Congratulations to Village Voice jazz columnist Francis Davis, who was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Jazz Journalists Association on June 28. Previous such honorees include Voice writers Gary Giddins and Nat Hentoff.


Re Gustavo Arellano's' ¡Ask a Mexican! [June 28– July 3]: Doing no. 2 and then throwing the toilet paper in the trash is not a custom particular to Mexicans—it is very Latin American. From Venezuela to Cuba, people throw their Charmin in the bucket. I have seen it in upper-class homes in the Dominican Republic. After all, bigger chunks of other stuff go through the toilet and nothing happens. You are just a bunch of asquerosos who love the smell. Muy anal querido pariguayo. Look that one up.

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Renata Felsenstein
Via e-mail

"Q. Dear Mexican: What is it about the word 'illegal' that Mexicans don't understand? —Mondo Minuteman." Q. Dear Mexican: Your answer to the above question mentioned every excuse in the book but didn't answer the question. So, I'll ask it again: What is it about the word "illegal" that Mexicans don't understand? In your answer, try to get above the level of an eight year-old saying, "Well, he did it—why can't I do it?"

George C. Sievers
Roeland Park, Kansas


Thanks for Tom Robbins's 'The Second Battle of Bushwick' [June 27–July 3]. This story does a great job of unpacking how a neighborhood gets gentrified. It's not just some kind of unseen market force, as clueless hipsters often believe. Across the city right now, thousands of tenants—many of them seniors—are being harassed by slimy landlords like the ones named in this article. Being from the Lower East Side and also working for many years as a housing advocate has taught me that there is no bottom for these landlords to hit as they harass low- income tenants, seniors, and immigrant families to attract the young, the white, and the wealthy. This is what I wish I could communicate to the hipsters that frolic in my neighborhood every day and think they invented it: Your fun comes at a great expense to us.

Maria Muentes

Thank God someone is investigating the other side of gentrification. One wonders what will happen when lower-income families are finally priced out of all five boroughs? Have these landlords or their much-desired newer, whiter tenants even thought that far ahead? At that point, they'll be hard-pressed to find New Yorkers to take out their garbage, fight their fires, and operate their subway trains. That ought to be interesting to see.

Michael Pullmann
The Bronx


Although it is wonderful that the trans subject is finally being addressed, I feel that Tricia Romano's 'Bye, Bye, Boobies' [June 20–26] was terribly written, completely unbalanced, and lacked knowledge of the issue and supportive evidence. There wasn't enough of a cross section of the trans population represented. I'm not sure if this was for sensationalism or shock, or just caused by a lack of preparation and education. It's careless to throw around opinions and notions as fact. As a trans man, I am thankful for the coverage, but wish it wasn't delivered in such a haphazard, substandard manner. Romano should stick to covering trends, because this is not one of them.

Mason Caminiti


Re Mara Altman's 'To Catch a Thief' [June 28–July 3]: Thanks for helping to alert people about pigeon poachers. There are thousands of New Yorkers who like pigeons and have called me with netting reports. What's needed is an investigation of the agencies that are not enforcing the law. Netting and other kinds of harm to pigeons (like wire or nylon mesh on bridges) are ignored by two of the three city agencies that are supposed to enforce animal laws: the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Health Department. The ASPCA responds to cases when it has time and when there's evidence of cruelty. The regular police force should be in charge of all animal laws. My group protects and rescues pigeons, and, above all, it gets the truth out: Pigeons are lovable birds and are no more a disease danger than any other birds. In fact, they're safer— they do not get or transmit bird flu or West Nile virus.

Al Streit
Director of Pigeon People

These pigeon trappings are an act of animal cruelty that need to be stopped. Pigeons are intelligent, gentle animals, and they deserve better treatment than this. Even those who dislike pigeons ought to be concerned: If these birds are being sold to restaurants illegally, then we have a food-safety issue here as well.

Joanna Tierno
Staten Island


Re Julia Reischel's 'Queer in the Crib' [June 20–26]: Coming from Australia, I have a slightly "down under" view: Let people grow to be whomever and whatever they want. Labeling so early in life is ridiculous. If my daughter picked up a toy truck and I dressed her in jeans, does this make her a lesbian? If a boy plays with a doll, does that make him queer? And either way, who cares? Whatever happened to just having kids, feeding them, reading to them, and taking them to and from school? There's too much information and hype and not enough grounding. What the hell are parents reading into this crap for? Just nurture your child and let nature take its course. Life is not an Oprah episode, or a clever article.

Marika Bryant

Not only do people not want to talk about gay kids, but they don't want to admit that kids have a sex life at all. If some boys start masturbating at seven or eight (most by 12 or 13), and if there is virtually no age-appropriate sex education until high school, then there are a lot of confused straight kids out there, too. There were some excellent informational puberty films made in the '50s that have found their way onto YouTube, but in such a conservative environment, where do really young kids go to get answers?

Bob Drake
The Bronx


In last week's 'No Wafer for Rudy,' Wayne Barrett quoted former deputy mayor Fran Reiter as saying that she helped Rudy Giuliani write the historic pro-choice plank to the 1990 state GOP platform. Reiter in fact says that she helped him draft a statement that he made to the platform committee; the state party's family committee actually drafted the plank.

In the same issue, the byline on the bar column was incorrect. Elizabeth Stanek is the author.

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