Letters to the editor, May 2

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Why 2020 Census matters

To the Editor:

A severe undercount in the 2020 Census would dramatically reduce the amount of federal funding New York receives for a range of critical programs delivered by nonprofits – jeopardizing the very existence of these organizations, causing them to cut staff, end programs and cripple their ability to connect with underserved communities. Twenty billion dollars a year is on the line for New York City alone.

 A Community Resource Exchange survey found that nonprofits fear they’ll be forced to reassess how to effectively meet needs if they have to scale back, particularly because they already operate on budgets stretched thin due to years of government underfunding.

We’re at serious risk of a 2020 undercount due to the late start in funding outreach efforts, proposed citizenship question and apprehension around online submissions. This would build on the decade of under-investment we saw because of the last Census undercount.

Nonprofits are dedicated to the city’s most critical issues, like homelessness, hunger, health and criminal justice reform. Further, their long-term presence in many neighborhoods serves as a valuable, trusted conduit to achieving an accurate count, as illustrated by a Quinnipiac poll noting that New Yorkers would be more likely to participate when contacted by a local nonprofit.

While the $20 million recently allocated in the state budget for Census outreach and education is a start, it is insufficient to cover the cost required to do appropriate outreach. Many groups will need more support to ensure outreach is successful over the next year.

By investing more fully in the nonprofit sector, New Yorkers everywhere will be better off and our city — and state — will be a stronger place in which to work, live, and thrive.

Katie Leonberger 

Katie Leonberger is the President and CEO of Community Resource Exchange. 

Your dog deserves better

I write because May 1 marks my 20th anniversary in Stuyvesant Town. When I applied, the rule was no dogs allowed. I rescued a nine-year-old dog, however, under the impression I’d be waiting for years to move in.

My application for Stuyvesant Town was processed the week I brought my dog, Gracie Grrrofalo, home. The notice said that my apartment would be ready in eight months. I could take one apartment or another; both without seeing them. But if I brought my Gracie in, I’d be evicted. So, I moved her to The Bronx. Rather than being mad that I couldn’t keep her, the CACC said, “You extended her life, Billy.”

Fast forward. A few months ago a market rate couple bought an expensive puppy from a breeder. The wife and kid were far away. The husband, unemployed, was alone for a week. But he needed to see grieving people for two hours: 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. He asked me to watch and take the dog out. Over five hours later, after doing who knows what, I tell him and his dog to get-t-f out; that I had no time for people who are rude to their dogs. His response? What’s your problem?

Accordingly, in my life I can’t imagine someone less fit to own a dog than that so-called neighbor. But it does look like many of today’s other market rate tenants buy dogs as collectibles, too.

Billy Sternberg, ST

A ferry smart investment

Over the last couple of weeks, Town & Village has had at least two articles about subsidies to the ferry (“A ferry costly commute? Council debates subsidies,” T&V, Apr. 25 and “Ferries cost city nearly $11 a ride,” T&V, Apr. 4).

Compared to what? Reports show that each gallon of gasoline, without subsidies, would cost $15 each. Or how about our brothers and sisters on the Long Island Rail Road, tapped with a seven-dollar bonus for each ride. Do the arithmetic: each time you use the ferry, the subsidy goes down. Do you think the same thing can be said for the LIRR and a gallon of gas?

There’s a lot of great stuff going on in this neighborhood, and the ferries just upped the positive ante. The day-to-day work-related positives are obvious, and the next time you ferry your grandkids down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, buy them an ice cream. It will be worth it.

Andrew Lawrence, PCV

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