Letters to the Editor, Oct. 16

Mayor’s actions aren’t measuring up

Re: “The Soapbox: Why the mayor won’t support a conversion,” T&V, Oct. 9

To the Editor:

Iggy Reilly argues that the mayor won’t support a conversion because it would reduce the number of affordable housing units; since the mayor supports “affordable housing,” whatever that means, he can’t appear to contradict himself by advocating both.

This argument assumes that the mayor really supports affordable housing because he has said so. But his actions say otherwise. He has followed in the footsteps of Bloomberg and Giuliani and appointed a Rent Guidelines Board that has just increased rents again. If the mayor is not aware of the obvious, let me point out that increasing rents more and more every year results in less and less apartments that could be, at least “considered,” affordable.

But in truth with rent hikes every year for the past 20 years and more and more MCIs, affordable rents are approaching levels that could change a stabilized apartment to one subject to the free market. Affordability is a joke.

When I was working as a New York City teacher, my rent ate just 16 percent of my salary. Now retired, my “affordable” rent devours 47 percent of my pension, so I have less money to pay more rent. So I doubt the mayor is interested in affordable housing, at least not in Stuy Town where he undermined the efforts of our tenant-friendly neighbor and councilman, Dan Garodnick. Seems the mayor didn’t want a tenant advocate to head the City Council.

We live in a city, state and country where Greed is God, er, good. So if conversion is the goal, it will be necessary to stuff the ravenous jaws of that obese monster Greed with more green stuff than the other guy. Or, if the other guy has more cash (most likely), tenant groups around the city could wage a city-wide education campaign to inform millions of tenants that their rent hikes are the result of the mayor’s actions and urge them to write so many letters to the mayor that all the offices at City Hall will be stuffed.

The mayor must be made to realize that he will not be re-elected unless he reduces rents, not allow them to continuing increasing like the monster Greed.

John Cappelletti, ST

Continue reading

Residents unsure who to vote for

Undecided republican voters Aaron and Dorothy Wilkinson Photo by Sabina Mollot

Undecided republican voters Aaron and Dorothy Wilkinson
Photo by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

The primary for the mayoral election as well as other citywide positions is right around the corner, but in Peter Cooper Village (always an area with impressive voter turnout), residents are still saying they don’t know who they’ll be voting for.

A Town & Village reporter cornered people who were minding their own business, sitting out on the benches this week, to ask about who they think they’ll choose. In response, all those interviewed said they had no idea or were still on the fence about a couple of candidates. Most also seemed unimpressed by the current crop of candidates running for mayor.

One senior couple, Paul and Gerry Singer, said they’d been following news about the upcoming primary to some degree. However, due to their having just moved to PCV from Nassau County, were at this time ineligible to vote.

Still, Gerry said she was torn between current frontrunners Public Advocate Bill De Blasio and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

“I like what they have to say,” she said. “Whether it’s true or not I won’t find out unfortunately until after one of them is elected.”

“It’s very hard to choose,” said Paul. The candidates “will say, ‘We’re going to stop stop-and-frisk, but they don’t say how. They make a lot of statements and they expect you to trust them upfront.”

Frances Jivekian, who worked in catering until retiring recently, said, “I’d vote for Bloomberg if he was running again.” That said, she was not a big fan of the bike lanes he instituted, blasting the one on First Avenue as dangerous. As for the current candidates, “I’m still undecided, but I will probably vote for Quinn,” said Jivekian. “She’s my favorite. I like the woman and I’m a democrat. I don’t like that other guy, that big guy,” she said in reference to the towering de Blasio.

Pal Brenda Satzman, who until recently worked in floral design, said she isn’t going to be voting. She normally doesn’t vote in mayoral or gubernatorial races anyway, “unless there’s a character I’m interested in. I know the issues are very important but who’s going to be listening to those issues?”

She, too, said she likes the current mayor but said none of the current candidates stands out for her.

Heidi Clever, who works in the fashion industry, said education is a deciding issue for her when voting. At this time, she’s torn between de Blasio and Quinn.

