Chuck Otey's Bay Ridge
Cutting Bd. 10 Funding Is a Very Bad Idea
DESPITE a number of bureaucratic and political problems which have plagued Community Boards in other neighborhoods, Community Board Ten–which for decades has well served Greater Bay Ridge–has been a true success story.
IT’S not that there hasn’t been unnecessary, occasional political interference with this unit which serves the area bounded by Shore Road to the west, 65th St. (more or less) to the north and 14th Avenue to the east. There has.
BOARD Ten is comprised of three ‘sub’ neighborhoods which, on the map, are designated as Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton and Dyker Heights.
NEWER residents–who mistakenly assume that the concrete and steel gash which replaced Seventh Avenue and 10,000 thousand residents to make way for Robert Moses’s destructive Verrazano Bridge approaches–has always been a permanent dividing line. Not so.
IN truth ‘Greater Bay Ridge’ has been the effective geographic designation of this community ‘by the Narrows’ for several decades. The city recognizes this with the congruent boundaries of the 68th NYPD precinct and Community Board Ten. Before each of these there was the Bay Ridge Community Council which reigns civically over the same areas.
BUT, we digress. Board Ten has had the benefit of two extraordinary District Managers– Mary Sempepos from the 1980s over two decades and her talented successor, Josephine Beckmann.
DISTRICT Managers, most still don’t know, are salaried and serve at ‘the pleasure’ of their Community Boards–comprised entirely of volunteers. Some of Bay Ridge’s most dedicated community organizers have chaired Board Ten over the years–most recently, Basil Capetanakis, Kirk Tzanides, Craig Eaton, Steve Harrison, Dean Rasinya and now Joanne Seminara.
BECAUSE of the pre-existing community spirit–fashioned largely through the Bay Ridge Community Council approaching its sixtieth year–Community Board Ten has been very effective in responding to needs of local citizens, particularly in delivery of city services such as sanitation, parks, traffic and, of course, public safety through the 68th Pct..
Is Mayor Bloomberg Opposed To Boards?
THE continuation and improvement of Board Ten is vital to Greater Bay Ridge, almost all would agree. Yet some are worried that Mayor Michael Bloomberg reportedly is lending his support to Charter Revision planners who would decimate all Community Boards.
WHILE the Charter changes loom for later on, the immediate challenge to these Boards comes in the form of drastic budget cuts which would cripple most of them. “THESE cuts would directly affect our budget and it will be the first order of business for our new chairperson in 2010 as we will need to discuss the impact here at the office,” said D.M. Beckmann.
NEW Chair Seminara, a board veteran, will indeed be confronted by an already-slashed C.B. 10 budget which by next year will see an additional reduction of 22 per cent! Board Ten has one of the best staffs in the city but, as one who regularly deals with them, this writer is well aware that they are already working at capacity! CLEAN streets, safer streets–city facilities such as water and more–these are the province of our Community Boards. And, make no mistake about it, if these cuts go through, everyone here will pay a greater price and not just in terms of quality of life.
ALL of the above will certainly be topics of discussion Saturday, January 30, when the city’s leading volunteer neighborhood organization, the Bay Ridge Community Council, holds its prestigious Presidents Luncheon at the Bay Ridge Manor.
UNTIL the Boards became active in the late 1970's, the BRCC was the main public arena for airing problems besetting this area. Even today, the Council, led this year by President Andrew Windsor performs a number of vital roles which help define the nature of ‘Greater Bay Ridge’.
OTHER BRCC officers include 2nd Vice President Janet Gounis, Treasurer Eleanor Sabbagh, Executive Secretary Arlene Keating, Recording Secretary Linda Orlando, Corresponding Secretary Kevin P. Carroll, Historian Eileen Potter and Parliamentarian Barbara Vellucci.
IT’S rather relevant to mention here that former 1st Vice President Jonathan Judge, under BRCC rules, had to resign recently when he decided to run for public office–a city council vacancy created when Councilman Simcha Felder took a position as Deputy Comptroller.
THE BRCC, unlike some Community Boards, has remained relatively free of political turmoil because its by-laws create a firewall of sorts between its leadership and most of the electoral world. (Party leaders, such as new Chair Seminara, who is a locally elected Democratic State Committee Member, are not considered as ‘public office’ holders.)
ChuckOteysBayRidge!!?? Now He’s On Facebook?
FOR some time now I’ve had a blog, technically at least, known as ChuckOteysBayRidge. It’s turned out to be something of a challenge. My ‘tech people’ tell me “It’s easy–it’s intuitive!”
GIMME a break! When you’re a twentieth century guy who learned how to type on a 1928 Underwood typewriter–borrowed from a friend who lived 8 miles away in the hills of West Virginia, which meant I had to drive the 50-pound-antique back and forth that distance every Sunday–there’s nothing ‘intuitive’ about ‘entering content’ decades later onto a blog!
AS A matter of fact, I was just getting the hang of my Smith-Corona Selectric when it was rendered obsolete by Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
SINCE COsBR was slogging along at a turtle-like pace, I decided there was nothing to lose by going on “Facebook”, which neither fellow columnist Ted General or I have mastered yet! (Right,Ted?)
I KNOW that Facebook, like Word or Word Imperfect (my company) is supposed to be intuitive! But, it’s taking me a while to confront this newfangled concept. So, I’m using this print space to apologize to those who were bold and daring enough to suggest we be ‘friends’.
I DO want to be your friend. Honest. But it will take me a while to learn how to say it properly. But, one thing this stuff will never be is–you guessed it–INTUITIVE!!!