By Keith L. Forest
Community Board 3 (CB3) chairwoman Beatrice P. Jones announced that she will not be seeking re-election. The announcement was made Monday, April 2, at the CB3 monthly meeting. Ms. Jones, a longtime Bedford-Stuyvesant resident, has held the current position for the past three years. “This appointment was only temporary and was only supposed to last a year,” stated Ms. Jones. “I stayed three.” Jones will remain an active board member. However, she is looking forward to spending more time at her Bed- Stuy daycare center, Good Samaritans. A nomination committee has been formed.
In addition to the announcement, the monthly event, which took place at Restoration Plaza, included an amazingly condensed agenda.
The first item on the agenda was a presentation by Lesley Ester Redwine, director of External Affairs for Achievement First. Introduced by Education Committee Chair Mildred Vann, Ms. Redwine shared with the community the non-profit charter school’s plans for opening a new high school in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. Ms. Redwine sees this opportunity as a way to further enhance Bed-Stuy’s economic base by creating job opportunities. Charter schools, which are considered a great alternative to the overcrowded public school systems, are not required to hire United Federated of Teachers members.
The next item on the agenda was from the Transportation committee, chaired by Rev. Robert Waterman. Rev. Waterman introduced Scott Codey, legislative manager for the Citizen’s Committee for NYC, whose organization is offering small grants to support traffic relief throughout New York. “Our goal is to band together community-based groups to focus in on a few neighborhood concerns related to traffic,” Mr. Scott stated. “We want residents to tell us what their concerns are and let’s work together to help resolve them.”
The proposed grant will give qualified community-based organizations the resources needed to conduct studies and reports in hopes of securing the necessary infrastructure needed to correct the faltering traffic conditions. According to Mr. Codey, these items could include traffic bumps, stop signs, and, as in the case of the “Safe Routes to School Program,” visibility improvement and safety for neighborhood school routes. The deadline for this grant has been extended until April 15.
For the past few years, CB3 Consumer Affairs Committee, chaired by Hardy “Joe” Long, has been reaching out to the State Liquor License Association (SLA) for a meeting. The committee has been seeking clarity regarding the issuance and procedure of obtaining a license. On March 12, 2007, their wish came true when committee members sat down for a one-on-one discussion with SLA’s new CEO, Joshua Toas, and Commissioner of Government Affairs, Thomas O’Connor. Mr. Long happily reported that the meeting was a success. According to Mr. Long, SLA, which recently underwent major administrative changes, is looking forward to strengthening its ties with community boards throughout New York.
Amalgamated Bank, touted as America’s labor bank, has its sights set on Bed-Stuy. Executives from the 90-year-old establishment, including its CEO, Derrick Cephas, held a public hearing to discuss and seek receiving a letter of support for its plans to open its first Brooklyn branch at 1245 Fulton Street. The full-service facility will offer a variety of products and services and, according to Mr. Cephas, “job opportunities for local residents.” CB3 board members voted 34 to 1 in favor.
Other agenda items and announcements included an update from the Block, Civic & Religious Committee’s upcoming expo. The event is scheduled to take place May 15 at Boys & Girls High School, and will include joint block watch training and citywide agencies workshops. CB3 Youth, Parks and Recreation Committee, chaired by Mr. Marion Little, will host a youth conference to discuss gang prevention on May 16. Designed to educate youth on what to really expect when they join a gang, the conference is expected to include testimonials from former gang members, as well as gang- prevention police officers.
Community Board 3 monthly meetings take place the first Monday of every month at Restoration Plaza, 1260 Fulton Street. Keith L. Forest is a freelance publicist, writer, and proud Bed-Stuy homeowner who lives and works in the beloved community. His current blog space seeks to celebrate the people and places that make up this great community, while addressing issues such as gentrification, predatory lending, and other ill norms that seek to exploit, discredit, and harm the area and its people.