Letters to The Editor, Week of Feb. 18, 2016

Letters to The Editor, Week of Jan. 3, 2018

Still plenty to fight for

To The Editor:

Re “Fired-up Babes for Bernie” (Scoopy’s Notebook, Feb. 11):
As for Deborah Glick’s comment, I suspect that younger women know quite well that they are not being treated as “equal.” But the notion that younger women “have not experienced what older women have,” in terms of sex discrimination, implies that they haven’t experienced sexism to the degree that those of us who are older have.

The same week that the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case was in the media, House Republicans ensured that the Violence Against Women Act expired. Republicans also opposed an expanded version of legislation with increased protections for the L.G.B.T. community, immigrants and Native American women.

Last year the U.S. military was called to task by the United Nations for its abysmal record on sexual assault in the military.

Women’s reproductive rights are being dismantled, and Planned Parenthood is under open attack for providing reproductive choices.

Sexual harassment and sex discrimination are part of the air young women breathe at universities. Undocumented women are utterly vulnerable to sexual violence.

We live in a country where politicians can call rape a “gift from God” and infer that women lie about being raped. The New York Times describes an 11-year-old gang-rape victim as “wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.” A woman can be fired because her boss finds her “irresistible.”

The sex-trafficking industry makes $3 billion a year — thousands of girls are brought in just for Super Bowls — and 80 percent of trafficking victims worldwide are girls.

The World Health Organization reported that one in three women experience sexual or physical assault. Fifty percent of all sexual assaults in the world are on girls under age 15, and 14 million girls under 18 will be married this year. There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school.

Many of us older women have won important battles and built movements to end sexism. But every woman grows up and still lives immersed in sexism both institutional and interpersonal. Younger women are smart. Give them the history you know about — but let them find their own fight.

K. Webster


Honored…in a way

To The Editor:

Re “Conservative mag attacks Catholic Worker as lefty extremists; Who wrote it?” (news article, Feb. 4):

During the past four-and-a-half years, The Villager has, at least three times, referred to me as a Zuccotti Park Occupy Wall Streeter. Now, in this new article, I’m described as being cast in a “William Buckley” mold.

I must regard, I guess, both appellations to be compliments. So, thank you. However, one can’t imagine that the late founder of National Review would, as I do this election season, wear the political button: “Bernie Sanders for President.”

The article reports that I said there was “no stir,” after a Catholic Worker representative is quoted telling The Villager there was a buzz just “for a moment.” That’s not a big difference in perception, and surely not a matter that rose to a level of newsworthy Sturm und Drang.

Robert Reiss


C.W. critic doesn’t get it

To The Editor:

Re “Conservative mag attacks Catholic Worker as lefty extremists; Who wrote it?” (news article, Feb. 4):

I’ve attended quite a few Catholic Worker Friday night meetings at which Mr. Reiss has spoken up from his seat, and he consistently proves that he misunderstands the nature and history of nonviolence and nonviolent direct action in the American peace movement.

He also has a very confused misunderstanding of what is going on in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians and within the movement to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel.

Over the years, I have always wondered why in the world he associates with the Catholic Worker movement. I have been since 1973 active with the secular War Resisters League, located around the corner from the Catholic Worker, and the two groups work very well together, joining together to co-sponsor anti-war actions that attract both secular and religious activists.
Join whichever of the two groups you feel more comfortable with! Out of the meetings and into the streets! Power to the peaceful!

Mike Levinson


Landmarks’ shocking stance

To The Editor:

Re “L.P.C. nitpicks massive Gansevoort St. upzoning” (news article, Feb. 11):
This article doesn’t emphasize enough the height restrictions imposed on the developers by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Also, L.P.C. emphasized that penthouses and setbacks were inappropriate and should be removed from the proposal. So, there was some good news for the community.

That said, it is shocking that this entire low-scale landmarked block of Gansevoort St. will be destroyed by developers, with the aid of L.P.C. By the L.P.C. chairperson’s own count, she received 820 messages in opposition to this plan and only 30 in favor. There were also a huge number of people who signed a petition in opposition.

Isn’t this another example of how developers are supported by government against communities? Bernie, where are you? Go to https://www.savegansevoort.org for a video at “news and reports.”


Elaine Young
Young is a founding member, Save Gansevoort


Memorial danger is glaring

To The Editor:

Re “Neighbors demand input on Triangle Fire memorial, fearing its negative impact” (news article, Jan. 28):

Yes, there should be a memorial. However, this design is not the best. The sun reflecting off of it will be obtrusive to people walking and also to motorists. If a motorist is temporarily distracted by the blazing reflection, it could lead to tragic consequences. Haven’t we had enough tragedy on that corner? Pick another design!

