I won't comment on a negative review about myself or the director, but I will when it's about seven brave and talented actors taking a huge risk. We have precious little of that these days, and their performances are commendable.

Jennifer Lyne
Los Angeles, California

Backward Bloomberg

I'm amazed that the Sheehan war protest was shut down because of a lack of permit for audio. The only thing more backward is to deny a grieving mother her chance to speak to like-minded people. This is why New York needs a new mayor. Let's not forget the disgraceful behavior of the Bloomberg regime during the RNC, when scores of New Yorkers were illegally detained.

Rick White
Upper West Side

Down but not out

Once again Tom Robbins ["Mike's Awkward Ally," September 14–20] delves into aspects of Newman-Fulani that the daily newspapers are too lazy to probe. The "Newmanites" were purged on September 18 from the state executive committee of the Independence Party (as predicted in Robbins's article), but they are by no means down for the count. They still control the party in four out of five boroughs and can mobilize more activists than all the rest of the party. Bloomberg has not yet developed the backbone to break with Newman. Regarding the IP purge last weekend, our mayor said he didn't think he "should be commenting on somebody else's party" (as if he weren't the IP's nominee and hadn't given it $250,000 last December!).

Equally equivocating was the mayor's attitude toward the provisional decision of a city agency last June to give Newman's All Stars Project a three-year contract to run an after-school program for middle school and high school kids at their facility (purchased with the help of a 2002 city loan). Faced with complaints from eyewitnesses to the weird behavior of Newman's youth workers and therapists—and the report on Newman's various youth in doctrination projects I delivered in August to the Department of Youth and Community Development—the mayor's office has simply passed the buck to State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

It would appear that the mayor still cares more about his relationship with the downstate Newman-Fulani faction of the IP than about the welfare of the kids.

Dennis King
Upper East Side

Political therapist

Re Smythe DuVal's letter to the editor regarding Tom Robbins's piece ["Mike's Awkward Ally," September 14–20]: During my time as a therapy intern at the Atlanta Center for Social Therapy I did indeed meet DuVal though I assumed he was on the staff at the outset, because he was one of the people who initially called to invite me to various Newman-inspired philosophy classes as well as to meet with him personally to talk about his so-called "independent politics." Mr. DuVal seems to suggest that my critique is some sort of political ploy. The issues I raise have nothing to do with politics. Newman's social therapy is a bait-and-switch trap that promises to help people "develop" (the bait) and then steers them into working, recruiting, and fundraising for any one of Newman's other activities.

Whether Mr. DuVal sees his work for Newman activities as "his choice" or not is irrelevant. What is unethical about social therapy is when it develops in connection with a political movement that has absolutely nothing to do with the issues the person sought therapy for in the first place. Mr. DuVal may feel that Dabby and Newman helped him greatly. Many others feel differently, however, and regret the months and sometimes years of time that were wasted pursuing development in Newman world at their own expense.

Erika Van Meir
Atlanta, Georgia

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