Volume 17, Number 43 | March 18 - 24, 2005

Under Cover

So much for conduct
The Community Board 1 Code of Conduct debate that degenerated into an e-mail spitball fight on Monday night wheezed its last acerbic breath two days later at a board meeting.

Board chief Madelyn Wils announced that in lieu of a resolution curbing members speech, she would circulate a copy of Robert’s Rules, a parliamentary rulebook, for members to read at their leisure. “When you get this, you will see that there is already an aspect in Robert’s Rules that says you cannot attack the motives of board members,” she told members at the March 15 meeting. (The rulebook declares that members cannot question the motives of other members during a debate, it has little to say about motives in other situations.)

“I really hope that this will be the end of a really difficult discussion,” she said.

Alas, the difficult discussion had not yet reached its end. Board member Bruce Ehrmann had a few thoughts about “the quality of the e-mails last night that was so poisoned.”

UnderCover got a hold of a few snippets of the e-mail war, where board members came to blows, and the board “got a lot of egg on its face,” according to one public member.

Another board member blasted another’s “vengeful lust at nailing whoever [sic] disagrees with him. It scares me. But maybe that’s the desired intent.”

Despite Ehrmann’s efforts not to “tear this open,” he could not contain himself: “If two or three people continue to poison the quality of the community board, I think it would be a clear and present danger.”

Flack is back
Roberta Flack, the easy listening diva who has been the soundtrack to many-a-saccharine tryst, is not much of a romantic dinner gal. After dropping a whopping 57 lbs., Flack is now a health food convert. The “Killing Me Softly” swooner swears she avoids Downtown restaurants. But a girl’s got to have her vice: she can’t help indulging in the designer clothiers. “I’m a shopaholic! I love to shop,” she professed to UnderCover before she accepted Comptroller Bill Thompson’s Creative Artist Image Award as part of a ceremony celebrating African-American History Month at the S.E.I.U headquarters Downtown.

At 66, the Grammy Award-winning Flack is rocking out with count ‘em three new albums designed to showcase not only new original works, but the talent of up-and-coming artists with whom she’s worked. Following in the footsteps of Madonna, Flack is taking a crack at the children’s book genre with a new tome called The Green Piano. No Kabballah references here: “The story is based on my childhood,” she professed. “When my father brought home the first piano that I ever played, it was home to several little mice and whatever creatures made their home there. And whenever you played a note below middle C... believe me, you knew of their presence!”

Playing fair
Street Fair season is just around the corner and what better excuse for a squabble? The city’s Conflicts of Interest Board recently ruled on Community Board 1’s Street Fair dealings — the board throws fairs on its own behalf from time to time — and decided that so long as a city employee isn’t sealing the deal and the members vote on the fairs, all is kosher at C.B. 1.

“I’m pleased that we got this letter [from C.O.I.B.] and there’s no conflict of interest,” board chair Madelyn Wils said at a March 15 full board meeting. Wils has long maintained that all dealings were, well, above board.

Board member and investigation-launcher Rick Landman agrees with Wils about one thing at least: he too is happy with C.O.I.B.’s findings because the agency ruled that it was a members-only issue. “I feel vindicated!” he said.

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