To the editor,
A few facts need to be set straight in your article, “Slope gets trashed” (Sept. 23).
The contract for extra sidewalk cleaning on Seventh Avenue was one of the things that had to be cut as the City Council worked with the mayor to close $5 billion in deficits from the city budget over the past three years.
The council prioritized preventing teacher layoffs, firehouse closings, and massive day care reductions, leaving some tough choices to be made. As a result, we only have about one-half of the discretionary expense spending that was available in our districts three years ago.
Other commercial strips in our district were not getting council funding for extra cleaning, including Atlantic Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Prospect Park West, Bedford Avenue, and Court and Smith streets. There’s just no way we could afford to do it from our very modest discretionary expense funding.
Readers can see all of our discretionary expense items at www.council.nyc.gov; this is separate from capital funding, the subject of a new “participatory budgeting” initiative by Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), and can only be used for physical projects.
Meanwhile, over on Fifth and Atlantic avenues, property owners have formed business improvement districts that are great models for how business and property owners can work together with the community and the city toward a cleaner, more vibrant, retail corridor.
We would be very happy to work with Seventh Avenue merchants and property-owners to explore forming a business improvement district to provide extra sanitation and other services, beyond the basic level that the city can afford to provide at this time.
Councilmembers Brad Lander and Steve Levin
Both Democrats represent Park Slope.
To the editor,
Republican Rep. Bob Turner owes his victory over Democrat David Weprin to the overwhelming majority of votes he garnered from Kings County residents (“It’s Turner!” Sept. 16).
All roads do indeed start in Brooklyn! Weprin should look in the mirror, man up and take some personal responsibility for his defeat rather than blaming President Obama.
Why was Weprin only able to garner 29,688 votes despite having 195,984 registered Democrats? Turner obtained 33,785 votes with only 62,423 registered Republicans. Weprin’s mediocre record as assemblyman and City Council Finance Committee chairperson also contributed to his dismal failure.
Weprin’s strategy of attempting to paint Turner as a right-wing extremist supporter of the Tea Party, who would destroy both Social Security and Medicare, didn’t catch on with voters.
Weprin spent over $1,400,000, including a last minute investment of $600,000 by the national Democratic Congressional campaign committee, had over 1,000 dedicated clubhouse volunteers along with endorsements from former President Clinton, New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Gov. Cuomo, Council Speaker Quinn, Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio and more than 30 other local Democratic public officials.
The race was Weprin’s to lose. Turner, against all odds, beat a steep uphill climb. He has become the first Republican to be elected from this district since Andrew Peterson, who served from 1921 to 1923.
Turner’s victory will go down in the record books as one the biggest upsets in New York City political history.
Weprin is now a five-time loser, having lost contests for council speaker in 2001 and 2005, state comptroller in 2006, city comptroller in 2009, and now Congress. The only offices he hasn’t run for are state senator, borough president and public advocate.
Just which will his ego have him go for next?
Great Neck, N.Y.
To the editor,
To any person of the Jewish faith, the headline on your Rosh Hashana food article — “Happy Jew Year!” — is extremely insulting (Sept. 23).
As a salesperson for Fillmore Real Estate — a business which places advertisements in your paper — I am now going to think twice before doing so, unless I see an apology from you.
Bob Seidenberg, address withheld
To the editor,
It is dumb, stupid and retarded to sell alcohol in movie theaters (“Drinking in the dark,” Sept. 23).
People take little kids to movies. I wouldn’t want my kids sitting next to someone who is drinking alcohol.
Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Cuomo must stop this, and the State Liquor Authority should gets its head out of its butt.
People get out of control when they drink, and could start riots in theaters.
Wake up, you people!
Moving day blues
To the editor,
I don’t normally write to newspapers to vent about the government, but my photo appeared on the cover of a spring issue of yours, next to a story on a bill by Councilman Brad Lander (D–Park Slope), requiring the city to create temporary moving-day parking permits and allowing people to reserve spots close to the residences they are leaving (“Moving? Here’s the bill,” May 13).
I was waylaid by chance outside a U-Haul facility by your reporter and I told her that I thought Lander’s idea sounded fine.
Now, I want to underline that with an exclamation point!
The truck that moved my family at the beginning of September received two tickets totaling more than $250, which we — the customers — were obligated to pay. I’ve racked my brain over where else the truck could have parked for the five-hour move-out, but there was only that one — apparently illegal — spot on Eighth Avenue. So, let’s call that $250 what it is: a Bloomberg moving tax on people unlucky enough not to have their own driveways.
Good luck, Councilman Lander. I don’t think you’ll have many allies in a cash-strapped City Hall.
To the editor,
What I remember most powerfully about 9-11 was the common feeling in our city over the next few weeks (“Who owns the legacy of 9-11?” online Op-ed, Sept. 9). We were scared and angry. But we also found a spirit of community that I had not seen before. For a few weeks, we saw that we truly have a shared fate. The ghastly, inhuman, evil attack laid bare the fundamentally equal suffering of the families — firefighters like Squad 1’s Dave Fontana, parents like PS 321’s Scott O’Brien, investment bankers from Cantor Fitzgerald, dishwashers from Windows on the World.
We wanted justice, to be sure, but not simply revenge. We wanted to provide comfort together, at the scale we had felt pain and loss. We wanted to build a city and a world where that kind of pain do not exist. That is impossible, sadly … but our heartfelt desire brought us together, and made us dream about it and try to do a few things to get us closer. In those moments, we saw the true potential of our democracy.
Unfortunately, too little of what we’ve done together since 9-11 honors that spirit of shared fate. We fought a costly, senseless war, while cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans, making a mockery of shared sacrifice. The so-called Patriot Act undermined the basic liberties we were supposed to be defending; indeed, we recently learned that the NYPD has engaged in a secret intelligence program targeting our Muslim neighbors. New buildings gleam in Lower Manhattan, but they mostly reinforce old patterns of inequality. Our politics are more polarized than ever.
There are no simple answers, of course. But I hope that as we observe the 10th anniversary, we can remember and build upon that sense of shared fate, that we are all New Yorkers now as we were then, that we should dream and work together for a city where healing is bigger than killing, that honors the work and sacrifice of firefighters, investment bankers, and dishwashers alike, that recommits us not simply to a memorial, but to a living city that honors their memory.
The writer is a City Councilman representing Park Slope. This newspaper solicited this letter for last week’s 9-11 package, but then we ran out of space.
To the editor,
As the Southwest Brooklyn Coordinator of the Mark Green for Mayor campaign, I planned to spend Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, visiting all the poll sites. We began in Bay Ridge and were working our way to Brooklyn Heights. We had reached PS 172 in Sunset Park when we saw faculty members comforting a woman who was crying hysterical in the hallway. That is when we found out that the first plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. We stopped our campaigning, and suddenly my friend hugged me with tears in his eyes. He would have been working on the 82nd floor for Cantor-Fitzgerald. I managed to get into my office in the Municipal Building on Centre Street, to get my contact file to work from home, since my assigned agencies included the Health Department and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
I lost several good friends, including Joseph Agnello, a fireman who is brother of my niece through marriage. That day Americans were at their finest hour. They came together as one huge family. Unfortunately, too many Americans are spoiled and have fallen back into that lazy mode. They become impatient and annoyed at the slightest inconvenience for the sake of security. Due to modern technology and communications, the world has become as small as a tennis ball. I hope that in my lifetime I will see a world where the quest for greed and power are replaced by a committment to peace and equality.