By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
ROBBED OF MY FATHER
In Coco McPherson's Mad on the Street column [July 31], she asked various New Yorkers whether Kathy Boudin should be paroled. It seemed so simple for these people found at random to answer yes, since Boudin's crimeher involvement in a 1981 armored car robbery and subsequent police shoot-outhad no direct impact on their lives. In my own life, Kathy Boudin and her actions have probably had a bigger impact than anything ever will. This woman was a member of the group that killed my father. Sergeant Edward O'Grady was one of two policemen murdered that day.
One woman asked to comment stated that Boudin "may have not known what she was doing." A man said "she might have thought it was just going to be a bank robbery. A lot of people are young and weak-minded." I'd like to remind people to get the facts before making such statements. This was an educated, upper-class, 38-year-old woman. She was not young, and she was not weak-minded. She was a member of a terrorist group that was committing a robbery to get money to buy weapons in an attempt to overthrow the government.
Kathy Boudin was just as much a part of the crime as the people who pulled the triggers. During the robbery, a Brink's guard, Peter Paige, was shot and killed. Knowing this, Boudin continued on with her mission. She knew damn well that there were people hidden inside that van with semi-automatic weapons, just waiting to shoot and kill anyone in a uniform. As far as I'm concerned, she can rot in jail.
THEATER FOR THE NEW EAST VILLAGE
As the developer of the 16-story building being constructed above the Theater for the New City in the East Village, I feel compelled to respond to Tom Robbins's article "Tower of East 10th Street: Theater High-Rise Stirs Protests" [July 17]. First, federal cutbacks in support of the arts resulted in financial problems for the theater. Our project brought the theater back from the brink of financial collapse, which is where its involvement in the construction project ended. The theater was not involved in deciding what was to be constructed.
Robbins also expressed concerns that we are not employing union workers at the construction site at 10th Street and First Avenue. However, readers who have been following this project closely know that we initially chose a union crane operator. On December 18, 2000, that crane fellnot as it was lifting heavy material, but as the operator was parking the crane for the day. As a result of this accident I decided on a crane operator that owns the cranes it uses, not because it is non-union, but because it has a great reputation for job safety. The crane accident demonstrates just how critically important job safety is.
As for the concerns with the completed structure's size, readers should be aware that neighborhood considerations factored into our decisions regarding the design of the building. We did not neednor did we ask forany variances or special treatment for this project. In order to avoid overshadowing the street and neighboring buildings, we designed the structure to have setbacks of 20 and 30 feet.
We hope that the building's presence in the community will be a positive one, and so far the neighborhood has been pleased with our effort to leave over 100 feet of light to the west of the new building.
Sharon Lerner's article concerning teen chastity ["An Orgy of Abstinence," August 7] was timely, scary, and humorous. It's so sad to see that the same lamebrained schemes that have been around since the mid '70s are still in vogue with the Religious Right. They will not succeed in making headway in the drive for teen chastity with such tactics. Adolescents need access to accurate information. They need mentors who are truthful and open, who do not believe that "character education" is an adequate replacement for sex education. Just what are these abstinence groups afraid oftheir own sexuality?
In response to Sharon Lerner's "An Orgy of Abstinence": I am 66. When I was a teen, abortion was illegal and there was no such thing as sex education. My parents weren't any help, and I ended up marrying earlier than I might have, partly because of the desire for sex. I have been happily married to the same man for almost 49 years, and I did not suffer physical or emotional harm because of my premarital affairs. While I do not think promiscuity is a desirable trait, it may not be the best thing to marry the first man you sleep with either. In my particular case, that would have been a disaster. I envy today's teens their freedom to make a choice, and I urge them not to listen to these campaigns for abstinence until marriage. It is better to shop around a little.
THE SIKH WAY
I commend Michael Kamber for his article "On the Corner" [July 31], which provided an insightful look at the lives of many struggling Sikhs. Mr. Kamber has presented a point of view that is not the norm. The American media has generally presented the biased agenda of the Indian government, and I applaud Mr. Kamber for relaying the experience of Sikhs, and the rampant human rights violations they suffer from in the so-called largest democracy in the world.