Pataki commits to Downtown timeline
By Josh Rogers
Responding to criticisms that the Lower Manhattan rebuilding efforts are proceeding too slowly, Gov. George Pataki last week released an extensive timeline of short and long-term goals, such as a new Greenmarket, which will open across the street from the World Trade Center site this summer, and the last piece – a Downtown link to J.F.K. Airport and the Long Island Rail Road in 2013.

L.M.D.C. begins search for W.T.C. memorial ideas
By Josh Rogers
Any adult with $25 and an idea of how to remember the victims of the 2001 and 1993 terror attacks on America now has the chance to design the permanent memorial for the World Trade Center site.

Chinatown businesses battle SARS fears and rumors
By Elizabeth O’Brien
As rumor played tug-of-war with reality last week in Chinatown, community members voiced concern that an outbreak of the SARS virus—actual or perceived—could bring further economic damage to an area already struggling with fears of the illness.

Police clash with crowds rushing Chinatown banks
By Josh Rogers
Chinatown resembled Bedford Falls at its worst last week as an old-fashioned bank panic prompted over 1,000 immigrants to crowd two neighborhood banks in scenes reminiscent of the rush on the Bailey Building and Loan in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

12 new members join Community Board 1
By Elizabeth O’Brien
For the second year in a row, an unusually high number of new members will join Community Board 1. Retroactive as of April 1, 12 appointees began their two-year terms.

Fields finds a conflict of interest in Pier 40 vote
By Lincoln Anderson
Borough President C. Virginia Fields’ office has just ruled that one of the members of Community Board 2’s waterfront committee had a conflict of interest in voting on matters pertaining to the redevelopment of Pier 40 as part of the Hudson River Park.

Vesuvio, famed bread shop in Soho, is sold
By Albert Amateau
Vesuvio Bakery, at 160 Prince St., where Anthony Dapolito, unofficial Mayor of Greenwich Village, has presided for more than two generations, changed hands last month.

News Briefs
Downtown local

B.P.C. neighbors

Water St. deals

Tribeca teen discovered

Garden winner

Peking staying for now

Gill reappointed

Letters To The Editor

Editorials
Pataki timeline a welcome step
Gov. George Pataki last week began to do what we and others have been calling on him to do: start making decisions about Downtown’s future.

Downtown Notebooks
Krugman up close: ‘What went wrong?’
By John W. Sutter
Paul Krugman, one of the Bush administration’s most tenacious and effective critics arguing from no better perch than a bi-weekly column in the New York Times, addressed a New School University audience last week on the subject, “What went wrong?




Fields finds a conflict
of interest in Pier 40 vote

By Lincoln Anderson

Borough President C. Virginia Fields’ office has just ruled that one of the members of Community Board 2’s waterfront committee had a conflict of interest in voting on matters pertaining to the redevelopment of Pier 40 as part of the Hudson River Park.

Fields’ attorney also ruled the other members of the committee did not have a conflict when they recommended C & K Properties/Durst be chosen to build a large ballfield, retain parking, and bring in a big-box store to the pier. After the vote, Aubrey Lees, C.B. 2 chairperson, removed all of the committee members from the committee, alleging several of them had a conflict.

Tobi Bergman, who heads Pier Park & Playground Association, which runs recreation programs on the pier and is funded in part by C& K; is believed to be the member with a conflict allegation, although Fields office would not confirm that.

Bergman said the letter from Denise Outram, Fields’ attorney, could be referring to him and said he planned to call her to discuss the matter. Bergman in March personally contacted the Conflicts of Interest Board to find out if he did have a conflict. They sent him the rules of what does and doesn’t constitute a conflict, but didn’t tell him what his situation was, Bergman said. Bergman said he would simply like to know if he can or can’t vote on Pier 40 issues before the full board.

“What I wanted them to tell me is when I have an economic interest. They’re not telling me that,” he said. Bergman in a letter to Board 2 members last month stated that he feels he should only recuse himself from voting if and when a developer is actually picked by the Trust to redevelop the pier.

In a letter to Lees, Outram, laid out the basics of what constitutes conflict of interest, gave an opinion on whether any of the eight members Lees purged from the committee last month had a conflict and, for the record, stated the chairperson’s prerogative to appoint and remove committee members.

Outram wrote: “Although some members of the committee clearly did have interests and associations with outside groups that could be affected by the actions of the committee, these associations, for the most part, were not those that would have resulted in direct financial gain. There did appear to be at least one situation, however, where a committee member had a business/financial relationship with one of the developers being considered, and therefore should not have participated in the committee vote.

“The board chairperson stated her belief that the outside actions by several committee members created the ‘appearance’ of a conflict,” the letter continued, “and she was therefore uncomfortable with them, prompting her to take the action she did…. [A] chairperson, who has the authority to appoint members of a committee, also has the power to remove members.”

The “one situation” Outram apparently was referring to was Bergman, a former committee member who is president of P3, a youth sports organization that is a potential operator of future nonprofit sports fields on the pier’s rooftop. Stemming from a lawsuit settlement that resulted in an interim field on the pier’s roof, P3 for several years has had free space on the pier and received a monthly $5,000 payment from C&K, which subleases the pier from the Trust.

The city’s Conflict of Interests Board declined to rule on the matter, since it represents “past conduct,” meaning since the members were removed the matter is moot. C.O.I.B. only issues opinions on future conduct and does enforcement, such as imposing fines.

