Letters to the editor

Determine Pier 40’s future now

To The Editor:

The decision by the Hudson River Park Trust to defer the selection of a developer for Pier 40 may seem reasonable. The economic climate has been weak. It’s also true that none of the plans presented were perfect — indeed, some proposals were completely unacceptable to the community, like Oceanarium.

But it is equally true that the decision to operate the pier without a comprehensive plan is not only wrong, it is dangerous. The piecemeal addition of various temporary or interim uses is bad policy. As the placement of the temporary mooring field south of Pier 40 illustrates, uses overwhelmingly rejected by the community may creep in and become entrenched, as well as make an end run around community input process.

When the Army Corps of Engineers permits were first made public, the inclusion of a mooring field and marina south of Pier 40 was universally opposed. However, the post-9/11 need to use Pier 25 for debris removal made moving the mooring field temporarily very reasonable and appropriate. Its continued operation on the south side of Pier 40 is beginning to look like an attempt to gain a permanent foothold for an already unwanted use.

The Trust is planning to search for an operator of Pier 40’s car parking facility, an allowable use under the controlling legislation, while nonconforming uses must vacate by Dec. 31, 2003. The current operator, C&K Properties, had the greatest amount of community support for their pier proposal, in large part because they have worked hard to extend public access, something the Chelsea Piers operators could learn. It appears as though that goodwill from the community may hurt them in their future dealings with the Trust.

The outcome that the public cannot allow is a piecemeal development of Pier 40, with a series of uses established on the pier under the guise of temporary placement when it’s likely they will emerge as permanent installations. The Trust has been getting over 50 percent of its revenue from Pier 40 and is unlikely to forgo much of that in the near term. Even if parking is the main usage, it remains to be seen what parameters the Trust presents to a new operator regarding parking fees in order to make up for the loss of the FedEx terminal and commuter bus parking.

We must speak with one voice to ensure that a comprehensive plan is developed for Pier 40 that includes active and passive recreation, both indoors and outdoors as well as long-term, affordable car parking for the community.

Deborah J. Glick

Glick is the Assemblymember for the 66th District

Board 2 disrespects its elders

To The Editor:

Doris Diether is an asset to New York City, Community Board 2 and the people with disabilities community. She needs to be re-appointed to the zoning committee of Community Board 2. We should respect her as the Chinese do their elders for her expertise and commitment.

It is because of Doris that I am a public member of C.B. 2 and can add my voice about issues concerning people with disabilities. Doris Diether is a treasure. As long as she wants to serve on the zoning committee of C.B. 2, we should encourage and support her.

Margie Rubin

Rubin is a member, Disabled in Action

Does candidate speak for herself?

To The Editor:

I wanted to bring to your readers’ attention something that has continued to concern me in this year’s district leader race, which features three candidates of varying quality but all of fine character. As your readers may recall, the genesis of the female district leader race stems back to a concern, by the Village Independent Democrats, among others, that our friend, candidate Cynthia Smith, had failed to demonstrate an ability to think and act independently of District Leader Arthur Schwartz, who is also a (if not the) leader of Lower Manhattan Alliance for Progressive Political Action and the Campaign for a Better Greenwich Village political action committee (which are, in essence, the political and financial arms, respectively, of the same entity — their different names notwithstanding). This concern is not intended to be a critique of Schwartz, per se, but rather a statement that our community would be better served by the efforts and ideas of two independent district leaders rather than one who is dominated by the other.

Many of our fears were further compounded this week when Smith’s introductory campaign mailing arrived in our mailboxes. Rather than being sent by, for example, “Friends of Cynthia Smith,” the mailing was paid for by the Campaign for a Better Greenwich Village. A few months ago, the V.I.D. decided not to endorse Smith because every time we tried to engage her in substantive conversation, we were told we had to speak to other “leaders” who we were told, with Smith’s permission, spoke on her behalf. That trend continues today, with Smith’s broader campaign communications still being dictated by others. As an aside, it deserves mention that, in light of the source of the mailing, it is not surprising that the literature attempts to suggest that Smith currently holds the title of district leader, rather than being merely one of three candidates for the post.

I have known Smith for several years, and I like her very much. That being said, at the same time, I am grateful to have the option to vote for Keen Berger for district leader — a wise, independent, progressive woman who, for almost four decades, has followed the path of her choosing in her never-ending work to better our Greenwich Village community. Although I may attempt to persuade Keen on issues with the quality of my ideas and arguments, neither I nor the V.I.D. (of which Keen is an executive board member) nor Community School Board 2 (which Keen served on for many years, including several as its president) nor the members of Judson Memorial Church (of which Keen is a board member) have control over the words Keen speaks or the decisions she ultimately makes for herself.

There is an old saying that you can’t get something for nothing. I worry what the Campaign for a Better Greenwich Village, LAMAPPA and their joint leadership are expecting from Smith in return for running and primarily paying for her campaign. Rather than find out, I invite my fellow Village Democrats to join me in supporting the candidate for district leader whose only allegiance, if elected, will be to the people of our community: Keen Berger.

Chad Marlow

Marlow is president, Village Independent Democrats

Gerson is not a machine politician

To The Editor:

Re: “Gerson: Petition fraud charges are ‘nonsense’ ” (news article, Aug. 13):

I would like to start off by saying I am not working with Alan Gerson or any his supporters on his City Council reelection campaign. He does not even know I am writing this letter. I do work with Alan on his Art Advisory Subcommittee, and we see each other at the police community council meetings and around the neighborhood quite often. He is my neighbor, my ally and my good friend.

