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Jay Kennedy Remembered

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To the Editor:

I really enjoyed and appreciated David Foxley’s article on my late boss, King Features editor in chief Jay Kennedy [“Jay Kennedy, Editor of Cartoonists, Arts and Newspaper Archivist, 50,” March 26]. It was truly insightful reading about his hobbies, friendships and personal background. He will be sorely missed in the cartoon industry.

Just F.Y.I.: The article mentioned my comic strip, The Pajama Diaries. My name, as the cartoonist, is actually Terri Libenson; the main character is Jill Kaplan. No worries, this happens frequently—I just thought I’d mention it.

Thanks again for bringing to light so many wonderful aspects of Jay’s personality. I only had the privilege of knowing him for two years, but his impact on my career was tremendous.

Terri Libenson
Cleveland, Ohio

Who’s Going to Pick Up the Bill?

To the Editor:

Thank you for Matthew Schuerman’s intelligent and well-informed article about Starrett City [“Bruce T. and Chuck S. Rumble in Starrett City,” March 19].

There is one question about this transaction that no one in the press or in politics has addressed. Senator Schumer wants to see Starrett City owned by someone who will “keep the development as an oasis of well-maintained affordable housing.” My question is: Who does Senator Schumer (or anyone else) think is going to do this? If the Bistricer deal is killed, does anyone really believe that Disque Deane and his partners are going to maintain this project indefinitely as a matter of public service? Who is going to buy this place if they are never allowed to make any money?

One answer is public ownership: The feds, the state and the city can get together and buy the project at a discount. I haven’t seen any of the politicians involved in this fight step up to the plate for that.

The other answer is the same one we got back in the 70’s with rent control: Sooner or later, the landlord loses interest and abandons the buildings (or sells out to someone else who does).

All of us would like to believe that housing is cheap, just as we would all like to believe in the Big Rock Candy Mountain. New York went through a lot of pain for many years to learn that the fairy tale isn’t true.

Paul Model

Cuomo and Class

To the Editor:

According to Ron Rosenbaum, the Georgia native, Newt Gingrich, looked like a “Dickensian fat cat” when he spoke of real and palpable improvements in New York City’s quality of life [“Cuomo and Newt at Cooper Union: Gunfire and Orchestras,” March 12]. Why? Because Georgian Newt failed to make note of New York’s unappealing underbelly, i.e., Mario Cuomo’s old neighborhood. Fair enough.

But what are we to say about Mario, an honest-to-goodness, sumptuously wealthy Park Avenue “fat cat,” when he deigns to limousine out to his old neighborhood and, upon observing the results of the many decades of thoroughly and tragically failed liberal policy there, the best that he can offer by way of contrition is some juvenile, hollow prose about “gunfire” and “orchestras”? Incidentally, I never quite understand people like Mr. Cuomo anyway. Is it that they want Wall Street and the Upper West Side to look like South Jamaica? Or vice versa?

O.K., amidst all of the Rosenbaum swooning and flap-doodle about “The Speech” and Mario’s Dickensian “Tale of Two Cities,” Ron finally gushes at what he found to be “a virtuoso display of theological erudition.” One man’s “theological erudition” is another’s duplicitous posturing. Place me firmly in the “another’s” group. In his advocacy for unbridled (embryonic) stem-cell research, Mr. Cuomo as usual sets a false argument between Aquinas, who wrote that life began 30 days from conception, and Augustine, who theorized that it was 15 days.

Bulletin to Mr. Cuomo: We know precisely when life begins. No matter how wise and inspired these men were, we don’t need to look to the fourth or the 13th century for this kind of information.

Jim McCaffrey
Sarasota, Fla.

Ron Rosenbaum replies:

So many factual errors and misreadings in this letter that it’s hard to fathom the smugness. Fact, re quality of life: the New York Times headline “With a Record Number of Homeless Families, City Vows to Improve Aid” [March 19, 2007]. Guess you don’t see them in Sarasota. Fact: Mr. Cuomo neither favors “unbridled” stem-cell research nor abortions (I’d suggest he read Mr. Cuomo’s famous Notre Dame speech on the abortion question before making any further embarrassing displays of ignorance). Mr. Cuomo believes abortions are more effectively reduced through promoting sex education and adoption than absolutist law. Fact: The point Mr. Cuomo was making in citing the theologians’ differences is that even Catholic saints can disagree—that it is, thus, a difficult religious question for some, not a closed question for know-it-alls.