Letters to the editor, Mar. 15

Students don’t belong in Stuy Town

I think the housing of students here at Stuyvesant Town is a terrible idea. I have nothing against students as such, but this is not the place for them. This is largely a community of families and neighbors. Students have entirely different interests, as they should. But they make poor neighbors.

The ones in my building whom I see on my floor or in the elevator scarcely look at me; there is no neighborly exchange – no “Good morning,” not even a nod. In the past one would introduce oneself to anyone who got off the elevator at one’s floor, but no more.  And their parties are raucous.

Gone over the last 10 or so years is the camaraderie I experienced here in my earlier years.

If NYU and Baruch can’t adequately house all their students, they need to find other ways than encroaching on our lives. Having students here significantly diminishes the quality of life of other, settled residents.

Phoebe Hoss, ST

Quit blaming the Tenants Association

Most people would agree that the dormitory housing in ST/PCV is a serious problem that is negatively impacting quality of life and, potentially, the safety of residents. However, the accusation made by Guterman Westwood (GW) in its full-page ad last week that the “Tenants Association has not been able to obtain any results in the years that the problem has been going on. The Tenants Association has not shown any leadership on this problem…” is self-servingly inaccurate and misleading.

As a direct result of the TA’s leadership and their complaints to the Department of Buildings and the Fire Department, former owner Tishman Speyer was directed to inspect for and remove ALL of the illegal, pressurized walls that it had allowed, tacitly or otherwise, to be installed on the property and replace them with code compliant walls. Grateful tenants think that showed strong TA leadership and positive results. Of course, the most obvious reason for the TA’s limited ability to effect change is the one that GW conveniently omits, but sensible ST/PCV tenants understand: the TA does not own or control the property. CW Capital, the entity that – for all intents and purposes – does own the property, is doing what the law allows it to do – renting apartments where pressurized walls will be used to sub-divide rooms and create dormitory housing.

Unless the building code is changed or legislation addressing the issue is passed, there is little that the TA can do to stop CW Capital from legally creating dormitories here, except to continue to shine a bright light on the problem in the hope of convincing CW Capital of the error of its ways. And, just in case GW isn’t aware of it, CW Capital and Rose Management now have a new, additional apartment rental website. It’s called My First NY Apartment (http://myfirstnyapt.com) and promotes the sharing of living space in Stuyvesant Town, which undoubtedly means that we will be seeing more and more apartments turned into dormitories by the installation of pressurized walls.

GW, tenants concerned about their ever-diminishing quality of life eagerly await your next full-page ad with your suggestions for how to solve the dormitory housing problem in ST/PCV.

Name withheld, ST

President disregarding religious freedom

Steve Sanders’ recent letter, “Church vs. state on birth control debate” (T&V. Feb. 23), is the most misinformed opinion I have ever seen published.

Surely Mr. Sanders knows that the current controversy between the Catholic Church (and many Christian and Jewish organizations) and the Obama administration has nothing to do with the undisputed right to contraception but everything to do with President Obama’s blatant disregard for the First Amendment.

The Constitution protects our freedom and ensures respect for conscience and religious liberty for all Americans, including Catholics.

In this case, church-run hospitals, nursing homes, shelters and schools are not to be required to provide their employees contraceptives, morning after pills or sterilizations, all of which are contrary to church teachings.Everyone who chooses to work for church-run organizations understands this. No doubt they also know these services are all readily available elsewhere and the choice is theirs.

Likewise, the hundreds of thousands of abortions performed every year in this state and this country can easily be obtained.
Cardinal Dolan has spoken from the pulpit at St. Patrick’s Cathedral regarding the President’s previous assurances of working with the church to respect their beliefs and uphold the Constitution. This is not only the cardinal’s right, but also his duty as the spiritual leader of millions of New Yorkers.

Mr. Sanders’ description of Catholicism as “a church that wants to remain blindly faithful to original scripture” is not only insulting but misguided. Perhaps his “many Catholic friends” can enlighten him. In fact, Mr. Sanders should be embarrassed, not only by his erroneous representation of the facts, but also his lame attempt at humor in his closing remarks.

Maureen Callahan, PCV

Not all Catholics agree on birth control

To the Editor:
Msgr. Leslie Ivers (Letter, “Catholic point of view on birth control,” T&V, Mar. 1) would have readers believe that there is a consensus of belief among Catholics that contraception is always a “seriously sinful” act, but such is not the case.

Fully 60 percent of American Catholics — including not a few theologians — have disagreed with the church’s official position on this matter, and as many as 80 percent of American Catholics are using or have used artificial means of contraception. In short, this is a conflicted teaching within the church, and yet Msgr. Ivers, along with the American Catholic bishops, are using it in a heavy-handed way to steer public policy meant to serve all citizens, Catholic and non-Catholic alike.

The regulation initially announced by the Obama administration was seen by many to be an infringement on religious liberty, since it forced Catholic institutions to fund health services some of them believe are immoral. But the subsequent compromise lifted the funding requirement and was welcomed by many Catholic legislators, The Catholic Hospital Association, and the Association of Jesuit Universities, among others.

The Catholic bishops (echoed by Msgr. Ivers) have argued that this compromise is still a violation of religious freedom — but again theirs is a minority view within the church. The Catholic weekly America editorialized that the bishops’ campaign against the compromise “devalues the coinage of religious liberty.” It goes on to say: “It does a disservice to the victims of religious persecution everywhere to inflate policy differences into a struggle over religious freedom. Such exaggerated protests likewise show disrespect for the freedom Catholics have enjoyed in the United States . . . ”

Don Brophy, ST

About that church vs. state letter…

Re: “Catholic point of view on birth control,” letter, T&V, Mar. 1, by Monsignor Leslie Ivers of The Church of the Epiphany, which was in response to the letter, “Church vs. state on birth control debate” by Steven Sanders, T&V, Feb. 23

To the Editor,
Without rearguing the issue of insurance coverage and access for contraception as it applies to non-houses of worship employers and their employees… let me simply say that I agree with Father Ivers that civility is never outdated and always appropriate. As such I deeply regret having caused hurt or offense by my choice of language in expressing my views, especially as it relates to matters of faith.
I sincerely apologize to him and anyone else who may have been offended by my remarks. I agree with my critics that political discourse ought to be thought provoking, but not insulting or carelessly insensitive.

Steven Sanders

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