One thing I have learned to count on from Alan is a fair hearing. He is the sort of fellow who will take information from all sides before he comes to a decision. From my perspective, I would say that he has always done what his heart dictates in spite of what the moneyed class or the powerful would dictate he do. I have seen him stand with the poorest and most powerless groups in the face of the “machine” countless times. Perhaps this is the problem. When you stand up for the little guy, someone will always try to knock you down.

For instance, Gerson’s main detractor, Peter Gleason (Alan’s opponent in the Council race), repeatedly mentions the name of Richard Nixon as his way of throwing dirt on a good man. I would remind Gleason to consider that it was dirty tricks that led to the cover-up that brought Nixon down. I am surprised a Dick Nixon expert like Gleason would gloss this over, but perhaps it hits a little too close to home. I don’t know. All I do know is that comparing Gerson to Nixon is like comparing Gleason to Einstein. It is not even even close.

Lawrence White

East Side petition problem

To The Editor:

Re Scoopy’s Notebook, Aug. 13, “Lopez Going for K.O.:”

They say that all roads lead to Rome, but in the Lower East Side, all roads lead to Baruch.

Raymond W. Cline says it’s not his fault and that the Lower East Siders need to get their act together. The Lower East Side Political Action Committee has but one act and one agenda, and that is the development and preservation of decent affordable and integrated housing for low-, moderate- and middle-income residents within Loisaida. Our agenda does not transcend three Council and Assembly districts. Nor does it call for running County and State Committee candidates, judicial delegates and alternates, Civil Court judges, etc., throughout all of Lower Manhattan.

Cline further points out that it was only three years ago that Village Reform Democratic Club made its cross-town foray and that the club is still building its base. A political base is constructed on issues, and a platform is developed around principles. Instigating political fights and attempting to take advantage of personal disputes may be the way that Cline operates in the Village, but someone needs to remind him that Loisaida is not the East or the West Village. This is not the way we choose to spend our time and energy. As far as V.R.D.C.’s crosstown foray is concerned, remember that a cross-town bus travels in both directions.

Margarita Lopez said that regarding Mildred Martinez’s Council petitions, the problems were the same person in some cases signing five times or more and forged signatures, and that Lopez couldn’t allow this to go through.

Nine hundred registered Democrats residing within a Council district are required to qualify a candidate for the New York City Council ballot. According to the Board of Elections, Martinez filed 1,603 signatures. The B.O.E. reviewed the Martinez petition, and they determined that only 823 were deemed registered. In other words, Martinez was under by 77, and that was the reason why she did not make the ballot. When the Lopez campaign served the Martinez campaign and the B.O.E. with Specification of Objections to the Martinez petition, the objections were based on the following: not enrolled, signed another petition, duplicate signature, illegible signature or address, etc. Nowhere on the Lopez objections that were submitted did it indicate fraud. For Lopez to raise the question of fraud at this point is just another desperate attempt on her part to grab the headlines once again and smear her opposition in the process and at any cost. To further illustrate my point, the Martinez petition also carried Roberto P. Caballero and Mildred Martinez for district leaders, yet no Specification of Objections were filed against us by the Lopez campaign. As Lopez stated, “If the petitions were good, I would not have challenged.” Well, the Lopez campaign did not challenge. One only wonders why?

Furthermore, Scoopy goes on to note that Lopez could not help but gloat at “the disarray in the ranks of the Committee to Defeat Margarita Lopez — which for all practical purposes consists of Caballero and Israel Perez another Baruch activist.”

I would like to take this opportunity and invite Lopez to the second fundraiser this year for the Committee to Defeat Margarita Lopez (2003-’05). This way she can see for herself just exactly how “thin” our ranks really are and how determined we are to retire her from public office.

Roberto P. Caballero

Caballero is president, Lower East Side Political Action Committee and member, the Committee to Defeat Margarita Lopez (2003’-05)

Kids’ pier fence unsafe

To The Editor:

Have you done a story I have missed on safety issues at the children’s water park on the Jane St. Pier? Fortunately, I have a relatively calm 2-year-old and can take her there if I’m vigilant, but I know many parents of more rambunctious children who feel they can’t go at all because the fencing is so un-child-friendly. Village parents have received no word that I have heard of plans to fix it.

It seems to me obvious that all the fence needs is some sort of netting behind it all the way around that extends a few feet up beyond the top. I hope the temporary fencing that has sectioned off the ship’s steering wheel at the farthest end of the park is not permanent, because I found the architectural effect of that transition to be very beautiful.

Local parents are really desperate for news on this story. And we’d like to have it explained how the design for the fencing passed internal reviews even when it is so plainly hazardous for children, and was already the subject of a protest on this account a few years ago.

Ann Kjellberg

Restaurant’s generosity

To The Editor:

I just wanted to drop a little note to you guys about how amazing the restaurant Inside on Jones St. was during the blackout. I am sure this happened to a lot of people, but I ran out of money on Thursday night because all of the A.T.M.s were down. Even places where they knew my friends and me by name refused to let us leave a credit card number or come back tomorrow to pay for food. By Friday morning I was starving and I walked out of my apartment to see the folks at Inside bring their tables outside and grilling on charcoal. I walked over to investigate and they told us they were grilling up their lamb chops, corn and potatoes. When I asked if they would take a credit card, the lovely woman said no, but asked if I lived on the block. I said I did and she said, well eat and then come back tomorrow and pay, or better yet come back when it’s not busy and eat here again.

I have to say I was so amazed by her generosity and her willingness to trust us I wanted to let everyone know about Inside. The food is amazing and it is not a normal occurrence for someone to be that kind.

I never ended up eating there on Friday, but I made a promise to myself I would try to go there once a week and support such a great place. I hope you can share the news so others can experience it as well.

Alexis Lehrer

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