Letters to the editor

Pier 40 needs public input

To The Editor:

Assemblymember Glick’s assessment of the Pier 40 situation is thoughtful and accurate. (“Determine Pier 40’s future now,” Aug. 27). Interim uses at Pier 40 will serve to establish a foothold for more permanent installations, and now that the community’s input has been largely silenced by the rejection of long-term development options, there is little incentive and no binding mandate for the Hudson River Park Trust to listen to the public about the pier’s future.

This is particularly unfortunate after what I consider to have been a long and earnestly conducted process that involved local citizens who spent many hours assessing plans, ultimately choosing a developer for Pier 40. While that choice was not without flaws, the decision was reasonably made within the confines of the options available. I believe that the Trust could have gone forward with River Green’s proposal, amending it and working together to make it better. Sadly, this was not done.

Whatever the real reason for this rejection, I’ve been told that we will now spend $2 million for four to five years of some kind of interim plan for this important pier. If the community gets a big new ball field on Pier 40, that will be nice, but Deborah Glick is correct in stating that many other issues remain unresolved. It is also clear that some interim plans by the Trust may not be acceptable, although I disagree with her that water uses (a mooring field or marina on the south side of Pier 40) are in any way a bad idea — after all, this is a park fronting a major waterway with magnificent options to access the river for all kinds of purposes. I also believe that this issue, if revisited by the community board, would be more favorably received now that the public is beginning to understand that this is a waterfront park, not one that just incidentally abuts the Hudson River.

However, without a specific public process to monitor and plan for future short-term uses for Pier 40, the public voice will continue to be shut out on this subject. I cannot believe the people of the Village will accept this.

Fortunately, the public Advisory Council of the Hudson River Park Trust, chaired by Lawrence B. Goldberg, has created a Pier 40 subcommittee to review what will be proposed by the Trust and to advise as to the community reactions with the goal being, as Assemblymember Glick said, to “speak with one voice.” Maybe it will not result in one voice — there are always differing opinions on everything — but it is possible to achieve consensus among reasonable people who volunteer their time to make the city a better place. As de Tocqueville wrote in “Democracy in America:” “The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”

Despite the Pier 40 developer setback, involved citizens can still participate in creating, with the good will of the Trust, a community-friendly plan. The Hudson River Park Trust should aggressively encourage and value such involvement.

Julie S. Nadel

Nadel is a board member, Hudson River Park Trust

C.B. 2 must be in loop on Pier 40

To: Charles Dorkey, III, board chairperson;

Robert Balachandran, president & C.E.O.,

Hudson River Park Trust

Sept. 3, 2003

It has been a pleasure working with H.R.P.T. and we look forward to working with your board in its very important role in our community. The development of the waterfront in the Community Board 2 area is long awaited and much anticipated. Our full board recognizes the difficulty in creating a park and commercial facilities that will make our waterfront a perfect marriage of beauty and function. And we want to help, not hinder, the process.

For this reason, we would like to apprise you of the fact that our board has experienced some turmoil and has had many heated discussions in bringing the process of choosing a developer for Pier 40 to a conclusion within the allotted time to us. All of the board members worked very hard to realize the benefits that would come from a completed project. The park space, the athletic fields, the new accommodations: all of us looked forward to these improvements to our community. We came through and we chose one of the developers from those that the Trust offered to us. It was unfortunate that some fatal flaw unbeknown to us prevented that plan from being implemented. It was a great disappointment to all of us in the community who long for progress.

We now would like to advise your board that while we understand that ours is only an advisory body — and has no actual power over your board’s decisions — we strongly believe that our voice must be an essential element not only in the ultimate plan that is adopted, but also in the interim uses for Pier 40. It is our opinion that the community where the project is located has, of necessity, a real need for its benefits and also a real understanding of its requisite uses.

