Letters to the Editor

From the week of July 31, 2003

Had I not fought for a design competition, the new city office building would have been designed according to a space planners' calculations -- without art or artifice -- and likely without Annex I. The podium of the new covention center hotel will be stone -- not cast concrete -- because I whined sufficiently. I was one of two votes opposed to rezoning the Post block, enabling developers to replace that wonderful Modernest building with surface parking.

I made many mistakes during my tenure on council: votes I wish I could reverse, comments I wish I could take back, issues I might have followed more closely. But to suggest I was not a fearless and constant advocate for the quality of the built environment -- public, private and civic -- is nonsense. Paglia's suggestion that I was in the pocket of developers or lobbyists or business interests belies my record of consistent -- sometimes strident --independence. Just check with the suits at City Hall.

Susan Barnes-Gelt

Michael Paglia responds: The idea of putting a poem on Annex I was not so much quixotic as idiotic -- but I never blamed Susan Barnes-Gelt for it (though I guess I should have). However, my column had nothing to do with poems, but with Skyline Park and Barnes-Gelt's prose on the subject, as quoted in The New York Times. Barnes-Gelt's role in the sad saga of Skyline Park, one of the most contentious preservation battles of the last decade, was that of an enemy of preservation. Her views are best summed up by a rhetorical question she asked me back in June 2002, before the decision was made to wreck the Halprin masterpiece. After I appealed to her in person to do something to save Skyline, she responded, "How much longer can we afford to waste three blocks downtown?" Surely anything she did behind the scenes reflected this view.

Alien Nation

Return of the natives: Regarding all the letters responding to Michael Roberts's July 3 story on Tom Tancredo, "The Flag-Bearer":

Tom Tancredo's immigration policy proposals are a definite must if the United States is to survive economically. Last year $27 billion was spent on social services for illegal aliens, not to speak of legal immigrants and hundreds of billions in foreign aid to various countries. At the present rate of deliberate mismanagement, we will collapse -- which will precipitate a global economic collapse followed by World War III.

Being part-Hispanic and spending the first 29 years of life sixty miles north of the Mexican border, I have come to the conclusion that the most selfish people are those who bring children into the world not being able to financially support them. Consider posterity!

Both parties are despicable, but Tom Tancredo, along with a few others, are commendable, real patriots. The agricultural and construction interests, so-called (in general) conservative Republicans, are not conservative, but lovers of money. Yes, agricultural economics is complex, but the bottom line is what's more important, America. Democrats are good at making everyone equally poor.

Keep up the good work, Tom. Thank you.

Daniel D. Fosca

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