Volume 79, Number 22 | November 04 - 10, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

2Scoopy's Notebook

Right rages at Nadler: The Villager’s recent article on ACORN, in which we interviewed the community-organizing network’s general counsel, Arthur Schwartz, has right-wingers going nuts. The conservative American Spectator magazine recently had a conniption fit after reading that, during the interview, Congressmember Jerrold Nadler had called Schwartz and “provided advice” to him, such as chiding him for not having sued yet over the Defund ACORN Act, which Nadler calls a punitive, unconstitutional “bill of attainder.” The magazine’s Oct. 26 article noted that the West Side congressmember — whom it calls “a longtime ACORN ally” — chairs the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, which “may be investigating ACORN in the not-too-distant future.” “How exactly is it appropriate for the chairman of a congressional subcommittee to be offering strategic advice to a group he is now under growing pressure to probe?” the article asks. As of now, however, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service is doing a comprehensive “analysis” of ACORN. “We’re cooperating,” Schwartz told The Villager. As for Nadler, a spokesperson told us the representative had no comment on the American Spectator’s charge that his discussions with Schwartz constituted a conflict of interest. “Sorry — nothing to add on this one,” said Ilan Kayatsky, the congressmember’s communications director. In addition, regarding The Villager’s original article, Schwartz objected to its referring to ACORN’s “pending bankruptcy,” saying that, instead, “ongoing reorganization” was a better way to put it. To be more exact, the letter that Schwartz sent out to “ACORN’s Friends In The Legal Community” stated: “We need some top-notch bankruptcy advice and maybe representation. [The reorganization may involve] the creation of new nonprofit entities in each state where ACORN functions, as ACORN considers moving from a centralized corporate structure, to a decentralized federated structure. ACORN will need help from people who have handled rebranding… .”

Don’t believe the blog hype? A Lower East Side blog charged that representatives of the Mayor’s Office recently “ducked out” of a Community Board 3 task force meeting on the development of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area’s remaining development sites. However, David McWater, the task force’s chairperson, blasted the report as false. “Nobody ducked out of anything,” McWater scoffed in an e-mail to us. “I had the flu and gave them the courtesy of knowing it so they wouldn’t show up and have SPURA not discussed. They all work 9 to 5, and it’s not cool to have them going to meetings for nothing.”

How Goldin cut her teeth: The Villager’s article on legendary Lower East Side housing activist Frances Goldin last week left out an important formative part of her story — about how she first cut her anti-authoritarian teeth, as it were. As the profile on honoree Goldin, 85, in the program for the Cooper Square Committee’s recent 50th anniversary gala put it: “She displayed the guts to fight institutional forces when, at age 16, she fought off the unwanted advances of her employer, a local rabbi, by biting him hard enough to make him bleed and retreat to his office.” Ouch! ... Also, Tuesday’s New York Times prominently featured a full-page ad on the back of its “A” section for “The Lacuna,” the new book by bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver, who is represented by Goldin’s literary agency. “From Mexico City in the 1930s to the McCarthy Era of the 1950s, ‘The Lacuna’ is a sweeping epic journey that explores politics, revolution and the power of art,” reads the ad copy for the new novel, published by Harper. If you guessed Leon Trotsky is a character in the book, you’re right. Goldin said the hefty tome of historical fiction garnered Kingsolver a radically cool 1 million bucks. Goldin explained that her agency does “little books” and “big books,” and that the big books finance the little books — “The Lacuna” clearly being one of the biggies. “All of it is intended to make the world a better place,” the agent/activist said.

‘Dogicide day afternoon’: The Villager doesn’t have a Pet Police Blotter, so Scoopy (as a fellow critter) will relate this sad story. In one of the most shocking incidents of dog-on-dog violence in recent memory, on the afternoon of Oct. 21 between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., outside Baby Buddha Chinese restaurant at Bethune and Washington Sts., a pint-sized pooch was killed after being brutally chomped by a far larger canine. Debbie Gimelson, who had just moved to the West Village from Chelsea a week and a half earlier, said her beloved 7-pound Yorkie, Rocco, never had a chance when set upon by the vicious, 100-pound German shepherd. Rocco was rushed into an oxygen cage, but his lungs were too badly damaged, and he didn’t make it. Gimelson wasn’t walking Rocco at the time of the attack, but after some intensive postering by her around the scene of the incident, the offending dog’s owners eventually came forward. Things will be handled through insurance, which will pay for the vet bills. The shepherd is owned by a married couple, but the wife, who was walking the dangerous dog at the time of the murderous mauling, can’t control it, according to Gimelson. The woman reportedly has agreed not to walk the dog anymore. But Gimelson thinks stiff penalties should exist for these type of dog-by-dog killings. “It could be a fine,” she said. “It could be a short jail term, or it could be having the dogs taken away.” Shaken by the loss of little Rocco, and faced with having to pass the fateful corner all the time, she’s not sure if she’ll be able to stay in the neighborhood. A memorial for Rocco was planned — with dog owners invited to bring their furry friends. 

Corrections: The print version of The Villager’s article on the intact, 210-year-old tombstone of an Irish immigrant found in Washington Square Park two weeks ago reported the stone was found in the park’s eastern section. However, the location was the park’s southwestern quadrant. Also, the last name of the lead architect investigating the tombstone was spelled incorrectly. Her name is Joan Geismar. According to Parks Department spokesperson Cristina DeLuca, the headstone has not yet been removed from the park, and is currently covered with a box.

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