According to the letter from Outram, a community board member can’t vote on any matter that may result in personal or economic gain to the member or any person or firm with whom the member is associated.

Several of the eight members removed from the committee by Lees are members of Friends of Hudson River Park, an advocacy group; one development group vying to redevelop Pier 40 in the park, the C&K/Durst group, includes two board members of the Friends — Douglas Durst, its chairperson, and Ben Korman of C&K, its treasurer. Lees contended this was a conflict, and Madelyn Wils, a board member of the Hudson River Park Trust and chairperson of Community Board 1, also said the connections made her feel uncomfortable.

Members of the Friends on the waterfront committee included Arthur Schwartz, the committee’s former chairperson, Elizabeth Gilmore and public member Robin Shanus. Lees said she removed most of the other members because she wanted a clean slate on the committee.

Last week, after being told of the letter’s contents, Lees said, “I haven’t seen the letter, but it doesn’t seem to contradict anything that I observed. I never inferred that there might be [financial] gain, except for Bergman. I felt there was appearance of conflict of interest, and when that happens you just don’t vote. I mean they’re all pretty much connected to the developers,” Lees said of the removed board members who are on the Friends group and of developers C&K/Durst. “The main thing is that as a result of the action I took, the process has been opened up. Now you have people on the waterfront committee who don’t have an agenda and can be impartial. I think the community deserves that.”

C.O.I.B. is discrete about issuing opinions, since they can be damaging if made public. But in general, Mark Davies, the board’s executive director, said they go easier on questions and complaints about the city’s 3,000 community board members, who are volunteers, as opposed to the city’s 300,000 employees. The fact that they have interests in their community is part of this, he said.

“Community boards are treated much more leniently than other public servants,” Davies said. “They’re on there because of their interests in the community. You don’t appoint someone to a community board who doesn’t have an interest in the community.”

For example, when Bob Rinaolo was appointed by Lees as chairperson of the board’s business committee, which reviews liquor license applications and renewals, some said Rinaolo, who owns two bar/restaurants in the Village and is a past chairperson of the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, had a conflict of interest. But the C.O.I.B. has actually not publicly ruled yet on this specific issue of a bar or restaurant owner chairing a business committee. In the meantime, Rinaolo said he recuses himself from votes affecting his businesses or those in about a one-block radius of his locations.

Meanwhile, Bergman has taken to new lengths the idea of a community board member interested in a community issue. He has flown to Paris and Los Angeles to work with different potential Pier 40 developers’ architects on how to best configure rooftop ball fields on the pier’s donut-shaped roof.

A former president of the Greenwich Village Little League, Bergman made essentially the same point as Davies when the C.O.I.B. executive director said that community board members are by nature involved in their communities: Referring to the whole issue of increasing park space and recreational opportunities for children in the district, of which Pier 40 is a major component, Bergman said: “If I wasn’t involved in this, I wouldn’t be on the community board.”

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IS. 89 film festival ahead of that Tribeca one
By Laura S. Greene
When you grow up in artsy Downtown, maybe you’re never too young to start making documentary and narrative shorts. In fact, you can take an afterschool class to teach you how.

Family Life

Well-played scrimmage
Many of the Downtown Little League games were canceled last weekend because of Saturday’s rain, but the Royals and Diamondbacks played a hard-fought scrimmage on Sunday in East River Park.

High school to open
Millennium High School will occupy its Downtown digs for the start of the school year this September, thanks in part to government funds earmarked for post-Sept. 11 revitalization.

Some parents concerned over new ferry terminal
By Jane Flanagan
A new, temporary ferry terminal, with diesel engine boats shuttling in and out, is set to open in May, across from Rockefeller Playground and Park. Its opening will coincide with the start of the summer season, the busiest time at the park and some neighborhood parents say they are worried.

Children

Resourceful babysitter is quite an icebreaker
By Jane Flanagan
At a preschool event some weeks ago, a woman I’d never met introduced herself and told me that my son Rusty, 41/2, was over at her place having dinner. She knew Rusty well, she said, and he and her 2-year-old daughter were good friends.

Children’s Activities
Everything you will need to plan play with your kid

Arts & Entertainment

Before the M.T.A., I remember Kalikow at The Post
By JERRY TALLMER
In late February or early March of 1988, I stood on the floor of the city room of the New York Post — then on South St., just north of the Brooklyn Bridge — and, with maybe a hundred other ink-stained (okay, computer-stained) wretches, survivors of close to a dozen near-death experiences of our beloved rag throughout the previous 10 years, listened to the new owner introduce himself.

Koch on film
Mayor Koch reviews Raising Victor Vargas and Lilya 4-Ever

Home

Room for Improvement
The best places to let there be light
By Beth Lee Segal
Whenever we turn the clocks ahead to signal spring’s arrival, I ask myself, “how did I live without the clear, pure light of this season?”

The Penny Post
Eulogy for a certain someone
By Andrei Codrescu
One day, a child who had been daydreaming under the big tree, was intercepted by an angry adult who looked at him with one hand on her hip and a ruler in her hand. “What, what?” mumbled the dreamer, who had just driven back an army of intruders and was about to make his victory speech before men in tophats who represented the best minds of all times in the fields of the sciences, arts, and diplomacy.\

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