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April 6, 2014- By Steven E. Greer
On April 1st, the BPC subcommittee of the Community Board 1 met to discuss a crucial issue in the community, which is the ongoing evictions of families form 22 River Terrace as the building converts to condo from rental. However, for the first time in recent history, so many CB1 members were absent that a quorum was not present. Therefore, no true “resolution” was able to be voted upon.
Was this a conspired pre-planned move by the CB1, led by Chair Anthony Notaro? Or, did 60% of the CB1 members all coincidentally have pressing reasons to miss this important meeting?
In general, issues relating to a big real estate company wanting to do something that is hurtful to the little guy is a dicey topic for elected officials. Large real estate in New York is a powerful ally to all of the electeds, yet the actual voters are often harmed by their actions. To handle this conflict, the electeds in New York have mastered the Kabuki theater of Town Halls and “task forces“, which allows them to give lip service that appeases the voters, while simultaneously working on behalf of the real estate special interests that feed their coffers.
At the April 1st CB1 meeting, six out of ten members were strangely absent. The newest and most vocal member, Bob Townley, who joined in October of last year to help increase his visibility in BPC as new competition takes market share from his Manhattan Youth after school programs, was absent. Chair Anthony Notaro was absent. Lawyer Jeff Galloway, whose firm does extensive business with big real estate, was absent. Also missing were Tammy Meltzer, Dennis Gault, and Kathleen Gupta.
Leading the April 1st meeting discussion of the 22 River Terrace evictions was George Calderaro. He explained that Mr. Notaro had to receive an MRI that day (Are MRI’s, a non-invasive study where the patient can leave and go back to work right away, performed at 6:00 PM at night?). He also explained that lawyer Galloway was “traveling”. There was no explanation given for Tammy Meltzer, who has not missed a meeting ever, or for the others.
Public board meetings, such as the ones held by the CB1, are governed by the state Open Meeting Law. Board members are not allowed to have private non-public meetings to plan strategy for the public board meetings, yet CB1 does this before almost every meeting, making the actual public meetings nothing more than Kabuki theater.
A modus operandi of the CB1 to handle controversial votes is to scheme ways to have members strategically dodge the votes. For example, when Jeff Galloway was trying to revive his near-dead MOU document that would have stifled Asphalt Green with a large oversight committee, and prevented it from competing with Manhattan Youth, he planned ahead of the meeting to be text-messaged by fellow CB1 members to alert him as to when the key MOU discussions were over, so that he could parachute in, avoiding the indefensible MOU debate (During those meetings, Galloway’s own CB1 colleagues complained that the Galloway-drafted MOU had never been shown to even them.).
Editor’s Note: The fact that the “Community Board” of local residents would miss the April 1st vote on such an important topic as the evictions of hundreds of fellow BPC residents from 22 River Terrace is egregious and unacceptable. Those bums should be chased out of every form of public service as they are nothing more than the frontline foot soldiers for the corrupt New York political machine.
New CB1 members have been selected by Manhattan Borough President Brewer. The announcements were supposed to come last Friday, and should be announced this week.
Stay tuned to see whether the “new boss” Brewer is the same as the old boss, or whether there will be real changes among the CB1.