Letters

'TIMES' CONDEMNED

The New York Times' proposed land deal outlined by Paul Moses in his article "The Paper of Wreckage" [June 25] is so unfair. If Scot Cohen, who operates a business on the planned TimesHQ site, or Sidney Orbach, who owns the 16-story building that is slated to be demolished, approached the city with a similar proposal, they'd be laughed out of City Hall. Is this a case of government selling out to a huge conglomerate? Are the politicians involved afraid of the editorial power of the Times? If the courts rule that the condemnation of the properties involved is for a "public purpose," they will have set a terrible precedent.

Evan Loukatos
Queens


BALLET PTOMAINE

I am deeply disturbed by Shoshana Guy's unfounded slur in her article "The Arrangement" [June 4] that the School of American Ballet has been complicit in "the perpetuation of racism and elitism in the dance world" in its dealings with La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts.

Yes, the School of American Ballet is elite, but not as defined by the writer. We train the most talented ballet students in the nation, and those students in turn achieve professional employment at ballet companies in the United States and beyond in numbers not matched by any other school. SAB's success in training professional ballet dancers is unrivaled.

No, the School of American Ballet is not racist. SAB aggressively seeks and enrolls the nation's most talented ballet students, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds or the color of their skin. To ensure that allstudents with excellent potential for professional ballet careers can train at SAB, we provide direct scholarship support to almost half of our student body—in excess of $100,000 for students of color during the past year alone.

Each spring, SAB holds community auditions for young children in Harlem, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Chinatown — a further demonstration of our profound interest in enrolling a diverse population of students who show great promise for success as ballet dancers.

Talent alone sets SAB's students apart. The writer has done a significant disservice to the youngsters at this school by suggesting otherwise.

Suzanne Davidson, President
School of American Ballet
Manhattan

Shoshana Guy replies: Although Davidson now writes to criticize the article, multiple attempts over seven months to elicit comment from the School of American Ballet's public relations office were denied. "The Arrangement" was not about SAB's "profound interest" in enrolling minority students in its program. Rather, it addressed concerns raised by the La Guardia faculty about SAB's attempts to excuse its students from La Guardia's dance curriculum. Some of the issues raised by the La Guardia faculty dealt with privilege and race. No "slur" of SAB was intended.


PS: I LOVE YOU

Thank you for "Postscript From Palestine" [June 25]. Kareem Fahim's work is wonderful. It's seldom that one can read an honest account of what is happening in the Occupied Territories, and I am grateful for Fahim's articles and the Voice's integrity. I look forward to his pieces. Please continue the great work!

Yasmeen Kazimi
Boston, Massachusetts


Reading Kareem Fahim's "Postscript From Palestine" on the day that 19 innocent Israelis were killed, I found it to be in poor taste. It was disgusting and an outrage. Where is your "Postcript From Israel"? It could end, "PS: My 11-year-old daughter boarded a bus to go to school and was blown to bits."

Susan Young
New Orleans, Louisiania


BLOWING IN THE WIND

Thanks for Geoff Gray's excellent article "Code of Quiet: The Secret War on Whistle-Blowers" [June 25]. As one who has worked a lot with individuals who have exposed incompetence and wrongdoing in a number of different government agencies, I want to point out that the FBI is not alone in its mistreatment of such employees, and this has been going on for decades. One of the problems is that it is hard to get the establishment media to tell their stories and apply pressure on their employers to honor them instead of punishing them.

There was an exception in the June 19 Washington Post. A story by James V. Grimaldi reported on testimony given by Sibel Edmonds, a former wiretap translator for the FBI in its Washington field office. She testified that one of her co-workers had unreported contacts with a foreign government official who was a surveillance target. The co-worker was also connected with a Middle Eastern organization that was under surveillance. She and her husband allegedly tried to talk Edmonds into joining it. When Edmonds reported this and other information to her superiors and to the Office of Professional Responsibility and the inspector general, she was the one who lost her job.

Reed Irvine, Chairman
Accuracy in Media
Washington, D.C.


FLY SWATTER

Tricia Romano, in her June 18 Fly Life column, criticizes Christina Ricci's physical appearance. I had the honor of being Ricci's personal trainer in pre-production for the movie The Opposite of Sex. At 17, she was awesome to work with: She was charming and cool. In recent pictures, she looks great. Of all the petty jealousies, ripping on a starlet like Christina. Your writer is obviously troubled that some people have it, and others end up bitter, jaded gossips with little class.

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