Letters to the editor

Don’t trash rail option

To The Editor:

Re “Northern exposure: High Line faces threat” (news article, Dec. 20):

I write wearing many hats: Democratic state committeeman for south Chelsea, the Village, Soho and Tribeca; chairperson of the Hudson River Park Trust Advisory Council; Parks and Waterfront Committee chairperson for Community Board 2; parent; and West Village resident. I am a big fan of the High Line project and stand in awe of what Friends of the High Line has accomplished. However, F.O.H.L.’s recent forum on expansion of the High Line project into the West Side Rail Yards gives me great pause.

This past summer, the City Council and the mayor enacted a Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) that would involve alienating parkland on the Gansevoort Peninsula and expanding the existing waste transfer facility on Pier 99, right next to Clinton Cove Park. The proposal has met with broad opposition.

It has been condemned by C.B. 2, C.B. 4 and C.B. 7, by the Hudson River Park Trust Advisory Council, as well as by Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, State Senator Tom Duane, Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried and Deborah Glick, New Yorkers for Parks and Friends of Hudson River Park. One of the major proposed alternatives would involve use of some portion of the rail yards to ship out waste by rail.

It is critical, as the anti-SWMP forces build their fight, that the High Line not be used as a weapon against the effort. It is entirely possible that the High Line project can be extended into the rail yards and the rail option for West Side trash can be pursued; but this will occur only if all of us work together. Gaining some additional parkland on the High Line, at the expense of losing it at Gansevoort, accomplishes nothing.

I urge F.O.H.L. to work with the anti-SWMP forces so that a solution is found which is a win-win for our communities.

Arthur Z. Schwartz

Pataki’s costly legacy

To The Editor:

Your Dec. 13 editorial, “Governor Pataki’s Downtown legacy,” was informative, but his statewide legacy leaves much to be desired.

Consider his track record over the past 12 years. Governor Pataki’s lavish spending of taxpayer dollars to special-interest groups to grease his 2002 re-election made the late liberal Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller roll over in his grave! His record deficits, excessive spending and late budgets give taxpayers anguish!

Spending in the adopted 2006 budget is more than twice the rate of inflation. This budget contained almost 

$1 billion worth of legislative members’ pork barrel projects, known as member items, along with a potential deficit in the billions. Under Governor Pataki’s tenure, with bipartisan support of the State Legislature (including both Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Republican Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno), borrowing for quasigovernment agencies has grown by billions of dollars.

The combined budgets for dozens of these agencies runs into the tens of billions of dollars. In many cases, these expenditures are tracked offline and not counted as part of the regular budget; even worse, they are exempt from basic oversight by both the State Comptroller and State Legislature. In 2006, Albany’s three-way dance between Pataki, Bruno and Silver continued. Career politicians, on a bipartisan basis, still operate the same closed-door budget process. Albany’s $115 billion budget is greater than that of most states and many nations.

New York State is number two nationally among the 50 states, with each resident responsible for $3,515 of the $50 billion total debt. Under “TaxPaki,” state debt grew from $27 billion in 1995 to $50 billion today. Projected future red ink may raise this debt to $54 billion by 2009. New York State public authorities debt is an additional $72 billion. These combined debts plus future interest total $187 billion!

On balance, Pataki was been a net loss for New Yorkers.


Larry Penner

Punks get a bad rap

To The Editor:

Re “Crusties gang up on homeless patriot” (photo story, May 3, 2006) and “Hobo punks said to have wandered from their roots” (news article, Oct. 5, 2005):

I read two of your articles. One of them I actually would have been in if the camera veered off just a bit.

I was there that night. One of the “crusties,” I guess. I just wanted to articulate that I don’t know how you can post this as if it’s entirely accurate. The night this all happened, “Homeless Patriot” was harassing us all initially for being “punks” — shouting that we have to respect and worship the flag. He proceeded to attack us politically. A few of us were drunk. But if you talk to this guy — well, he’s either on every drug there is, or completely off his rocker.

Before the “crusties” “ganged up” on this homeless patriot, he persisted in waving his flag in front of us for about 20 minutes. He wouldn’t shut up either, even after we had made it clear that he was being very annoying. So, as lightheartedly as the situation would allow — some guy imposing his views and attitude on a bunch of kids trying to have a good time in the park — we all just told him to get out of our faces. One of my friends flicked a lighter — not even pointed at him — and told him jokingly that we would burn his flag. After that he got very enraged. He flipped out and put the flag even closer to us. Once he got close enough to seem like a threat we tried to take the flag. Also, he never knocked my friend (another “crustie”) down; he and his girlfriend were fighting and he didn’t notice the car ahead of him, so he fell. They were pretty drunk.

I was sober through this all, so I know. I partially chased the guy too. But it became fun and, if you ask me, he was amused himself. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been at it for so long! I think he’s just a bored lunatic.

I feel like there is a misrepresentation building — not just with your paper of course! But, in general, people are becoming very afraid of homeless kids and homeless people. It’s becoming a very scary world. L.E.S. used to be a refuge. But with all of these rich, new people coming in and being told to fear the homeless — where will everyone go? This is the new discrimination and it has to be stopped. Not all street kids are bad and there are a lot of reasons people end up on the street. A lot of these kids start out political, thinking they could change something and then later get trapped as the world changes and leaves them behind.

I’m not in New York right now, and I don’t know why when this happened about a year ago, it didn’t occur to me to write you then. It was just by chance that I found this article on the Internet now along with another one about Jewels, who I don’t really give a damn about.

Christa Quiles

E-mail letters, not longer than 350 words in length, to news@thevillager.com or fax to 212-229-2790 or mail to The Villager, Letters to the Editor, 145 Sixth Ave., ground floor, NY, NY 10013. Please include phone number for confirmation purposes. The Villager reserves the right to edit letters for space, grammar, clarity and libel.