Volume 80, Number 31 | January 5 — 12, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Scoopy's Notebook

Koch gets his due — at least from Cuomo:
We were surprised that The New York Times’s “Governor Cuomo” lead editorial on Friday didn’t mention either Ed Koch or his New York Uprising group. That is, since the editorial was all about the need for reform in state government, and about half of the editorial was a discussion of the specific reforms being pushed by Koch and Uprising — yet not a single mention of Hizzoner or his group in the piece. The editorial even mentioned the reform pledge that Koch has gotten a majority of both houses to sign. But Koch didn’t take it personally. “That’s O.K. I’m a very modest person,” he told us on Monday. “I’m not the only one who’s been for this,” he said of the reforms he’s backing: independent redistricting, ethics reform and a GAAP balanced budget. “As long as the reforms take place, I’ll be happy,” Koch continued. “And my name doesn’t have to be mentioned — my friends know what I’ve done.” Well, in his State of the State address on Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo, for one, did see fit to publicly acknowledge Koch. Cuomo, who invited Koch up to Albany to be in the audience, said, during his remarks, “We’re going to listen to Ed Koch’s warnings,” adding that Koch has been “going all around the state,” campaigning for reform. “Congratulations, Mr. Mayor,” the governor told the longtime Villager, thanking him for his work. In his speech, Cuomo said Albany will absolutely have ethics reform — to disclose where legislators’ income is coming from — and he also mentioned “independent redistricting.” But he didn’t specifically refer to GAAP — we’re pretty sure we didn’t hear it as we were watching the streaming live video of his speech. In a novel twist, Cuomo let the leaders of the Assembly and state Senate give remarks, as well. Facing a strong governor, for a change, unlike the past two, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver made it clear he’s all for cooperating. “We can work together. We will work together,” Silver stressed. Silver vowed Albany’s ethics will be “strengthened,” and that the redistricting process will be “reformed,” without getting into specifics. Interesting to note, he also said government must strive to make the state “more affordable” for people. Will those words come back to haunt the speaker if he decides to come out publicly against affordable housing in the latest redevelopment plan for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area? Silver also touched on the hot environmental issue of gas hydrofracking, stating, “Hydrofracturing must not threaten the health of our citizens.” In another new touch, Cuomo used visual aids, one of which showed little headshots of him, Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos with captain’s hats on and commanding their own “passing ships in the night” during the budget process, as “special interest” attack jets fired missiles at the S.S. Cuomo. A shot right then from the streaming video showed Skelos laughing, but Silver apparently didn’t find it too funny.

He SHARE’s an admission on SPURA:
In our article on the fraught issue of the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area in last week’s issue, Brett Leitner, the founder of SHARE, had some pretty tough words for Silver, saying the speaker better support the emerging consensus plan for redeveloping the long-stagnant Lower East Side site — or else! “If Sheldon Silver does manage to sink this, there will be political ramifications,” the article quoted Leitner saying, as well as, “He’s not elected for life. He’s not king for life,” insinuating there could potentially be an election challenge. Leitner subsequently contacted us to say that, while he thought our article was “spot on,” he wanted to “clarify” what he said. In an e-mail, Leitner said, “One thing I would like to clarify...is that my comments on Speaker Silver should have been couched with my admission that I have voted for him in every election that I’ve lived on the LES (almost 10 years). So my strident attitude, which I admit sounded a little harsh, is coming from someone who is one of his supporters.”

Diary’s days are numbered:
Philip Van Aver’s journal has frequently come in handy in elucidating local news stories, as witnessed by his journal entry in this week’s letters to the editor, on Page 10, in which he describes being the victim of a random pit bull attack a few years ago. But Van Aver confessed to us that he plans to end the diary at the end of this year. “I started it in 1981,” he said. “Thirty years — I’m getting older all the time.” The journal has doubled as a scrapbook, featuring stickers and other notable collectibles from around the East Village. At various times, he said, he’s shown particular passages of interest to the likes of housing activist Frances Golden and theater great Judith Malina. Van Aver, who is an artist, said, “I’ve always wanted to do some kind of literary work, but it’s such a bitch getting published.”

Rosie battles the bugs:
Councilmember Rosie Mendez will be sponsoring two upcoming Community Bed Bug Forums on how to prevent and combat infestations by the dreaded, blood-hungry bugs. The first will be on Tues., Jan. 18, starting at 6 p.m., at Health Professions High School, 345 E. 15th St. (between First and Second Aves.), in the auditorium; the hearing will be co-sponsored by Community Boards 2, 3, 5 and 6. The second hearing, co-sponsored by the New York City Housing Authority, will be Wed., Jan. 19, starting at 6:30 p.m., at P.S. 188, 442 East Houston St. (between Avenue D and the F.D.R. Drive). For more information, contact Jessica Nepomiachi at jnepomiachi@council.nyc.gov or at 212-677-1077.

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