Listen, gang, it’s not only women that are sexually assaulted and it’s not only in social settings that it occurs. While Cuomo was in office he extended the statute of limitations for sexual assault committed by schools, colleges, churches and other institutions.
I’m not writing about that. What I am writing about is the unadvertised problem of these institutions dragging their feet by using lawyers that know how blocked the courts are — to disincentivize accusers and eliminate those who were severely damaged by the actions of a very few.
Take Wagner College, for example. It’s a small Lutheran school on Staten Island whose only claim to fame seems to have been a poet by the name of Edwin Markham Jr. He wrote a poem called The Man with the Hoe. Never heard of him or the poem? No surprise. Neither did I. But, as a kid growing up in Brooklyn, Wagner College was considered to be a Christian school, a place where truth, honesty, morality, virtue, and The American Way was prized.
At least until one of the professors, a pedophile, attacked. But, that’s not the story. That happens a lot.
The story is that Wagner College, the good Christian, American college, defends itself by claiming that it wasn’t their fault. When the professor initiated his attack it wasn’t on school grounds. It was at the professor’s residence where he’d invited students to learn after class. Plus, they didn’t have insurance. How’s that for protecting and defending students?
For those of you who have been attacked, exploited, extorted or abused by those who profess to be your mentors, your guides, your coaches, your therapists, your saviors — be cautious. Take my advice. Don’t expect empathy, sympathy, concern, or even justice. Don’t pick a school like Wagner College. Pick a college where they care about their students..
But, before you call the police make sure they’re insured.
Listen, folks, it’s no secret that Manhattan (especially SoHo) has been the location where every politically motivated character first tries to dump their ideas. Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group that wants bikes not cars on Manhattan streets waged a slick, effective campaign using the D.O.T. head Sadik Kahn with input to Bloomberg to set up the parking abortion we have on our streets. So we have more bikes to watch out for and fewer cars trying to hit us. Mostly, to the detriment of Seniors. Yes, I know, let’s get out the statistics. It’s safer to cross the streets now. Bullshit. I cross the streets down here every day. You’re arguing with the wrong eighty year old.
You see, Seniors can’t always use bikes, walkers maybe, but subways are also out. The stairs alone can kill a seventy year old. That never figures into their plans. In Copenhagen the bike lanes were designed well. Not like the SoHo disaster. If you don’t agree with the TA people, you’re an enemy. But, hey guys, wait. We all get old. Remember that.
And, notice that the horrendous parking arrangements are only in lower Manhattan, by and large. Brooklyn, has pathways for bikes but cars don’t have to park in the middle of the street there.
Now, we have restaurant sheds taking over SoHo. Here’s a flyer from the SoHo Alliance. The City Council under the leadership of Christine Quinn approved Trump SoHo behind closed doors — and you know what a fraud that was. And here we have that tried and true political tool being used again.
Now that the Democrats seem to have saved Democracy — let’s use it!
It looks like the City Council is pulling a fast one.
On November 22, it will vote on a bill to set the rules for a permanent Open Restaurant program. The legislation was created behind closed doors with the help of the well-funded New York Hospitality Alliance, the city’s restaurant and nightlife lobbyists – with no public input.
The Open Restaurant program – those sheds that clutter our public streets – was supposed to be a temporary measure to help restaurants during the pandemic. New Yorkers welcomed it.
However, the pandemic waned, indoor dining resumed, and the city has returned to normal. Except Open Restaurants.
The sheds have devolved into unsightly shacks, rat-infested, graffitied, trash dumps that blight our communities. They are the bane of residents who live near them, who must endure their din well into the night, illegal amplified music, and squalid conditions on once quaint streets. Moreover, the vast majority of these sheds are located downtown, with most other city neighborhoods spared.
The Open Restaurant program is privatization of public space. It is a land grab by the hospitality industry and a free giveaway from the City Council. Restaurateurs don’t pay a dime for this free space. But we do wonder how much they contribute to some councilmembers re-election campaign.
The prior Sidewalk Cafe program, which had been in place for decades, charged $5,000 minimum annually for the privilege of using public space. Open Restaurants don’t pay a dime to the City. Is this fair? The City Council seems to think it is.
The Council wants to deny any input or comment from residents who live with the noise, the rats, the trash, the unswept streets, and blocked sidewalks. The message to residents is the same as it has been for the last two years: Shut Up.
We must deliver our own message: WE WILL BE HEARD.
NO CLOSED-DOOR DEALS FOR OPEN RESTAURANTS Protest Tuesday, November 15, 12:30 pm
1. Hold public hearings
2. Commission an Environmental Impact Study
3. Engage Community Boards in the planning process
On November 15, we’ll be taking these demands to the street, directly to the City Council.
