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March 6, 2006

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Change Your Life
I found Ian Mount’s “A Moveable Fiesta” more than a bit misleading [February 27]. It’s reckless not to list any downside to relocating to a country where corruption is rampant, hundreds of business deals are broken every day, overeducated engineers and architects drive taxis to support their families, and kidnappings stopped making headlines years ago. Hopefully, even the bored and the burnt-out will be skeptical of the notion that the only problem with moving to Argentina is having to put up with single-ply toilet paper.
—Steven M. Keisman, Westfield, N.J.

As an Argentinean expatriated to New York, I resent any encouragement of bratty, college-minded New Yorkers to seek out Buenos Aires for some version of la vida loca. I was saddened to read that the depiction of my city seemed to be based on the experience of some dropout who couldn’t quite make it with the ladies in New York City. I don’t know where Dominic LoTempio found those “bikini-clad” girls, but they’re not anything like the typical Argentinean female. It seems more likely that LoTempio is scoring with what Argentineans call prostitutas.
—Ana Cutello, Riverdale, N.Y.

Scooter Violations
I was shocked to read the quote from NYPD spokesman Walter Burns denying a crackdown on scooter owners [“Intelligencer: Go Directly to Jail,” by Greg Sargent, February 27]. I was arrested in September 2005 on a morning-long crackdown that entailed pulling everyone on two wheels, in a helmet, to the curb. (I was arrested for still having a New York license after residing in New Jersey for a year. I cherished my New York license.) I spent sixteen hours in three different freezing-cold holding cells (the low temperatures were to ward off TB infection from all the sickly homeless in there). As a result, I got rid of my scooter. The arresting officer told me that crackdowns like that will happen this summer, so watch out.
—Venecia B. Linde, Manhattan

Hedge-Fund School
We salute the educators at P.S. 65Q for their use of Success for All and Joel Greenblatt’s financial support to dramatically improve a once-struggling elementary school [“How Is a Hedge Fund Like a School?,” by Robert Kolker, February 20]. Several less-publicized city schools are achieving gains similar to those of P.S. 65Q, one of 68 schools whose fourth-grade achievement on the state’s English Language Arts exam rose by more than 30 percentage points between 2001 and 2005. Schools at this level have succeeded using a variety of highly effective educational strategies. For the vast majority of schools that do not benefit from the largesse of a generous donor, there is no single path to school success.
—Lori Mei, Executive Director, Assessment and Accountability New York City Department of Education

Happy Valley’s Tuesdays
Though I admire Susanne Bartsch’s attempts to reawaken the vacuous, insipid New York nightlife scene with a historic splash of fun and spiritual celebration at Happy Valley’s bacchanalia, I regret to say that the carefree, middle-class patrons responsible for late-night frivolity have collectively left the building [“Happy Days Are Here Again,” by David Amsden, February 20]. All the inventive and inclusionary planners from the seventies and eighties have been systematically priced out of Manhattan’s obscenely decadent real-estate market and forced into suburban oblivion. However genius and life-affirming Bartsch’s intentions, they can only serve as selective nostalgia. Sadly, the party in New York has been over for more than twenty years.
—Richard Iritiano, Ozone Park

JT LeRoy
I’d like to publicly apologize to the editors, but especially to Stephen Beachy, author of “Who Is the Real JT LeRoy?” [October 17, 2005], for my attack against his early revelation of the fraud. As a victim of the scam, I was very defensive when Beachy’s article came out; I wrote hostile letters in defense of the inexistent LeRoy, one of which was published in part [“Letters: Identity Theft,” October 24]. Now that it’s been proven beyond a doubt that there is no JT LeRoy, I’ve wondered why and how I was so easily emotionally manipulated for ten years.
—Bruce Benderson, Manhattan

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