Volume 76, Number 7 | July 5 - 11, 2006

Scoopy's Notebook

Can’t talk: Last week, developer Gregg Singer told us he was giving Councilmember Rosie Mendez another “day or two” to meet with him before he would decide whether to proceed with plans to strip historic exterior details off the newly landmarked old P.S. 64 on E. Ninth St. This week, however, when we asked him again whether he plans to strip the building, Singer reported he now has a “confidentiality agreement with the city” and can’t speak to the press. Apparently, he’s trying to work out some kind of deal. He said he may be able to talk more about it next week.

Reck is rezoned: Last year, when David Reck voted against Maria Passannante Derr in the Community Board 2 chairperson election, there were no major repercussions; after Derr won, she allowed him to stay on as chairperson of the board’s Zoning Committee. Well, there actually was one change: Derr put Doris Diether, Reck’s nemesis, on the committee. This time around, though, after Reck ran against Derr for chairperson and lost last month, there was serious payback. In an e-mail last Wednesday, Derr informed Reck that he was no longer Zoning chairperson. Derr has appointed Diether, the board’s longtime “zoning maven,” as Zoning Committee chairperson. Diether will no longer be the board’s Landmarks Committee chairperson, but will chair the committee’s next meeting until Derr appoints a replacement. Diether said she’s ready for the new challenge. “It’s a lot of work — but so is Landmarks,” she said. Diether said friends took her out for drinks at the Washington Square Hotel to celebrate her return as Zoning chairperson, while someone else gave her a magnum of champagne. Said Reck: “I think I did a very good job as chairperson of Zoning and I’m a little disappointed I was removed — but that’s the way it goes.” Derr didn’t return calls for comment by press time.

Saddam’s goalie: This week in The Villager, Judith Stiles writes about goalies and the World Cup (see Page 13). While on vacation in Kuala Lumpur last week and watching Brazil beat Ghana in his hotel lobby bar, Villager Associate Editor Lincoln Anderson bumped into another goalie. First name Fattah, he said he was on the last Iraq soccer team to play in the World Cup in the 1980s. The main reason Iraq hasn’t returned to the cup since, he said, were the economic sanctions the country endured for 20 years, under which they had to play all their international matches outside Iraq and funding sources became scarcer. Fattah said he met Saddam Hussein “20 times,” and apparently felt confident none of these meetings were with Saddam’s doubles. Asked about how Saddam’s son, Uday, reportedly used to beat and cane the soles of Iraqi soccer players’ feet if he felt they underperformed, Fattah said, he knew Uday well, too, and was, in fact, on the Iraqi “sports commission” with him. As for his thoughts on the Iraq war, Fattah said, it’s all about oil and that if the Americans wanted to get rid of Saddam they could have just taken him out — he made a plucking motion with his hand — or assassinated him — he made a pistol shape with his index finger and thumb and pantomimed shooting. The Iraq war, he said, “is like Vietnam.” So it’s not surprising he now lives in Qatar, where he’s coaching goalies. As for why he was in Malaysia, it’s a vacation spot for the Middle Eastern chador set, since it’s a Muslim country — though it’s pretty hard to get a tan when the only uncovered part of one’s body is a 1-inch eye slit. Fattah assured he’d be up for doing a full interview the day after the game, but Anderson’s subsequent attempts to lure him from his hotel room proved futile. Guess he had second thoughts about talking.

Corrections: A headline in last week’s issue incorrectly stated that a pedestrian had been killed in a traffic accident in Chelsea at 11th Ave. and 17th St. on June 23. At the time, he was listed in critical condition but was still alive. It was not immediately clear if he was still alive this week…. A caption for an article on the new Real Food Market identified a man in the photo offering a pickle to his daughter as Livvie Mann, president of the Bedford Downing Block Association, when in fact she was the woman in the photo and wasn’t offering any pickles to anyone.

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