We will gather outside the City Council offices at 250 Broadway. We carry signs. We chant. We picket. A small group stands in front of the Council offices with their mouths taped, symbolizing how the Council is treating residents of this city. A float pulls up to the curb with a mock-up of a shed, complete with rats and hanging trash bags. It will have a loud speaker that blasts the cacophony that unfortunate residents live with every night – directly into the offices of the City Council. This demonstration will be a raucous expression of public outrage, but we need you to make it work.
Our efforts have changed the media conversation, from outdoor dining as a no-brainer, to outdoor dining as a neighborhood horror. Now we have to close the deal. We need a big turnout to show the Council and the media that we are powerful and that we are united. Even if you’re not accustomed to going to demonstrations, please show up and be heard. It’ll be an hour out of a day that will help restore our streets. If not, it’s noise-rats-trash forever.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 12:30 pm
Meet at the corner of Broadway and Murray Street across from City Hall Park.
RSVP HERE. That will help us know how many posters and flyers to print.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.
The danger in crossing a street in SoHo remains relatively unchanged. Crossing Watts Street, Broome Street or Canal Street is like taking a trip on the Amazon River expecting to not get bitten by something along the way. The cars still block the crosswalks, the drivers still curse at you for crossing when you have the light, and you still chance being hit. The difference now is that there are more Traffic Agents watching as the cars bicycles (electric and non-electric) scooters aim for you.
The theory proposed by the highly successful Transportation Alternatives people when they took over the Community Board — that Manhattan should be free of cars — apparently hate seniors and disabled. pedestrians. It’s difficult to get on a bike when your crutches are in the way. Frankly, when I have to head to the orthopedic surgeon, I need to take a Lyft. If you disagree and you’re thirty years old, wait. You’ll come to appreciate that, as Don Ameche said, “Things change.”
The City and the Community Board basically don’t give a shit about making any changes. If you’re a tourist, stay away from SoHo. It’s not safe to cross the street. The Honorables at the Board, mainly are interested in Greenwich Village and redesigning SoHo as they keep their “power.”
The Tree in Duarte Park that awaits Trinity’s much needed additional 27 story commercial building, is still there. I’d long ago expected them to bring in a crew to cut it down. After Gitano, the outdoor restaurant, was gone I’d expected something to happen and all we got was an entire block of posters. If the tent people/homeless/migrants figure it out, watch for a new tent city. Don’t tell DeSantis. Occupy Wall Street tried it once and the Trinity Police handled it. Just sayin’. Portland isn’t a one-off folks. Perhaps it’s time to put that building up that was supposed to have a grammar school for the neighborhood. The kids who were promised that at our esteemed Community Board have graduated college. How about time limits on giveaways. Nah. That would interfere with the quid pro quo. Next promise?
For those who wish to apply for SCRIE — you know for those in regulated apartments who don’t own condos — the income qualification ceiling is below $50,000. If you make more than that, as a family, you should leave Manhattan. Just kidding. So, a Senate bill was introduced in 2021 which removed Social Security from being calculated towards that qualifying income amount. I’ve contacted State Senator Brad Hoylman to get his report on that.
Meanwhile, enjoy the weather. We have voting disasters, fascists looking to take over the democracy, a possible nuclear war, renewed anti-semitism and racism and a the possibility of Ebola soon reaching our shores to top off Covid. Time to get positive!.
“The country was in peril; he was jeopardizing his traditional rights of freedom and independence by daring to exercise them.”
— Joseph Heller, Catch-22
For those of you who are having a bad day, don’t read this.
There are a lot of “experts” on mental health out there. Many of them are practicing psychotherapists who charge upwards of $100-200 per hour either in person or via video for a 45 minute session. They may have an MSW, Counseling degree, M.A. or Ph.D. in Psychology, a Master’s in nursing, or other educational degree plus a license from New York State. They may even be an M.D. and be a psychiatrist. Some have personal analysis, postgraduate training, and experience in hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, nursing homes and prisons.
But, consider this. Our prison system in New York offers virtually no psychiatric care. And, those therapists who I’ve mentioned above? Most of them have no idea what they’re doing. At most, their “patients” feel better for the time during their session. So, of course, they have to return for more sessions like a crack addict.
But, that’s just my opinion and the opinion of many of those who ran psychiatric clinics. Why? Because, it’s not only Donald Trump who suffers from narcissistic injury. For the most part, those who enter “the business” are working through their own problems at the expense of their patients — those who do not understand what actually fosters change. And, by this I’m referring to the therapists. The main business of that business is finding and keeping patients.
So what. Freud bumbled through the fog. Jung was a little more crazy. Werner Erhard should have stuck with selling cars instead of pushing EST.
But, it does matter in the prison system. None of the so-called professionals treat the rampant mental illness in people who — drum roll here — are going to be released into our neighborhoods! Drug dealers, addicts, pedophiles, rapists, and killers. After the prison has worked with them all to make them crazier and seeking revenge. They release them in another form like Soylent Green.
