Letters, Week of July 25, 2013

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

Leading women support Kurland

To The Editor:
We are a group of women who have worked hard and gotten involved in the political process. We do this for ourselves and our families, to create a world where all of our daughters can have opportunities equal to those given to our sons. In the City Council race here in District 3, on Manhattan’s West Side, we believe the best candidate is Yetta Kurland.

The Villager seems to focus its reporting on attacks against Yetta, who had the guts to take on Christine Quinn a few years ago, and who has upset some members of the political establishment by fighting passionately to save St. Vincent’s Hospital. We can understand why some looking to make a deal over the hospital closure may not have appreciated Yetta Kurland’s strong advocacy for healthcare and against the millionaire developers who stood to make so much money by closing the hospital and building luxury condos.

But that doesn’t change one thing: Yetta Kurland was fighting for her community with skill and with passion, working with more than 8,000 community members, as well as grassroots organizations, unions and local groups.   In doing so, she showed respect to the elected officials, staying in constant communication with the Borough President’s Office, the Public Advocate’s Office, and local, state and national leaders. She did this without compromising the community’s message. This is a sign of a gifted advocate. As we watch other communities’ leaders getting arrested in civil disobedience fighting to save Long Island College Hospital and other hospitals, we see the importance of Yetta’s work. We also see the temperance and discipline she demonstrated during one of the most challenging times in our community’s history.

Where we come from, that is exactly what a city councilmember is supposed to do, and we support Yetta Kurland for Council precisely because she did advocate for her community, even when some powerful people asked her to quiet down and go away.

Yetta Kurland has demonstrated the courage and the intelligence to speak out on many issues. She sued the New York City Fire Department in order to win equal pay for female firefighters. Her clients recently won a generous settlement with the city. She has defended tenants facing unfair eviction. She has served on the national board of Marriage Equality. She has gone to court to protect protesters, the victims of hate crimes, and L.G.B.T.Q. people demanding their equal rights under the law.

While The Villager has a right to its own editorial judgment, we ask that your readers be given a fair portrayal of Yetta Kurland’s candidacy. She is a woman of character and courage, and that is why we support her.

 Betsy Gotbaum, former New York City public advocate
Jean Grillo, district leader, 66th Assembly District, Part B
Trudy L. Mason, Democratic State Committeewoman
Denise Spillane, district leader, 75th Assembly District, Part B
Erin Loos Cutraro, managing vice president and political director, Women’s Campaign Fund
Virginia Davies, West Village resident
Jill Greenberg, co-chairperson, Working Families Party, Manhattan chapter (for identification purposes only)
Velma Hill, vice president, Chelsea Midtown Democratic Club
Kim Moscaritolo, former president, Manhattan Young Democrats
Patricia Rudden, president, Women’s Democratic Club
Elaine Schulman, president, Ansonia Independent Democrats
Jeanne Wilcke, president, Downtown Independent Democrats  (for identification purposes only)

 No NID is a bad idea for park

To The Editor:
It is rare to hear an argument against more open space for Downtown. Most people I encounter want more — more fields, more playspaces, more bike paths, more everything. One visit to Tribeca’s Pier 25 on a weekend or Washington Market Park after school lets out will show you that in fact we don’t just want it — we need more open space Downtown.

An argument against the Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District is an argument against more open space. Gone are the days when government builds new parks on a grand scale without having a revenue stream to support them. The NID is good planning for a neighborhood that uses its parks like no other. The NID allows neighbors to proactively support a resource they need and love. The yearly cost of the NID to Downtown residents is very small relative to the value of the park in our lives.

Hudson River Park can live within its current means, yes. It does that now. But the job we have as stewards of the park is to plan for the future, not just to get by for the time being. Two-thirds of the park’s budget goes to structural maintenance, security, lights and utilities, and cleaning.

So to continue to run the park on our current income means we won’t be able to complete the park’s full construction, or worse, commercial development where park should be. It also means, as time goes on, that the park will no longer look like the one we know today, or be maintained or policed the way it is today, as costs for everything from security staff to power to garbage removal go up. Already I have heard suggestions not to build the remaining sections of the park that are still uncompleted, to save maintenance costs. This is a shortsighted, uninspired and, frankly, depressing notion.

Perhaps another solution will come along in the next several years. Or perhaps by then we will have missed a chance to ensure a strong future for the park we all depend on.
Pam Frederick
Frederick is a board member, Hudson River Park Trust

Air-rights idea a good compromise

To The Editor:
Re “Pier air rights may open a Pandora’s box of development” (talking point, by Andrew Berman, July 18):

The amendments to the Hudson River Park Act, if signed by the governor, will improve the prospects for a sustainable Hudson River Park.

The sale of air rights cannot proceed without an approval process that will offer the opportunity to balance the need for public open space — and, in particular, the opportunity to save the large-footprint sports fields at Pier 40 — with the need to protect the park and the adjacent neighborhoods from the wrong kinds of development.   It’s a good thing when opportunities for development are linked to requirements to meet the needs of a growing community, because the more common zoning approach simply makes a huge gift of new development rights to property owners.

These changes come as a responsible compromise after a long period of public debate about how to secure the future of the park. The only property in the Village where more development is likely to result is the St. John’s Center, a site where the underlying manufacturing zoning is outdated and likely to be changed in any case.  We will need an open process to assure the most benefit to the park in the context of sustaining the quality of life in our neighborhoods. But if we want the benefits of a waterfront park, we can’t just keep saying “No.”
Tobi Bergman
Bergman is a member, Pier 40 Champions, and chairperson, Community Board 2 Land Use and Business Development Committee

Enjoy your ‘AIDS Memorial’ condos!

To The Editor:
Re “Fewer but wealthier tenants for former St. Vincent’s site” (news article July 11):

They will be living in the actual AIDS Memorial, and that is how locals will always refer to that set of buildings now. They will never be able to escape this designation, and it will forever be foisted upon them.

“Oh, you live in the ‘AIDS Memorial’.”

“No, I live in The Greenwich Lane.”

“No, you live in the AIDS Memorial.”
Patrick Shields

‘Speed racers’ better get brakes

To The Editor
Re “Speeding cyclist slams woman on Broadway” (June 27):

I’ve been a bike rider on these mean streets since 1970. I never once hit a pedestrian. However, pedestrians have hit me, on a couple of occasions, by casually walking out from between parked cars in the middle of the block and against the light.

My bike has brakes. Bikes without brakes are speed racers. Theoretically, I could be given a ticket if I ride my bike without lights at night. Maybe if the law required that speed racers without brakes could not be driven on city streets, an incident like you report here would not take place.
Gary Friedman

Editor’s note: According to the New York City Department of Transportation’s “Summary Listing of Bicycle Laws, Rules & Regulations,” working breaks actually are required on bicycles in the city.


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