Quinn, who has recently proposed opening five new technology/science schools for girls, has, through the Council, expanded pre-K by 10,000 seats and made kindergarten mandatory.

De Blasio wants to create universal pre-k, create after school programs for middle schoolers and also supports the expansion of tech education.

“I’m not sure how they’re going to deliver though so I want to do more research and I haven’t had a chance to do that yet,” said Clever. “I have a son in school so school (is the issue) for me.”

Clever’s friend Jacqueline Farmer said she was also considering de Blasio or Quinn, and that she too has school aged kids, 10 and 18.

“So that’s big for me,” said Farmer, also a full-time student herself at CUNY Hunter, studying English and political science. Farmer said she likes that De Blasio wants to put more money into CUNY (financed by taking tax subsidies away from big companies). She also likes the candidate because of his interracial marriage and family. “I’m mixed and I think he would be understanding about minorities,” she said.

However, Farmer is also still leaning towards Quinn, because, “I’m a part-time feminist and I like that she’s a woman and she exposes her flaws. She doesn’t hide anything.”

Married couple Aaron and Dorothy Wilkinson said they were die-hard voters and voted whenever they could in a primary, being republicans. Both said they thought Bloomberg had done a good job but didn’t seem to have anything to say about the Republicans currently on the ballot.

“I’ll probably go for the one the Times endorsed, but I don’t remember his name,” Aaron, an engineer, admitted.

Dorothy, a retired teacher who taught at School “47”, agreed, saying she and Aaron always vote the same way. (For reference, the Times endorsed former MTA head Joe Lhota for the Republican side.)

Aaron also indicated he doesn’t care for de Blasio, due to his plan to fund pre-k seats by taxing the wealthy.

“He says he’s going to tax the rich, but he doesn’t define rich,” Aaron said, adding, “You betcha” when asked if he was concerned personally about a possible tax hike. (Reports have said this would mean New Yorkers earning over $500,000.)

Karl Guerie, a photographer who also does administrative work at the V.A. Medical Center, said, “I’m still debating.

“To be honest no one really stands out for me, so that’s why I’ll be waiting until the last minute to decide,” he said. “There’s nothing fresh, nothing new. There are different things they’re talking about but not enough to define the individuals. One person may be talking about stop-and-frisk. Someone else will say where they stand on housing. I believe it should be a complete package, but if that’s what you want, you may not end up voting at all. Sometimes it’s the lesser of the evils.”

Guerie added he will try to consider the city’s population at large when choosing. “When people say, ‘Who’s good for me?,’ it makes things difficult. I’d like to believe it’s bigger than me, the individual. Because what happens to all the people whose voices aren’t heard?”

Helen Sanders, a retiree and mom to former Assembly Member Steven Sanders, a Democrat who represented Peter Cooper and Stuyvesant Town for 28 years, said she too doesn’t know yet who she’ll be voting for.

“Right now no, I’m still deciding,” she said, adding that her son, now a lobbyist in Albany, doesn’t try to nudge her towards one candidate or another. But she said she will be voting. “Oh yes,” said Sanders. “I always vote.”

 

 

 

Letters to the Editor, Aug. 1

Why you should license your dog

Most New York City dog owners take good care of their four-legged friends, spending countless hours walking and caring for them as well as paying for food, grooming, medical costs, and supplies. But many New Yorkers, an estimated 85 percent across the city, overlook one key step – getting their dog licensed.

There are four compelling reasons dog owners in NYC should register their pet:

Lost Pets – Licensing helps reunite lost dogs with their owners using an online eLocator tool, which notifies neighbors and authorities about missing pets. Licensed dogs are also more likely to be identified and returned to their owners in case of separation during an emergency.

Dog Runs – With proof of a current dog license and rabies vaccination, dogs can run off-leash in NYC Parks dog runs.

Rabies Prevention – Information from licenses helps doctors treat individuals potentially exposed to infected dogs, especially during rabies outbreaks.

It’s The Law – Owners may be fined for not registering their dogs.

I’ve been working with the city and the ASPCA to improve the dog licensing system, increase public awareness of the requirements, and make it easier and more appealing to register dogs.

My legislation to reform the licensing system passed the Assembly this year with the support of the City Council, the mayor, and the ASPCA, but unfortunately has not yet passed the Senate. The bill encourages pet shops and other businesses to issue licenses, makes it easier to license a dog online and eliminates the requirement that some license applications include notarized documents. It also better protects the public by authorizing the city to require proof of rabies vaccination and to mandate that dogs wear a tag indicating that they have been vaccinated.

I am committed to pushing for my bill to become law, but, in the meantime, please take a moment to register your dog. While the dog licensing system may not be perfect, it’s still an important public safety measure, helps you better care for your pet, and it’s the law. You can register your dog online at www.nyc.gov or call 311 to have a dog license application mailed to you.

Brian Kavanagh,
Assembly Member, 74th District

Continue reading

Letters to the Editor, July 18

You gotta have a scandal

To the Editor:
Well, now that Eliot Spitzer has joined Anthony Weiner in running, or rather dancing with the stars, in the elections this November, the other candidates for office will have to do something to make the Mad Men who create the virtual reality that is our world sit up and take notes. After all, name and face recognition is more important than qualifications when running for office.
Bill de Blasio might make a great mayor but he doesn’t have the Kardashian kitsch so essential for success, much more important than competence.  But if Mr. de Blasio wore hot pink short shorts and high heels to the next photo op, admittedly no match for the orange pants worn by the internet star Weiner at a recent gay event, he might give the former Congressman a tussle for the gay vote. But what about the straight vote?
Candidate Quinn could enlist her buddy Bloomberg to take her on a bicycle-built-for-two to the beach at Coney Island where they could perform the steamy Burt Lancaster/ Deborah Kerr scene in “From Here to Eternity.” Since all publicity is good, this would make great headlines, not to mention hot photos: The Mayor and Speaker Quinn, both wearing a bikini, though not necessarily the same one, making out on a bright red blanket! Wow! And how about Bill Thompson, smelling smoke and a photo op, showing up in a fireman’s uniform with a long hose to put out the fire. Why, the paparazzi would be so overjoyed they’d all have heart attacks. But, not to worry, the firemen’s union would be on hand to administer CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Double wow! This scene would be so hot that maybe even Sarah Palin would show up for a photo op and pitch in, her pitch, that is, for the presidential nomination with the headline: For Whom the Belle Toils!
For the office of comptroller, the very capable Scott Stringer will have to run against former Governor Eliot Spitzer. He will need the best shoes Nike makes because Spitzer is a tough campaigner with remarkable name and face recognition. (Weiner has the name recognition, but it’s not his face that people think of when they think of Weiner.)
Spitzer dodged criminal charges when he hired working girls, but these “employees” became damsels in distress when they were found guilty of working for Spitzer and dragged off to prison. It not only created buzz for the former governor but an opportunity for him to repent and beg forgiveness from voters who are ready to believe anything, including a talking snake named Satan and an ambitious boat builder named Noah.
Perhaps Stringer should create a scandal, preferably of a sexual nature so he’s in the same ballpark with Spitzer, which could bring him to his knees as well as the TV cameras where he could apologize and beg forgiveness for his alleged sin. And by simply omitting the word “not,” he could put a unique spin on that famous line “I did have sex with that woman.”  That’s sure to get him elected.
We just love born-again politicians, but not boring-again ones. So, come on, candidates, make your campaign sexy with a little scandal and then sit down to a healthy serving of humble pie. You have nothing to lose and much to gain, especially if you’re from New Jersey. But let’s not go there. Why would anyone want to go to New Jersey? We New Yorkers have our own fat cats here at home. And they can buy elections.
John Cappelletti, ST

Security keeps residents safe without guns

I live in Manhattan’s Stuyesant Town, a middle class project. We have uniformed security guards who carry handcuffs, clubs, and walkie-talkies – but no guns.
I’ve called them about loud college kids’ parties and they respond promptly.
A few times, the same security guards told me to dismount my bicycle in pedestrian areas, and I was the one who had to comply.
They’ve warned dog owners to clean up after their pets. They’ve been called to local stores renting from Stuyvesant Town to handle unruly shoppers and sometimes deal with shoplifters.
But what about real crime? These unarmed security guards have apprehended burglars and rapists in my 110-building community. They’ve received awards from the local NYPD precinct commander for doing so.
Are these guards “wannabe cops?” Maybe some of them are. But they’ve proven their effectiveness in keeping my community safe – all without guns!
The NRA is wrong! Guns DO kill people. Had Zimmerman not been armed, Trayvon Martin would still be alive today.
Had Zimmerman not been armed, he probably wouldn’t have ever left the safety of his car. He would have merely phoned in a report to the real cops, as he was advised to do.
Knowing he was armed emboldened Zimmerman to leave his car, even after being told by the police “You don’t need to do that.”
It was the gun that gave Zimmerman the “courage” to physically confront Trayvon Martin. When Mr. Martin defended himself, Zimmerman killed him.
Apparently, Florida law only gives armed people the right to self-defense. Unarmed people, such as Mr. Martin, do not have the right to defend themselves against armed attackers.
Elliot Markson, ST

 

Hurricane Sandy alerts re: openings and closings

A shop on First Avenue is ready for Sandy.
Photo by Michael Alcamo

At this time, the mayor has announced that schools will remain closed tomorrow as will after school programs, PAL programs, senior centers and libraries.

During a press conference this morning, Bloomberg explained that there would be “no chance” that mass transit would be running in time to serve the city.

Emergency shelters, however, have been open throughout the city with the current total of people in them at 3,900. The total number of pets at this time is 73, the mayor said, and the emergency shelter closest to the Stuyvesant Town/Gramercy area is Baruch College at 155 East 24th Street.

Waterside Plaza, which is in the mandatory evacuation Zone A area, has been evacuated, although, as noted by the property’s general manager Peter Davis this morning, management can’t force people to leave, nor can police. However, he said residents seemed to have mostly been cooperative after management sent out robo-calls reminding residents that Mayor Bloomberg ordered the evacuation.

Last year, Waterside Plaza experienced some flooding due to Hurricane Irene, and management is bracing for flooding this time as well.

Campos Plaza is also in Zone A. Bloomberg said earlier that the city was running buses into the city’s public housing developments that were in the evacuation area, but that the service wouldn’t be offered for much longer.

“The City is running buses for the next hour or so but that’s going to stop because it just becomes too dangerous to run the buses,” the mayor said in an official statement.

He added that the city had placed flyers, knocked on doors and made phone calls to reach

All is quiet on the Oval on Monday morning.
Photo by Michael Alcamo

people in every NYCHA development since Friday. Additionally, police were at the developments telling people through loudspeaker that they had to evacuate.

Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village is not in an evacuation area (the properties are situated in Zones B and C though the FDR Drive is in Zone A). However, ST/PCV buildings had hot water shut off this morning as a result of ongoing Con Ed emergency work.

Council Member Dan Garodnick alerted residents via email last night that CW Capital/CompassRock had added extra personnel to the property to prepare for the storm.

For those who have yet to do their hurricane shopping, Gristedes on First Avenue is still open. An employee there said the store was out of batteries, but there was still plenty of water. She added that it wasn’t known yet how late the store would be open. An employee at Associated Supermarket on 14th Street told Town & Village shortly before 1 p.m. that the store had just closed, but that the staff hopes to open tomorrow. Nasser Hashesh, owner of Lenz’s Deli on East 20th Street, said his store is still open for business and still serving food. Since Stuyvessant Town is currently without hot water, employees were heating water “the old fashioned way” to wash dishes and the store just got a delivery of bottles water this morning. Hashesh said the store would probably remain open tonight until 7 or 8 p.m.

This morning truly seemed to be the calm before the storm throughout the Stuyvesant Town area, as photos sent in by readers have shown the Oval empty except for a security officer and determined joggers who still conducted their workouts around Stuyvesant Square Park.

If anyone would like to share their Hurricane Sandy photos, please email them to editor@townvillage.net or share them on the Town & Village Facebook page. Please specify if you do not want a photo credit.