Friday, June 30, 2006

“Root of Boro Hall Corruption?” Riverdale Review 06/15/06

Root of Boro Hall Corruption?” Riverdale Review 06/15/06

Reprinted from the Opinions column in the Riverdale Review newspaper (Thursday, June 15, 2006 page 18):

During the past week, newspapers and voters across the City have become aware of something we have known for a long time: Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Jr. sees our Bronx community boards as nothing more than an extension of his own power.

The incident that has opened the eyes of the City’s reporters occurred last week, when members of Community Board #4 who opposed the plans to build a new Yankee Stadium were alerted that their services on that board would no longer be required.

You see, Carrion supported the plan. Despite this, Community Board # 4 felt that the plan lacked merit and real consideration for their community and voted against it.

This was unacceptable to Carrion. The Borough President made it clear in a recent radio interview that those who serve on community boards “need to understand, of course, who they’re appointed by and why.”

That understanding was never more clear than last week. Not only did Carrion eliminate board members for publicly voicing a different opinion than his own, he even removed longtime board chairman Ade Rasul, reportedly for failing to keep the board in line when the Yankee Stadium plan came up for a vote.

That Carrion has a vicious, unforgiving demeanor when it comes to Bronx community boards is no surprise to our readers, though the rest of the city may only just now be opening its eyes to the issue.

In 2002, Carrion denied reappointment to Community Board #12 to Mary Lauro, stating that she was “too controversial.” Lauro has been a leader in the fight against “hot sheet” motels in the Northeast Bronx, and has vocally criticized Carrion for his role in that problem.

Also in 2002, Carrion denied reappointment to Community Bard #7 to Alvin Gordon after Gordon wrote several letters to this newspaper criticizing the Borough President.

Gordon was dismissed from Community Board #7 after 20 years of service, and despite the fact that the board had 25 vacancies at the time.

We have offered plenty of criticism over the years to Carrion’s predecessor, Fernando Ferrer. But here is one issue where Ferrer never (with one notable exception) used the community boards as a means of ensuring that his own agenda, both in politics and policy, was able to sneak through with no questions asked.

In fact, Ferrer, in conjunction with local City Council members, made sure the Borough’s community boards were filled with qualified individuals, regardless of their political stripe. By packing the boards with his cronies and yes-men (including his campaign treasurer), Carrion reminds us of another former borough president: the disgraced Stanley Simon, who served jail time for using the borough president’s office for personal gain.

Carrion has famously announced his intentions to run for mayor in 2008, though the only poll to gauge that race shows that, as it stands right now, Carrion has no chance of taking that office, he is still considered a legitimate contender for the office since he is the highest profile Latino-elected official in the City.

We ask our readers this: if Carrion cannot deal with a little difference of opinion over one issue in The Bronx, how could he ever govern an entire city with eight million points of view?


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