Letters to the Editor

O.W.S., you’re no fun anymore!

To The Editor:

Re “Mic check: The whole world is watching, and thinking” (talking point, by Sharon Woolums, Nov. 10):

The Page 1 caption under your photo of David Crosby performing in Zuccotti Park tells it: To paraphrase the lyric, “It’s getting to the point where it’s no fun anymore.” The world watched. The world listened. The party’s over. Go home.

Debbi Levin-Ruiz

Revolution is in the air

To The Editor:

Of course the Oakland and San Francisco Occupational forces are burning cars and fighting cops. People in those areas were doing that long before I was born, and I’m 62 years old! And it’s only natural that Portland and the Pacific Northwest are having edgy and confrontational demonstrations. That is the part of the nation that gave birth to the Wobblies. And around the country, there will be occasional skirmishes and outbreaks of violence between the 1 percent and the 99 percent. There is, after all, the feeling of revolution in the air. And the 1 percent are not going to be easily removed from the stage of history.

But Occupy Wall Street has set the stage with nonviolence and pacifism, and as long as we maintain those basic principles that feeling of revolution can only grow!


We are the 99 percent.

Jerry The Peddler

A BID wolf in sheep’s clothing

To The Editor:

Re “Soho BID needs work” (editorial, Nov. 3):

Thank you for your well thought-out editorial in opposition to the proposed Broadway Soho Business Improvement District. You are right.

This BID proposal does not pass the smell test. It doesn’t pass it on so many levels. 

You wrote of the 40 Mercer St. condo whose 40 votes were cast by a single person — the sponsor. Did you know we’d need 40 co-operative buildings to equal the votes from that single building. This disparity will follow into the actual votes for the BID’s directors should the BID actually form. Property owners, by law, must be represented by the majority of directors.

Condo owners get to vote for those “majority” directors. Co-op owner/residents, despite as large a financial stake and historically greater ties to the neighborhood, do not. Is this the kind of democracy we have a right to expect?

I disagree with you, though, in your statement that the BID is offering basically benign things. Those are the sheep’s clothing hiding the wolf within. The fact is, this is a  fight for the future direction of Soho. A fight for control. In addition to taxing power, BIDs have enormous political power. Their voting directors include people from the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Finance, the local City Councilmember and the borough president. Which means these guys get the ears of decision makers much more easily than, say, a block association. Their initial budget has $200,000 for “advocacy” — a.k.a. “lobbying.”

Soho can survive not having a BID. True, trash on the sidewalk is bad on weekends without ACE. But the city could put out some more trash cans so the litter won’t fall to the ground. That’s a city responsibility; it can actively promote its “adopt a can” program. Store owners can individually contract with ACE.

The city can enforce rules applying to food trucks, which add substantially to the sidewalk mess.

Lastly, there were numerous public and community meetings held last year regarding the BID. Councilmember Margaret Chin’s representatives were at every one. Chin attended the largest. People rejected the BID — vehemently. Chin received numerous letters in opposition from residents and even commercial building owners. It was clear from the beginning that there is no substantial support from the residents. It was clear that the balloting was flawed. Yet, Chin keeps  saying “show me.” What’s with that? We are starting to ask who is her constituency, since it clearly isn’t the residents.

Lora Tenenbaum

Board can vote for owners

To The Editor:

I am writing in response to your editorial “Soho BID needs work” (Nov. 3) and its inaccurate portrayal of the participation of 40 Mercer St. in the formation process of a BID for Soho’s Broadway.

I am currently the president of the condo board at 40 Mercer St. and was a member of the board in July 2010 when a board vote was taken (unanimous in approval) in order to complete the “ballot” provided by the Soho BID Steering Committee. At that time, the condo board of 40 Mercer St. consisted of individual resident condo unit owners and the sponsor, represented by Mr. Jerry Karr, who acted as president and therefore signed the ballot. The board was duly constituted and authorized the vote on behalf of the residential owners — a commonplace, democratic process.

While the sponsor and the owners had numerous issues, there has never been any question that all parties supported the BID, and continue to support the BID.

Lastly, it is our hope that the legislative process for the BID will be respected and continue go forward.

Alan Ballinger

Simply, a really bad BID

To The Editor:

Re “Soho BID needs work” (editorial, Nov. 3):

Soho residents and property owners have never wanted the business improvement district designation for what it brings to the neighborhood: the increase in layers of unnecessary administration, the division between the voters and what is being approved, information kiosks and booths, more congestion in every way, as well as the impossibility of removing them later.

We recently learned that underlying this proposal which has so vigorously been pushed on us, is that it appears to have been crafted through fraudulent means. This should render all those who supported it to be suspect.

The Soho BID Steering Committee membership has never reflected the diverse neighborhood where the BID would take hold. Narrowly focused real estate interests have been behind this scheme since the beginning and they continue to push this bad plan.

As you know, Community Board 2 overwhelmingly voted to reject this bad Soho BID plan. Councilmember Margaret Chin’s Office has been given BID documents showing that those behind the BID are looking for a “seat at the table” in City Hall and that the BID proponents are making a concerted effort to bypass our local community board. This is a scheme to consolidate their power and work their way around the voices of the local community. Doesn’t this clue everyone in to the undesirability of it?

Soho is unique. It is not a troubled retail district. Those behind the BID are not “small” businesses. What should be a small issue of garbage collection — and has been forcefully foisted on us by withdrawing ACE — could easily be fixed by enforcing the requirement for street vendors to maintain trash receptacles of their own. The city also should simply put out more trash cans, as is the city’s responsibility, and for which we already pay hefty taxes. 

Lisa Bradshaw

I’m totally against it

To The Editor:

Re “Soho BID needs work” (editorial, Nov. 3):

I agree 100 percent. Letting a BID in is asking for long-term trouble. They do not care what it’s like for residents. They only want to make money. I do not want these politicians running the show when they can’t even follow the rules that are already in place! They make it up as they go along and do whatever they want.

They want $200,000 for lobbying? There you go. It’s got nothing to do with anything except what the politicos want.

I am totally against a Soho BID. Everyone should clean up their own sidewalks. And the food carts (that strangely are not allowed yet are always there) should clean up their trash, too. Why do the residents have to pay for that?

Anne Snow

Families don’t need this

To The Editor:

Thank you for the recent editorial “Soho BID needs work” (Nov. 3). The points made reflect the sentiments of a great number of us who live here and are trying to raise our families here. Thank you so very much.

O. Jules Jr., M.D.

Keep an eye on that Parks

To The Editor:

Re “Park is needed more” (editorial, Nov. 10):

Just keep an eye on the Parks Department so they don’t take a “contribution” from a high bidder (or “patron”), then put up a fence with a locking gate in their name. After all, the Parks Department has totally disregarded the wishes of the community many times. 

Lawrence White

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