Wednesday, April 05, 2006

CU Student Appointed To CB9M

Columbia Spectator

CU Student Appointed To CB9M
Stringer Selects 16 New Members to Join Board

By Erin Durkin and Anna Phillips
Columbia Daily Spectator
April 05, 2006

After three months of recruitment and applicant interviews, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer announced the members of Manhattan�s 12 community boards yesterday.
Community Board 9, which serves Morningside Heights and West Harlem, had 12 vacancies�the most of any board in Manhattan�and received 16 new appointments, which indicates that four former board members were not reappointed. For the first time in several years, CB9 is at its full capacity, with 50 members.

�I�m glad that we have a full board for a change. It�s been years,� said CB9 Chairman Jordi Reyes-Montblanc. �I�m disappointed that some of the incumbents were not reappointed, but that�s [Stringer�s] decision, not mine.�

Martha Norrick, BC �07, and a Spectator associate opinion editor, will become the only Columbia student on CB9. �I�m really interested in politics and in local politics, and I couldn�t think of a better place to start,� she said. �It was kind of a �Hey, why not?� type of situation.�

Her appointment will put her in a position to cast a vote on the rezoning for Columbia�s proposed Manhattanville expansion, but she said she had not yet formed an opinion on the topic. �Both sides have valid points,� she said. She said she thought the most important issue for the community board to tackle was the lack of affordable housing.

The new appointees included several neighborhood activists, among them Cecil Corbin-Mark of West Harlem Environmental Action; Brad Taylor, president of Friends of Morningside Park; environmental justice lawyer Norma Ramos; and Tamara Gayer, a Manhattanville artist who has repeatedly spoken against the expansion.

�I go to quite a few of the meetings, and I�m interested in development,� said Taylor, who has lived in the area for 13 years. �I�m excited. I know it�s a big time commitment, but I�m looking forward to it.�

The other new members are Diane Wilson, Winston Majette, Michelle Jewell, Blaine North, Theo Chino, Christa Giesecke, Linda Walton, Jeanine Johnson, Sheena Wright, Deidra Govan-Legrand, and Margaret Jacobs.

�We don�t appoint people with the idea that they�re going to come to the table with a preconceived notion of any issue,� said Joshua Bocian, Stringer�s director of community affairs. He added that the borough president had instead sought �a broad and diverse group of people.�
In his CB9 blog, Reyes-Montblanc wrote that if he had been consulted, he would likely have reappointed most if not all board members.

The four CB9 members who were not reappointed to the board have been selected by Reyes-Montblanc as public, non-voting members to the committees on which they previously served. He said they were likely passed over for reappointment due to frequent absenteeism at meetings.

Sophie Johnson, who served as a member of the Landmarks and Preservation committee, was disappointed to see her application turned down.

�Maybe I spoke out too loudly, and they don�t like what I said,� she said. Regardless, Johnson said she plans to stay involved and attend meetings as a public member.

�I guess they want to put new young people there, but they need to put people who belong to the community there, not people from outside the community,� Johnson said.

Board member Dr. Vicky Gholson, who was reappointed, echoed Johnson�s sentiment.
�It�s important that you have a continuum, that you have a history, that you have people who have demonstrated that they are not selfish in their concerns,� she said.

Reyes-Montblanc said that he did not know the majority of the new members, with the exception of Corbin-Mark, who served on the board with him several years ago and has now returned.

�My big concern is how [the new board members] are going to work out long term. I have to appoint them to committees and make the best use of them. If I�m given lemons, I make lemonade,� Reyes-Montblanc said, adding that he didn�t mean to imply he�d been given lemons.

No comments: