Scoopy’s, Week of June 5, 2014

Scoopy the cat was The Villager’s office mascot in the paper’s early days. In fact, there were a number of Scoopys over the years.

Rent freeze — for real? When he was running for mayor and a few times since, Bill de Blasio has said he supports a rent freeze for rent-regulated apartments, according to tenant activist Michael McKee. However, the proposals offered by the Rent Guidelines Board last month don’t equal “rent freeze,” McKee stressed. By an 8-to-1 vote, the R.G.B. recommended rent hikes of 0 percent to 3 percent for one-year renewals, and half a percent to 4.5 percent for two-year renewals. The board’s final decision, affecting 1 million rent-stabilized apartments, will be made at a sure-to-be-raucous meeting on Mon., June 23, at The Cooper Union’s Foundation Building, on E. Seventh St. and Third Ave. “A rent freeze is not 3 percent or even half a percent,” McKee scoffed, saying the upcoming vote will be a real “litmus test” for de Blasio. In fact, McKee added, while landlords always try to justify the increases based on the escalating cost of heating oil, the price index and so forth, the actual figures prove that renters have been overpaying, and that it’s they who deserve the cash — as in a rent rebate of thousands of dollars each! The majority of the R.G.B. members are de Blasio appointees. With so many city residents now paying at least half their rent to live here, what will the board do? There’s no better way to rewrite this “tale of two cities” right now than to impose a rent freeze — and then kick in a rent rebate, too! It’s long overdue.

Greenhouse to boogie again? Embattled Hudson Square “eco nightclub” Greenhouse is applying for a cabaret license, which is needed to allow patron dancing. The Varick St. hot spot has been closed since its liquor license expired in April. According to neighbors who are fighting the violence-plagued club’s reopening, it appears that its previous cabaret license experience in 2012 and they never bothered to renew it. Separately, Greenhouse is also seeking a new liquor license. Community Board 2’s S.L.A. Licensing Committee will hear the application at its meeting on Thurs., June 12, at 6:30 p.m., at St. Anthony’s Church, lower hall, 151 Sullivan St., just south of Houston St.

On the mend: We dropped by the VillageCare rehab facility on W. Houston St. on Monday since Doris Diether had wanted to give us a flier about the Tiny Top Circus, which will present “The 8th Wonder of the World: BIGFOOT,” in Washington Square Park, on Sat., June 7, at noon. Apparently, Diether noted, it’s yet another comedic production by notorious hoaxer Joey Skaggs, since the “ringmaster” is listed as Peppe Scaggolini. She’s a big Skaggs fan. As for Diether, she’s still feeling some pain in her back and the front of her upper legs. She doesn’t understand how it could be connected to her fall on her backside while walking “Little Doris” in Washington Square Park, since the pain didn’t kick in till two weeks later. She said state Senator Brad Hoylman, her former chairperson on Community Board 2, helped her get into the much-in-demand VillageCare, instead of a facility in Harlem. “Apparently it pays to have friends!” she said with a laugh. C.B. 2 colleagues who have visited her include Jon Geballe, Keen Berger, District Manager Bob Gormley and Sharon Woolums, a public member of the board’s Parks Committee. It seems there are no hard feelings against Ricky Syers’s “Little Doris” marionette, who hangs from his wires from a cabinet hinge just a few feet from Diether’s bed. When Diether is ready to return to the park, so will “Little Doris.” Diether, who was named head of the C.B. 2 Nominating Committee, noted she ran the whole process — which names candidates for board officers — from her room at VillageCare.

A Teachout-able moment? Village attorney Arthur Schwartz tells us he will be the campaign treasurer for Zephyr Teachout, who, he says, is running for governor. Teachout, an Occupy Wall Street activist, may run in the Democratic primary or possibly in a third party, according to Schwartz. After Governor Andrew Cuomo beat out Teachout for the Working Family Party line, Mike Boland, who was W.F.P. executive director, is bailing to direct Teachout’s campaign. However, Capital reported on Monday that former state Senator Martin Connor, an election lawyer, is already hard at work as part of an “immediate smear push” against the 42-year-old Fordham law professor. Connor is questioning her New York voting record and whether she meets the five-year residency requirement to be governor.

Onboard the board: It’s not clear why she wasn’t on the list of new community board appointees released in April, but Kathleen Webster, who goes by K, has been appointed to Community Board 3 by Borough President Gale Brewer. Webster is active in the M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden, in Sara D. Roosevelt Park. And, in case you didn’t know it, her husband, Steve Elson, plays the rockin’ baritone saxophone solo on David Bowie’s “Modern Love.” (We’ve just always thought that was pretty cool.)

A gathering of the heroes: Congratulations to Steve Cannon, director of A Gathering of the Tribes; musician Mimi Stern-Wolfe; Ruth Taube, sewing and crafts teacher at Henry St. Settlement; and Detective Jaime Hernandez, of the Ninth Precinct, who were honored as “Lower East Side Community Heroes” by the Steering Committee of Lower East Side History Month. The presentation ceremony was at Pier 42, in East River Park.

New world of color: Villager readers will notice that this week’s issue is a bit different. That’s because we’ve switched to the Daily News press in Jersey City, right across the river. The state-of-the-art press allows us to run color photos — and color ads — on every single page. Up until now, our typical configuration was only eight color pages per issue. In addition, while the paper is the same height, it is about 1 inch less wide. The new press allows other special features, like advertising stickers that can be placed on Page 1 (which — don’t worry — also can be easily pulled off by readers without ruining the page.) Thanks to our former printer, Trumbull, in Connecticut, for having done a great job for us!