It in My Backyard
a surprise it was to see that Mayor Jerry Jennings switched
funding from Lark Street [Newsfront, Jan. 17] to revitalize
basically what is in his own backyard.
With no real regard or concern for Lark Street, commonly referred
to as the “Jewel of the City,” or the “Village in the City,”
Jennings not only delayed the dreams and hopes of many, but
in a typical dictatorial manner swept away the financial means
to revitalize the dying and decaying Lark Street infrastructure.
Only a short time after the election, with no discussion of
what was to come, Jennings once again acted as Jennings so
often does, and that is to do what he wants. When will the
people of Albany see that this man is taking Albany on a one-way
trip down the road of ruin and destruction?
He not only wants to take the city of Albany down, but also
wants to tear away at our school system and won’t be happy
until we have a Tammany Hall right here in Albany.
Noticeably missing from any articles on the subject are comments
from Richie Conti, 6th Ward city councilperson. How typical
for Albany politics that no one in a position to voice the
people’s discontent is willing to speak out on this matter
and take a stand for what we know to be right. Let’s not all
be sheep but let us rally against this tyranny and let our
voices be heard loud and clear.
It’s our money and we want it back.
you for informing me that numerous recent theatrical productions
at Proctor’s were produced without the benefits and protections
of an Actor’s Equity contract [Art Murmur, Feb. 14]. Up until
recently, I did not attend live theater at Proctor’s because
of the expense. Now that I can afford to see the touring musicals
stopping at the theater, I was hoping to do so and perhaps
even take out a subscription. This idea is now on hold.
I do not want to knowingly enjoy myself at the expense of
someone else’s livelihood, at the cost of contributing to
the continuing downward spiral in the living standards of
working people, at the risk of betraying the memory of my
father (Equity, AFTRA, SAG), my mother (DC37, 1199) or myself
(NYSUT, GSEU, OMCE). I do not wish to be selfish or shameful,
as I believe I would be if I attended a theatrical performance
at Proctor’s, now that I know that it is more likely to be
a nonunion show.
I am not so naďve as to think that I can only enjoy art and
entertainment made under union contract, nor that unions are
perfect institutions, as the national tour of The Music
Man may illustrate. I support and attend community theater,
and I go to the movies even though I know I will find the
union bug missing from the closing credits of some of them.
But if I find out that a theater is happily staging productions
that should be union and are not, then I can find a better
use for my time and hard-earned pay. I will continue to attend
$2 movies at this beautiful theater, unless and until a full-scale
union boycott is called, but I will not be seeing any musicals
there until I learn that their cast and crew are lucky enough
to have a union contract.
K. Alexander II
to the Metroland Sex Survey results [“Survey Says,”
Feb. 14]: “One gay woman says, ‘in grade school I did.’ ”
grade school?” your writer cracks. “With strangers? Where’d
you go to school, lady? Paula Poundstone Junior High?”
Interesting joke. Is the insinuation directed at Ms. Poundstone,
or toward the 12-year-old girl who is thought (though not
known, as the records are sealed for the children’s “protection”)
to have made charges of lewd conduct that were later dismissed?
Anyway, thanks for doing your bit. We all know that innocent
people, once accused, have to be punished anyway, in this
case for arousing our deepest fears and ambivalences surrounding
sex. And where better than in the press, that bastion of free
I would never want to muzzle the media, but please remember
that Paula Poundstone is at once exonerated, overpenalized,
and herself under a hypocritical gag order.
the Public Interest
response to an article in Metroland on efforts to improve
Grand Street [“Wouldn’t It Be Grand?” Jan. 31], Paul Rutherford
recently submitted a letter to the editor expressing his opinion
on the efforts of the Community Builders and others [Letters,
Feb. 14]. While Mr. Rutherford offers several legitimate concerns
and potential ideas, much of what he writes is wrong, misleading
and ill-informed. This is particularly surprising coming from
someone who is apparently a real-estate professional.
To respond to several of his claims:
1. The Community Builders is a mission-driven nonprofit organization.
Our mission is to build and sustain communities of choice
where residents achieve their full potential. We will not
be earning any profits from this work. Any proceeds from the
Grand Street effort (of which there are likely to be none)
will be reinvested in future work performed by the Community
Builders in Albany.
2. We acknowledge that the project is expensive. However,
for the type of work that is being done and the positive impact
that it will have, the costs are in line with others, including
private developers, doing similar work. Mr. Rutherford is
clearly not aware of the requirements of these funding programs
or of the realities of a construction project of this type.
3. The rehabilitation model noted by Mr. Rutherford would
not work on Grand Street or most troubled urban areas. The
amount of investment needed to turn these streets around is
simply too great. The first few phases of a revitalization
effort for this type of area require heavy investment and
subsidy. This is a significant reason why these government-subsidy
4. The buildings will not be “overloaded” with renters, as
Rutherford posits. In fact, we are reducing the total density
of the buildings from their most recent uses. In addition,
each of the apartments will be spacious and of very high quality.
5. While we agree that owner occupancy is an important goal,
this is simply not feasible at this time for the buildings
that we have chosen, especially given market conditions and
the extent of rehabilitation required by these architecturally
and historically significant buildings. We hope that our initial
investments will be a catalyst for other improvement efforts,
including those performed by the private market and homeowners.
The Grand Street project is the first of many projects for
the Community Builders in the Capital Region. Each of these
projects represents a long-term commitment to the communities
in which we work. With local permanent offices in Albany,
we have become a local fixture and will sustain our dedication
to revitalize and improve the area’s neighborhoods.
McCann, Vice President
Community Builders, Inc., Albany