Op-Ed | CB11 meetings are being disrupted by ‘clique’ of progressives

CB11 Chair Bernadette Ferrara is facing a vote to remove her at the board’s next general meeting in November.
Screenshot courtesy BronxNet

If you love a good TV drama series, you should attend a Community Board 11 meeting.

The mayor’s spokesperson for the Bronx recently attended and compared members of Community Board 11 to her teenage children! Community Board 11 is now dominated by a group of newly appointed progressive or very far left members who are determined to destroy the residential communities of the East Bronx that many of us of have known and loved over many decades. Their goal is not improvement of the community, but destruction under the guise of “social justice.”

Countless complaints to Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson and Councilwoman Marjorie Velázquez have fallen on deaf ears. Many community members are feeling defeated with no options due to fear of retaliation. It should be noted that members of the board are appointed by the borough president and the City Council representative.

The events that occurred at the Community Board 11 full board meeting held on Thursday, Oct. 25, compelled me to write this letter. A freshman board member, coached under the instruction of the disruptive “clique,” requests under new business that the current leadership be removed. Curiously, this new board member is a recent addition to the East Bronx, having just moved to the community from Florida.

After chaos erupted, the board voted in favor to discuss demotions of the chair and vice chair simply because they have differing opinions. It is causing many residents concern as the current chair did run against Councilwoman Marjorie Velázquez in the June Democratic primary. The actions of this newly appointed “clique” of disrupters reeks of political retaliation. The residents of Community Board 11 deserve better.

This disruptive “clique” of individuals are bullying board members to either conform to their beliefs or be the next target. Some residents are scared to speak up as this “clique” of board members are politically connected and often boast about how they are running the board.

Below are several examples of their alarming behavior:

-A board member from the newly disruptive “clique” gives a community member the middle finger while on recorded video and jokingly refers to the ethics complaint against him as “finger gate.” He continues his rude, aggressive and misogynistic behavior toward the female community member and no action is taken to remove him.

-A board member writes an article as a private citizen that members of the “clique” found offensive. Members of the “clique” make their personal, emotional reactions board business and spend countless hours berating this individual. An ethics complaint is filed and the resolution is diversity/inclusion training for all members of CB 11.

-A board member uses two extremely offensive words that refer to the homosexual and Black and brown communities (the n-word), in an extremely negative way. The sergeant-at-arms allowed this behavior and these words to be repeated two different times. Members of the “clique” did not relent until the district manager asked for professionalism because of the possible presence of children.

-A board member from the “clique” verbally attacked an individual questioning her about posts from 4 years ago that had nothing to do with any topics being addressed during a public meeting

-During a presentation from an individual seeking licensure for a smoke shop, a board member from the “clique” asked for free samples from their dispensary. This type of request can be considered a bribe or pay to play.

I urge members of Community Board 11 to experience the present board for themselves. This is not a time to bury one’s head in the sand. Your presence and voice matter now more than ever. Get involved in our community by attending community board meetings. Our community is worth saving!

Rochelle Mandina is a constituent of Community Board 11 in the East Bronx. 

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