Friday, September 22, 2006

CB9 Lashes Out Against City College

Columbia Spectator
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CB9 Lashes Out Against City College
By Anna Phillips
Issue date: 9/22/06 Section: News

For many members of Community Board 9, Columbia is the villain by default.

But it was the City College of New York that bore the hostility at Thursday night's general board meeting.CCNY, like Columbia, has plans to build a biotech center, but the site it has chosen to build on is a playing field owned by the city. The college has promised to hold off on construction until December, but this assurance did little to pacify CB9 members incensed that the community may lose green space and that the college had not approached the board to seek approval.

CCNY "is required by law to consult CB9," CB9 Chair Jordi Reyes-Montblanc said. "They are criminals."

"It's really an issue of insult to this community," Dr. Vicky Gholson, a CB9 board member, said. "City College should not be duplicating the behavior of Columbia."

On the heels of the biotech center debate came a presentation by Bin Love, an assistant director of residence life and operations from Capstone Management, the company that runs a CCNY residence hall on 130th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue. At the mention of CCNY, the conversation quickly switched from students to parking spaces. CB9 members alleged that CCNY was reserving additional spaces on Morningside Drive for faculty and students.

"Those of us who live in the community can't find a place to park anymore," Georgette Morgan-Thomas, a CB9 board member, said.

"I think we're starting to understand that there are some misunderstandings between this board and City College," Love said, backing away from the podium.

A proposal by Monica Abate of The Gabarron Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to promoting Hispanic, Latino and American ties, generated still more criticism. Abate asked the board's approval of an outdoor sculpture installation the foundation plans to display in early November, including a sculpture located on 117th Street near Columbia.

CB9 Secretary Ted Kovaleff took particular offense at this. "I oppose the whole project unless you put in another one between 135th and 155th," he said, citing the density of the Latino and Hispanic community in that area.

Toward the end of the meeting, discussion shifted to more general concerns.

L. Ann Rocker, chairperson of the North River Community Environment Review Board, decried the sorry state of Harlem's sidewalks and how youths' gum-chewing habits had left them scarred.

"You would think that someone had painted [the streets] polka dot," Rocker said.What followed was a lively discussion on the abundance of liquor advertisements and billboards in West Harlem and a general admonishment of young men selling cigarettes and illegal, pornographic DVDs on 125th Street.

At the meeting's close, the board unanimously approved a resolution to support Councilwoman Inez Dickens, D-Harlem, in her plan to build a new playground in Morningside Park.

NB - What this article fails to fully consider is that CUNY and CCNY completely ignored the City Charter mandate for all City of New York Departments and entitites to CONSULT the local Community Board.

In fact CB9M found out about the dormitory only when District residents began to inquire from CB9M about what was CCNY building.

When we inquired, CCNY sent a delegation to tell CB9M what they had decided to do and were already doing.

One does not have to be a Columbia Graduate or even a CCNY graduate to realize that informing CB9M of what had been decided and was being done is not the same as CONSULTATION. But then again maybe CCNY and CUNY graduates have a comprehension deficit in their education.

Columbia University at least makes a great pretense of consulting CB9M while the City entity required to consult CB9M doesnpt even bother to pretend. How can anyone accuse Columbia of arrogance in the face of the actions of CCNY and CUNY? !!! - JRM 22Sep06

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