From the mailbag — another reason to ‘Veto Vito’

To the editor,

My husband and I were at the meeting of the Kings County Democratic County Committee, and we were appalled (“Vito: It’s my party! Boss adds more hand-picked lackeys to Dem leadership,” online, Sept. 23).

Chairman Jeff Feldman informed us that Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D–Bushwick) held more than 650 proxies, but the auditorium in which we sat had a capacity of about 300 and, therefore, even if we all voted in favor of a particular motion, it would be defeated — as every proposal was.

Were the rules read before voting to adopt them for this meeting? Nay. Distribute and discuss the treasurer’s report? Nay. Extend discussion of a question before voting on it? Nay. Meet more than once every two years? Nay. Vote by a show of hands? Nay.

Feldman only called for voice votes, and even when the “ayes” seemed deafening, he would say, “The nays have it.” At one point he explained slightly: “The proxies vote nay.”

There were a few “aye” victories, such as the one giving voting positions on the executive board to 11 people who were not even members of the county committee. After less than an hour, someone moved to adjourn the meeting. The nays had no chance. We spilled out into the night, shell-shocked.

As the parent of two high schoolers, I have been to more than 100 Parent-Teacher Association meetings in four different schools. Every one of them was far more democratic than this meeting of Brooklyn’s “Democratic” party. The root of the problem is the postcard, sent to all county committee members, allowing them to give their proxy for the meeting to Vito Lopez, and Vito Lopez only. There is no indication of who he is, what will be discussed at the meeting, or the ramifications of signing away one’s vote.

If a county committee member is not going to attend a meeting, the default recipient of his or her proxy should be a district leader of the member’s assembly district, not the county chair.

It’s no mystery why so many Brooklyn party leaders have been convicted of corruption. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. No one should have the amount of power that Vito Lopez has in the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

Mary-Powel Thomas, Boerum Hill

No backbone

To the editor,

Thank you for covering the Brooklyn Tea Party’s rally (“Tea but no sympathy for mosque,” online, Sept. 21). Too bad you showed little sympathy towards ordinary citizens gathering to bring attention to legitimate dangers facing our community and country.

“Lashing out against the Sheepshead Bay mosque?” “…taking pot shots at the Ground Zero mosque?” “…wrapping themselves in the flag”? How about standing up against the insult posed by the proposed mosque, questioning its funding by groups with terrorist ties and defending our cherished American ideals against an encroaching threat of Shariah law?

Too bad you chose to focus on the burka guy and quote a single sign, rather than the focused message of the nine speakers — repealing Obamacare, suicidal government spending and protecting our borders.

By the way, the flag that we wrapped ourselves in just happened to be taken from Ground Zero and was proudly held up for the full three hours by a first responder.

At least you came out, and we appreciate the coverage. Maybe next time you could send a less opinionated reporter.

Patricia Levine,
Marine Park


To the editor,

I read with great interest your article, “Horror house on 79th Street” (Sept. 7), since I am from Bay Ridge.

What I can’t understand is the statement from local officials that because the owners do not have outstanding violations with the city they are not sure what can be done. How could the Landy family not have been charged with multiple violations for owning a building with an “uneven pile of soggy wood, a caved-in roof and standing water which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes?” Now, it is going to get “re-inspected,” like it could have passed an inspection back in 2007.

I am very glad that Councilman Vince Gentile (D–Bay Ridge) is making the sensible statement that the Landy family will be made aware of this disgraceful situation and will have no choice but to fix the problems with this house, which has been an eyesore for years.

Carolyn Quadarella,
Gettysburg, Pa.

For park’s sake

To the editor,

I’ve been tracking the progress on the new Vanderbilt Playground (“More delays at playground,” Sept. 14).

This playground was hailed by some as the Six Flags amusement park of Prospect Park South West when it first opened. It has taken as much time to build as the Empire State Building, but what we have seems no better then what we had.

There are less swings — I count only five. No sand box. No tire swing. If you’re over the age of eight, you will find next to nothing to do here except climb on a rope labyrinth and run around in a new sprinkler. There was nothing wrong with the old one by the way. What a waste of money. How about a playground for adolescents as well, not just toddlers with nannies?

Prospect Park also boasts the most fences erected in a 52-acre area, and this brings me to the raccoon problem that has befallen our neighborhoods. When I first started visiting Prospect Park 20 years ago, I could wander around freely through the woods, communing with nature, stand under the waterfall by the ball parks, take my kid fishing in the little ponds, play hide and seek in the woods, but I honestly can’t remember coming across a single raccoon.

Then the Prospect Park Alliance decided to turn my beloved park into a game preserve. Fences with locks on them started popping up everywhere. Now, only the privileged few with keys have access to my paradise where raccoons are procreating at a rate not seen since the Dutch lived here.

This is Prospect Park, not Yellowstone park, and the fences need to go. The red-tailed hawks will still find enough pigeons to eat and perhaps we will have a few less raccoons, but I can assure you the natives won’t be out there cutting down trees or hunting endangered species.

Let’s put a stop to the cooking in the park, too, if the park is to become a national landmark. I’m tired of inhaling lighter fluid when I run.

Mike Mastrogiacomo, Park Slope