City’s plan will hurt Stuy Cove
In response to the ad in the September 5 issue of T&V, the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association received a number of comments and questions. The following letter has been sent to elected representatives in Washington, Albany and New York. The SCPA thanks to all those who took the time to contact them.
On Monday, October 21, the Stuyvesant Cove Park Association will hold its annual Friends of Stuyvesant Cove Park meeting. The meeting will take place at the Stuyvesant Town Community Center, located at 449 East 16th Street. Among our agenda items is the planned razing of Stuyvesant Cove Park as part of the East Coast Resiliency Project.
It is the opinion of this body that the planned destruction and modification of the park, a project estimated to deprive the community use of the park for two years or more, will do nothing to prevent flooding in Stuyvesant Cove Park in the future. In addition, despite the surge in 2012, regular park-goers observed that within months, most of the flora was alive and well, with only a few exceptions, and within six months, you would not know anything had happened. All this in spite of the fact that the park had been under four feet of river water.
We understand that funds are being provided by the federal government. However, spending money simply because it is available should not be confused with justification and we are in total disagreement with the city’s decision to choose years of construction, hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs and no discernible new protections for the park itself. Moreover, Stuyvesant Cove Park’s natural resiliency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy proves that this is an ill-conceived over reaction to this event.
Our main concern is the future of Stuyvesant Cove Park and its accessibility to a community that has come to use and enjoy it on a daily basis. We urge you to work with the SCPA to demand that the city rethink this plan that benefits only private property owners and city contractors and we hope you will join us at our October 21 meeting.
Stuyvesant Cove Park Association
Sad to see Associated go
To the editor:
So sad to learn that the Associated Supermarket on Avenue A at 14th Street will be closing. The store is unique in the customer services it provides. I have counted on the store to respond to a phone order and delivery without a minimum. The managers listen with care and determination to fulfill a request for particular food not presently available; soon after requesting, that item will appear on the shelf or in the freezer. I personally rely on the Associated for its extended hours, good variety of items, managers present and decent customer service. Convenience and reliability is everything. Box and corporate stores simply cannot make the effort to accommodate those small needs that customers frequently desire. Our community will lose a market, and dozens of employees will be dramatically affected by the loss of employment. It seems everyone loses something valuable.
Hazel R. Feldman
Charter schools are not the answer
To the editor:
Steven Sanders recently stated in his column that charter schools “. . .need to be encouraged and not stifled. . . [they] have proven their worth and the state should remove the arbitrary limits on how many such schools should operate.” The facts do not demonstrate this assertion. Charter schools are nothing more than a corporate attempt to privatize public education and turn it into a profit center. Ninety percent of charters nationwide are non-union and 40% are overtly operated by for-profit corporations. They pave the way for vouchers, another method to defund public education. In 2016, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that charter schools were private corporations, whether non-profit or for-profit. They are not public schools. Nationally, only charters that have high attrition rates and that control the demographics of their admissions to favor high scoring groups get better test results than public schools.
The Walton Family Foundation, i.e. the family that owns Walmart, is the major funder of charter efforts. They, along with current Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, are working together to destroy public education in the United States. Currently the federal government devotes over $400 million a year to supporting charter schools, money that could be going to real public schools.
Recent news reports have also exposed how federal money has gone to charters that never got off the ground or quickly went out of business. As Diane Ravitch, a former supporter of charter schools and now a vociferous opponent, says, with charters we are evolving into a dual school system: one funded by the public and under public control that must accept every student who shows up at its doors and another also publicly funded but not under public control that can, through various means, limit its enrollment and exclude students it does not want.
Moreover, we must realize that many of the problems confronting public schools will not be solved within public schools, as many leaders of the West Virginia teachers strike asked; how could their students do well when there was a lack of decent jobs, health care and housing in their communities that are ravaged by the opioid epidemic? Public education can certainly be improved, but not by charter schools.
Blair F. Bertaccini