Stop Attacking CB7 Letter

| 13 Apr 2015 | 05:29

To The Editor:

Re “Protesting the Community Board Over Traffic Deaths” (Apr. 9), the attempt to have the co-chairs of CB7’s Transportation Committee removed due to their alleged lack of concern for pedestrian safety is actually the continuation of a different agenda, which is to turn the CB7 Transportation Committee into a “rubber stamp” for any and all proposals brought to the Committee by Transportation Alternatives – for which Mr. DeVito serves as a spokesperson, and for which Ms. Sladkus serves on the Advisory Council.

And although TA addresses pedestrian safety (and, to a lesser degree, public transit), they have always been primarily a mouthpiece for bicycle advocates – often at the expense of everyone else, including pedestrians.

The issue here is threefold. First, TA claims that the CB7 Transportation Committee “ignores” certain constituents (an allegation with little merit, since anyone and everyone who comes to Committee meetings has an opportunity to be heard). Yet TA itself completely ignores the fact that the Committee has to consider numerous stakeholders with often competing interests. TA hypocritically dismisses other stakeholders, while accusing the Committee of doing the same.

Second, Community Boards are only required to consider the plans and proposals of city agencies in certain areas, including transportation; i.e., the Committee is not required to consider “outside” proposals, such as those of organizations like TA. Yet they have always done so anyway because they do want to hear from all constituents. However, that the Committee chooses not to go forward with, or formally votes down, one “outside” proposal or another is entirely within its rights.

Third, it is absurd to place sole blame on the Committee for “voting down” any of TA’s proposals, since the Committee is comprised of only 10 to a dozen people. However, there are 50 people on the full board, so any of the Committee’s resolutions could easily be overturned. That they are most often not overturned simply indicates that the majority of the full board does not find a given proposal acceptable to pursue, whether in its proposed form or at all.

Yet I do not hear Ms. Sladkus and Mr. DeVito calling for the removal of any other Board members who vote against TA’s proposals.

TA has “had it in” for Transportation Committee co-chairs Andrew Albert and Dan Zweig for years, even going so outrageously far as to accuse Mr. Zweig of being directly complicit in the death of Cooper Stock. Yet having served on the Committee under Mr. Albert during my first four-year term on the Board, and having attended every Committee meeting under Messrs. Albert and Zweig during my second two-year term, I can state unequivocally that both of them are thoughtful, concerned and open-minded Board members who do their best to balance the competing interests of many stakeholders in issues that are far more complex than TA would have us believe.

TA is basically a lobbying group. But advocacy is one thing, character assassination quite another. TA and their followers need to stop targeting individuals and stick to their core competence: lobbying.

Ian Alterman

Upper West Side