Letters Week of June 27, 2012

Clean streets overtaxing chinatown

To the Editor: 
Re “Chinatown B.I.D. billing dispute remains” (news article, April 25)

This article fails to identify the primary reason the majority of small property owners in Chinatown are opposed to the Chinatown Business Improvement District. As the article pointed out, the B.I.D. improperly taxed property owners for a period of time when the entity had yet become law. However, the article gave the impression that the owners were not interested in a clean Chinatown.

The reality is that we want a clean Chinatown, but without the additional B.I.D. taxes.

It is expected that the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corp., the B.I.D.’s sponsor, will be financed by these taxes for cleaning Chinatown streets. But property owners in Chinatown are burdened with existing city real estate taxes. The latter taxes already cover sanitation services, and any additional fees could drive out family-owned businesses and drive up food prices.

It is Chinatown’s low cost of living that allows the working community to live in the neighborhood. So, B.I.D. assessment fees are viewed as a form of double taxation and as ingredients toward the gentrification of Chinatown.

City services exist to clean up streets, as mandated by law. These include graffiti removal and Adopt-a-Basket programs that replicate and possibly exceed what the Chinatown Partnership does now. But the B.I.D. taxes don’t protect property owners from potholes or additional sanitation fines.

It should be noted that the properties of the Little Italy Merchants Association and the Trenkmann family, among others, were removed upon request by the B.I.D. steering committee. Also, non-profits such as Asian Americans for Equality, which owns a number of properties in Chinatown, are exempt from paying the B.I.D. assessment fees.

In short, the Chinatown B.I.D. in its present form will not address the economic woes that currently plague Chinatown. The taxes will further undermine currently successful businesses and alter the neighborhood’s overall character.
Irving Lee
Property Owners Taxpayers Association

A ‘disastrous’ idea for Pier 40

To the Editor:
Re “Pier 40 housing idea is in eye of the storm” (news article, June 13):

There should be no residential buildings in the flood zone or anywhere on the waterfront. As the frequency of severe storms increases, buildings on the waterfront will be flooded more frequently, requiring resources to evacuate residents and repair damages. Why anyone would even suggest building residential buildings on the waterfront in this day and age is totally beyond me.
Shino Tanikawa

Tolling isn’t the solution 

To the Editor:
Re “For whom the bridge tolls: Why not East River spans?” (news article, May 30):

The four free East River bridges (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch Queensboro bridges) cross from one historic, built-up area to another. Charging tolls would mean building toll plazas. Currently, these bridges have many separate entrances for vehicles coming from different directions. Toll plazas would necessitate razing part of the city.

The way to cut automobile traffic is to provide alternatives — in particular, subways. New York has considerably less traffic than, say, Los Angeles, because of the wonderful subway system, most of which was built between 1904 and 1940.

We need to finish the Second Avenue line. We need to extend the No. 7 train to 11th Ave. and 34th St. — and maybe even to New Jersey. Subways should be our priority.
George Jochnowitz

Proposal is bad to the bone

To The Editor:
Re “Push to change park act heading down to the wire” (news article, June 13):

This is an awful proposal and would set an awful precedent. I hope that the state legislature resists it with every bone of their being.
Leonie Haimson

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