Thursday, December 07, 2006

CB9 Hopefuls Speak to Board - Most Races Uncontested; BC Student Vies for Secretary

Columbia Spectator
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CB9M Hopefuls Speak to Board
Most Races Uncontested; BC Student Vies for Secretary
By Jacob Schneider
Issue date: 12/5/06 Section: News

Discussion at Monday's Community Board 9 meeting centered on teamwork and community outreach as members got a chance to question nominees hoping to fill leadership positions on the board. CB9 will elect new officers at the next board meeting on Dec. 21.

All current officers were re-nominated, though three face challenges. Incumbent Jordi Reyes-Montblanc is running unopposed for chair of the board. If he maintains his position, it will the be last term in which he can hold it, according to the limits in CB9's bylaws. Additionally, current assistant treasurer Yvonne Stennett, assistant secretary Ramona Jennett, and first vice chair Carolyn Thompson are not facing challengers in their re-election bids.

By contrast, the races for treasurer, secretary, and second vice chair are more contentious, with debates focusing more on the accessibility of board documents and communication within the board than on outside political issues such as Columbia's Manhattanville expansion.

Treasurer candidate Michael Palma, who is challenging incumbent Barbara Marshall, promised the board that he'll make information about the board's financial status more readily available.

"Almost immediately, you'll see financial reports written in English and with narrative explanations," said Palma.

"I don't understand why we had to do a lot of massaging and manhandling and acrobatics just to understand where we stand financially." Martha Norrick, BC '07 and Spectator associate editorial page editor, who is running against incumbent secretary Ted Kovaleff, said that she intends to add more detailed information into the minutes of future meetings and translate them into Spanish.

"This is not a board without opinions and I think they should be reflected in the minutes," said Norrick.

Kovaleff stressed that he regularly e-mails minutes to board members to solicit suggestions and additions and that he's committed to creating a complete record.

"There are a lot of people out there who want to denigrate the community board and I've thought it was important to keep unimpeachable notes," he said.Three candidates are vying for the position of second vice-chair. Technology professional Theo Chino said that he will create a new Web site for CB9. Vicky Gholson said that she was concerned that the current leadership does not receive enough support.

"It's imperative that at each step we refresh our memory of the skills of individuals we have," Gholson said. "Within our skill base, we have the people to do whatever we want."

Incumbent Pat Jones also said that she would like to better use the skills on the board, adding that she seeks out opportunities to advise Reyes-Montblanc.

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