Letters to the Editor, Oct. 20

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

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.

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The Soapbox: Great Wall of China and Lady Liberty

By Susan Steinberg

A big wall will not make us safe. It’s been tried before.

Perhaps the most recognizable symbol of China, the Great Wall actually consists of numerous walls and fortifications. Originally conceived by Emperor Qin Shi Huang (c. 259-210 B.C.) in the third century B.C. as a means of preventing incursions from barbarian nomads into the Chinese Empire, the wall is one of the most extensive construction projects ever completed. But it was completed over hundreds of years and six dynasties.

Quick facts:

Length: 13,170.7 miles

Age: more than 2,300 years old

Existing remains: Nearly one-third of the Great Wall has disappeared without a trace.

Since 1644, when the Ming Dynasty was overthrown, no further work has been done on the Great Wall for military purposes. Emperor Kangxi (1654–1722) reasoned that the era of Great-Wall-building emperors and enmity with northern neighbors was over. Moreover, Great Wall construction cost lots of money and manpower, which was bad for his people. He believed that the only way to protect China was to gain international support, instead of border battles.

Though the Great Wall never effectively prevented invaders from entering China, it came to function more as a psychological barrier between Chinese civilization and the world.

Instead of walls, our nation’s most recognized symbol of enduring strength is our Statue of Liberty, whose beacon is welcoming, not repelling like a wall. The spirit of our nation was captured in the words of a poem by Emma Lazarus, whose lines are inscribed on the statue’s base.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emperor Kangxi had it right: build support, not walls.

Susan Steinberg is a resident of Stuyvesant Town since 1980 and the president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association.

Leaked emails haven’t killed Clinton buzz at convention, Maloney says

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, pictured in Stuyvesant Town in June Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, pictured in Stuyvesant Town in June (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On the chaos that erupted over the weekend prior to the Democratic National Convention over hacked emails that showed Hillary Clinton had been the party’s favored candidate, infuriating supporters of Bernie Sanders, a local delegate attempted to dismiss all that on Tuesday to T&V as “yesterday’s news.”

That delegate was Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, a staunch Clinton supporter who’s served as a surrogate during the campaign, and who, on Tuesday, had hoped the media would pay more attention to a food fight she’d organized at the DNC. It pinned Philly cheese steaks vs. New York cheese cakes as well as a few other delicacies claimed by each city as its own.

However, naturally, voters have been more focused on the ouster of the DNC’s chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz as a result of the hacked emails that were made public and the potential results of yet another e-mail-gate on Clinton’s attempt to become president.

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Maloney wins primary with nearly 90% of vote

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and State Senator Brad Hoylman talk to voters outside Stuyvesant Town. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and State Senator Brad Hoylman talk to voters outside Stuyvesant Town. (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Tuesday, 23-year incumbent Carolyn Maloney easily won the Congressional Primary with over 89 percent of the vote.

Maloney’s Democratic opponent, Peter Lindner, got 9.55 percent of the vote or 1,435 votes with 1.32 percent of the voters, a total of 198, opting for write-in candidates. Maloney got exactly 89.13 or 13,389 votes.

The numbers came from the Board of Elections’ unofficial results made available from 99 percent of the scanners. In the 12th Congressional District, which includes much of Manhattan’s East Side and parts of Queens and Brooklyn, 15,022 registered Democrats came out to vote on what Maloney and poll workers Town & Village spoke with said seemed to be a typically low primary turnout.

Walking around Stuyvesant Town on Tuesday afternoon, T&V’s reporter only ran into people who said they’d be casting their vote for Maloney or wouldn’t say who they were voting for. One person though said he thought Lindner seemed promising.

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Opinion: The Republican Coliseum

By Former Assemblyman Steven Sanders

I continue to watch the Republican debates. There was another one just the other Thursday. And like the reality TV shows in vogue these days, the number of contestants seem to get whittled down each episode. Last week there were only four candidate survivors left.

In ancient Rome, the ruling class put on shows in their coliseum to appease the populace. They brought gladiators into the arena who fought one and other in bloody savage spectacles. The losers were cast to the lions and the winners went on to participate in more such events, all to the roaring approval of the masses.

So here we are two thousand years later and we are witness to the Republican Party’s reprise of the coliseum. Their contestants board the stage in front of a throng of ravenous and raucous supporters in the auditorium and millions more watching on TV. We are treated to obscenity laced rhetoric and juvenile taunts and insults being hurled at one and other like spears and swords from an earlier time. These modern day gladiators are competing for their political lives with the ultimate prize being a shot at the presidency.

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The Soapbox: What wouldn’t Jesus do?

Town & Village is proud to present “The Soapbox,” a column featuring a different voice from the neighborhood in each one. All are welcome to submit columns on the topic of the author’s choice, preferably not longer than 650 words, to editor@townvillage.net.

By John Cappelletti

When making a decision or criticizing decisions made by others, some people have asked, “What would Jesus do?”

Since all of the candidates running for the Presidency, or have dropped out of the race, consider themselves devout Christians (except, of course, for Bernie), we should not only ask these candidates What would Jesus do? But also What would Jesus definitely not do, or say?

(The scene is a mountaintop near Jerusalem. Jesus looks out at the thousands of people who have gathered to hear him speak.)

JESUS: Look! What a multitude! We should really do well today.

PETER: I bet we rake in a multitude of shekels from these suckers. We’re getting five shekels a head for this speech.

JESUS: My speeches are worth it. They’re great, like me. Did you bring the loaves and fishes?

PETER: Did I ever! Mary Magdalene got a good deal on stale bread. Also, she  got buckets of fish that’ve seen better days, but, not to worry, we cut the smell with spices so they should sell well at two shekels a pop, plus another shekel for our special homemade wine we call Gabriel’s Trumpet.

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After ‘Big Ugly’ tenants focused on 2016 NY elections

Assembly Member Carl Heastie, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (Photo via Governor Cuomo Flickr)

Assembly Member Carl Heastie, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (Photo via Governor Cuomo Flickr)

By Sabina Mollot

Last week’s deal on the rent laws and other major issues, promptly dubbed the “Big Ugly,” was blasted by tenants even before it was finalized last Thursday, for including only minor changes in the rent laws, like raising the vacancy deregulation rent threshold from $2,500 to $2,700.

And while the newly slightly strengthened rent laws will remain in place until 2019, tenant activists are now more interested in 2016. The reason is that because it’s a presidential election year, on Election Day, that will mean more bodies at the polls than the amount that would normally show up for local races. At that time the goal will be to turn the Republican-controlled Senate into a Democratic one.

Mike McKee, treasurer of TenantsPAC, believes if this happens, tenant-friendly legislation could start getting passed as early as January, 2017.

“The legislators can amend the law at any time,” he said. “Even with a Republican governor like Andrew Cuomo, we can revisit this issue and repeal vacancy decontrol and other issues.”

There are 63 State Senate seats, and McKee said at this point, TenantsPAC is not sure which districts to focus its efforts on for supporting candidates. However, this will be a goal over the coming months.

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