Letters: June 17, 2009

Speaking ill

Although I occasionally read your paper, I avoid Michael Musto's column like I'd avoid any STD. When I saw your front-page headline [June 10–16] announcing Musto's comments on the death of David Carradine, I assumed that Musto would be making his usual contemptible jokes at Carradine's expense. So I was pleasantly surprised when a friend told me that I was wrong about this and that Musto had actually spoken in Carradine's defense.

So, that's one point in Musto's favor. When Musto is eventually found dead, face-down in his own body waste, his every orifice oozing excreta, I promise I won't make jokes about it.

Paul Jeffery

Noach Dear in the headlights

Re Elizabeth Dwoskin's 'The Jaws of Debt' [June 10–16]: Kudos to this judge. For once, someone is on the side of the "little people." I care for what he is doing now, not his past. We all make mistakes. It's too bad we don't have someone of his caliber in Los Angeles debt court.

John Donohue
via internet

Elizabeth Dwoskin is surprised that a judge who has piled up hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts and loans now allows other debtors same privilege?

When I first met Noach Dear in the late 1970s, I wondered how he supported his large family on a then-not-overly-generous City salary. Within a few years, it became apparent that his salary was but a fraction of his income, as the Orthodox community of Borough Park was happy to fund him in a variety of ways while he used his City positions to benefit the community and himself.

Now, he presides over a court where, except for the occasional ID theft or error, the vast majority of defendants have owed a debt for so long that the original lender has lost any hope of collecting the debt and has instead sold it to a collection company for pennies on the dollar. As Ms. Dwoskin notes, 80 percent of the defendants don't even bother to show up to court, continuing their irresponsible behavior. Judge Dear gets to reward them, in the same manner he has gamed the system, by canceling their debt. It costs him nothing, probably aids his re-election efforts, and endears him to the occasional member of the Borough Park community who appears before him as a defendant. Noach Dear's actions always benefit him. If they happen to help someone else, it's coincidental.

I wonder how he would rule, however, if the plaintiffs were all lenders from the Borough Park community?

David Arthur
Forest Hills

Bless you

Re Tom Robbins's 'Rebel With a Cause' [June 10–16]: I wanted to thank you for your piece on Brooklyn's Father Powis. It was powerful and well-written. He seems like an amazing person, the kind we need to know more about. So, thank you for educating me.

Richard Greenwald
Dean and Professor of History, Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, Drew University, Madison, New Jersey

Thanks for your wonderful article on Father Powis. I got to meet him when I worked as a social worker at EBC Bushwick High School for 10 years ( I retired last June). Father Powis was instrumental in creating our school, and a few years ago, we dedicated our library in his name. He has done more for the poor of this city than all the politicians put together. Bravo, Father Powis!!

Tom Feola
via internet

I am a longtime VV reader and want to thank you for writing a profile on a great priest: Reverend John Powis. He has been a family friend for 45 years and is a true servant of his people. We will no longer see priests of his caliber in the future. I wish we could, but the Catholic Church is just a shell of what it used to be. Keep up the good work.


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