Back to business after the summer recess: CB4 DM Nadine Whitted, left, and Chair Julie Dent. — Photo by Jason Andrew
After a short summer, Community Board 4 returned to Hope Gardens Community Center for its monthly meeting.
It happened last Wednesday night and there wasn’t much on the agenda beyond the District Manager and committee reports, so we held onto our usual meeting diary for a day or two. What’s the worst that could happen? Nothing’s going to happen.
Within 24 hours, the city announced it had been investigating the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council for possible fraud (including the former and now deceased chairwoman of CB4) and a tornado swept through the neighborhood felling decades-old trees in parks and on streets and causing millions in damage to homes and businesses.
Last night, a report in the New York Times revealed that federal prosecutors with the Federal Bureau of Investigation are combing through mounds of paperwork for its own investigation of Assemblyman Vito Lopez — who has received the Pedro Espada treatment from the Daily News and the Post since the Post broke a story about the increased salary bumps for Ridgewood Bushwick’s top two executives who also happen to be Lopez’s most loyal allies.
We guess that’s what qualifies for "new business."
We’ll get to "Friends of Vito" later this week for some analysis, but in the meantime, there’s some old board business to recap.
According to the reports, the "three-quarter house" issue on Willoughby Avenue has been resolved. It will become market-rate rentals after a short and shady stint as a home for recovering drug addicts. Also, the Irving Avenue library branch is losing Saturday service due to budget cuts, and the borough’s parks commissioner, Julius Spiegel, is retiring at the end of the month. CB4 District Manager Nadine Whitted expressed some concern over the future of Community Board 4′s role in the permitting process for youth baseball leagues, but Parks’ star permit-mediator Eddie Vargas isn’t going anywhere as far as we can tell, so I imagine things will stay the same.
As for board member news, Laura Braslow is launching the board’s first-ever standing committee devoted to the arts, William Harris was elected as a judicial convention delegate and an at-large member of the Party’s Executive Committee (he’s a Lopez staffer), Cyril Joseph (who was fired by Ridgewood Bushwick a year ago for backing Diana Reyna at a New Kings Democrats meeting) ran a camp for 60 kids this summer at his Linden Street Garden, and, inexplicably, Odolph Wright opened a mini-golf business at Cornelia and Bushwick.
Finally, we spoke with Whitted about the tornado and its effects on Friday. "I think Maria Hernandez was hit the hardest, Irving Square was hit pretty hard, as was [recently renovated] Bushwick Playground at Putnam," she said. "Park areas are open and they’re just vulnerable… Those trees were old, good trees. Sad, sad, sad, sad."
But, she added, "we’re lucky we didn’t have any fatalities."
Bushwick’s Community Board 4 meets on the third Wednesday of every month (except July and August) at Hope Gardens Community Center, 195 Linden Street at Wilson Avenue. To contact the office any other time, call 718-628-8400 or visit 315 Wyckoff Avenue, 2nd Floor.