March 5, 2007

Freedom to Defend
David France’s article about the American Civil Liberties Union [“Freedom to Backstab,” February 19] frames the dispute mostly as a conflict between executive director Anthony Romero and his predecessor Ira Glasser. It is appropriate to point out that many of us who held leadership positions in the ACLU during Glasser’s tenure oppose his attack on Romero. I was Glasser’s predecessor as ACLU executive director and the person who first hired him. My former colleagues and I believe the organization is in good hands and is operating as effectively, if not more so, as it has in its 87-year history.
Aryeh Neier, Manhattan

The performance of Anthony Romero as executive director of the ACLU has been extraordinary. Building a program, adding an attorney in every affiliate office: these are initiatives I support. The struggle for civil liberties in this country is a relay race for justice. I admired Ira Glasser when he held the baton, but it is hubris to suggest that he “created” Romero. Romero, a man aware of his imperfections, has handled the job almost perfectly.
Peter T. Wilderotter, Manhattan

Practicing Praise
In my experience, praise is necessary for my child’s normal development [“How Not to Talk to Your Kids,” by Po Bronson, February 19]. My son is 11 years old and a member of local and national gifted-school programs. He was the only African-American male in his classes at elementary school but is now at a school where a lot of African-American students are underachievers. He is the only African-American in his honors classes. He’s a quiet child, which is out of the norm for his fellow African-American males. His teachers constantly praise him, and he is praised at home. We need to do it to counter the stigma placed on the African-American boys in his school.
Tammy Walker-Lee, Austin, Tex.

The Euthanasia List
Arianne Cohen’s “The Doggie-Doom Disparity” [“Intelligencer,” February 19] provides a glimpse of what city animal rescuers like myself experience every day. The “no kill” goal of the Mayor’s Alliance and the ASPCA is misleading. I save a few animals a week and am proud to be part of the wonderful rescue community. We are overjoyed when we find homes but are haunted by the animals we fail. There are not enough resources in the city to take care of the majority of abandoned pets; so many taken in by the Animal Care and Control of New York City are euthanized owing to overcrowding.
Sandra Koestner, Manhattan

I wonder what the Mayor’s Alliance and the ASPCA mean by “adoptable”? I adopted a sweet tabby named Gimpy, who was pulled off the Animal Care and Control kill list, a couple of months ago. She was to be destroyed for “severe behavior.” Gimpy was only four months old and scared. It required a few days and some petting to socialize Gimpy and turn her into a purring “adoptable” cat. How many Gimpys are killed because there is no one to give them that time?
Patty Adjamine, Manhattan

A Model’s Insides
I am a 23-year-old model, teacher of modeling, and a researcher working on an academic study of the eating and exercise behaviors and self-esteem of working models. I appreciated Emily Nussbaum’s insightful and thoughtful article “The Incredible Shrinking Model” [February 26]. It gave considerable focus to what models had to say about the issue, something that has been sorely lacking since the slenderness of models became a big issue in the media in the last two years.
Jennifer McWhirter, Toronto, Ont.

Still in New York
I was disappointed to read your complaint about Stewart International Airport’s being 55 miles outside New York City [“Could Union Square Be Your Next Airport?,” February 19]. When I lived on Long Island, I sometimes had to travel two hours to get to JFK or La Guardia. New Yorkers should think of the population outside the city limits.
Kathleen Marullo, New Windsor, N.Y.

March 5, 2007