November 13, 2006

Money Talks
After reading “Spending Diaries” [“The Have-lots and the Have-nots,” November 6], I consoled myself with the thought that I spend less in a week than both the Mid-Career Fund-raiser ($529) and the Junior Professional ($639). Then my husband called to inform me that it’s going to cost $650 to fix the car. There goes that.
—Alaina Paciulli, Manhattan

When I read your “Money” issue, I thought of what W. Somerset Maugham wrote in his novel Of Human Bondage: “There is nothing so degrading as the constant anxiety about one’s means of livelihood … Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five … It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.”
—Loree M. Harney, Middle Island, N.Y.

In Defense of the City
Alyssa Katz’s excellent article on autism education in New York City could leave readers believing that the city is squandering public funds on private benefits [“The Autism Clause,” October 30]. In fact, not long ago, the city’s autism programs were among the best in the world. And Chancellor Klein is moving to regain that status. The large number of children with autism in this city makes it impossible for a massive school system to swiftly embrace methodologies like Applied Behavior Analysis, which require an army of trained therapists and a truckload of money. As the article makes clear, treating autism is expensive. While the city revamps its approaches, private schools offer a stopgap for the families fortunate enough to find a place. And litigation provides the pressure, documented by Ms. Katz, needed to push the city to swallow the costly pill of change.
—John Farago, Flushing

A Liberal and Proud of it
John Heilemann makes the case that Nancy Pelosi identifies herself as a liberal, and so she does [“The Power Grid: Dem Demon,” November 6]. Finally, we liberals, progressives, and left-wingers are out of the closet. No longer must we hide as “moderates” while conservatives identify themselves proudly. I, for one, am grateful for the clarity.
—Matthew Katz, Roosevelt Island

Out in the Cold
I am dismayed that the NYPD’s Cold Case Squad is being slowly eliminated [“Intelligencer: Stiffed,” by Janelle Nanos, November 6]. I had a good experience working with the Queens unit: My cousin Stephen Condos was murdered on May 13, 1997. From the beginning, there was no question as to who was responsible. However, no arrest was ever made, and after many letters and phone calls, the case wound up with the Cold Case Squad. Detective Patrick Dolan eventually took it over and was able to make the arrest. The man responsible did serve a short time, but because of a perceived lack of evidence, he was eventually freed. I recently found out that our appeals have been turned down, so unless more evidence is found, the man who did this will remain free. But though our outcome was not what it should have been, I am grateful to the Cold Case Squad for trying to bring this murderer to justice. The families of victims need this elite unit.
—Christina Condos, East Rockaway, N.Y.

Little Girl Blue
Mary Cassatt’s Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, discussed by Mark Stevens [“Art: The Allure of the Garret,” October 30], is a favorite of mine, especially for the darling little dog. Now more than ever, I think it is quite provocative and wonder if the world will see it differently, what with the likes of John Mark Karr and his ilk dominating the media.
—Rudy Rosenberg, Williston Park, N.Y.

Disapproval Matrix
It seems insensitive to include the Steve Wynn elbow–through–Le Rêve mention in “The Approval Matrix” [October 30]. Wynn suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative eye disease. People who suffer from RP experience night blindness and in the daytime have little to no peripheral vision. I doubt Michael J. Fox would be included if he ruined a Picasso because of his Parkinson’s.
—Mali Cohen, Brooklyn

November 13, 2006