Impeding street fairs will hurt New York
The following is an open letter to Michael Paul Carey, executive director, Office of Citywide Event Coordination & Management at the Office of the Mayor, from the president of the Tilden Democratic Club.
Dear Mr. Carey,
I write to you on behalf of the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club and other concerned citizens of New York City concerning the proposed changes in the street fair rules. It is our view that these proposed changes will only serve to restrict New Yorkers’ access to all of the many benefits the street fairs provide.
The Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club has taken a booth at the Third Avenue Fair for over 25 years. As a result of our participation, we raised approximately $300,000, which was donated to very worthy community groups which included senior programs, libraries, shelter programs, homeless programs, hospital clothing rooms, art and literacy programs, cancer programs, music programs and programs for the disabled youth and adults among others.
The residents of Community Board Six are direct recipients of our street fair driven donations. Over 90 percent of the licensed street vendors live in New York City. New York City residents directly benefit by being vendors and consumers at the fair.
Additionally, we use the street fair to coordinate voter registration drives and bring awareness to the residents of who and what their elected officials are doing in the community.
By reducing the number of events to a maximum of ten per year along with the added restrictions on vendor participation the street fair would quickly become a nonviable avenue in which to accomplish the much needed work done over the last three decades.
Community organizations like Tilden must continue to be grandfathered in regardless of any rule changes.
I strongly urge your office to reconsider and not impose these new rules which would effectively eliminate this much needed community function, our local street fairs.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter,
Greg-Patric Martello, President
Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club
Local church had role in freeing slaves
I greatly appreciated the reminder to attend the OHNY, Open House New York. In the T&V article (“Local sites to be explored in Open House NY,” T&V, Oct. 13), you shared about the Church of the Transfiguration.
On Saturday, I went on a tour and learned that the church is considered the social justice church for always opening its doors to every group. In 1850, the Rector participated in a network referred as the Underground Railroad, sheltering freedom seekers, allowing blacks to huddle in a room beneath the altar until they continued their trip to Canada. In 1863, during the Draft Riots, Pastor Houghton stood outside the church holding a Processional Cross as rioters taunted him. The rioters dispersed and 600 hundred blacks remained safely inside.
On Sunday, I returned to hear a free concert by the Actors Guild. The actors’ affiliation will be forever linked because in 1870 Joseph Jefferson’s friend had died and no church would hold his service. He was an actor and they were considered outcasts. Someone suggested, try “the little church around the corner.” The funeral was held.
The Actors Guild has held their meetings at the church since 1923.
Thanks for a wonderful weekend at Open House New York.
Michelle Deal Winfield,
East Midtown Plaza
Our country’s invisible problem (Part 2)
I’ve received a lot of feedback about my letter that was published in the October 6th issue of Town & Village, “Our country’s invisible problem,” in which I claim the number one campaign issue for every presidential and congressional race should be our national debt. I criticized Senator Elizabeth Warren for her comments made at the Democrat convention: “America isn’t going broke. The stock market is breaking records. Corporate profits are at all-time highs. CEOs make tens of millions of dollars. There’s lots of wealth in America…” I took exception to her position noting that the wealth she is citing is mostly non-government wealth and does little to reduce our national debt!
Most of the comments I received focused on “economic growth” as the solution to our national debt problem. Economic growth is certainly something for which we should strive, but it’s not something we can count on. “Japan’s Lost Decade” is the perfect example. This term was coined by economists because Japan, despite their best efforts, had little or no economic growth in the 1990s; and, with growth continuing to be subpar for most of the 2000s, many experts have said that Japan’s Lost Decade really lasted for 20 years (Ushinawareta Nijūnen).
Now it’s fine to identify a problem, but it’s pointless to do so without forging a solution. The best plan I’ve seen to get a handle on the national debt was published by well-known Libertarian television anchor John Stossel. In his most recent book, No, They Can’t: Why Government Fails – But Individuals Succeed, Mr. Stossel presents a well-thought out plan in which he does not shy away from making tough decisions. In my opinion, Chapter 13 titled “Budget Insanity” should be required reading for all presidential and congressional candidates.
Republican candidate for Congress, 12th District