Letters to the Editor, April 2013

Letters to the editor regarding the articles in Westchester Magazine's April 2013 issue.



Gun Violence
Regarding your story “Meet Westchester’s Gun Owners” by Alyson Krueger in the March 2013 issue of Westchester Magazine, your reporter forgot to ask the eight people interviewed the most important question of all: What do they think should be done to stop gun violence? If gun owners want to be part of the national conversation about legislation for gun responsibility and gun accountability, then they need to contribute answers, not just say “there’s nothing we can do.”
If your mission is “to publish a high-quality magazine that informs, entertains, and makes a difference in our community,” then I hope you can contribute better in-depth coverage on this important issue. Stories that help readers to “Meet Westchester’s Gun Victims” or “Meet the Parents of Westchester’s Gun Suicides” would make a difference in our community, too.
Kate Permut, Scarborough

Editor’s Response: The subjects we spoke to were probed regarding gun-violence prevention, including their takes on the value of specific preventive policies, several times within the story. The opinions they offered in return are their own.

Yes, Westchester, we gun owners are law-abiding, decent people. We are your friends and neighbors. And we’re not just “dots on a map.” Alyson Krueger’s story drove that point home beautifully with eight diverse, well-chosen, and well-spoken subjects. Bravo.
Aaron Woodin, White Plains

Westchester Magazine March 2013 issue. Eight gun owners speak their minds with no editorial mischief. EXCELLENT! And surprising.
Matthew M. Howe (@BlackRifleKitty)
via Twitter


On the Chart
Regarding the public high school chart in “The County’s Public and Private High Schools” article (March 2013), it’s misleading, and a potential disservice, to use ZIP codes to determine median household income for school districts. One case in point is Pleasantville High School, which is in the 10570 ZIP code. Households in that ZIP code send their children to six different school districts: Briarcliff, Byram Hills, Chappaqua, Mount Pleasant, Pleasantville, and Pocantico Hills. The other information you publish in that article is directly related to each school district; the median household income should also be tied to the district, not the ZIP code. If you did so, I believe there would be quite a difference between the figures you published and the ones you should have published. It would take a little more work to get the right information, but it’s very important to do so; as it is, the final picture you provide about each district’s resources is very inaccurate. I hope you will publish a revised chart in your next issue.
Julie Schwartz, director of public communications, Pleasantville UFSD

Editor’s Response: Sadly, municipalities (cities, towns, villages, etc.) and the school districts that sometimes share their names are rarely coterminous in Westchester. The Rye Neck School District, for instance, covers portions of both the Town of Rye and the Town of Mamaroneck, while the Mamaroneck Union Free School District also covers parts of the Town of Mamaroneck—including Larchmont. (To complicate matters, some of the Village of Mamaroneck is in the Town of Rye.) In addition, sources like the US Census rarely seek data from these somewhat-floating districts. All Census data on income refer only to the municipalities that the districts so often straddle. (The Census does, however, study poverty in districts, and we share those numbers.) Thus, in order to give a picture of district residents’ income, we need to choose data on either ZIP codes or municipalities. Though they are imperfect, we’ve found ZIP codes to be more reliable. If districts know of an ideal measure, we ask them to share it with us, but in the decade that we’ve been covering schools, we’ve yet to hear of one. That is why we underscore the need to look beyond individual numbers—and even beyond numerical data entirely—in assessing districts.