Volume 74, Number 35 | January 05 - 11, 2005

Scoopy’s notebook

Conflict management: Following last week’s Villager report on the Conflicts of Interest Board’s ruling that Bob Rinaolo did have a conflict in being chairperson of Community Board 2’s Business Committee, Rinaolo called us to say he felt the article was “fair — right down the middle.” Rinaolo pointed out he certainly didn’t make any financial profit putting in all the extra volunteer hours needed to be chairperson of the committee, which makes advisory recommendations on liquor license applications. Yet, one C.B. 2 member said while Rinaolo might not have made any profit off the post, at least in one case Rinaolo was accused of trying to use it to retaliate against a former business partner — Caliente Grill — with whom he had a legal dispute, by seemingly doing his best to block that establishment’s application…. The Villager was tipped off to the Rinaolo conflict-of-interest story by a C.B. 2 member who provided the advisory opinion on condition of anonymity. The board member said someone “in the community” had provided it to the board member. A few days after The Villager had started reporting for the article, Jim Smith, C.B. 2’s chairperson, and Rinaolo had decided Rinaolo would step down as Business Committee chairperson. Art Strickler, the board’s district manager, said he was surprised that someone had been able to get access to the opinion, which he said the board received six months ago. “Who had the opinion?” he said. “I thought it was only three or four of us. I thought it was me and Bob and Jim”.... In addition, another C.B. 2 member picked up on something Rinaolo let drop in last week’s article — that an example the borough president’s office recently gave at an orientation meeting of a conflict of interest was an architect chairing a zoning committee. David Reck, an architect, is chairperson of C.B. 2’s Zoning Committee. Reck did not return several calls for comment.

Hang in there, Keith: Keith Crandell of Community Board 2 and Noho returned from the hospital around Christmas. He’s happy to be home but the prognosis is not good. He got a severe case of pneumonia in late October and went to have it checked out only to discover he has advanced, inoperable lung cancer. Before he was stricken, Crandell, 77, had been set to go to Cleveland in his wheelchair with his “World War II Veteran Against War” sign to campaign for John Kerry. “I think I could have made the difference,” he joked. For now, he’s taking it day by day and his spirits are good. “I have no pain, which is nice,” he said on Monday. Unfortunately, Keith, a gifted writer, doesn’t think he’ll be able to pen any more Villager columns. He said he tried to write something the other day and it took him forever. “Something happened to my brain,” he said.

Messy poster war: We were walking on E. Ninth St. past the old P.S. 64/CHARAS/El Bohio — site of developer Gregg Singer’s embattled 19-story dormitory project — when we noticed posters up on the construction fence, bearing a striking resemblance in their design to the ones plastered on the doors of the E. 11th St. office building of Beyer Blinder Belle, Singer’s architects, right before Thanksgiving. The Ninth St. posters urged dog walkers to “Act Civilly, Be Disobedient” by throwing their dog doo over the construction fence, since Singer and BBB, the poster said, have been treating the neighborhood like, well, dog doo. The posters urge people to keep it up until Singer and BBB support the landmarking of the old school building. Someone, however, did their best against the doo references on the posters, trying to scratch them all out. Asked if he knew who put up the posters, Michael Rosen, a founder of the East Village Community Coalition, who lives in Christodora House next door to the old P.S. 64 and has been a leader of the fight against the dorm project, said no. “I’ve been away, kids’ vacation,” he said. “Those signs you mention, they are ripped off. I assume Mr. Singer’s staff takes them down.” Singer did not respond to an e-mail for comment. The other posters, plastered on BBB’s office building, called on the architects to not be like Rudolf Hoess, the sadistic commandant and architect of Auschwitz, and show some “responsibility” to the community.

Spoof sleuth: Susan Howard of the Save CHARAS Committee has been doing her best to try to track down whoever has been spoofing — or faking — the e-mail address of CHARAS/El Bohio. Early the morning the deed was done, a copy of the “Hoess” fliers that were pasted outside Beyer Blinder Belle’s office building was sent to The Villager from a “CHARAS/El Bohio” account, alerting us of the guerilla postering. However, while Howard has had a “CHARAS” account for several years, she vowed she did not send the poster. Furthermore, she said Chino Garcia and the CHARAS board are under a gag order and that the e-mail address spoofer well knows this and is trying to get them into legal trouble with Singer. Howard sent us back a version of the “Hoess” poster e-mail that The Villager had forwarded to her, in which she claims a computer wiz friend of hers was able to uncode the spoofer’s real name. But The Villager has been unable to independently verify this. Our own computer expert, Troy Masters, associate publisher of Gay City News, one of our sister papers, says it is extremely easy to spoof an e-mail address and very difficult to uncover a spoofer’s real identity.

Get your kicks from 66: We were in the Meat Market the other night and, after finding all the new restaurants packed with literally no seats available without a reservation, luckily snagged a table at the original quintessential Meat Market hangout, Florent on Gansevoort St., which was also crowded to the max. The eponymous French bistro’s owner, Florent Morellet, tells us that while business is booming, there are some drawbacks. To cater to the area’s new nightclub scene, for the last year he’s been open 24/7. While he used to have a bouncer two days a week, though, he now uses him five days a week. “His name is 66,” Morellet said, “as in 6 ft. 6,” adding that the doorman, while intimidating looking is a gentle giant. “These people have a sense of privilege,” the Gansevoort Historic District activist /restaurateur/sometime Marie Antoinette/Laura Bush impersonator said of the Market’s young nightlife crowd and how they spill out of clubs shouting like they own the place.

New brass: Most are chalking up the Police Department’s get-tough attitude toward Critical Mass to the 5,000-person ride before the Republican National Convention, which resulted in more than 250 arrests. However, another factor may be the change of the officer who oversees the policing of the monthly ride. Chief Bruce Smolka, a no-nonsense ex-Army sergeant, took over as commanding officer of Manhattan South earlier this year.

Ay, yay, yay: D.J. Gringo Loco must have been drinking too much tequila because he told us the date of the closing party for the Lower East Side Squatter Homesteader Archives art show was this Sun., Jan. 9 — when in fact it’s Sat., Jan. 8, starting at 8 p.m. at the Sixth St. Community Center between Avenues B and C.

Correctus maximus: In a photo caption in last week’s Villager, the Bread and Puppet troupe was misidentified as Bread and Circus.

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