News & Politics

Carrion, Our Wayward Son

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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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