Volume 74, Number 2 | June 1- 7 , 2005

Scoopy's Notebook

No to Jo; no(bi) to Tobi: Councilmember Christine Quinn was livid when she told us that early last week she was notified by the office of Borough President C. Virginia Fields that her request for Fields to put Tobi Bergman and Jo Hamilton back on Community Board 2 had been denied. “I’m just incredibly distressed and really shocked that the borough president has rejected my request to reappoint Jo and Tobi,” Quinn said. “I don’t understand why she would not respect the councilmember’s privilege. Tobi and Jo are two people who have a spotless record in terms of their responsibilities being on the board and showing up for meetings and doing what’s in the community’s interest every time. I’m going to ask her to reconsider,” Quinn said, adding, “I don’t know that this has ever happened before in Community Board 2.” Fields angered many in the community when she recently declined to reappoint Bergman, a leading Village parks advocate, and Hamilton, who led the drive to landmark the Meat Market, to C.B. 2. But Quinn, in turn, “picked up” Bergman and Fields and added them to her list of people she wanted on the board. The borough president appoints all 50 members of a community board, thought local councilmembers recommend half. The curt response from Fields’s office to her snub of Quinn’s request: “We appreciate the input of Councilmember Quinn as part of the process.” For her part, Hamilton said Fields’s office spread misinformation about her before giving her the axe. “They said I held a fundraiser for Gifford Miller at my house,” said Hamilton. “It was a Miller meet-and-greet,” she said, though, she admitted she’s supporting Miller, not Fields, for mayor.

Say what? At last month’s C.B. 2 full board meeting, Ed Gold questioned Brad Sussman, Fields’s Board 2 liaison, about whether he felt Fields should put Bergman and Hamilton back on C.B. 2. Sussman declined comment, saying he doesn’t handle the board appointments. Jim Smith, the board’s chairperson, then apparently said something too favorable about the two removed board members, at which, Bob Rinaolo interjected sharply, “Are you speaking for the board?” Asked what exactly he had said to prompt Rinaolo’s response, Smith said we should ask Rinaolo. Rinaolo claimed he didn’t recall the brief exchange, saying, “I don’t even remember this happening.” Rinaolo told us he was surprised by Bergman’s removal — “It came out of the blue. I had no idea who wanted him gone.” — less so by Hamilton’s. “I’m sorry to see him gone — I’m not as sorry to see her gone,” he said. Subsequently, asked about Fields’s rejection of Quinn’s plea to reinstate the two board members, Smith e-mailed The Villager, clarifying his position: “I’d like to see Tobi and Jo back on the board. But as I have no control over member appointments, ultimately, it’s none of my business. Christine proposes, Virginia disposes. And that’s that.” Smith said he’d happily appoint Bergman a public member of the board’s Parks Committee and has, per Hamilton’s request, already appointed her a public member of the Landmarks Committee.

Come to the Derr side: With the C.B. 2 chairperson election a month away, asked to handicap the Board 2 chairperson race, Rinaolo, who is backing Maria Passannante Derr, said they’re confident. Rinaolo said even if Bergman — who was definitely backing Don MacPherson for chairperson — and Hamilton — who was thinking of possibly supporting MacPherson — had been reappointed, Derr would still win. “It’s not going to be a close race,” he predicted. “She pulled ahead and I don’t see how she can lose at this point. She did her work and chipped away. One at a time, she picked off the undecideds. You take them out to lunch, have a cup of coffee, tell them what you’re all about, ask them what they think should be changed. Once they get the feeling who’s going to win, they want to be on the winning side. There’s still a couple of undecideds that we think are coming over.” Rinaolo projected victory by 8 to 10 votes on the board, which currently has 44 members and six vacancies. MacPherson isn’t about to pack it in, though. “I think that she may have a couple of votes ahead of me,” he said. “There are a number of uncommitted voters that she may have counted as committed. Votes change from week to week — and we will see once the election is over who wins.” Regardless, MacPherson said, “I think it’s important for me to have my viewpoint out there. I think that the community board should be representative of the people who live in the community — that the people who live in the community should come first, and that the people who operate the businesses in the community should be considered guests in the community and that we should not pander to the business interests.” Derr didn’t return a call for comment.

A Brad too far: Ray Cline, president of Village Reform Democratic Club, tells us that Brad Sussman was seriously mulling a run for Greenwich Village Democratic district leader. However, Sussman decided against the idea a few weeks ago, Cline said. Sussman is also a past president of the Sixth Police Precinct Community Council and worked on Alan Gerson’s first campaign for City Council. If Sussman had run against Brad Hoylman it would have been a case of Brad vs. Brad — a bit reminiscent perhaps of the Larry vs. Larry state committee race a few years back between Larry Goldberg and Larry Moss. Two weeks ago, Hoylman was left as the only district leader candidate after incumbent Arthur Schwartz decided not to run for reelection after State Senator Tom Duane and Councilmember Quinn threw their support to Hoylman.