Dean Longfield


A good dose of politics

To The Editor:

Re “Committee picks Cancel to run in special election to succeed Sheldon Silver” (news article, Feb. 11):

As a “political junkie” and not from this district, I attended the meeting of the divisional County Committee for the 65th Assembly District to observe. I commend Lincoln Anderson for his excellent and comprehensive coverage in this and prior articles on the important and pivotal Assembly race.

Alan Flacks


An icon of the LES

To The Editor:

Re “John Farris, bohemian poet who chronicled life on Lower East Side” (obituary, Feb. 11):

All the outrageous and loved icons and freedom fighters of the Lower East Side are going now. I didn’t know John had died until I saw this lovingly written piece by Sarah Ferguson.

Over the years, I smoked many a joint of very strong ganja with John and we both had great mutual respect for each other. Being stoned with him and listening to his thoughts on anything and everything was something that was part of the reason I loved living in the neighborhood. I don’t live there anymore, and I wish I could attend any memorials being put together for him.

But, honestly, all the people and things I loved about the “East Village” are dead or bulldozed. Goodbye, John, and I won’t say rest in peace because that phrase really means nothing. So I say gone but loved and not forgotten.

John Penley


A medley of characters

To The Editor:

Re “John Farris, bohemian poet who chronicled life on Lower East Side” (obituary, Feb. 11):

Dear poet John, I met you at Nublu decades ago as you held court on your esteemed stool, reserved solely for your presence. You were noble, playful, wry and a bit skeptical of everything.

I was always impressed by your cutting, yet astute critique of the performances there, speaking with unapologetic candor. That always amazed me. Then you’d reach for a drink of the steady round of whatever you were drinking. You were a handsome devil and tried to cop a feel whenever you could. Ah, you were a medley of characters.

I stopped visiting Nublu regularly a decade ago, but have kept fond memories. So grateful I got to share time with you on the planet. Forever in our hearts, R.I.P. The world is poorer without you in it.

Sandra McKenzie


Farris flashbacks

To The Editor:

Re “John Farris, bohemian poet who chronicled life on Lower East Side” (obituary, Feb. 11):

I remember him being really ruffled that my roommate’s big black dog was named Satchmo.

One time, Chris from Unsane was sitting at the bar after last call and John was like, “Boy, you ain’t nothin’ but a punk.” Chris was all, “Um, yeah, exactly.”

Whenever Brubeck’s “Take Five” would come on, he’d say, “Ah man, that’s some ugly jazz.” I was always fine with that tune. Not after that.

Trippy Thompson


Planter plantations

To The Editor:

Re “Soho planters have taken root, but not legally” (news article, Feb. 11):
One only has to look at the photos accompanying this article to realize that sidewalk planters, regardless of whatever aesthetic value they may have, are a permanent obstruction of public space. To install a long row of them on a narrow sidewalk is an insult to pedestrians, an obstruction to EMS, firefighters and police and an objective safety hazard.

Apart from the obvious, the reality is that throughout Manhattan real estate interests have set up planter plantations for the express purpose of obstructing legal vendors — such as disabled veterans and artists — from setting up stands in legal vending locations. This fact was stated by Lieutenant Robert DiOnofrio of the New York Police Department in sworn testimony in a federal lawsuit brought by disabled vets.

When the city attorney asked DiOnofrio if he knew why BID’s (business improvement districts) had set up tens of thousands of planters on Manhattan sidewalks, he testified that it was done to prevent vets and other legal vendors from setting up.

Here’s a video about New York City planters, showing thousands of them: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvtFS2GCdDw
How can a community that has spent decades castigating vendors for temporarily using the public sidewalk, allow real estate interests, billionaires or a charity to permanently deny the public the full use of city sidewalks?

Robert Lederman
Lederman is president, A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics)


Pull the plug!

To The Editor:

Re “Null sues WBAI; Endgame near for iconic radio station?” (news article, Feb. 4):

WBAI has been in constant turmoil since the reign of Anna Kossoff and Pablo Guzman. That goes back to 1977. The “golden age” of Bob Fass, Steve Post and Larry Josephson is but a long-faded memory. Someone should show mercy and pull the plug on this now-sad excuse for a radio station.

JT Fangio


Null-ify WBAI?

To The Editor:

“Null sues WBAI; Endgame near for iconic radio station?” (news article, Feb. 4):

It doesn’t matter if listeners do or don’t like Gary Null. The issue is whether WBAI is breaking federal laws by making illegal copies of someone’s intellectual property. If this lawsuit is successful in putting the “experiment in democracy” to bed, at long last, then Gary Null will have done Pacifica Foundation and its founders, subscribers and listeners a big, big favor.

Nalini Lasiewicz

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