I think that many New Yorkers would be surprised to learn that the advertising appearing on scaffolding around the city is illegal. The city has not had the resources it needs to police this activity, so it continues unabated while the city sees no financial gain. I am supporting a bill in the City Council that would regulate this activity by keeping the advertising out of residential neighborhoods and allow the city to gain revenue from the advertising in commercial districts. The bill is co-sponsored by five of my colleagues, and I look forward to holding hearings to get feedback from New Yorkers.

Tom Robbins's piece ["Ad and Distract," October 10-16] seeks to paint this useful, sensible, and widely supported bill as some sort of secretive arrangement between myself and one of my campaign contributors with an interest in this issue.

I have more than 1,000 contributors to my campaign, and thanks to New York City's stringent campaign-finance laws, there are limits to the size of contributions so that no one contributor is able to give more than another and create the impression of undue influence. Mr. Robbins also fails to note that I was instrumental in outlawing billboard advertising on arterial highways in the city, forcing the same industry to take down illegal signs.

I am proud of the wide breadth of support I have received from New Yorkers from my past campaigns for public office and for my race for comptroller, and I will continue to both introduce and support legislation that I believe is good for our city.

Melinda Katz
New York City Council


Wayne Barrett's article on "Troopergate" ["North by Northwest to Albany," October 3-9] was meticulous in the specifics, but does it add anything to the three salient realities?

1. Spitzer has earned the right to say, "I'm not a crook."

2. Cuomo and Bruno are the leading contenders for an Obie for best performance artist north of 14th Street.

3. Nothing ever was going to change from day one.

via e-mail


Thank you for honoring Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn with your kudos in the "Best of New York" [October 17-23] category "Best Noble Failure." Our organization, and all the other organizations and individuals who have struggled against the biggest real-estate boondoggle in Brooklyn's history, certainly have a good sense of humor, and we enjoyed your "award."

At the same time, we always like to keep the public informed rather than misled. So here goes: There are two pending court cases we have organized and are funding. We are optimistic about [their outcomes]. Both of these cases will not be over for a long time.

If either the 26 community-group plaintiffs on the state case win, or if the plaintiffs fighting to keep their properties from being seized by the government for Bruce Ratner win, the Atlantic Yards project cannot go forward. Failure? "Dewey Defeats Truman!"

Daniel Goldstein
Spokesman, Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn


I enjoyed Kirk Nielsen's thorough and nuanced article on the Cuban-American vote [ "Hillary's InFIDELity," October 10-16]. But as a Cuban-American who canvassed for Kerry and drove little old Cuban ladies to the polls on Election Day, I have a problem with some numbers: The majority of the 600,000 Cuban-Americans in Florida live in Miami-Dade County. This county went blue on Election Day, in spite of the majority Republican affiliation among Cuban-Americans. The big red patch in Florida was farther to the north, where a strong Christian Right and retiree population resides. Republican Cuban-American votes probably made a difference, but it wasn't the only thing taking Florida into the red camp!

Marijean Miyar
Coral Gables, Florida

I think you should become more informed about the realities of Cuban policies toward the Cuban-American exile community before you, leftish idiot, attack Senator Clinton and President Bush on Cuban-American policy. You fail to see the realities of a brutal regime. Bill Clinton got a Castro lesson in the '90s, and not a pretty one. Maybe Hillary learned something from living in the White House and knows something that Obama and the rest of you idiot liberals don't want to understand about Cuba.

Ana Martinez
via e-mail


Re: Rob Harvilla's "How to Reappear Completely" [October 17-23]: In a manner welcomely different from that of many rock critics, who seem to regard their reactions to music as objective facts, Harvilla acknowledges his take on Radiohead's brilliant new album In Rainbows as merely his "insta-opinion." While Harvilla is notably impressed by only one track ("All I Need"), I continue to find every song on this album fantastic—it's one of the most beautiful pieces of music they've ever done, which is saying quite a bit. I've been moved to tears by heart-aching songs like "Nudes" and "Reckoner," while other tracks continue to reveal new layers of nuance and soundscapey sonic bliss. This is the album that our present era of deadened sensibilities and über-commercialism has been sorely needing. Harvilla had his insta-opinion, this is mine. Where's my check?

Joe Zamarelli


Re: Dan Savage's "How Much Piss Can You Drink Without Getting Sick?" [October 16]: I haven't read the Voice in a while, but I always used to like the hip commentary, etc. Now the flavor has changed—to piss. What is it? Is New York on some death spiral? Living in a dystopia like the one you write about can't be much fun. Are there really so many ugly, twisted people there that they now constitute your sole readership?

I would suggest you take a long walk in the park and get all that suicide and urine-drinking out of your system. Going for the positive may have gone out of fashion up there. But most people find it to be the preferred flavor for life.

Mike Elvin
Fuquay-Varina, NC


Re Nina Lalli's "The Other Gentrification: New Indian, Japanese in Bed-Stuy" [October 17]: This article is so laden with racism that I was absolutely shocked that it was permitted to be posted. The author refers to the restaurants that she tried as being in Bed-Stuy, when in fact they were in Crown Heights. But perhaps since all of these neighborhoods are the type where ". . . you have to be careful not to run over feral cats at every corner," what's one minority neighborhood versus another? Might as well use the names interchangeably, I guess. Further on in the article, the writer refers to the "whities" eating at the Indian restaurant. At no point does she give the name or address of either of the restaurants she refers to, essentially rendering her article a useless piece of racist journalism. All the author has done is make clear that judgmental snobbery and uninformed bigotry still reign supreme—even at The Village Voice. I hope this was an exception and not the rule.

Julia Travis
via e-mail

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