Letters, Week of April 11, 2013 | East Villager & Lower East Sider

Letters, Week of April 11, 2013

The charter school shuffle

To The Editor:
Re “Charges over charters fly as Eva enters Wash. Irving” (news article, April 4):

My comment is directed at this quote from the article, in which the spokesperson for Eva Moskowitz stated: “The schools that are in the district are very segregated. The schools in the district that are predominantly white and Asian are high-performing, and the schools that are predominantly black and Latino are low-performing. The achievement gap in the district is huge.”

Under federal law — the No Child Left Behind Act — New York City is supposed to address the needs of all students. The city is not supposed to close down the schools that attempt to address the needs of low-performing students and replace them with schools that are educating subgroups that are already performing on grade level.

New York City should be required to bring in the resources to empower the teachers to meet the academic needs of black and Latino students.
Claire Scesney

History, shmistory; We need support

To The Editor:
Re “Quinn on the spot” (editorial, March 28):

That, as you point out, Christine Quinn is a potentially history-making figure has nothing to do with whether or not she should be mayor. The last thing we need in our beloved Village is the making of history. We need the making of fair and decent decisions on issues intimately affecting all Villagers, such as the loss of St. Vincent’s Hospital or the continued avaricious expansion of New York University at the expense of longstanding Village neighborhoods.

Moreover, Quinn’s outrageous support for Bloomberg’s third-term bid as mayor in contravention of the two-term limit is exactly the kind of history-making we Villagers don’t need.
Vahe A. Tiryakian

Statue of Security Screening

To The Editor:
Am I the only one who sees the irony of being searched before visiting the Statue of Liberty?
Jerry The Peddler

Home bums at the movies

To The Editor:
Re “A crusty proposal: Crack down on ‘voluntary homeless’” (talking point, by Chad Marlow, March 28):

My name is Tony, and I am one of the people Steve photographed for the blog a few years ago. I have a few comments I’d like to make and one reply to the talking point that I’d like to address.

First, the reply: I was at every movie night in Tompkins Square Park last summer and, with the exception of one night, everyone (crusties included) was well-behaved. The disturbances were caused by “home bums.” Home bums are homeless people that are not travelers. They reside in New York City all year long. Some of the younger ones have taken to dressing like travelers because it’s a style choice. I understand the confusion this could engender, but I wanted to clarify that travelers were not at fault at the movie nights.

I have traveled for about half my life but was born and raised in New York City. I am homeless. I sleep in the street. The clothing I wear could identify me as a crusty, I guess, but it happens to be the most durable yet comfortable clothing that I can afford that also helps me survive the climate. I did not choose to be homeless, but am making the best of a bad situation.

To attempt to formulate laws that target a specific group of people — what’s next? Will you refuse us treatment in hospitals if we aren’t from New York? Will we be banned from libraries, parks and other public spaces where (socially accepted) people congregate?

This happened to us at Tompkins Square a few years ago. A certain group of police officers made an arrangement where home bums would be allowed to drink in the park if they kept the crusties out. This resulted in a number of assaults on crusties in the park.

I was arrested for brushing my teeth in the men’s room and told if I returned to the park, I wouldn’t have to worry about teeth anymore. I do realize that some people do things that aren’t O.K., but where is that different from the N.Y.U. kids that urinate in phone booths or against the walls every weekend? Where is that different from the weekend warriors that come into the neighborhood, start fights, break windows, then run back to the suburbs or outer boroughs in time to make it to work?

I want to applaud people like Andrea, Lisa and Raina at The Space, as well as Heidi and Alli at Collide, for the work they do to help us survive. Without those groups, I’m sure some of us would have died this winter. They not only help us survive outside, they actively work toward providing solutions and getting us off the streets.

Maybe people should think about helping these groups out and not just singling us out for “legal termination.” We are more than just faceless people behind signs.
Tony Parilla

We need more NID info

To The Editor:
Re “Trust must improve its communication and transparency” (column, Deborah Glick, April 4):

There is no doubt that the Hudson River Park is an amenity, and a great one. It is beautiful, safe and clean. That costs money. The neighborhood needs to hear more about the neighborhood improvement district (NID) proposal, the precedents for maintaining our other city parks in this manner, the map delineating the “neighborhood,” and the estimated percentage of population outside these boundaries using the park.

It would be a difficult proposal to swallow for the neighborhood without further discussion.
Jan Hashey
NID is flawed, abuses law

To The Editor:
Re “The Hudson River Park must generate more revenue” (talking point, by Diana Taylor et al., March 28):

The neighborhood improvement district (NID), so blandly referred to here, is a flawed concept and an abuse of the business improvement district law.

Contrary to statements made in public meetings, the Hudson River Park maintenance money from the NID will not be passed through to the Hudson River Park Trust as a block grant and can be held back in a reserve fund if the NID board does not approve of the Trust requests for any or all of the money in any given year.

In addition, if the NID builds pedestrian bridges over Route 9A in the park’s northern section (including perhaps to the passenger ship piers), as detailed in the draft NID district plan, the debt service for these projects takes precedence over all other budget items, even the money earmarked for park maintenance.

The NID plan also envisions “beautifying” the historically accurate industrial flavor of the western parts of Tribeca, Soho, the West Village and beyond, and could weaken local control of our neighborhoods.

Before you decide you support the NID because they tell you it’s an easy, low-impact way to help Hudson River Park, read the plan (http://www.hrpnid.com/district-plan/) and visit Neighbors Against the NID (http://nohrpnid.blogspot.com/) to learn more.
Nicole Vianna
Vianna is a member, Neighbors Against the NID

Liquor licenses aren’t free

To The Editor:
Re “Things change: If not Soho House, what will we get?” (Clayton, April 4):

I appreciate Clayton’s laying out his thinking. There is no real security in the current economic system for anyone. And we are all tainted by it. It’s not any one person’s fault exactly. It’s systemic and it needs to change — not just for the 99%’s sake.

It really isn’t such a good life to sit by while the rest of the world struggles just to survive — that’s not exactly “living large.”

You can choose to go numb or choose an awake life and make it different. It’s important that we not believe the message that we are defeated — we aren’t.

I too believe in finding common ground. The next liquor license request needs to be accompanied by a big offer — one that doesn’t insult the community. Fully fund the rebuilding of the “White House” in the Baruch Houses complex, so youth have a place to go instead of hurting one another. Make us an offer we can’t refuse. Show us you mean it — not these two-bit offers of “cultural community benefits.”

The Lower East Side is chock-full of beautiful cultural institutions. We don’t buy the offer of the counterfeit version. And we do know the difference.
K Webster

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