The only psychiatric treatment is “The Box” for bad behavior and drug programs that conduct Pin-the-Tail and Duck-Duck-Goose to help them with their “creativity” to seek minimum wage jobs when they are released — instead of the $20,000 per week they were making if they resume selling drugs.
The few therapists hired by New York State know nothing about treatment in prison, the consultants have never spent one night in prison while they and professors at Columbia, NYU, John Jay, or Harvard spout gibberish and pontificate and have no clue about how to treat the — ready — more than fifty percent of inmates who suffer from mental illness.
The Mexican Mafia, Trinitarios, Bloods, Crips, Latin Kings, MS-13, and Hells Angels taught me a few things after D.A. Thomas Spota and the politicians in the Town of Southampton managed to force me into prison for four years. But few, if any, of those running the Hamptons, SoHo or New York State realize the mental illness calamity that they are creating.
And, the inmates, like zombies on The Walking Dead are already being released.
“Some people like what you do, some people hate what you do, but most people simply don’t give a damn.”
— Charles Bukowski
According to Sheriff Joe Lombardo, as reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, investigative reporter Jeff German was stabbed seven times in front of his home and died. Apparently, a local politician, Robert Telles, the Clark County Administrator, is the lead suspect. German was a relentless critic of the corruption in the Telles administration. Of course, innocent until proven guilty, he’ll still have to explain the big straw hat, orange jacket, and sneakers worn by the perp and caught on video. Telles also happened to have cuts on his hands, drove a car that was seen perusing the neighborhood and then had a standoff with police. Plus the clothes in the video were ripped up and found in his house. The fact that Telles is a Democrat, of course, seals his fate.
It’s just another example of how we deal with Truth in this ‘Best of All Possible Worlds.’ At least German wasn’t chopped up like Khashoggi or shot like Politovskaya, who wrote “Is Journalism worth dying for.”
“Investigative journalists have long met with obstreperous and sometimes threatening subjects,” says the Los Angeles Times. Really? I guess with my four years in prison foisted upon me by former D.A. and now Federal convict Thomas Spota — I was lucky.
There’s a tree that’s in the way. Apparently, SoHo has reverted back to Hudson Square now that Trump SoHo has faded into the mist and its function as a Trojan Horse has now brought thirty story buildings downtown. The fact that Ivanka and Don Jr. managed to avoid being prosecuted for violating the Martin Act and Cy Vance had to return $60,000 to Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s attorney, was only in passing as the zoning was bumped up as a result of the 47 story hotel. Everyone was warned by people like Andrew Berman of GVSHP but with Bloomberg and Christine Quinn at the levers of power it was a done deal. The remaining power downtown, of course, rests with the King and Trinity Church. Not Charles III but William III.
So, of concern is the parcel bordered by Varick, Grand and Canal, a lot where for the past several years an outdoor party has been conducted by Gitano. Now that that particular party is over we get down to business — and where, ostensibly, a 27 story mixed-use building is going up at 76 Varick Street. Gitano’s Garden of Love is gone and permits have been filed.
But, what about that tree?
Apparently, a permit to remove that tree has been filed as well and was denied. A tree grows in SoHo? Or, is that Hudson Square? You know, where Occupy Wall Street protestors hung out for a few days. I followed them around down to Foley Square back when. That was before I was sent to prison for being a journalist and exposing corruption in the D.A.’s office and in Southampton. The Town’s economic racism is replete with fake liberals and white supremacists. Ordinary racism is just so passe’ and obvious these days, isn’t it?
Trees are people in SoHo. Tourists we have aplenty. Parks and Trees, not so much. But, if Trinity wants to build, at this point, they gotta go around that tree. Right?
“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. …
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. .
Funny, right? How about a social media site called Truth Social? Inventive name, right?
A Geobbels used to say, “A lie told once remains a lie, but a lie told a thousand times becomes the truth.”
Of course, the Ubiquitous Comestible was about margarine. It just sounds elegant. In fact, it was horrible stuff and was nothing but chemicals.
Actually, my personal feelings are that there is no point in telling the world what your personal views are about anything. Certainly not what the Truth is. But, as Don Ameche said, “Things change.” As those who disagree with Putin have found, you could find yourself jumping out of a window. Or, at least being asked to do so nicely — with a gun at your head.
Which is exactly how I was led to take a plea in this Best of All Possible criminal justice systems that we have in New York State. It didn’t matter that I was the subject of what’s called a vindictive prosecution for writing about corruption and a criminal who was part of the Hamptons power structure known loosely as the Southampton Sports club, or SS. While the D.A., head of that group, was subsequently imprisoned and now spends his time making license plates in Otisville, it did nothing for my financial, emotional and familial health. Truth is a very dangerous concept.
Keep your eyes peeled for my books about reality and truth. But, social media? I don’t think so.
