Volume 73, Number 39 | January 28 - February 03, 2004



Scoopy’s notebook


Betty fires back: Betty Williams, a Thompson St. resident and member of Community Board 2, spoke out at last week’s board meeting against “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City,” a video game that includes a line about killing Haitians and other ethnic groups. Williams, who has three Haitian sons, was responding to comments by Chad Marlow, president of Village Independent Democrats, who said he loved the game. The board was considering a resolution to condemn the company that manufactures it, when Marlow announced he owns the game. “It’s good,” he said. The board subsequently voted to condemn the game but not the manufacturer. In a follow-up interview, Williams unloaded a zinger against the game’s maker, New York-based Take-Two Interactive: “Haitians, Colombians and Cubans have escaped real violence and for some bunch of wannabe hip white guys to invent danger to line their pockets is beyond unacceptable.” Take that, Take-Two.


Bar talk: A local group is thinking about suing the State Liquor Authority. Sound familiar? Well, it is. Sort of. The new Lower East Side/East Village Residents’ Coalition plans to hold community forums where residents’ concerns can be heard outside of the community board structure. Topics to be discussed include possibly suing the S.L.A. over the proliferation of licensed bars and clubs in the area, said Susan Howard, a community activist and Lower East Side resident. While the coalition has just begun thinking about a lawsuit, the Flatiron Alliance has already filed suit against the S.L.A., challenging the authority’s decision to issue liquor licenses to the former Limelight club, now called Avalon, on Sixth Ave. at 20th St. The group is currently considering bringing a class action lawsuit against the S.L.A. and is negotiating to raise money for that purpose, said Michele Golden, vice president of the alliance. That suit is not to be confused — or is it? — with the lawsuit contemplated by some East Village residents and briefly noted by The Villager in December. A group of East Villagers was building a fund to sue the S.L.A., Anna Sawaryn, a local activist, said at the time. Sawaryn could not be reached by press time for an update and a clarification on exactly which East Villagers were taking action. Maybe the litigants could join forces: the Flatiron Alliance is looking for people to join its planned class action suit. S.L.A. beware.


Don’t Ask, Won’t Tell: Some things never change. Just like when he ran for City Council a few years ago, Carlos Manzano, now a candidate for Manhattan borough president, continues to skirt the issue of his sexuality. Asked whether he’s straight or gay, Manzano, a state committeeman and president of the McManus Midtown Democratic Organization, wouldn’t say. “It’s not an issue,” he told Scoopy. “I believe the voters should be judging me on my track record on gay issues. I think we should learn a lesson from President Clinton’s administration and the Giuliani administration — people want to focus on the issues and are tired of intruding on people’s personal lives.” Manzano noted he had many gay workers on his City Council campaign and that he plans to triple that number for his B.P. campaign. He did admit he’s a member of two gay political clubs, Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats and Stonewall Democrats — though he added, “I’m not sure if I sent my dues this year” — and that he was scheduled to speak to a Stuyvesant High School class on gay marriage.


Fields for Kerry: Some may have jumped on board John Kerry’s bandwagon after his Iowa victory, but not C. Virginia Fields. Fields, the Manhattan Borough President, was among a group of New York women leaders who made phone calls to female Iowa caucus-goers asking them to support Kerry. The event was part of Kerry’s “Women Voices on the Trail” grassroots effort to encourage women to influence policy and mobilize voters in support of his campaign.


Hot, er, cold tip: A concerned co-operator from Penn South in Chelsea called The Villager last Wednesday with an urgent request: “Send a reporter up here with a camera,” she said, angrily. “There’s an exit walkway that’s covered with snow and ice!” While we can’t cover every story out there — we certainly hope Penn South management got right on it.


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