Volume 76, Number 50 | May 9 -15, 2007

Hedge fund V.P., activists and pilot on C.B.s 2 & 3

By Lincoln Anderson

Community Board 2 received a strong infusion of change earlier this month, thanks to Borough President Scott Stringer, who, out of his 12 possible appointments, appointed 10 new members.

Community boards have 50 volunteer members each. The borough president appoints all the members, half of them on the recommendation of the city councilmembers who represent sections of the district. Community board members are appointed to two-year terms, with half coming up for renewal each year.

C.B. 2 covers Greenwich Village, Soho, Noho, Hudson Square, Little Italy and part of Chinatown.

In his own 12 slots on C.B. 2 up for reappointment this year, Stringer put in 10 new people, only keeping two current members: Maria Passannante Derr, the board’s current chairperson until her term expires in June, and Arthur Schwartz, chairperson of C.B. 2’s Parks and Waterfront Committee.

Stringer’s new C.B. 2 appointees include:

• Ian Dutton, a Soho resident and commercial airline pilot. Dutton was a public member of C.B. 2’s Traffic and Transportation Committee — meaning he participated in the committee’s meetings but wasn’t an official board appointee.

• Zella Jones, president of the Noho Neighborhood Association, who organized two community town hall meetings around nightlife issues last year.

• Lois Rakoff, residents’ chairperson of the Bleecker Area Merchants’ and Residents’ Association and vice president of the Village Reform Democratic Club.

• David Gruber, president of the Carmine St. Block Association and a public member of the C.B. 2 Zoning Committee for seven years.

• Wendy Schlazer, director of operations for B.R. Guest, a restaurant group headed by Steve Hanson, who owns Vento restaurant in the Meatpacking District.

• Arthur Kriemelman, president of the Soho Alliance, Soho’s leading residents’ group. He sells media advertising and his wife is an artist.
• Sigrid Burton, a self-employed artist and board member of LEAP (Learning Through Expanded Arts Program) who lives in southern Soho.

• David Ethan, who both lives on and owns Grey Dog’s Coffee on Carmine St.

• Erin Roeder, a 27-year-old urban planner.

• Kei-Wei Ma, a Soho resident.

Among the three city councilmembers with appointments to C.B. 2 — Alan Gerson, Christine Quinn and Rosie Mendez — all the sitting members up for reappointment were put back on the board, save for one new addition: Quinn appointed Amanda Kahn, a 25-year-old former legislative aide in San Francisco’s city government. Kahn fills the slot left open by Betty Williams, who did not apply for reappointment.

Other C.B. 2 members who did not seek reappointment included Don Lee, Rick Panson, Michael Xu and Garth Harvey.

C.B. 2 members who sought reappointment but were not appointed included Bob Rinaolo, Dr. John Maggio, Helene Burgess, Arthur Harris, John Diaz and Patrick Munson. Five of these members were appointed by Stringer’s predecessor as borough president, C. Virginia Fields.

Rinaolo, a former chairperson of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, landed in hot water in 2005 after it was revealed he had hidden a conflict of interest advisory opinion from the board for a year and a half. The advisory opinion, by the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board, stated that an owner of a liquor-licensed premises should not chair a community board committee voting on liquor licenses. At the time, Rinaolo was chairing the C.B. 2 Business Committee — which makes recommendations on liquor license applications — and owned The Garage restaurant and Señor Swanky’s.

Stringer has said that The Villager’s coverage of Rinaolo’s situation prompted the borough president’s community board reform initiative.

On Community Board 3, covering the East Village and Lower East Side, Stringer made fewer changes, appointing only three new members:

• Thomas Parker, a bilingual history and economics teacher at Murry Bergtraum High School near City Hall. Parker lives, works and has children who attend school in the district. He speaks Mandarin Chinese.

• Noah Yago, president of Village Reform Democratic Club. A hedge fund vice president with an M.B.A. from Stanford, Yago grew up in Forest Hills.

• Bonnie Hulkower, a biologist and environmental planner for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She received an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1999 and served as public member of C.B. 3. Hulkower volunteers for the Regional Plan Association.

Councilmember Gerson appointed three new members to C.B. 3:

• Pearl Chin, executive director of the Chinatown Manpower Project. Chin, who received an M.B.A. from Cornell University in 2000, volunteers with the St. Bartholomew’s mentoring program.

• John Leo, director of community outreach for the Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation. He was formerly with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. 

• Gloria Goldenberg, an attorney and member of the Gouverneur Hospital Community Advisory Board.

Councilmember Mendez appointed one new member to C.B. 3: Sam Quan Krueger, chief operating officer for the Museum of Chinese in the Americas.

Fields, as Manhattan borough president, appointed more business members to the local community boards, especially on C.B. 2 — tipping the balance too far in that direction, critics said. Stringer has not followed Fields’s trend, instead appointing more residents. He also has boosted Soho’s representation on C.B. 2. Although Stringer did receive strong support in Soho in his 2005 election, Soho leaders also have long called for greater representation.

In all, of Board 2’s 50 members, 21 are new since Stringer became B.P. a little more than a year ago.

Keen Berger, Village female Democratic district leader, was among Stringer’s first round of appointees to C.B. 2 last year. A few weeks ago, she helped push through a new C.B. 2 resolution demanding the Parks Department re-present to the board its Washington Square renovation plans by Wed., May 9 — or the board would rescind its prior approval.

As of Tuesday, May 8, Parks had not re-presented the plans.

Berger is pleased with the board’s direction under Stringer.

“I am happy with the new appointees and happy with the borough president,” Berger said. “He is doing what he promised, with integrity.”

Sean Sweeney, a veteran C.B. 2 member who is director of the Soho Alliance and also president of the Downtown Independent Democrats political club, said he’s glad to see Soho’s representation boosted with the appointment of four new members from the arts enclave. He said he recommended Kei-Wei Ma to Stringer, since the board needs more Asians.

“I think it’s about time that Soho residents and businesses are recognized and getting proportional representation,” Sweeney said. “I mean, they call it ‘the Greenwich Village community board’ — we’ve been fighting for years to be recognized.”


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