CB4 DM Nadine Whitted and Chair Julie Dent. — Photo by Aaron Short
It’s not by-the-minute this month, but Aaron recaps the highlights from the Sept. 09 CB4 meeting and gives us an update on political gossip.
Lost in the commotion of the competitive Democratic Primary was Community Board Four‘s September meeting, the first of the new school year. There was little on the agenda but lots of announcements, and only one elected office sent a representative to the meeting that is usually full of staffers.
That representative was an exhausted yet triumphant Diana Reyna, the Democratic nominee for City Council. A weekend recount from two counties’ Boards of Elections certified her margin of victory over Democratic District Leader Maritza Davila at 251 votes. Reyna’s attorney said that Davila would not be challenging the results in court and while Davila remains on the ballot in November on the Working Families Party line, a WFP spokesperson said that Davila’s campaign has not been in touch with their office regarding coordinated campaign efforts.
Why did Diana win? Laura Braslow of Arts in Bushwick notes turnout from the artist community that is slowly moving into Bushwick, but those demographics are difficult to track. The council district is still over 80 percent Latino. In the 53rd Assembly District (Vito Lopez’s district), Davila beat Reyna by 200 votes, but Reyna made up the difference in pockets of other assembly districts like parts of Ridgewood, Bed-Stuy, and Wiliamsburg).
The most significant of these outlier districts was Ridgewood, where Reyna worked with freshman State Senator Joseph Addabbo to set up a satellite campaign office to secure votes in Queens. In Ridgewood election Districts, Reyna picked up over 70 extra votes, accounting for her margin. A source close to the Davila campaign said that many Kings Country rank and file workers were rankled that Queens Democratic Party workers were supporting Reyna and questioned why Addabbo was getting involved in a Brooklyn race.
"It’s not uncommon to help out friends and fellow colleagues," said Addabbo, who as a councilmember representing Ridgewood, worked with Reyna on the Council’s Transportation Committee. "She is an accepted member of the Queens delegation and she fought to be in the Queens delegation. When I believe in someone, I work for them. My support of Diana had nothing to do with Kings County or Vito [Lopez] helping Seraph Maltese [Addabbo's 2008 Republican Senate opponent]. It had to do with Diana Reyna."
Reyna was greeted warmly at the Community Board meeting by its officers and the board. With her young son at her feet, she thanked CB 4 members and briefly laid out a policy agenda for her third term. She encouraged members to seek out organizations like the Bushwick Food Coop that promote sustainability, and highlighted other resources that are available to Bushwick residents. The council’s work for the year is not over and Reyna will have key roles in the Broadway Triangle rezoning hearing and jostling for several open committee chairmanships, now that Queens colleagues David Weprin (Finance), Melinda Katz (Land Use), and David Yassky (Small Business) will not be returning to City Hall.
CB4 Chair Julie Dent gave her chair report, which noted the resignation of long-time board member Ruby Clinkscale and a restructuring of community board committees. Other notable news is that the Bushwick Playground (Knickerbocker and Putnam Avenues) will be reconstructed to include new equipment for toddlers and pre-teens, benches, and a sitting area, plus basketball courts with new pavement and blackboards, a spray shower and garden areas. Councilmember Erik Dilan secured $200,000 for the palyground’s comfort station and work on the project is expected to be finished by Spring 2010.
CB4 District Manager Nadine Whitted gave her report, which focused on new committee assignments. Superstar members Austen Martinez (Parks), Elvena Davis (Civic and Religion), Martha Brown (Housing and Land Use), Virgie Jones (Youth and Education) and Barbara Smith (Public Safety) are all back in the saddle and ready to ride. Of note, there’s a Health and Hospital Committee, of which Deborah Brown is the new chair.
About the announcements. There were a lot. Let’s go over the highlights.
*The NYC Department of Health has a fact sheet on H1N1 Swine Flu, now that flu season is beginning. St. Brigid’s School did shut down briefly earlier this summer for a flu scare. What do you need to know? Cover your mouth and sneeze, wash your hands often, don’t get too close to people who are sick. Flu shots are also available and call 1-800-543-3638 for questions about the flue or visit www.nyc.gov/flu.
*The Bridge Street Development Corporation had a Make Your Home Affordable Resource Expo, which will talk about weatherization, foreclosure prevention, and budgeting. There’s also a foreclosure webinar sponsored by Bridge Street Development Corporation on Wednesday October 14 from 7-8:30 PM. The Expo passed, but for counseling and info on the webinar, call 718-636-7596 (ext 14) or email email@example.com. They’re at Nostrand and Jefferson Avenues.
*Lourdes Academy High School (2-12 Aberdeen Street) is accepting 9th and 10th grade applications for the 2010-2011 School Year. They had an open house on September 23rd, but there’s another event on September 30 from 3:30-5:30 PM inviting teachers and community members to learn more about their curriculum and work-study program. Call 718-455-3555 for more info.
*Citizens Committee for New York City announced its New Yorkers For Better Neighbors Grant Application to volunteer-led groups with community improvement projects. The grants range from $500 to $3,000 and the applications are due on September 30. For more information, visit www.citizensnyc.org/grants, or call 212-989-0909 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Finally, TONIGHT, there’s a Foster Parent Recruitment event from 5:30 PM to 11 PM at Lindsay Park Community Center, 25 Boerum Street. Want to become a foster parent? Come check it out or call 347-785-0603.