Chin backs Gerson backers on C.B. 1


By Julie Shapiro

Councilmember Margaret Chin does not hold a grudge.

Chin recently had the chance to remove a handful of Community Board 1 members who last fall supported her predecessor and opponent, Alan Gerson. But Chin recommended all of them to be reappointed to the board and said politics played no role in her choice.

“We really looked at people’s service and their contribution to the board,” Chin said. “Do they show up to meetings, do they contribute, do they work…. We’re blessed that we have very good people on the board.”

One of Gerson’s strongest supporters on the community board was Linda Belfer, a Democratic district leader who lives in Battery Park City. Belfer said she had not been concerned about whether Chin would reappoint her, since community board appointments should not be politically motivated.

“I have pretty good record of working for the community, so I would have been very surprised if I had not been reappointed,” Belfer said.

Chin also reappointed Noel Jefferson, who was seen as Gerson’s candidate in another Democratic district leader race last fall, along with Bruce Ehrmann, Bill Love and Bob Townley, who all supported Gerson.

All community board appointments go through Borough President Scott Stringer’s office, but Chin nominates half of C.B. 1’s 50 members.

This was a year of moderate turnover on Community Board 1, with five new members, selected from about 30 applications: Jeff Ehrlich, Tricia Joyce, George Calderaro, Marva Craig and Nadine Bosson.

“It looks like a great group,” said Julie Menin, chairperson of C.B. 1. She is particularly happy that Ehrlich and Joyce, who are already public members and have regularly attended meetings, are now official members of the board.

The community board lost five members over the past year, opening up the spaces for the new members. Albert Capsouto died in January of a brain tumor; Carole DeSaram and John Foss stepped down because of other obligations; Barry Skolnick moved to Minnesota; and Antonina Simeti, who was on the board for just two years, was not reappointed. Simeti did not respond to a request for comment.

Ehrlich, 63, has lived in Tribeca since 1971 and first got involved in the community board a few years ago when he was battling a sports bar that wanted to move into his Chambers St. building. Ehrlich learned a lot about the intricacies of State Liquor Authority policies, and once his fight was over, he decided to help other residents in similar situations. Soon, he was serving on the board’s Tribeca, Planning, Landmarks and Quality of Life Committees as a public member, helping with everything from a rent-stabilization survey to senior issues.

“It’s a very addictive thing,” Ehrlich said of community involvement.

Ehrlich is married and does woodworking and cabinet making for a living.

Another familiar face joining the board is Joyce, whose twin girls are in first grade at P.S. 234. A 20-year Tribeca resident, Joyce has been outspoken on school overcrowding issues and said she was joining the board to continue pushing for new schools and logical Dept. of Education policies. Joyce also wants to work on waterfront and parks issues.

Joyce has her own company, Tricia Joyce, Inc., representing photographers, stylists and hair and makeup artists.

The community board is getting landmarking expertise from Calderaro, 48, who worked as communications director at the city Landmarks Preservation Commission in the 1990s. Calderaro, who lives with his partner in Battery Park City, is also a member of the Historic Districts Council board.

In addition to landmark matters, Calderaro also wants to take up the future of Battery Park City and the B.P.C. Authority, which is undergoing changes now that the neighborhood is almost entirely built. Calderaro is now director of communications at the Columbia University School of Continuing Education.

Also joining the board is Craig, vice president for student affairs at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. Craig first arrived at B.M.C.C. as a student in 1980 and worked her way up through the ranks, while also receiving additional degrees from Hunter College, New York University and Columbia University Teachers College. After 9/11, Craig organized the reopening of B.M.C.C. and the students’ return.

Craig was out of town this week and did not respond to a request for comment.

The final new community board member is Bosson, 28, a social worker who moved to the Financial District about a year ago. She was struck by the large amount of construction and the lack of basic services in the neighborhood, issues she hopes to work on through the community board.

Bosson has done work in disabilities and global development, and now she is a counselor for victims of domestic violence at Safe Horizon’s Queens criminal court program. She also volunteers with Autism Speaks and ran the city marathon with them last year.