LETTERS: 2.28.2014

Letters from Rubin and Sleeper

A new corner store

It’s good to hear that the existing apparel stores on Broadway are making sales, paying taxes and creating jobs for sales clerks and store managers (“In defense of Broadway,” Feb. 14). That is not an indication, however, that an additional apparel store, such as Brooks Brothers, would enhance the retail mix on Broadway. If anything, it suggests the opposite: Let the existing stores continue to thrive and bring in a complementary enterprise to enliven the overall shopping experience.

It may be convenient to believe that “consumers vote with their dollars,” but this is a statement of ideology and not a fact. Can we imagine a tenant that would enrich the district in a way than cannot be strictly calculated by revenue projections? University Properties should be given more latitude in how it is asked to assess potential tenants.

My suggestion: What if the corner storefront was occupied by a corner store? I’m thinking deli, basic groceries, hardware, cosmetics and health-related items, maybe a vintage soda fountain with a lunch counter. It would make sense, especially given Gourmet Heaven’s recent woes. Students and other Broadway users should speak up if they want to have an impact on the future of the area.

Elihu Rubin

Feb. 25

The author is an assistant professor of architecture, urbanism and American Studies.

Singapore and Yale

Far from objecting to speakers’ claims at a Feb. 20 Yale Law School panel on “Human Rights in Singapore,” as the article reports (“Yale involvement in Singapore criticized at panel,” Feb. 21), I argued in support of them.

I said that when Singapore’s government let opposition leaders Chee Soon Juan and Kenneth Jeyaretnam speak at Yale in New Haven after banning them elsewhere, it made a tactical concession to Yale shortly before Yale-NUS’ opening. I said that, in light of the government’s continuing deeply repressive policies toward dissenters, letting Chee and Jeyaretnam speak in New Haven reflected not an advance for the rule of law but a handling of Yale with kid gloves that left Singapore’s government deciding which unalienable rights it will honor and when.

In a few days The Politic will publish a short essay by me indicating why I think some Yale students misunderstand the insidious repression that our University has legitimized and accommodated. Yale dreams that a reinvented liberal education will spur reform of that regime even as it’s failing to reform our own ailing governance and civic life. Yale shouldn’t have ventured into Singapore, even if its intention was to reinvent liberal education abroad first and then here.

Jim Sleeper

Feb. 21

The author is a lecturer of political science.

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