayor and the other hired hands.  

 That said, I sympathize with Alan and other councilmembers who, having been beat on the referendum proposal, voted aye on the third-term bill. If that’s the only way to loosen up the stifling, wasteful two-term limit, so be it.  

 But one of these days, not before the next election, there will be a referendum on the newly-legal third term. My advice to pro-third termers is to fight next time. Twice in the ‘90s, the opponents of a two-term limit sat on their hands while Ron Lauder used his considerable personal resources to sell it. Next time there must be a serious effort (that is, a well-financed, coordinated, aggressive effort) to convince New Yorkers that there is value in retaining experienced officeholders and even more value in reserving to ourselves, the voters, the right to say when it’s time for a politician to go.

 Jim Smith

To The Editor:

Councilmember Gerson’s long-winded explanation

of why he opposed extending term limits, then flipped and voted for the extension is almost as convoluted and deceptive as his 16 proposed anti-street artist vending laws.

What I found especially interesting was this sentence: “The present combination of the credit crisis, the home foreclosure crisis, and Wall St. losses undeniably constitutes unprecedented circumstances.”

My question for the councilmember is this: How is it

that with all the unprecedented crises you mentioned (including 9/11 and it’s aftereffects) how is it that you have spent your entire seven years in public office trying to destroy the constitutional rights of N.Y.C. street artists? Why is that the obsessive focus of so much of your time?

Robert Lederman,

President of Artists’ Response To Illegal State Tactics

Downtown vendors

To The Editor:

Congratulations to Julie Shapiro for a comprehensive article on unlawful vending in Lower Manhattan (news article, Oct. 24 – 30, “Alliance & Stringer say enforce existing vending laws”).  One point that was not entirely clear, however, was how the Downtown Alliance’s call for an immediate enforcement strategy fits within Councilmember Alan Gerson’s legislative approach to the issue.  As I said in my presentation to the Quality of Life Committee of Community Board 1, the Downtown Alliance’s 7-point plan “does not preclude a legislative solution,” and that many of the problems with vending in Lower Manhattan are time, place and manner violations that are already against the law and would continue to be against the law under the proposed legislation.  This may not be the case in other areas of the city.

The Downtown Alliance commends Councilmember Gerson and Community Board 1 for paying serious attention to the issue of unlawful vending, which creates unsafe and unsavory conditions that threaten pedestrians and erode investor confidence in Lower Manhattan.

Elizabeth H. Berger

President, Downtown Alliance


To The Editor:

A few weeks ago I responded to Tim Clark’s letter demanding that Soho artists reveal their income taxes. I had hoped that was the end of his craziness (only joking!)

Now I am forced to respond to his letter  “Good vending bills” (Letter, Oct. 24 – 30) regarding Councilman Gerson’s proposals to change the current vending laws.

He should have been working for the McCain-Palin campaign, as he is all unsubstantiated accusation and personal attack.

He writes that “those people” (remember McCain’s “that one”) wrote letters about the new vending laws because they weren’t quoted in the recent article. How does he know that?  He calls their positions “extreme” and “not well thought out”?  Because they’re different from his?

He implies that one of the letters, by Jill Stasium, objects to “crazy” (his quotes) things Mr. Gerson is proposing. Ms Stasium wrote a very persuasive and intelligent letter. Nothing was crazy at all. Then he goes on to say “unless you are a fanatic it’s really hard to…oppose…a good policy.”

Really, Mr. Clark? Since when is opposition equated with fanaticism?

 Bonnie Lynn 

Private thoughts

To The Editor:

Re “Southbridge comfort” (Letter by Michael Wishner, Oct. 24 – 30) and “Longevity’s down side” (Letter by Geraldine Lipschutz, Oct. 17 –23):

I am a 51-year-old resident of Southbridge Towers. I am disabled and on Social Security disability. Like Geraldine I worry about what’s going to happen down the line. I agree with Mr. Wishner that the best way to go to insure the security and comfort for the elderly and disabled is privatization.  Financial security is most important at this time.  This is a win-win situation. I want to thank Geraldine and Mr. Wishner for their insightful letters.

William Albert