August 29, 2006

To:      Melissa Mark Viverito
Assemblymember Clayton Powell IV
NYS Senator Jose Serrano
US Congressmember Charles Rangel
     (Fax: 212-722-6378)
(Fax: 212-663-4277)
(Fax: 212-828-2420)
(Fax: 212-663-4277)
From:      Lydia Lopez (Fax: 212-987-5593)

In 1956, my parents moved from Puerto Rico to East Harlem. There IU resided till 1990 when I then moved my family to Rockland County. I grew up in East Haralem, went to school in EH, got married and have three children who also grew up and went to school in EH. My husband's famiuly, nieces and nephews all live in EH. My first job was working at East Harlem Interfaith, a religious based organization on 106th Street and Second Avenue. Up until 1986, I worked inthe community serving itws residents. Needless to say, the East Harlem community was and still is very dear to me.

In 2002, I was a volunteer for the Coalition to Improve Our Public Schools, headed by the Rev. Norman C. Eddy. Our small group gathered information on "oveercrowding" in the East Harlem Public Schools. The information was obtained as you woulod say "from the horse's mouth", from the Principals themselves. Each principal documented and initialed a questionaire detailing the need for more space. From this, the committee published a report on "Need for Space in School District #4 Public Schools."

It is for this reason that I am compelled to write this letter to you. I have learned that you support ArtSpace in its attempts to turn P.S. 109 into a housing facility.

P.S. 109 was SAVED by Ms. Gwen Goodwin and her group, The Coalition to Save P.S. 109. The school would have been torn down were it not for Gwen's unrelenting campaign not to let this happen. I don't know of anyone iin East Harlem (now including yourself!) who has fought so hard for the education of the children in this community. Gwen has nothing to gain and frankly nothing to lose in this fight. What have you got to gain by having ArtSpace turn this building into apartments? I'm sure that if I looked at your campaign issues, I would find EDUCATION as your primary goal. What happened? Did you forget why you were elected? Why are the children of East Harlem getting the boot from you?

I commend Gwen for her incredible strengthand perseverance. You, however, have the political power to give back to East Harlem P.S. 109. My hope is that you take a long hard look at this and resolve to do the right thing.

cc:      Norman C. Eddy
Gwen Goodwin
     (Fax: 212-289-2634)