Thursday, January 11, 2007

"Revised Board 4 tries to seek peace" Daily News

Revised Board 4 tries to seek peace


Members of Bronx Community Board 4 will start 2007 with a prayer for unity and, after 2006, they'll need it.
At the last full board meeting of a year wracked with controversy over plans for a new Yankee Stadium, Board Chair D. Lee Ezell won approval to start meetings with a prayer for "brotherly love, professionalism and respect."

The board, which serves Mount Eden, Concourse and Highbridge, has been at a slow boil since last spring, when Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión purged several members who had opposed the new Yankee Stadium project.

"This is the direct result of the borough president's decision to exact punishment for us voting against the Yankee Stadium project," said board member Anita Antonetty, who also served as the board's recording secretary until she resigned that post in October.

Carrión pushed hard to rally support for the deal that would anchor the Bombers in the Bronx. But many members of Board 4 thought the deal to hand over two popular local city parks to the world's richest sports franchise shortchanged the local community, so the board voted against endorsing the plan.

While the vote was nonbinding and the stadium plan easily won city approval, the rebuke embarrassed the borough president, for whom the Yankees deal was a long-sought triumph.

In a "my way or the highway" move, Carrión nixed four board members who were up for reappointment - three who voted against the stadium as well as then-Chairman Abe Rasul, who voted for it, but was reportedly dumped for failing to deliver the full board.

"There was a leadership void at the time," said Ezell of the board that faced the stadium decision. "Then Save Our Parks [an ad hoc group started by community activists to oppose the stadium] stepped in and some on the board followed them onto the streets."

Ezell said she believes more concessions could have been achieved by working with the city and the Yankees organization rather than through the adversarial tactics of Save Our Parks.

After Carrión elevated Ezell to the board chair and the board's new leadership slate was approved in a contentious meeting, Antonetty locked horns with Ezell over the minutes.

Antonetty said that Ezell asked her in a private meeting to change the minutes, which led to her decision to resign as recording secretary.

But Ezell said Antonetty had included quotes as long as four pages from members opposing the stadium plan - resulting in a 27-page document. "The minutes are a supposed to be a summary of the meeting," said Ezell, "not a transcript."


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