Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Changing of the Guard

If we don't change direction soon, we'll end up where we're going.
-- Professor Irwin Corey (1914 - )

Last month Community Board #2 held an election for its new leadership. Brad Hoylman relinquished his post as Chair of the Board and mostly new leadership has taken over. Actually, a few existing members of the Board simply move over a seat and increase their visibility as well as their stature. There were no floor fights and the slate was elected without a negative murmur. It’s a far cry from some of the contentious, dirty tricks, anonymous-letter, days of the past at CB2. While it’s probably a good thing, it does take just a little of the excitement out of community politics. But, so be it.
The slate is as follows:

Jo Hamilton - Chair

Bo Riccobono - First Vice-chair

Sheelah Feinberg - Second Vice-chair

Susan Kent - Secretary

Elaine Young - Assistant Secretary

Amanda Kahn Fried – Treasurer

All are qualified and well-intentioned members of the community and will no doubt do an excellent job. At one point, Jo Hamilton had stated that she was committed to carrying on the work that Hoylman had been doing. Nothing she has said recently has indicated anything different in her attitude.
To the extent that Community Boards are relevant to the wishes and needs of the community’s residents – and, not simply a political reward for knowing the right people – we can hope that CB2 moves in the direction of greater cooperation with Boards #1, #3 and #4 on a number of issues – not the least of which is greater protection from pollution, removal of unwanted billboards, protection from traffic in our crosswalks, better control over Con Ed and maintenance repairs during evening hours, and a more assertive stance to protect tenants from landlord harassment. Not only do rent controlled and stabilized tenants suffer – but, market-rate tenants suffer a great deal as well. When you have a two-year lease and pay high rent and yet you cannot complain about such things as lack of heat or mold growing in your bedroom, the fear of not having your lease renewed is a serious problem. The silent tenant is often an abused tenant. And, abuse of tenants is a growing problem in New York City.

The Community Boards need to recognize that there are problems that they need to solve by working together.

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