Hell-o: We hear the Hell’s Angels may not be taking kindly to New York Law School moving in next to their East Village clubhouse. The law school signed a lease at 81 E. Third St. last week for use of the whole new 13-story building as a dormitory. Neighbors and Community Board 3 have slammed the Department of Buildings for allowing the tower, which is extra tall thanks to the community facilities zoning bonus, to be built without a signed lease in place for an institutional tenant. Now it seems it’s the Angels who may be getting hot under the collar. On Monday, a group of police officers were out in force in front of the clubhouse because the bike gang members had reportedly slashed the tires of at least one car that had dared to park in front of their “reserved” parking area.

V.I.D. backs: In its endorsement votes two weeks ago, Village Independent Democrats, in addition to supporting Hoylman for district leader, backed Margarita Lopez for Manhattan borough president; Norman Siegel for public advocate; Robert Morgenthau for Manhattan district attorney; Rosie Mendez for City Council in District 2; and Eve Rachel Markowich for Surrogate Court judge (not to be confused with Eva Moskowitz, who is running for Manhattan borough president); the club also endorsed Councilmembers Gerson and Quinn and District Leader Keen Berger, all of whom are running unopposed in September. The one to-do was over Surrogate Court, since Assemblymember Deborah Glick, a power in V.I.D., was backing another candidate. V.I.D. previously endorsed Fernando Ferrer for mayor.

V.R.D.C. backs: Village Reform Democratic Club held its endorsement meeting on May 26 and endorsed C. Virginia Fields for mayor; Betsy Gotbaum for public advocate; William Thompson for comptroller; Scott Stringer for Manhattan borough president; Morgenthau for Manhattan D.A.; Brian Kavanagh for City Council in District 2; Councilmembers Gerson and Quinn for reelection; David Reck, Jean Grillo, Brad Hoylman and Keen Berger for district leaders; and Eve Rachel Markowich for Surrogate Court.

‘The Gates’ delayed: Jonathan Greenberg of the Open Washington Sq. Park Coalition tells us that the performance art protest against the proposed fence for the park that had been planned for this week will be delayed, mainly because they were going to have so many people that they needed a permit. But the show will go on — just later. He said the dramatic rendition, “The Gates of Washington Sq.,” will be “merged conceptually” into a larger protest they are planning in the next month or so, for which they do have a permit.

The racing forum: Clayton Patterson, Lower East Side photographer and gallery owner, reports he’s planning a forum on neighborhood zoning at Angel Orensanz Foundation on Norfolk St. on June 20. Perhaps trying to make sure local Councilmember Margarita Lopez and District Leader Rosie Mendez attend, he’s already invited a couple of their opponents in their respective races for borough president and City Council — Scott Stringer and Brian Kavanagh — as well as local antidevelopment activist Richard Kusack to be speakers. He also plans to reach out to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. Patterson said 81 E. Third St. and 4 E. Third St., two buildings that were constructed with a slew of irregularities, are sure to be hot topics.

Phat donation: Kimora Lee Simmons, the fashion designer and creative director of Baby Phat, recently gave the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, $75,000, as part of its Naming and Expansion Campaign. The donation will go to name The Performance Room and Cafe at H.M.I., which is on Astor Pl., in her honor.

Finally made it: We hear Roberto Caballero, of Committee to Defeat Margarita Lopez fame, has been appointed to Community Board 3. He said he can’t wait to hear what Lopez’s reaction is — and that he definitely won’t vote to reelect David McWater, a Lopez friend, chairperson of the board.

Alliance headliner: Bob Kerrey, president of New School University, will be the main speaker at the annual business meeting of the Village Alliance, on June 9, at 5:30 p.m. at the King Juan Carlos Center, 53 Washington Sq. S.

What’s cooking? Superstar Village chef Mario Batali and partners are planning to open a new restaurant, Restaurant Il Posto, soon across from the Chelsea Market in 85 Tenth Ave.

BAMRA blowout: The Bleecker Area Merchants’ and Residents’ Association is throwing yet another bash, a Summer Fiesta at Panchito’s at 13 Minetta St. (between Bleecker St. and Minetta Ln.), from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. on Mon., June 6. There will be complementary tropical drinks, sangria, soft drinks and buffet, free for BAMRA members. Friends, family and community members are asked to give a small donation at the door. BAMRA thanks Bob Engelhardt, owner of Panchito’s, for hosting the party.

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