The 411 from the Feline

Mall of confusion: Community Board 2 has given the city’s Department of Investigation the fraudulent letters that the Little Italy Merchants Association recently submitted in support of extending the seasonal Mulberry St. Mall by an extra block, from Broome St. to Kenmare St. On Monday, Bob Gormley, C.B. 2 district manager, told us he had contacted D.O.I. and, after a conversation with one of its attorneys, was told to forward the bogus letters to them. We called Ralph Tramontana, president of LIMA, to see if the merchants group is still planning a press conference to address what LIMA had been referring to as the “alleged” fraudulent letters, and he referred us to a spokesperson. Well, apparently, the press conference is off, because, according to the spokesperson, LIMA has now issued an official statement on the letters: “We support the community board decision to investigate the petitions in question and we are fully cooperating with them in the investigation.” Similarly, John Fratta, president of the Little Italy Restoration Association (LIRA), said of the investigation, “I’m supporting it — just to clarify that Ralph, LIMA and myself had nothing to do with this. The letters weren’t collected by them [LIMA], and they didn’t know they were forgeries,” Fratta said. We have to apologize to Fratta for an item on the mall in last week’s Scoopy that said he had dropped off a packet of the phony letters at the C.B. 2 Street Activity Permits Committee meeting last month. In fact, Fratta was not at the meeting. However, a member of LIMA did, in fact, drop off the letters at that meeting for C.B. 2 members to review. The committee voted 5 to 1 in favor of the mall extension. It was a chaotic meeting, recalled Florent Morellet, who was thrown into the position of co-leading it with Maury Schott because the usual chairperson, Evan Lederman, was in the hospital with his wife, who was expecting to go into labor any minute. Opponents of the mall extension were yelling their heads off, he recalled. “I feel I did O.K. at the meeting keeping people from killing each other,” Morellet said. “That was the first time I was in a position like this — it was trial by fire.” But eagle-eyed D.M. Gormley subsequently perused the letters more closely and, noticing red flags, decided to call the purported signers to confirm their support; it became clear the majority of the letters were not legit. … For the record, we hear from a neighborhood source, who requested anonymity, that the building superintendent who was involved in getting the support letters together “has issues.”

How tweet it is: Assemblymember Deborah Glick is now tweeting. But Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber don’t have to worry about losing their most-followed rankings, since the pol promises she won’t constantly be sending out mini-messages about superfluous stuff. “I’ve joined Twitter!” Glick announced in her report to Community Board 2. “Don’t expect me to provide meaningless minute-by-minute tweets, but follow me for regular political commentary with an edge: @DeborahJGlick .”

New political team: Arthur Schwartz and Dodge Landesman have announced they won’t be facing off in a primary race for Democratic state committeeman for the 66th Assembly District, which includes Greenwich Village. In a joint statement, incumbent Schwartz and Landesman, an up-and-coming, young Community Board 6 member, said, “A funny thing happened on the way to the race. We spent some time talking with each other. We discovered that neither of us really wanted to sully the other in the way that a political campaign invited. In fact, we found that we liked each other. And our talking led us both to focus more on how to further the causes which we held near and dear, and how to support, rather than tear down each other.” They agreed they want to focus on helping Obama win swing voters and mobilizing in nearby “toss-up” states, like Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The pair of politicos also said they want to concentrate on “putting our energies into the last bit of fight we can garner to get more of a hospital in the ‘stand-alone emergency room’ being opened across the street from the old St. Vincents Hospital, or creatively working to force N.Y.U. to scale back its developing attack on the Washington Square Park community. And we want to work together to expand public school seats in the Village, Soho and Tribeca, as we brace for an invasion from the Success Academy Charter Schools,” they said. “And we want to be supportive of the proposal for an AIDS memorial in the West Village,” they added. They also plan to support each other politically. Schwartz hopes to regain the district leader position, which he held for 10 years. “We will work together on that campaign,” they said. Meanwhile, Schwartz has pledged to help Landesman move to a leadership role — “to show him the political ropes,” as they put it — such as becoming the local Democratic state committeeman, if Schwartz becomes district leader. Such a display of political unity is truly inspiring… . For the record, college student Landesman had earlier told us he probably wasn’t going to run anyway because if the primary election was changed to June, as seemed likely, it would conflict with his final exams and make it logistically impossible to mount a campaign. “I go to school in Westchester!” he noted.

Yetta and the gun issue: Last year, Yetta Kurland led a Union Square vigil against gun violence following the tragic Jan. 8, 2011, shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that left six people dead, plus Congressmember Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others wounded. A month later, however, The New York Times, in an article, “The Rich, The Famous, The Armed,” reported that Kurland herself was one of the 37,000 New York City residents licensed to have a handgun. The Villager subsequently asked Kurland, a civil rights attorney, why she needed a gun. She responded that it’s because she’s an “officer of the court,” plus her English-language school, as part of its post-9/11 security plan, felt someone should have firepower and Kurland was elected to be that person. We have to admit, it didn’t really make sense to us, and well-known radical lawyer Ron Kuby felt the same way. “I don’t know why an English-as-a-Second-Language school needs someone running around with a gun,” Kuby told The Villager then. “You can check with Ray Kelly on this, but I don’t see Yetta Kurland as my first line of defense against terrorists wanting to learn English.” More than a few of Kurland’s progressive supporters, we were told, were perplexed and concerned, too. Fast-forward to this January, and Kurland put out an e-mail call for people to join her at an anti-gun violence rally in Harlem to mark the Tucson shooting rampage’s one-year anniversary. “Please join me and New Yorkers Against Gun Violence to stand as one to remember ALL victims of gun violence and to say, with one simple act, that we will no longer tolerate the relentless loss of innocent lives to gunfire,” Kurland wrote in her e-mail blast. We e-mailed Kurland and left phone messages for her, asking if she herself might consider taking “one simple act” against guns — namely, turning in her own heater at her local police precinct. We also asked her if she supports having guns in schools, or if she sees any hypocrisy calling for greater gun control while having a firearm herself. She didn’t reply.

Correction: An article in last week’s issue on the City Council passing a resolution urging the state Legislature to legalize medical marijuana in New York inaccurately reported that there was only one dissenting vote, Peter Vallone, Jr. In fact, there were two other opponents, Vincent Ignizio (R – Staten Island) and Vincent Gentile (D – Bay Ridge), and one abstention, Fernando Cabrera (D – Bronx).

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