Updates around the city

Brighton Beach Avenue

Just to remind us of the continuing battle between neighborhood preservationists and developers in NYC, Sunday’s NY Times Real Estate section’s “Living In” profile of Brighton Beach noted the beachfront neighborhood’s continuing high-rise development:

“In 2008, responding to community alarm, the city’s Planning Department proposed a 54-block rezoning of the area that would have capped the heights of many structures at four stories. But developers’ opposition proved overwhelming and last June the city withdrew the plan.”

Elsewhere, the city’s 59 community boards — favorite forums for neighborhood preservationists — continue to face severe cuts to their budgets. Our colleague at Bronx Board 12, Father Richard F. Gorman, writes that the latest reduction leaves each community board with a budget lower than the take-home salary of a single Bloomberg commissioner. Despite the infinitesimal impact on the city’s budget, the mayor has not rescinded the cuts.

Last Thursday, the Staten Island Advance reported on NYS Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s address before a Staten Island economic development conference: “The City Charter Revision Commission ‘should grant borough presidents and community boards more of a say over how services are rendered,’ Silver said, adding, ’if there is a pothole on Hylan Boulevard, the borough president ought to be able to get it filled.’” The Advance did not say whether Silver acknowledged that the State legislature has the power to convene a NYC charter revision commission of its own.

David Greenfield

City Councilman David Greenfield (D-44) held a well-attended ceremonial induction Sunday at Franklin D. Roosevelt H.S. in Brooklyn. U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer affirmed Greenfield into office, as the Councilman’s wife and children joined them on the stage before an enthusiastic crowd. Many elected officials were in attendance.

Crain’s Insider reported recently that the charter revision commission will be holding some invitation-only hearings. A spokesman for the commission clarified that these will be the “issues forums” chairman Goldstein mentioned in April, and that they will be open to the public. The next step in the commission’s schedule will be a public meeting (as opposed to a hearing), date to be announced this week.

Saturday’s discovery of an explosive-laden SUV in Times Square may have an unintended consequence that could affect this year’s charter revision. Typically, voters are more willing to accept authoritarian leaders in times of danger. Those of us who value a balanced form of government in NYC have an extra reason to hope  that no more bomb threats occur.

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