Thursday, December 14, 2006

Our Readers Respond...

Dear Editor:

Regarding Ms. Camacho’s article in your Nov. 23 edition, Latinos and Higher Education, does she really feel that only Latinos cannot afford extra help for their children? What about the Americans who grew up in this country?

The Latinos have to do what Americans do, take out loans and spend years paying off these loans. All Americans are not wealthy. Latinos should stop feeling sorry for themselves. From what I see they are doing pretty good for themselves at our expense.

Paula Santangelo
White Plains

Dear Editor:

In your Thursday November 30th edition, the Opinion column addressed the County Homeless Shelter at Grasslands. This is still America and the “criminal element”, when they meet eligibility criteria, may receive both cash and food stamps. I don’t know where you got the information regarding food stamp and public assistance eligibilty but it is incorrect. Food stamps is a federal program for the purchase of food products only. If there are any retailers changing food stamps to money it is to be investigated by the USDA not the County. Please note this practice is not limited to shelter residents but is found among domiciled recipients as well. Finally most of the individuals at the Grasslands shelter are single and receiving Safety Net Assistance which is a State and County supported program, not federal. Some residents may be in receipt of income from other sources such as Social Security or Unemployment benefits. Are you going to take the heads of those agencies to task as well for money being misused by “a criminal element”? Of course not, if there is rampant drug use as you suggest, it is a criminal matter to be investigated by the police.

Knowlegeable Citizen

Dear Editor:

Your November 16 article on Kazakhstan/Borat was garbage. Does the author not know how to Google? WT paints a ninecy-nice 5th grade picture of what a corrupt and human rights sewer that is Kazakhstan. That the US and Britain are its biggest investors and the biggest supporters of this dictatorship with aid and weapons should give one a clue; the Kazakhs got a lot of oil, natural gas . . .

Tourists should enjoy other places but need to have a real clue as to where they are. If you want to go to Kazakhstan have a party but also give Human Rights Watch a donation, take a minute to protest anyway you can, visit a dissident and then you can be respected as a tourist and not just another American airhead. And Borat? Making fun of Kazakhs? Oh please. Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) himself said the film pointed out how dumb people are in believing ridiculous things about Kazakhstan. His film showed how unbelievably stupid, gullible and bigoted Americans are. Notice what happens when he’s in my town, New York City, everyone he tries to say hello to verbally and violently repulses him and threatens to kick his butt. So who’s dumb, backward and repulsive here? Who’s being made fun of??

Bob Mcglynn

In Our Opinion...

We believe Chief Administrative Judge Jonathan Lippman is the worst of hypocrites. Last week the New York Law Journal, in an article entitled Perspective, published remarks made by Lippman excerpted from a speech he delivered as the recipient of the Cyrus Vance Tribute from the Fund for Modern Courts on November 29, 2006. Lippman opened stating, “In musing about a subject for today’s remarks, I fixed upon this year’s ballot measures in Oregon, Colorado, and South Dakota, all of which were, in the words of one recent New York Times editorial, aimed at punishing judges for their of-ficial rulings, and making them more captive to prevailing political winds.”

That he should decide upon the Election of Judges as his topic and state “I fixed” upon anything We find almost Freudian, coming as it does from a man who last year “fixed” the race in which he successfully ran for State Supreme Court by cross-endorsing County Court Judge Joseph Alessandro. How stupid does Lippman think voters are? Apparently, very. How corrupt is the selection process for nominating judicial candidates in New York? Apparently, very. Consider the man Judge Lippman decided to throw in with, Joseph Alessandro.

Alessandro, a candidate who the Judicial Committee on Credentials found “Unqualified,” never attended Law School, but managed somehow, to his credit, some thirty years ago, to pass the Bar Exam. Having little more than real estate law experience, and a stint in Traffic Court, he had the nerve to run for County Court, four years ago with numerous signs bearing the slogan, “Experience Counts.”

Having received the Republican and Independence nods, he then entered the Democratic Primary, bumping White Plains City Court Chief Judge, JoAnn Friia. There were serious questions about Alessandro’s residency in Westchester, with evidence that he was merely using his mother’s house in Valhalla for an address, but was actually living in the Morris Park section of the North Bronx. The house would become an issue when Barbara Battista a woman who had loaned Alessandro $260,000, in his first campaign, accepting a lien on the house as collateral, and a position as Treasurer of his campaign committee, brought suit against him for defrauding her out of her funds with a slick real estate transfer transaction.

Lippman, a Democrat, who was concerned last year, as he might not have been concerned this year, with election to the mostly Republican, five-county Ninth Judicial District Supreme Court, knew all about Alessandro’s undesirability, and shady history. Did he really give a damn, so long as he could “cut a deal” that virtually fixed the election so that he could not lose? Not on your life. At one point in his address Lippman stated, “As Chief Administrative Judge I am keenly aware that there is yet another dimension to judicial independence
and accountability, namely our ability to govern ourselves autonomously as an independent branch of government.” Speaking of problems in State Courts, he went on further, “This danger is especially great if we are seen to fall short in effectively managing our affairs, or in meeting the needs of those we serve.”

We would suggest, if Judge Lippman is any example, those who hold office in the State Courts are managing their affairs very badly, cutting deals whenever, and with whomever, they please to further their personal political ambition. Judge Frank Nicolai is but another example. Unwilling to chance running again for the Supreme Court, as a Democrat, following a 14-year stint, he cut deals with those who might have desired his position as Administrative Judge of the Ninth Judicial District, so as to keep that spot even as a County Court Judge, in an inferior court.

As for “meeting the needs of those we serve,” as Lippman put it, one need only speak to those whose misfortune it has been to go through a divorce proceeding in Westchester Supreme, Matrimonial Part. The horror stories are sending litigants to federal authorities in search of relief from forgery, fraud, and outright judicial abuse. But don’t approach award-winning Judge Jonathan Lippman regarding the troubles in our courts. By him everything is Kosher for Passover.

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