It is for this reason that we direct our attention to your board and its decision-making process at this critical juncture. The interim uses of Pier 40 are just as important as the final plan that may or may not be adopted for five to 10 years. In many ways it is more important to us because it is what we have now, rather than what we will, or will not have, in the future. We stress that it is imperative that the H.R.P.T. must make every effort to consult and truly listen to our community before a decision is made on the interim uses, as well as on the eventual plan for its full development. We need to have input and be regularly informed about the planned uses, design and balance of park and commercial space at each stage of planning and execution. Our children, our senior citizens — all of our residents — depend upon your working with us on this beautification and improvement of our treasured asset.

Donald C. MacPherson

MacPherson is chairperson, Community Board 2 waterfront committee

Jim Smith

Smith is chairperson, Community Board 2

Marlow, Schwartz and leader race

To The Editor:

Re “Does candidate speak for herself?” (letter, Aug. 27):

Without doubt, Chad Marlow is a political light in the West Village, and largely responsible for the strong revival of the Village Independent Democrats. However, his anti-Cynthia Smith diatribe (posing as a statement of “concern”) is as weak as it is specious, and totally beneath both himself and V.I.D.

Everyone in the V.I.D. knows Cynthia was their candidate for district leader until the brouhaha with Arthur Schwartz — which was a mistake of judgment on Arthur’s part — about trying to force co-endorsement out of the V.I.D. In a knee-jerk response, V.I.D. then elected, disgracefully, to turn their back on Cynthia, and, in the process, to discover Keen Berger waiting in the wings. Keen is an obviously laudable person, but as far as anybody knows, hadn’t a previous thought of running for district leader. She became, essentially, V.I.D.’s token anti-Schwartz candidate.

For 15 years there has been a campaign on the part of a vocal minority to not only discredit Arthur, but to virtually “demonize” him. This unhealthy animus has been so errant and damaging (to us all) as to cause major destructive splits in West Village politics… when what we desperately need is community unity and healing. And, sadly, Chad knows all of this.

To the point, Cynthia Smith is one of the most adamantly independent political candidates to come along in her generation. She has the guts and vitality, the proven effectiveness and courage, to be one of the best district leaders we’ve ever had. And at a time when we so desperately need leaders with her strength and experience, her integrity and her vision.

Jim Brennan

Candidates’ lax ethics

To The Editor:

Re “Tenant activists attack Civil Court judge candidate” (news article, Aug. 27):

The Villager’s article reveals that Shlomo Hagler, the Housing Court judge, and Shlomo Hagler, the Civil Court candidate, operates by ignoring judicial ethics requirements in the courtroom and campaign laws on the street. Any time a member of a judicial fundraising committee appears in court, the judge/candidate is required to disclose and recuse when a tenant is unrepresented. It is not an option subject to the excuse-of-the-day.

Judicial candidates must exercise overwhelming caution to avoid the slightest perception of favoritism. Judge Hagler has not done so, and his failure to disclose and recuse shows that his willingness to seek landlord attorneys to finance his campaign probably results in a distinct bias on the bench. Sixty-four percent of his supporters are landlord attorneys. He doesn’t even need to wink. Landlord lawyers know what’s going on. So do tenants.

Campaign laws also prohibit judicial candidates from seeking an unfair advantage. Hagler’s statement, “In Civil Court, I will continue to …” falsely implies he is an incumbent Civil Court judge.

Hagler is spending oodles for a consultant to carefully script his claim that he is “Fair and Balanced” (just like Fox News). Tenant lawyers and activists don’t think so. And since The Villager’s article, more tenants are reporting unfair treatment and bias at the hands of Judge Hagler.

Although he may be on a leave of absence since Aug. 1, what really matters is the ethics violations prior to that and how those indiscretions reflect on his character and fitness to be elevated to a higher court. As long as such behavior is tolerated without accountability, it will continue.

John Fisher

Fisher is director, TenantNet

Tower of power at W.T.C.

To The Editor:

Recently I read an article in The Villager about a waterfall that was part of the Libeskind design for the World Trade Center. It occurred to me that better use of the space would be a power tower similar to the one being erected in Australia. A power tower can generate renewable clean energy, show a new direction to reduce pollution and cut down the cost of energy.

