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The next time Borough President Marty Markowitz visits Asser Levy Seaside Park in Coney Island, he may want to wear a flak vest.
His plans for a $64 million amphitheater to replace the old band shell are being trashed by those who live there %u2013 so much so that a recent spat over the project led a Community Board 13 meeting to erupt into chaos and get shut down early %u2013 all right in front of a Borough Hall staffer.
For the past several months, opponents have shot down the Markowitz-backed proposal, claiming that the park will be eaten up by a nine- or ten- story building “that will be surrounded by almost 20-foot high walls.”
They also claim that the amphitheater will house more people than Radio City Music Hall and violate city laws by having a sound stadium within 500 feet of a house of worship (there are two nearby).
Opponents have been baiting board members, claiming that their inaction in this manner proves that they are in Markowitz’s pocket.
Board chair Marion Cleaver said that CB 13 has no say in the issue. She did admit, however, that very few of her board members knew what the project entails.
At the last meeting, she said she sent Markowitz a letter asking him to clarify some of the finer points of the amphitheater.
Some Board members are demanding that a town hall meeting be held.
In the interim, some advice from CB 13 District Manager Chuck Reichenthal may help alleviate the situation. Or not.
“We’re going to disagree and argue, but we’re all in it together and we have to accept each other’s differences of opinion,” he said when recommending that board members and opponents agree to disagree “in the spirit of Thanksgiving.”
Yet if a miracle happens and CB 13 and project opponents come together to some Thanksgiving table, Markowitz might just end up being the turkey.
Republican leaders are continuing to come out of the woodwork licking their lips over Bay Ridge’s 13th congressional seat held by Democrat Rep. Mike McMahon.
The latest Republican said to be eyeing the position, which fell into Democratic hands after former Rep. Vito Fossella resigned in disgrace is Michael Grim, according to the New York Post.
Grimm, a decorated Marine who served in the first Gulf War and was an undercover FBI agent for 11 years chasing mobsters and white-collar criminals, also reportedly has the blessing of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and is backed byformer Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari.
If Grimm, 39, does seek the office he will follow the only other declared GOP candidate, Michael Allegretti, a former aide to state Sen. Martin Golden, who has already raised nearly $200,000.
The public school system under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who dubbed himself New York City’s “Education Mayor,” is being scrutinized by angry parents.
New data shows that class size has increased, making for the biggest jump in 10 years.
Schools with kindergarten classes of 25 students increased by nearly 30 percent, according to published reports.
Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, fumed at the numbers, noting, “Last school year saw the greatest increase in class sizes in at least ten years. This year, the increases were three to four times as large, despite the state mandate to be reducing class size in all grades.”
The city Education Department says the higher class sizes are a result of budget cuts. A spokesperson reportedly said schools have avoided “massive increases.”
Council Speaker Christine Quinn is showing she’s willing to play with Republicans not named Michael Bloomberg.
“I hear tell that Quinn actually intervened in the Republican leader battle at Oddo’s request,” according to one usually astute source. “To me that says volumes both about the speaker and about the Republicans — a real opposition party would have told her to f--- themselves.”
Oddo, who represents parts of Bath Beach and Dyker Heights, is expected to rule over a minority of five — the largest number of Republicans in the Council since the 1990s. “The Republicans are bragging how their members will get more member-item money than some Democrats,” the source said.
It was Quinn, the source continued, who helped broker the deal that helped Oddo retain the minority leadership, even though Queens Republicans now outnumber the Islanders.
“Let’s just say Jimmy and Christine are mutually supportive, though Christine is far more pro-Bloomie than Jimmy,” the source said.
While it’s pretty much common knowledge that James Oddo was re-elected to the City Council, most people don’t know exactly by how much.
Let’s just put it this way: you need more than some Brooklyn moxie to defeat this guy.
Board of Elections officials said that Oddo, whose district stretches across Staten Island before ending in Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst, received 74 percent of the vote on Election day after garnering 17,794 votes in the fight for the 50th Council District.
His Democratic challenger, Brooklyn born James Pocchia, received just over 25 percent of 5983 votes cast for him.
While most people may shrug over this, here’s some food for thought: while Staten Island may be the city’s last Republican stronghold, there are actually more registered Democrats than Republicans there. In Brooklyn, Democrats outnumber Republicans eight to one, according to recent estimates.
Republican gadfly Arnaldo Ferraro continues to buzz angrily.
While some might have expected the erstwhile one-term assemblymember to retreat after being trounced by county Chair Craig Eaton at the Kings County Republican Party convention in September, Ferraro %u2013 who challenged Eaton for the leadership of the party only to fall very short -- is clearly determined that he and his political organization, the Fiorello LaGuardia Republican Organization, will not “go gently” into the good night of political anonymity.
To wit, Ferraro appears to have commenced an email war on Eaton and the Kings County GOP.
In a press release sent the day after the election, Ferraro slammed GOP efforts in the borough, contending, “The disastrous election of abysmal proportions by far surpasses any previous election for the candidates of our beloved Party in Brooklyn.”
Ferraro also called for Eaton’s resignation, asserting that it “would go a long way in restoring the confidence and loyalty of many good Republicans that have distanced themselves from our Party because of its continuous failures and defeats.”
Two weeks later, Ferraro issued a release blasting a rally organized by the Brooklyn GOP to show opposition to the health care plan now being considered in Washington. That event, “was downright embarrassing, demeaning and even detrimental,” Ferraro said, asserting that only 40 people had attended.
Eaton, asked to comment, noted, “I’m not surprised to see releases prepared by Arnaldo Ferraro over the last month criticizing the Kings County Republican Party and me personally. However, I am surprised that, for someone that pretends to be such a great Republican, Mr. Ferraro has chosen to sit on his hands and do nothing to help the party, or to advance Republican principles and values over the last quarter of a century.
“Let us not forget,” Eaton continued, “that Arnaldo Ferraro was offered a role in the Kings County Republican Party on several occasions since I first became chair, and he refused all such positions. As for his criticism of the rally, over 70 people did attend but interestingly enough not one member of the Fiorello LaGuardia Republican Organization was at the rally. If he had something to say, he should have attended and spoken at that time.”
Ferraro was elected to the Assembly in 1984, and served a single term. More recently, he crossed party lines to endorse Democrat Joanne Seminara over City Councilmember Marty Golden in 2001.
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