Letters to the editor, Mar. 22

Guterman plans deserves a chance

To the Editor:
ST/PCV residents would be well-advised to consider the Guterman plan, which could be in their best interests. First, the plan would yield very attractive valuations.  At $315 a square foot, the mathematical price of a one-bedroom apartment (745 square feet) would be $237,000.  A two-bedroom would be $320,000. (That’s an average value, so actual pricing could be lower for unrenovated apartments, and higher for renovated units.)

Additionally, Guterman proposes minimal resale restrictions.  Therefore the value of a tenant’s investment would be maximized.  The TA on the other hand, requires condo purchasers to subsidize New York City’s future public housing needs. Therefore, under Guterman, tenants would make a 20 percent down payment (amounting to about $45,000), and they would gain an investment worth $300,000 in equity value.

The three-year holding period proposed by Guterman would no doubt be acceptable to most tenants.  In return, our neighbors and friends would gain the ability to create a valuable “retirement account” in the form of home ownership. Our long-time tenants deserve nothing less.

Guterman also brings a track record:  Guterman Partners has apparently done dozens of successful conversion transactions, while Brookfield has completed none.

In London in 1620, there was a man named Hobson who operated a stable.  You could borrow any horse you wanted, as long as it was the one closest to the door.  Thus, a “Hobson’s Choice” is really no choice at all. The Tenants Association has pledged “to maximize tenant choice” in all respects. However, they present us with a true Hobson’s Choice:  no choice at all. To maximize tenant choice and maximize tenant value, we and the TA should take review Mr. Guterman’s proposal.

Name withheld, ST

Guterman ad is divisive

What an outrage! Who is Gerald Guterman to spend endless dollars in advertising, in this very newspaper, trying to divide this community?
His most recent attack – this time against the Tenants Association for not doing enough about student housing – shows remarkable chutzpah.

As far as I can tell, they have been raising this issue for years. Could they have done more? Maybe, I’m not sure. But that’s not the point.

Here is a man who has endless resources, and he wants to buy Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town to make even more money. And he wants to do it without preserving a single unit of affordable housing. He comes in here out of the blue, and attacks the tenants of this community for not doing enough to protect our own quality of life. Who is this man? Mr. Guterman, you are a nasty, divisive fellow.

I for one am getting tired of it. It’s time for you to get out of the gutter, or go away.

E. Haber, PCV

Social Security not what Ponzi scheme means

“Did Ponzi and his cohorts put their own funds into the scheme?
All members of Congress, Senators, Representatives, and all employees of the Federal Government who began service after January 1, 1985, contribute to Social Security.

By the very definition, “Ponzi” was a fraud perpetrated by a group of crooks to steal the investors’ funds. Those calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme are implying that the taxes paid are being stolen.

Just as Congress enacted the original act, and all the subsequent amendments, so it can simply raise the wage base, and adjust the formula used to compute benefits.

Stop calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme. It won’t get you a Republican President.

Some 54 years ago when I began working for Social Security, the refrain I heard was “It won’t be there for me.” Social Security is there and will continue to be there and pay 100 percent, if not 75 percent.

Fifty-four years ago, the maximum benefit was $88.50 per month. Some scheme!”

Arthur Wolf, PCV

Government’s contributions to the church

Re: Letter, “Catholic point of view on birth control,” T&V, Mar. 1

To the Editor,
The Pastor of the Church of the Epiphany raises several important points about human life and religious freedom. First of all, the Pastor writes that “the protection of human life in all its stages is our greatest responsibility.” This is true, but there are many ways to achieve this. One way is to prevent conception, which according to Catholic teaching is when life begins, from occurring in the first place by using contraception (i.e., against conception). You cannot protect human life before conception because there is no life to protect. I believe that the Church does permit one form of contraception, Natural Family Planning (NFP), which some would equate with the Rhythm method, but does not permit other forms of contraception such as condoms, IUDs, pills etc.

Since the Church-approved NFP method which eliminates sexual activity and the more popular methods favored by those who either enjoy or endure sexual activity accomplish the same end, I don’t see any justification for the Church’s position on contraception, called “seriously sinful acts.” This position has resulted in hundreds of thousands of unwanted children annually, sentenced either to death by abortion or starvation or a life of poverty and possibly crime, drugs and prostitution. Strict contraception and education would prevent all the unnecessary suffering associated with abortion and poverty-stricken large families who can’t even afford to feed their children much less send them to college. The Pastor also states that, “All health care costs are born by the Catholic employer, paid for by the Church for its employees by the dollars of the faithful that are put in the collection basket or paid by parents for school tuition.” But what about the huge gift of money from all taxpayers who might not adhere to the Church’s teaching but are forced by the government “to violate their moral principles and their conscience?”

I’m referring to the millions of dollars saved by the Church because it is tax-exempt. Does the Church pay federal or state taxes or property taxes on its buildings, universities or hospitals? And aren’t educational institutions exempt from sales taxes as well? As we all know, a dollar saved is a dollar earned.

But the money that the Church saves in taxes must be paid by someone. Guess who? You and me and many other citizens who do not subscribe to the Church’s teaching. Yet we are forced to pay more taxes so the Church can keep its money to buy more buildings for its portfolio, more universities to promote the Church teaching and more hospitals against contraception. Speaking of Catholic hospitals, as I recall from my Catholic university days, the Church teaches that if a woman is in danger of dying by giving birth, she must die rather than abort. I’m sorry but this in violation of my moral principles and my conscience. And yet my tax dollars support this.

If the Church wants “religious freedom,” and I believe every religion should have it, it should not accept any money from the government, either in the form of tax-exemptions or payments from Medicare/Medicaid or any subsidies. Then it can operate freely, independent of the government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

The Catholic Church has been around for many centuries and grows wiser every century. So I have faith that eventually it will see the wisdom of making contraception and sexual education available to everyone. I believe this will eliminate or at least dramatically decrease the astronomical amount of abortions and children born into poverty. So I have hope and, in the words of Anne Frank, “Where there’s hope there’s life.”

John Cappelletti, ST

2 thoughts on “Letters to the editor, Mar. 22

  1. Agree with the letter in support of consideration of the Guterman plan. Tenants should welcome the competition in all this. They can only benefit from it. The TA board has every right to endorse the plan it likes, but that is the endorsement of 15 people, not the summary preference of everyone else. The student issue aside, E Haber’s response is puzzling. In an open competition, Guterman-Westwood is free to represent its case. This is no more dividing the tenants than any free election would. Freedom of choice!

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