In the article "Getting Greened" [September 11-17], Wayne Barrett mostly blames the failure of Mark Green's mayoralty bid on the sabotage of Al Sharpton, Roberto Ramirez, and others, and speculates that the same fate may have been in store for Andrew Cuomo. But there are also other reasons for their failures.
Green, with the most progressive history of the four Democratic mayoral candidates, chose to campaign to the center, perhaps hoping to siphon off some of the Giuliani constituency. Knowing that a growing gap between rich and poor made Ferrer's "two New Yorks" theme germane, he nevertheless branded it "divisive." Green could have made an all-out appeal directly to black and Latino communities to get them to the polls, irrespective of what Sharpton and Ramirez were up to. He didn't. He and his campaign may wish to say his loss was about sabotage, 9-11, and Bloomberg's cash, but they made choices, and choices have consequences.
As to Cuomo, he was not only facing possible trouble from those Barrett cited had he won the primary, but he'd failed to receive the support of most other state party leaders. Maybe that's partly because his father, during 12 years as governor, did very little for David Dinkins in '93, or Green and Robert Abrams before him, or to achieve a senate majority throughout, and, leaving office with the party in hock, refused to give it any of his $400,000 campaign surplus. You can blame Sharpton and Ramirez for some things, but not everything.
Wayne Barrett replies: Strangely enough, virtually everything Richard Barr writes about Mario Cuomo and Green appeared in other columns I've written over the years. I said specifically in this piece that Green was hardly faultless and I spelled out what his faults were in articles that appeared before and after the 2001 election. This story, however, was about the continuing maneuvers of the Sharpton-Ramirez gang.
LONDON CALLING MUSTO
I would just like to say, quite simply, that Michael Musto rocks! I have been reading his column for a few years now, sitting here on my Mac in my humble Hoxton home. He fills me with cheer and chuckles every week. I especially loved this week's column [La Dolce Musto, September 11-17] because I am sick and tired of hypocrisy, in particular the hypocrisy of some of my gay brothers and sisters who think that dressing more traditionally, not talking about the act of gay sex, and being monogamous and registering their gay relationship at the town hall make it more valid than if you happen to have an open-minded, modern, alternative take on things.
Musto tells it like it is and I'm glad that someone is willing to put his (talented) ass on the line. His wit is razor sharp and one of a kind. I love that he's not ashamed to write about porn, that he's not ashamed to slag off that bitch Liz Smith, and that he's not ashamed to be gay.
Colin K. Waterson
Tom Robbins's article "Labor's Cheap Date With Pataki" [September 4-10] was interesting and valuable, while disturbing to those of us still in the progressive wing of union activism.
Readers of the Voice, and especially readers who are Public Employees Federation (PEF) members, should know that the final chapter in the PEF endorsement has not been written yet. Activists from the PEF division in the Environmental Conservation Department, with growing support from stewards, executive board members, and rank and file across the state, have a resolution printed and on the convention agenda to, in effect, cancel the Pataki endorsement and give it to Carl McCall. Unlike some of the other unions mentioned as Pataki endorsees, PEF has a more democratic structure and internal union democracy heritage that allows for checks and balances on the union leadership when they step out of linewhich they did with pushing this endorsement through with little advance notice to members. Convention delegates will, I trust, reverse this travesty.
East Greenbush, New York
POLITICS OF DANCING
In the September 18-24 Fly Life column ["The Sheeet Hits the Fan"], Tricia Romano comments on the attire of the club kids and their method of protest as "not the best way to get your congressman to take you seriously." Maybe the "candy kids" and "hippies" are not trained in the fine art of protest, but for me, impressing Congress has never been the goalpublic awareness has. Most members of Congress don't care about protesters and consider us to be unemployed lazy bums with a lot of time on our hands. So, becoming the fashion police and downing this type of participation does not help the situation, which is a very serious one. Romano should be a positive example and leave the fashion policing to Joan Rivers. Besides, dance itself is a form of protest. Just ask the people of Argentina.
I am always delighted to read a piece by the erudite Elliott Stein, but I am disappointed that, in his quizzical take on William Wyler ["Old Hollywood's Sure Thing," September 11-17], Stein gives only slight attention to The Heiress, a film based on the stage play adaptation of Henry James's underrated novel, Washington Square. Not only one of the finest "women's pictures" ever made but the greatest film adaptation of James, The Heiress is an absolutely perfect film, providing an increasingly, inescapably violent analysis of James's themes of desire, mendacity, and cruelty. I continue to marvel at the film's extraordinary sensitivity and harrowing honestyits unflinching allegiance to its own aims, the depiction of a kind social pariah's descent into the same sadistic sensibility which has destroyed her own life.
David Greven, Professor in the Humanities
RON PLOTKIN MEMORIAL
There will be a memorial for the late Village Voice Letters editor Ron Plotkin on September 29 at 4 p.m. at St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, 131 East 10th Street, in the East Village. Persons wishing to speak are asked to call in advance at 212-475-3333, ext. 2127, or 212-358-9615.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.