The truth is that Ready, Willing & Able is the most successful work program for homeless adults in the nation. We've had wonderful press from The New York Times, the New York Post, 60 Minutes, Good Morning America, the Daily News, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Ready, Willing & Able has always been about the desire of all human beings to work hard to build a better life. To belittle their efforts through slanderous lies is a disservice to all New Yorkers.

Harriet Karr McDonald,
Ready, Willing & Able

Geoffrey Gray replies: To clarify, it is not I who state that "all environmental concerns" were missing; rather, it is me reporting the contents of an unreleased memo. It is also not I who claim Hevesi alleged wrongdoings; rather, it is the letter from his office which states that under normal contract procedures, Doe's Porter Avenue site would have been disqualified. McDonald's success should not go unnoticed, but that success should not excuse any private nonprofit—especially one that receives hundreds of millions in taxpayer money—from the scrutiny of third parties and, ultimately, the public.


Geoffrey Gray did an important job in exposing the previously unreported dark side of the Doe Fund's 22-year, $180 million contract with the city for the Porter Avenue Shelter ["Ready, Willing & Under Fire," August 6]. I have one clarification: Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A ("Brooklyn A") only represents local residents and their associations; the businesses and other plaintiffs in the underlying litigation and appeals were represented by Greg Wallance and Liz Kann of the law firm of Kaye Scholer, on a pro bono basis, and are now represented by Scott Mollen and Adam Paget of Herrick Feinstein.

We are appealing the case because the city has failed to abide by the City Charter-mandated Uniform Land Use Review Process. The city's putative excuse for avoiding the ULURP, which requires review by the local community board, the Borough Review Board, and the borough president, was based on the claim that the transaction did not involve the city in either the ownership or lease of real property. In fact, the city's contract with Doe dictates every aspect of the acquisition and renovation of the Porter Avenue site, and every detail of the operations there. That the project is funded from the capital budget is another reason why legally the city was required to follow ULURP. If the Porter Avenue avoidance of ULURP is allowed to stand, it sets an extremely dangerous precedent.

Martin S. Needelman
Project Director and Chief Counsel
Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A


As a 32-year-old son of a lesbian I was struck by the degree to which Peggy F. Drexler's article "Lesbian Mothers Making Men" [August 13] spoke to my own experience. As a young boy and then as a teenager, I did all the same things every normal son does: play sports, have girlfriends, break curfew, have parties when my parents were away. Like most teenagers, I was confused about a lot of things, but my sexual preference was not one of them. In that sense my growing up was perfectly "normal."

In my case, I was lucky to have a loving father who made every effort to be in my life. But his presence was never about providing a masculine role model; it was about instilling good values and providing a sense of security and love.

Ultimately, good parenting is not about gender or sexual preference, but about creating a stable, permanent, and loving home where true family values—love, respect, honesty, and tolerence—can be taught.

Joshua Sherwin


Not to sound tetchy or anything, but I found Michael Atkinson's characterization of my friend Susan Walsh's contributions to the Voice a trifle dismissive ["Naked Ambition," August 13]. Yes, Susan "bylined a few sex-trade articles" for your paper, but she also contributed a perceptive and engaging interview with Mary Gaitskill to the Voice Literary Supplement [September 25, 1995] and did tireless research work for James Ridgeway, much of which helped shape Ridgeway and Sylvia Plachy's book Red Light. At the time of her disappearance she was working on a very promising piece about so-called "vampire cults" on the Lower East Side.

Atkinson is correct in saying that Susan "has been missing for over four years." As of July 16, it's been six.

Glenn Kenny
Premiere Magazine
New York


Nate Schweber's and Wayne Barrett's article about Dick Armor ["Pataki's Poster Boy," August 13] made my jaw drop. I was amazed that Pataki would tacitly support someone who felt children's educable potential was tied solely to their parents' financial situation. Anyone who has been to public school anywhere in America, let alone New York City, has witnessed people from backgrounds of poverty succeed.

Having money helps, and Armor's statistics may imply that much. But to go on and make the normative conclusion that it is the only factor is careless and foolish. The suggestion that money earmarked for education should be spent on social welfare programs is equally absurd. That is half-assing both issues.

Coming from Missouri, I remember when John Ashcroft was governor. He spouted the same load of shit about being "the education governor." Like Pataki he succeeded in gutting funds for public schools. Fortunately more progressive administrations followed—something the children of New York City deserve.

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