”I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy — but that could change.”
— Dan Quayle
Rather than pretend to understand the new political realities, here’s a missive from Sean Sweeney, the Godfather of SoHo politics. We rarely communicate. Sort of like the fact that I ate at the Broome Street Bar beginning in 1972 but only spoke to Ken or Bob once or twice in fifty years. I knew we got along because The Lofty Times, a magazine I published in 1977 was in “the book” kept behind the bar — allowing us to cash a check any time. Artist George Kokines poured drinks in those days. And Bob Bolles would knock a few down before heading over to work on his iron sculptures.
The following outline gives you a good idea about voting if you’re a Democrat. If you’re a Republican, my apologies. You’ll have to head out to the Hamptons.
Redistricting has placed SoHo/NoHo in brand-new Congressional and State Senate districts.
Jerry Nadler will no longer represent SoHo and Carolyn Maloney will no longer represent parts of NoHo. Twelve candidates are vying to replace them. There is also a competitive race in the new State Senate district.
Folk have been asking the SoHo Alliance for advice. We tell them the SoHo Alliance is non-partisan, but whoever wins the Democratic primary here invariably gets the office. Our politically-active neighbors in Downtown Independent Democrats (DID) have issued their analysis, a detailed two-page Voters Guide. Access and read it here.
DID Endorses Jo Anne Simon for Congress & Vittoria Fariello for State Senate.
Ms. Simon represents northwest Brooklyn in the State Assembly, where she has excelled in passing legislation on education, gun violence prevention, gender equity, paid family leave, equal pay for equal work, and voting reform, to list a few.
Assemblymember Simon is equally effective as a passionate community advocate for her district, having first-hand experience with rezoning — battling against displacement and for maximum affordable housing.
Jo Anne fought to save the Long Island College Hospital, demanded more affordable housing in Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yard development, secured the city’s first traffic-calming study, and worked with her community to clean up the toxic Gowanus Canal.
There are other leading candidates.
Yuh-Line Niou represents the Lower East Side and lower Manhattan in the State Assembly. She is a staunch progressive who listens to and works with the community and her constituents.
When redistricting saw suburban upstate first-term congressman Mondaire Jones in danger of losing his seat, he moved into our district in June. Jones has been a congressman for only one year and a neighbor for just one summer. There are more experienced candidates.
The lead lawyer in the Trump impeachment, Daniel Goldman, has Washington experience but little local. Although a TriBeCa resident for fifteen years, he has not been involved in local issues. Without a record, we have no idea how he would perform if elected.
City Councilmember Carlina Rivera:
– Led the fight to upzone SoHo/NoHo/Chinatown along with Margaret Chin — who has endorsed her.
– Pushed the $100 square-foot conversion fee to convert from JLWQA (artist housing) to straight residential use, a use-change fee imposed on no other neighborhood in the city.
– Voted to impose a Draconian recurring $25,000 fine on her own constituents who were not “certified” artists, which Mayor Adams fortunately vetoed.
– Supports the destruction of our beloved Elizabeth Street Garden.
Vittoria Fariello is challenging the incumbent, Brian Kavanagh. Mr. Kavanagh is a seasoned legislator but many say it is time for change: time for a representative who will engage and stand with our downtown community to find creative solutions to complex problems. Such a person is Vittoria Fariello.
A downtown resident for 25 years, a public-service attorney and mother of four, Fariello serves as a local Democratic district leader. She is quick to challenge the maneuverings of the Manhattan political machine. Fariello changed party rules that allowed party bosses to abuse their power and she sued the party boss when he tried to disenfranchise grassroots activists.
Vittoria began her public-service career as a community organizer, working with public-assistance recipients who had their benefits threatened by the Giuliani administration. She has worked with the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and served in the Immigration Unit of the Legal Aid Society.
Vittoria has been a leader of the Coalition for a 100% Affordable 5 World Trade Center, with preference for 9/11 survivors and first responders. She has pledged to fight for universal health care for all New Yorkers, full funding of the Environmental Bond Act, Green New Deal for New York, installation of offshore turbines, and a Green New Deal for New York.
Christopher Marte has also endorsed Fariello, declaring “Vittoria Fariello unequivocally stands with the working people of Lower Manhattan. I’ve been with Vittoria on picket lines and at protests. Vittoria doesn’t waver from a fight and has impressed me with her commitment to the urgent needs of her future constituents.”
Early voting begins next Saturday, August 13 through Sunday, August 21 at St. Anthony’s church basement on Houston Street. Find precise days and times here.
Election day is Tuesday, August 23. Find your poll site here.
If you cannot vote in person, get your absentee ballot here.
Turnout will be very low. Your vote is tremendously important.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS GUIDE TO FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.
Sincerely, Sean Sweeney, Director, SoHo Alliance, PO Box 429, New York, NY 10012