The tower can be drenched in light and serve as an exciting beacon for travelers flying into New York. It will be a useful and living memorial for the lives lost on 9/11. It can generate enough energy, not only for the tower itself but for all of the World Trade Center and part of Manhattan.

This type of memorial can help us escape from dependence on Middle East oil and make a statement to Al Qaeda terrorists that not only will we rebuild but we will do better in spite of the damage they have wrought. It can send a message to terrorists that they have failed in their effort to defeat us. And if terrorists’ financing is coming from the sale of oil, renewable energy will put a huge dent in oil sales.

Perhaps because of the tower’s unique location, it also might generate greater public awareness of the availability of clean sources of energy, which hopefully will spread around the country and encourage other communities to build towers that supply renewable energy.

Sarah Reader

Editor’s note: An Australian power company plans a 3,300-foot solar tower in southwest New South Wales, a structure that would be considerably higher than the world’s tallest free-standing structure, the Canadian National Tower in Toronto at 1,814 feet. The 200-megawatt solar tower would cost $563 million to build, would be about as wide as a football field and would stand in the center of a massive glass roof spanning 4.3 miles in diameter.

Beware Judge Hagler

To The Editor:

Re “Tenant activists attack Civil Court candidate” (news article, Aug. 27):

Thank you so much for your insightful article on Judge Hagler. As I was reading the facts everything that happened to a dear friend of mine in his courtroom became crystal clear to me finally! I was present in the courtroom as Hagler treated my friend with contempt and laughed and joked with both the landlord and his highly paid lawyers. As I witnessed this spectacle I thought it was pathetic. Hagler did not even give my friend a chance to speak. His arrogance was truly a spectacle. He is clearly unfit for any public position. He is not worthy of the trust of honest working people. He represents all that is wrong with our present judicial system. He respects money not people. Consequently if you are unfortunate enough to go before Hagler and don’t have lots of money for adequate legal representation you will be in big trouble. He ruled against my friend, awarding the landlord $17,500 in legal fees even though the landlord did not win his case in regard to actually evicting my friend. People of the Lower East Side beware of Hagler.

Francis A. Schiro

Park’s gated, but not elitist

To The Editor:

To the machete wielding park basher at The Villager. What was so offensive about the item in Scoopy’s column of Sept. 3 was the implication that an elitist space has been created, whereas in fact, the space in question is so small it is only useful as a greenspace, and was designated as such by the Parks Department. The public is not being deprived of anything. Many in our community applaud the upgrading of Charlton Plaza Park by the Parks Department, and recognize the enormous amount of hard work by our volunteers from The Charlton St. Block Association, who maintain it. Previously, the park was dangerous and unusable, with drug dealing and transients who continually littered it with feces and garbage, and caused noisy nighttime fights. No amount of community effort could keep it clean or usable for neighborhood residents. We now have a safe, green oasis that is pleasant to walk by.

In regard to the comment about the park being overgrown, Scoopy might consider that this greenspace is environmentally significant, absorbing automobile pollutants. The park is only a year old, and like Rome won’t be finished in a day — or year. You overlooked the beautiful flowers throughout. Whoever you are Scoopy, with no byline, you might consider investigating more, and condescending less.

Harry Schroder

Schroder is a member, Charlton St. Block Association

Stiles’ show is a treasure

To The Editor:

Re “Swinging vinyl on the dial…” (news article, Sept. 3):

Thank you for the delightful article about Danny Stiles. He has created a wonderful, unique oasis of great music that, unfortunately, has otherwise been virtually ignored or forgotten.

Your article by Sharon Hartwick was complete, detailed and very well written; it also captured the spirit and feeling of Danny Stiles and his musical emporium. The great photo was the whipped cream on the cake.

I’m sure that as a result of this story many more New Yorkers will be made aware of this nearly extinct musical treasure and will join Danny in his melodic meanderings.

Incidentally, as a fan of his, I joined Danny and many of his fans and friends at his recent combination birthday party and 55th anniversary celebration of his career at John’s Pizzeria, one of your regular advertisers, where we were entertained by a great live band and excellent food.

Herbert Latner