Scoopy’s Notebook, May 24 – June 6, 2012
L.G.B.T. Caucus gets frisky: In an article in last week’s issue, “City Council race for Quinn’s seat is already heating up,” Brad Hoylman told the newspaper that he had recently been appointed co-chairperson of the L.G.B.T. Caucus for the Father’s Day March to Reform Stop and Frisk. However, this week, Hoylman tells us that, in fact, he no longer is the group’s co-chairperson. Hoylman now says he was informed he no longer held the position on Wed., May 16 — that was one day after he told us he did have the position. Jeff Campagna, an activist with RWDSU (Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union), was appointed co-chairperson, filling Hoylman’s spot and joining Sharon Stapel, of AVP (Anti-Violence Project), the other co-chairperson. It sounds like there may be a political struggle over who gets these plum positions: Among the 20-member caucus there are no less than three expected candidates for Christine Quinn’s Third Council District seat, Hoylman, Corey Johnson and Yetta Kurland. If there’s more to the story, we haven’t heard it yet. For his part, Hoylman declined comment when asked why he was removed from the post. Ultimately, Hoylman said, the main thing is the march on Sun., June 17. “It’s historic,” he said. “The important thing is to get 100,000 New Yorkers on the streets on Father’s Day to fight for reform of stop and frisk. And I’ll continue to try to do my part.”
Movin’ on: After 14 years on Community Board 2, David Reck abruptly resigned three weeks ago. “It was just personal reasons — time to move on,” the Hudson Square activist told us this week. Reck chaired the board’s Land-Use and Business Development Committee (formerly known as the Zoning and Housing Committee) for the past seven years. Asked what accomplishments on C.B. 2 he was proudest of, he said it was getting the first Hudson Square rezoning passed in 2003, which saw three blocks between Spring and Canal Sts. rezoned to allow residential use. “That was something that was almost impossible to do — and I did it,” he said proudly. Reck said he’s not going away, and has a position lined up. “I can’t say exactly what I’m going to do — but it’ll be something in the community,” he told us. He said he couldn’t offer more details because “it’s not a done deal yet.” Meanwhile, David Gruber, former chairperson of C.B. 2’s Institutions Committee, has been appointed to fill Reck’s former spot as Land-Use and Business Development chairperson. And Doris Diether, the board’s zoning maven who was kicked off the committee seven years when Reck took it over, is back on it. Hoylman and Gruber told us they don’t know why Reck resigned.
Positive purple aura? Many people think that Greenwich Village’s cachet — and the value of its property — comes from its beautiful, landmarked, low-scale buildings, its artistic and intellectual ferment and its numerous attractions, from Washington Square to cafes and cultural spots. But Mayor Bloomberg says simply being close to New York University is a major factor driving property values. Responding to a reporter’s question last month about the university’s 2031 plan, Bloomberg said of the Village, “People there, the value of their homes, the level of their quality of life is due to the proximity of N.Y.U.” He furthermore accused the plan’s opponents of “playing politics with it,” adding that this is “not beneficial to anyone.” Assemblymember Deborah Glick said, sadly, the mayor just doesn’t get it. “Spoken like a man who comes from Boston and lives on the Upper East Side,” she said. “I don’t think he particularly understands New York — he understands a very limited slice of New York. The neighborhood, day-to-day life of New Yorkers is not something that has value for him or his social set. People will be disappointed, but I don’t think they’ll be the least bit surprised,” Glick said of the mayor’s claims that it’s actually N.Y.U. that is elevating everyone’s quality of life. In the same vein, Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, said, “I wonder if the mayor would feel the same way if N.Y.U. was proposing this massive expansion plan for his neighborhood on the Upper East Side, and his townhouse was placed in the middle of a 20-year construction zone, as many Villagers’ homes will be.”
Occupy Penley: After being active in Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park last year, John Penley is now occupying his parents’ basement in his native North Carolina. Many of Scoopy’s columns over the years have been occupied by items pitched by the longtime East Village activist. He had relocated to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, but said he just couldn’t afford the rent in New York. For a while he was camping out with Occupy Asheville, in Carolina, but wound up being the first person arrested under a new law there forbidding tenting on city property. Naturally, Penley is contesting the regulation, saying he was in a designated “24-hour free-speech area.” Although he’s on food stamps, it hasn’t dampened his activism. He and Cindy Sheehan are taking the lead on organizing an alternative to changing the name for the protest at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Occupiers are pushing to nix the current name, Coalition to Protest the Democratic National Convention, in favor of the Coalition to March on Wall Street South — Building People’s Power During the D.N.C. (Mic check! Kind of a mouthful!) The hubbub is because they don’t want to be seen directly attacking the Democratic Party, fearing it might only help the Republicans. But Penley and Sheehan say neutering the name lets the Dems off the hook. “What a sellout!” Penley fumed on Facebook. On the personal front, Penley needs to “occupy health.” He recently got checked out at the V.A. Hospital after feeling pain in his back, and the news was sobering. A CAT scan revealed one of his kidneys is shrunken and deformed while the other has a mass growing on it. His next step is to get an M.R.I., but due to the long line at the V.A., that won’t be till July. He also has nodules on his lungs. “I just turned 60, s— happens,” Penley said.
Sustainable hotelier: Some supporters of the N.Y.U. 2031 plan among the local business community have been saying that the main reason Judy Paul of the Washington Square Hotel has criticized the scheme is because it includes competition for her — namely, an N.Y.U. hotel. Paul leads the new group Villagers for a Sustainable Neighborhood, which — while not opposed to 2031 — has repeatedly called for the university to do more to scale back the plan. We asked Paul straight up if the position of V.S.N. has been influenced by the N.Y.U. hotel. Not at all, she responded. “Competition is one of the things that makes New York City great, and we always welcome it — that’s why we have no issues with the recent 25 percent increase in the number of hotels in the area,” she said. “What we do oppose — as do the 60 other small businesses who make up Villagers for a Sustainable Neighborhood — is the threat to our businesses posed by an overwhelming N.Y.U. plan that will destroy the great things that bring people to this neighborhood in the first place.”
Green on Menin’s team: Former Public Advocate Mark Green has endorsed Julie Menin for Manhattan borough president should the seat become vacant. Menin and the other hopefuls are all waiting for the incumbent, Scott Stringer, to announce he’s running for mayor. On why he’s backing the longtime Community Board 1 chairperson, Green told City and State, “You could look through her record and all, but to me of all the things she’s done, I was most impressed by how welcoming she was to the Islamic center and Occupy Wall Street, when both were really hot hot topics.”
Correction: Due to an editing error, an article in last week’s issue, “Obama takes it to another level at the Rubin Museum,” stated that the presidential fundraiser, which occurred on three floors, had used “all three of the museum’s levels.” In fact, the museum has a lower level and six floors above it. …