Scoopy’s Notebook, Week of Jan. 4, 2018

Harvey Epstein just racked up a load of political endorsements in his bid to be the Democratic nominee for the 74th Assembly District in a yet-t0-be-scheduled special election. Governor Cuomo must “call the election,” setting the date.

Healthy Harv-est: Harvey Epstein raked in a slew of endorsements this week in his bid to be the new assemblymember for the 74th District, succeeding Brian Kavanagh, who recently became Lower Manhattan’s state senator, succeeding Daniel Squadron. Enthusiastically jumping on the Epstein bandwagon were former Councilmember Rosie Mendez, Councilmember Ben Kallos, Assemblymembers Richard Gottfried and Deborah Glick, East Village District Leader Anthony Feliciano and Democratic State Committeeman Michael Farrin. Many of them were allies with Epstein — a former chairperson of Community Board 3 and currently a director at the Urban Justice Center — on previous struggles. Epstein is also a tenant member of the city’s Rent Guidelines Board, as which he has been a strong advocate for a rent freeze and a rent rollback. “Our community will be well-served with Harvey Epstein representing us in the state Assembly,” Mendez said. “I have worked closely with Harvey for years and I have seen first-hand how he has delivered for those New Yorkers most in need. I know he will be a fighter for us in Albany and his leadership will yield real results.” Governor Andrew Cuomo still has not called a special election to fill the open seat for the 74th A.D., which covers the East Side from the United Nations through the East Village and into part of the Lower East Side.

Jamie Rogers relinquished the chairpersonship of C.B. 3 at the end of 2017. Villager file photo

Conflict avoidance: True to his word, Jamie Rogers stepped down on Dec. 31 as chairperson of Community Board 3, after making an announcement to the full East Village board that he would not be running for re-election. Alysha Lewis-Coleman, the board’s first vice chairperson, was elected the new chairperson. Rogers told us back in October 2016 that if his wife, Carlina Rivera, was elected city councilperson — which, of course, she was this past November — he would not run again, feeling “the optics” would look bad. “I believe it is unfair to the community to have the chairperson of the board and a city councilwoman for the area under one roof,” he told us recently. “There are too many potential areas of conflict, and neither the board nor the community nor Carlina should have to deal with that. We have a lot of great leaders on our board, including Alysha, and so I’m confident I’m leaving the leadership in good hands. I plan to serve as a board member for the remainder of my term, which expires on March 31, so I can be helpful with the transition.”

Wondering at Westbeth: In a surprise, George Cominskie, the longtime president of the Westbeth Artists Residents Council, recently stepped down from the coveted post. Word has it Cominskie was miffed that the board of directors of the famed West Village affordable artists’ housing complex refused to reappoint him to the board. “So he stepped down from WARC, which was his life,” a source told us. “George has not been on the board of directors in a very long time. Years ago when I first moved here, he was on the board. Then there was a purge. That was over 10 years ago.” In the past, Cominskie and other WARC members sued the board over alleged wrongdoing, but the board was not found guilty of malfeasance. The board may still be harboring a grudge against him over that, our source opined. “He has been consistently trying to get back on the board and always got rejected,” the Westbeth insider said. “Maybe what’s different now is that two other members of WARC got appointed but he didn’t. One had been on the board years ago with George. The other had never been on the board. Every year when WARC had its annual elections they would ‘run’ people for the board of directors, even though that is not how you get on the board.” Cominskie did not respond to requests for comment. Roger Braimon is currently serving as the interim president of WARC until an election is held this spring.

The members of the Modern Love Club can be found on First Ave. Photo by Bob Krasner

Correction: The headline on our article on the East Village’s Modern Love Club matchmaking service last month incorrectly stated it was located on Avenue A. It’s on First Ave.

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