Letters to the Editor

Walkers can drink

To The Editor:

Re: “Drunk driver who killed woman gets 15 days” (news article, March 6 –12):

The pedestrian who was killed, Florence Cioffi, is reported to have had a blood alcohol level “well above the legal limit.”

The legal limit applies to drivers, not pedestrians.  Public drunkenness for pedestrians is measured by behavior, not blood alcohol level.

If it were illegal to have a blood alcohol level “above the legal limit” when “not” driving, then the whole concept of “designated driver” would be meaningless.

 Larry Gould

Tolls of burden

To The Editor:

Re  “Silver says bridge tolls are a lesser evil” (news article, March 6 – 12):

Sorry, but I cannot get behind the generally helpful speaker on the issue of tolls on the free East River bridges.   The Ravitch Commission and our Albany legislators are taking the easy way out rather than making some tough choices.  Why, for example, is the commuter tax which expired several years ago not being discussed?  And, at a time when environmental and green concepts are finally getting attention, aren’t we considering Comptroller Thompson’s proposal of raising auto registration fees.  If we are thinking green, the heaviest and most polluting vehicles should pay the most — I’m thinking S.U.V.s (whose weight alone puts more wear and tear on our roads), and 6- and 8-cylinder vehicles, which pollute more than 4-cylinder vehicles.

Invariably, using tolls will result in traffic jams both in my neighborhood and in the outer boroughs where the toll plazas will be built, since not everyone uses E-ZPass.  And let’s face facts, everything we buy in Manhattan will cost more whether groceries or furnishings — truckers and merchants are not going to absorb the tolls, they will simply increase their prices.

Finally, since the M.T.A. has often cried “wolf” in the past, including having been found to be keeping two sets of books, why should we trust them now?  Shouldn’t they be subject to a full-scale forensic audit before we give them more money?

John Ost

Southbridge Towers

Private pitfalls

To The Editor: 

In the letter to The Editor, dated Jan. 16 – 23, entitled “Southbridge majority,” the writer makes a few errors of his own, while complaining about frequent writer Geraldine Lipschutz’s errors in one of her letters (Jan. 2 – 8). According to him, a large majority favored privatization in our last referendum (on paying for a “Red Herring” prospectus); actually the pro-privatizers pressured hesitant shareholders with assurances that the “Red Herring” would give them more essential information. That’s how so many were duped into voting in favor of the prospectus. 

In Albany, some politicians are now reconsidering instituting a moratorium on privatizing Mitchell-Lama complexes, including co-ops. That way they would preserve the few affordable apartments in New York, as noted by Ms. Lipschutz. The hired lawyer, Stuart Saft, co-author of the Feasibility Report, had printed on its first page (in the smallest font available) that any Mitchell-Lama co-op could continue to thrive as affordable “with little” or no “risks.” 

The Jan. 16 letter mentions improving our “lifestyles” by privatizing; it closes its eyes to the fact that most privatizations are accompanied by drastic rises in maintenance fees. Many complexes keep maintenance fees low by removing from those fees’ the total payments for water, gas and electricity. These extras become “outside costs,” with separate payments no longer a part of the maintenance fees. This adds up to much higher overall costs. 

In the present economic climate, trying to live a rich lifestyle (while middle income in actuality), you face prices on the essentials that are spiraling higher, and salaries that are static or reduced. That seems foolish! Should we be thinking of maintaining “market-value” apartments? Let the 400 or so families at Southbridge Towers, who have already bought “holiday homes” elsewhere, move out without our going private. Let them go without leaving the rest of us to pay surprise costs.  Such costs may include city and state real estate transfer taxes in the millions, a huge increase in our privatized co-op regular real estate taxes and an increase in maintenance and utility costs.  

Larry Vide