By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
ABUSE OF OFFICE
As an activist for over 20 years who's uncovered many governmental scams, even going undercover as a battered woman to expose a crooked system under the Giuliani administration, I was aghast when I read Tom Robbins's account of how Russell Harding spent our tax dollars on his sprees ["The Lush Life of a Rudy Appointee," April 16]. Congratulations on such wonderful investigative reporting. Maybe now others will think twice about abusing their power after they take the oath. I hope the new commissioner of the Department of Investigation will do an in-depth probe of this scandalous situation.
Tom Robbins's exposé of Russell Harding's wanton, arrogant, and highly prosecutable feeding at the taxpayer trough is an example of investigative reporting and writing at its very finest. It's impossible to believe that Rudy Giuliani hadn't heard of Harding's profligacy. Back when he was hacking his way up, Rudy put people in jail for less. But Russell is [Giuliani adviser and Liberal Party boss] Ray Harding's son. As Robbins notes, the agency that bought even his smokes and slices was considered politically "off-line," but it's also obvious it was off-limits to municipal investigators. They probably knew enough not even to ask whether they should take a look, but if they did and got winks, nods, shrugs, and whispers . . . hey, there could be a RICO in this.
Hong Kong, China
In a recent column by Michael Musto in which he discussed Michael Alig's "party daysthe mid '80s to mid '90s" [La Dolce Musto, April 2], reference was made to my wife, Julie Jewels, as a "wan teen with a fake Russian accent."
Once again Musto has become so overjoyed with his alleged ability to write about New York scenes he so greatly wishes he could have been part of, he has forgotten that as a columnist he is supposed to be writing the truth.
Number one, Julie was never wan. If you look it up in the dictionary, the definition of wan is "pale or sickly, suggestive of bad health." Julie is a tall, glamorous, curvaceous blond bombshell who would never properly be described as wan. Secondly, with respect to her "fake" Russian accent: Julie is from Russia. She came here when she was 10 years old. Twelve years ago, when she was going out to clubs, she still had a strong Russian accent.
Finally, Michael Alig did not make her an "it girl." From the first night that Julie began doing the doors at clubs like the World, Red Zone, and Limelight, her gorgeous looks and style of dress made her the talk of the nightclub world.
What distinguishes Julie most of all is that when the club kid scene started becoming messy, she stepped out of it and, with Michael Alig, created Project X Magazine. Once Project Xbecame a nationally distributed chronicle of the club kids' world, what had been a relatively obscure scene among a few clubbers became a national phenomenon.
If Musto is going to write about the club kid scene, it is understandable he would want to incorporate Julie into such a column. We would greatly appreciate it, however, if he would write the truth.
I generally feel that Michael Musto is right on target. However, he has totally missed it with his rationale regarding the latest crisis in the Catholic Church [La Dolce Musto, April 16]. To say that a closeted homosexual would go so far as to "prey on the most vulnerable targets aroundaltar boysinstilling a fear of God in them to make sure they'd never tell" couldn't be more offensive or wrong. A rational human being (closeted or not) doesn't make the leap from pent-up sexual frustration to actions involving the violation of an innocent child. These most heinous crimes are done by individuals greatly in need of help. If anything, the Church is at fault for fostering an environment in which help for these troubled individuals is not an option.
Musto's rhetoric is exactly the type of crap that the right uses to justify the continued infringement of the rights of gays and lesbians in America. With this type of thinking, a gay Boy Scout will never have a chance in our lifetime.
KISS MY ASSETS
As a teacher in Williamsburg at one of the poor-performing schools that Mayor Bloomberg rants about, I have nothing but contempt for what comes out of his mouth ["Did the Mayor Make More 'Racist' School Remarks?" Chisun Lee, March 26]. Bloomberg's comments of late are only showing his ignorance as far as education is concerned.
The fact is, you are not going to improve the school system until you start giving the schools money for books, after-school tutoring, and better teachers. Our school lost three teachers in the middle of this year because they would rather commute two hours to the suburbswhere they would have the support a school needsthan spend another year in a system where everyone points fingers at what is wrong but no one wants to pay the money to fix them.