One era ends, another begins at Community Board 2
Three long-time pillars of Community Board 2, the official citizen advisory board that represents Hunts Point and Longwood in everything from block party planning to housing developments, presided over their last meeting on June 30, marking the end of an era in local affairs.
Board Chairman Roberto Garcia is resigning after six years in the volunteer position, while District Manager John Robert and Assistant Manager Andrea Eisner are leaving after 31 years and 20 years of service, respectively.
The board chose Rafael Salamanca to replace Robert as district manager. A Hunts Point resident has chaired the community board’s Health and Human Services/Enviornment Committee for two years,
Salamanca, 30, will begin in his new role in August or September.
Salamanca currently works as director of the Community Healthcare Network in Brooklyn and previously spent seven years at the Urban Health Plan clinic on Hunts Point Ave.
Stepping in for Garcia as Board Chair will be Orlando Marin, 46, an architect, who has headed the Community Board’s Economic Development Committee for four years. Garcia was recently promoted to head the Mosholu Preservation Corporation in the Norwood section of the Bronx.
Paul Lipson, chief of staff for Congressman Jose Serrano, read aloud a letter addressed to Robert and Eisner on behalf of the Congressman. It praised them for their “quiet and ethical leadership,” saying they led the board “through some turbulent years and many recent triumphs, through drug wars and ferocious surges of arson and abandonment.”
“You two were never ambitious for yourselves,” Lipson continued, “only for our community and for the many young people who passed through your doors over the years. Your aspirations were for cleaner air, better schools, and more parks in Hunts Point and Longwood.”
An emotional Garcia implored the board to hold fast to its standards of ethical leadership, and added, “I think that is what I tried to project.”
“Maybe I was controversial one or two times, but I always felt that I was fair,” he said.
Other officers elected were Ian Amritt, first vice chair; Julia Cruz, second vice chair; Ralph Azevedo, secretary; and Damian Griffin, treasurer.
In addition, the appointment of seven new board members by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. was announced. The new additions are Anita Antonetty, Eric Diaz, Paula Fields, Twana Gillard-Green, Jennifer Harwood, Jason McNeil and Luis Ramos.
A version of this story appeared in the July 2010 issue of The Hunts Point Express.