By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Thank you for finally taking on the most corrupt politician perhaps in U.S. history, Rudy Giuliani. Wayne Barrett's piece "The Yankees' Clean-Up Man" [May 9&endash;15] was fantastic. One complaint, however: Barrett left out the funniest hoax of Giuliani's many Yankees hoaxes. When Giuliani announced the fallen girder at Yankee Stadium and said it proved we taxpayers would have to buy millionaire Steinbrenner a new stadium, the mayor pointed out that the House That Ruth Built (a landmark) was 75 years old. And no reporters pointed out the obvious: Mayor Giuliani said these words while standing in City Hall&emdash;a building nearly 200 years old. Nor did anyone think to ask how the mayor managed to live in Gracie Mansion, which is over 200 years old. It was pure Madman Giuliani (which is why some of us called him the Madman Of Crazy Mansion), and I'm sad to see Barrett leave it out.
WEB OF LOVE
Just wanted to say that I enjoyed Nathan Lee's "Spider Bites" [May 2&endash;8] and what a good writer he is. I saw the movie today in a bit of an antihistamine fog, so Lee's review helped me to recognize all the things I couldn't put a finger on about this movie. The review's catchy turn of phrase and witty observations made me laugh and several times sigh, "So true, so true."
San Francisco, California
YANKIN' THE CHAIN
Allen Barra's "Bring Me the Head of Joe Torre" [May 9&endash;15] was a vicious, vilifying attack on the Yankees coach. Undoubtedly, some defeatist Yankees fans agree. "Oh, ye of little faith." As New Joisey's foremost baseball expert, I say&emdash;Barra, leave Torre alone! He's doing the best he can with the team he's got. Start showing some loyalty to the Yankees, you doubting Thomases. Must we Joiseyans show you the way? Remember the glory days and the greatest Yankees pitcher ever, Carl Furillo. "Psst, Lenny. Furillo never played for the Yankees and he was an outfielder." He didn't? He was? Er-er, as I was saying, A-Rod is a great baseball player, really great. Whew! Boy, that was close, but I segued my way the hell out of that one.
Irvington, New Jersey
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's noticed the Brokeback Mountain undercurrents in Roger Clemens's decision to return to the Yankees. Consider this: Clemens's close friend Andy Pettitte signs with the Houston Astros; Clemens comes out of retirement to join him on that team. Pettitte returns to the Yankees this season, and now Clemens comes out of retirement once again to join him in New York. It adds a whole new sense to the famous line, "I wish I could quit you." I generally loathe Clemens and everything he ostensibly stands for, but the romantic side of me has to admit that he may be involved in one of the great love stories of our time.
In her response to Mara Altman's article "Class Dismissed" [Letters, May 2&endash;8], Karenne Bloomgarden states "quotes by former principal L. Walford need to be substantiated . . ." If Bloomgarden requires substantiation regarding the quality of my tenure juxtaposed to that of Principal Mitchell she merely has to peruse the New York State Education Department's Accountability Status Reports for P.S. 50 for, 2004&endash;05, which reflect my term as principal (Sept. 2003 to June 2004) and 2005&endash;06 and Mitchell's first term (Sept. 2004&endash;June 2005) as principal. In 2003&endash;2004 students met the Annual Yearly Progress required by our state in English/Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies while in Mitchell's first year students only met the AYP in Math. Further investigation will reveal that P.S. 50 was a functioning school, averaging 20 students per class, privy to a plethora of programs, while allowing voice in school matters from students, staff, and parents. As a product of the NYC schools system and, at the time, the only black male elementary school principal in Region Nine's Manhattan schools I am proud of the intelligent, humanistic approach I brought to my community. FYI: My reward for my efforts was a "satisfactory" rating and six weeks in the rubber room.
Altman's brilliant article is the tip of the iceberg in uncovering collusion, corruption, and intimidation by DOE lackeys like Mitchell. The staff has functioned in fear due to Mitchell's wrath and "connections" in having sent five well-respected and experienced teachers to the rubber room based on false charges. Bloomgarden fails to state that young Mitchell, upon arriving at P.S. 50, announced to the entire staff that she is a friend of Chancellor Klein's and that she has dinners with him. Bloomgarden fails to state that the DOE, after decades of ignoring the needs of this poor, failing black and Hispanic community school, has given Mitchell hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars for the school only after two high-income developments had been built across the street. Bloomgarden fails to state that Mitchell, supported by the DOE and its regional henchmen, has been swift in attempts to destroy the lives of many good, honest teachers. Perhaps the effort is a guise to make the school more appealing to the high-income crowd by staffing the school with white, attractive, young girls. As far as improving the school, the money should have come sooner in support of the long-past ignored minority before the rich moved into El Barrio. In the meantime, there are efforts now looming heavily upon Mitchell's head and all those behind her that will finally blast open the truth.