Today’s news:

Our letters column is awesome this week

for The Brooklyn Paper

Con-census?

To the editor,

New York is lagging well behind the rest of the nation in returning its Census forms (“This is making no Census,” April 16). As of April 7, only 48 percent of city households had sent back their questionnaires compared to a 62 percent return rate nationwide.

Mayor Bloomberg urged residents to get their forms in before the April 15 deadline, explaining the consequences — for each person not counted in the census, the city loses $3,000 in federal aid for needed services.

Who can we blame for our poor showing — last among the five boroughs? Consider this: Williamsburg was rated as the worst neighborhood for census form completion. What’s the problem? Oblivious hipsters? Suspicious Hasidim? Frightened immigrants?

How can our brainy borough and our “hip” neighborhood be so isolated and unresponsive?

William Lee

Williamsburg

System worships Ratner

To the editor,

A church facility on a taxpayer-funded, or taxpayer-backed, facility of any kind is a sinister, mocking circumvention of the constitutional separation of church and state (“Church of Hoops,” April 9).

Although this will surely be perceived by some as “progressive,” it is, in truth, literally criminal. Let us be adult enough to recognize, once and for all, the cynical “playing” of the system by Bruce Ratner and those linked to him.

Either that, or we really are the fools and suckers that they believe us all to be?

Burt Bloom

West Brighton

Whither Shavana Abruzzo?

To the editor,

I just wondered why we are not seeing some of Shavana Abruzzo’s wonderful columns in the Downtown editions of the Courier-Life papers, your sister publications.

We think she is one of most refreshing and talented writers in Brooklyn, and we miss her honest and up-to-the-minute views in her column, “A Britisher’s View.”

I hope more of her work will appear very soon.

Barbara Lauren

Neighborhood withheld

Bring back some good writers, Gersh

To the editor,

For years, the Courier-Life papers had a page that published great articles on current events.

The three writers (“It’s Only My Opinion” by Stanley Gershbein, “A Britisher’s View” by Shavana Abruzzo, and “Not for Nuthin’ ” by Joanna DelBuono) really hit the point.

With “A Britisher’s View,” I often had to refer to my dictionary to find out some the meaning of some of the words she used, but her stories were so good, so blunt, so to the point that some people would get mad at her.

But they couldn’t argue with the fact that the words were true, and often the truth hurts. Give the author credit for shooting straight from the hip.

It was a pleasure reading these three reporters’ stories. Then all of a sudden, no more articles. Why?

I hope that they are on vacation. I miss them so much.

For the past three weeks, I anxiously open the paper in hopes of seeing their articles. But no such luck.

Please, Mr. Editor, bring them back. They complement your paper. They are an asset to the Courier.

Reggie Garguilo

Red Hook

Put brakes on bikes!

To the editor,

Bicycles on Prospect Park West (“Prospect Park West bike lane on a roll,” April 16)? Ridiculous! I am furious.

Bikes have squeezed autos out of Prospect Park almost 24-7. Why do they need more bike lanes less than one block away?

They should be ticketed for using the sidewalks. That would keep them in the park, which I can no longer use.

I can’t even walk in the park because crossing the bike lanes in the park is hazardous.

Helen Rosen

Park Slope

No more saggy pants!

To The editor,

Bravo to state Sen. Eric Adams (D-Prospect Heights) for his gutsy stance on saggy pants — as far as it goes! (“Pol to kids: Bottoms up,” April 2.)

This city and state, indeed the whole country, are grappling with widespread low achievement and failure in our schools; leaders and pundits, both national and local are finally addressing the decades-long slide of American schools and students into mediocrity, even delinquency.

What Sen. Adams does not address is hip-hop music — in my opinion, one of the major underlying causes of youth malady. Of course poverty, joblessness and broken families have impacted our young people very adversely. But the growth of hip hop culture in the past 25 years, I submit, has helped to perpetuate not just an “ underclass,” in Myrdal or Ken Auletta’s sense, but an anti-social fifth column in our society.

Since the early 1980’s, the embrace of hip hop has been an abomination for American black/white youth culture. Rap, especially “gangsta,” morphed into a “hip hop nation” which, on the one hand, glorified violence, misogyny (“ho’s” and “bitches”), theft, narcissism, and anti-intellectualism; and on the other, mocked academic achievement and holding a job (“actin’ white”), and respect for anyone deemed to be weak or have no “street cred”: the elderly, gays, teachers, cops, the homeless, etc ... pretty much society as a whole!

Remember the “riot” at New York’s Puerto Rican Day Parade some years back? That clearly was a hip hop “ riot,” analogous to the Central Park jogger’s “wolfpack” and boys “whirlpooling” girls in swimming pools.

Dozens of young men groped and assaulted women onlookers at the parade. Was there ever a mass public attack by any earlier generation of young men treating women as mere “hoes and bitches?!” I think not.

Recent successes around the nation, whether in improving public, religious or charter schools, seem to involve a revival of pre-hip hop ideals and standards: students are held responsible for a code of conduct, they wear uniforms or appropriate dress, do their homework, don’t use cell phones, blackberries, etc. in classes, and speak respectfully to teachers and other students.

No more “ pants on the ground,” I suggest, can only be one step of many towards improving young people’s lives and futures.

William Robb

Bay Ridge

Bikes are the danger

To the editor,

You know I love your paper, so don’t take this the wrong way, but you consistently take the wrong side on any bike-related story. You did it again last week with your screaming front-page story about the bike path repairs on the Williamsburg Bridge (“Wheel Danger on WB Bridge,” Williamsburg edition, April 16).

First of all, the only reason that there is conflict between cyclists and pedestrians on the bike path is because the city is repairing on of the bridge’s two bike and walking paths — repairs that will improve everything for everyone.

But, no, you had to go and complain that the repairs had created an untenable situation for cyclists because they must now share the sole remaining lane with joggers, walkers and people pushing strollers.

Boo hoo! I ride my bike often — though probably not as often as your self-righteously cycling editor — but for the most part, it is bikers who are the problem, not those of us on two legs. After all, a person walking or jogging moves at a predictable rate. It is the cyclists who go too fast in congested areas, coming up on our tails at all times.

And don’t get me started on red lights!

So please, Mr. Biking Editor, how about getting off your high Schwinn and walking around with the rest of us sometimes.

Rodrick Mellon

Williamsburg

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Reader Feedback

Tony from Cobble Hill says:
I agree with Rodrick! As a bike user myself, It annoys me when you see some speedster on a bridge yelling at slower pedestrians. Also, since when you do you see a cyclist stopping for a red light ?????
Go hang out on Court St or Clinton St and see them whiz by!

Also, you could have picked a better shirt to wear for a photo. Nice armpit stain!
April 22, 2010, 8:38 pm
Bemused from South Brooklyn says:
"[Abruzzo's] stories were so good, so blunt, so to the point that some people would get mad at her."

Uh - actually, it was because too many of her stories were outrageously bigoted/nasty re: anyone she disliked (esp. Muslims), to the extent that the sick tone in itself was offensive.
Granted, she once wrote a weird column that equated the pope with OJ (re: opportunism, etc.), and which was tagged as Catholic-bashing.
April 22, 2010, 10:04 pm
Fatimah from Cobble Hill says:
Could you please limit the amount of pictures of people drinking alcohol in your publiication? Also pictures of naked ladies, massage parlors, hook up sites, and prurient things of that nature. Your publication is free: any child could pick it up and look at. Clean up your act. You'll set a higher standard and get cleaner advertisers. I don't mean dry cleaners, although their ads are usually ok.
Sincerely,
Fatimah
May 8, 2010, 5:41 am

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