Thursday, June 08, 2006

"Carrion, Our Wayward Son" Power Plays 6/8/6

Carrion, Our Wayward Son
By Neil deMause | June 07, 2006

When Bronx Community Board 4 voted last November to oppose the city plan to drop a new Yankees stadium on top of Macombs Dam Park, providing the project's only speed bump on the fast track to approval, it seemed only a matter of time before Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion exacted his revenge for this act of insubordination. That time was last night, when community board members learned that Carrion had bounced board chair Ade Rasul and several other members, declining to reappoint them after their terms expired last month.

The actual list of those getting the axe is still a state secret--the borough president's office hasn't been willing to provide names, or even a total body count. But Carrion's slate of new committee chair nominees, which was the ostensible agenda for last night's meeting, left little doubt about the reasons behind the purge: For the board land-use committee, which had voted unanimously to oppose the stadium plan, Carrion picked a new chair who wasn't even on the committee. (Rasul, who had nominally supported the new-stadium plan, was apparently targeted for not whipping his troops into line.)

It was by all accounts a wild night in the Bronx, with shouting matches breaking out between longtime board members and Carrion community liaison Aurea Mangual. At one point, when Jim Fairbanks, chief of staff for Bronx councilmember Helen Diane Foster, demanded an explanation why Foster's recommended reappointments had been rejected, Mangual tore into him for disrespecting the borough president's office.

"This whole thing is truly shameful," says Lukas Herbert, a stadium opponent who survived the Tuesday night massacre thanks to being only halfway through a two-year appointment. "It's an unpaid advisory board where everyone's a volunteer, and some of these people have over 20 years of experience. To have the borough president kick them off the board simply over a one-issue disagreement is absolutely disgusting."

The next battle is likely to come on June 27, when the board meets again to take up Carrion's slate of committee chairs. Asked how he expects that to go over, Herbert quips: "They were taking names at this meeting [of those opposed to the slate]. I might be kicked off the board before then."


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