December 2 - 8, 2010
that the Chinatown Partnership L.D.C. isnot qualiﬁed to advocate for governmentservices. They also noted that since the1990’s, Chinatown-area property ownershave twice rejected BID’s.The ﬁreworks started early at the C.B.3 meeting when the evening’s ﬁrst speakerblasted the Chinatown Partnership fornot participating in the efforts of C.B.3’s Chinatown Working Group, a com-munity-based planning initiative for theChinatown area.Rob Hollander, a C.W.G. member,said that the Chinatown Partnership wasbeing “divisive” by not participating in thegroup’s efforts to form a comprehensivedevelopment plan for the area.“I’m concerned about this BID,”Hollander said. “We have, right now, aChinatown Working Group where all thedifferent voices in the area are comingtogether for the ﬁrst time. Instead, they’rebypassing the Chinatown Working Groupand creating a division,” he said of thePartnership.Hollander was followed by severalspeakers from The Coalition Against theChinatown BID. Jan Lee, a coalition orga-nizer, charged the L.D.C. with misus-ing grant money in its quest to form aChinatown BID.He said that the Partnership hadreceived millions of dollars in post-9/11grant money from the Lower ManhattanDevelopment Corporation based on spe-ciﬁc tasks it would accomplish.“But instead of adhering to their orig-inal mission, [the L.D.C.] has squan-dered public funds in pursuit of forminga Chinatown BID, which is not what theirgrant money was for,” Lee charged.Lee added that more than 150 business-es — many of them along the critical MottSt. commercial corridor — have signed apetition opposing the BID.“We do not agree with this attemptto ‘unify’ Chinatown under a pay-to-playsystem of politics,” Lee asserted. “Thedubious track records of many BID’s inthe city stand as testimony against a BIDfor Chinatown.”Philip Grossman, an attorney for thecoalition, joined in the attack. He told C.B.3 board members that an analysis he madeof the Chinatown Partnership’s expendi-tures revealed that only 31 percent of its$5.4 million Clean Streets Program grantwas being used for sanitation purposes.“It’s outrageous and unreasonable,”Grossman said. “They’re going to wasteany BID grants they get. It’s a bad idea tolet the Chinatown Partnership go throughwith its plan.”A Chinatown Partnership spokespersonlater denied the charge. He said Grossmanhad failed to look at the records of thecity’s Economic Development Corporation,which, as part of an arrangement with theL.D.C., was “making payments directly tothe contractor” in charge of the cleanupeffort. “Those payments were not reﬂectedon the C.P.L.D.C.’s books,” the spokesper-son added.David Louie, a Chinatown Partnershipsteering committee member and chairper-son of the Chinese Chamber of Commerceof New York, also denied the charges, andsaid it was time for opponents of the BIDplan to “calm down.”“I’ve heard a lot of unkind and untrueremarks,” Louie told C.B. 3 board mem-bers. “A BID is the best way to improvethe quality of life in Chinatown. The BIDwould not be a dividing factor but a unify-ing one. It’s unkind and unfair to say wedon’t have a broad spectrum of support.”Louie added that in surveys taken onthe proposed BID, 97 percent of commu-nity property owners who voted declaredtheir support for a BID. Another 600business owners and residents wrote let-ters of support, he said, including longtimecommunity groups, such as the ChineseChamber of Commerce, the ChinatownAmerican Legion post and the Canal St.Jewelry Association.Louie was joined by Patrick Yau,executive director of the First AmericanInternational Bank, who said thePartnership had put together a “broadlybased group in support of this plan, andwe’ve submitted documents to show thesupport we have.”Yau said Chinatown’s top three commu-nity needs were sanitation, affordable hous-ing and jobs. In other surveys conducted bythe Chinatown Partnership, he said, “Theoverwhelming issue for all respondents wasimproving Chinatown’s sanitation.“That’s why clean streets will be ournumber one mission, along with advo-cating for more government money forChinatown,” he added. “We just want tokeep our community clean, somethingwe’re already doing successfully under agovernment grant that is about to expire.”Also supporting the BID plan was CityCouncilmember Margaret Chin.“For Chinatown, it’s a moment of self-determination,” she said. “I urgeCommunity Board 3 members to be sup-portive of the BID.”Chin later said charges that theChinatown Partnership L.D.C. was beingdivisive by not participating in meetings of C.B. 3’s Chinatown Working Group weresimply untrue.“This BID group has been working onthis for the past four years — long beforethe Chinatown Working Group was evenorganized,” she noted.Gigi Li, co-chairperson of the Chinatown Working Group, said the clash of opin-ions about the BID was not tearing theChinatown community apart.“There are very strong opinions on bothends,” Li said. “And I would welcome apresentation by them in front of the mem-bers of the Chinatown Working Group.That would show an additional level of outreach to the community.”Li added that she had already invited Wellington Chen, the Partnerhship’s exec-utive director, to attend the Chinatown Working Group’s next meeting.“He has an outstanding invitation tocome before us, but is not required to doso,” she said.Li said the whole issue will be discussedin greater depth at C.B. 3’s upcomingEconomic Development Committee meet-ing, when the committee will recommendwhat position the full board should takeon the matter.The current government grant award-ed to the Chinatown Partnership L.D.C.expires Dec. 31. The Partnership must notonly get approval for the BID plan fromCommunity Boards 1, 2, and 3, but alsofrom the City Council. The ﬁrst-year BIDbudget would be $1.3 million, the vastmajority of which would be used for side-walk cleaning and trash removal.The boundaries of the BID district cur-rently under consideration are Broome St.on the north; Broadway on the west; Allenand Rutgers Sts. on the east; and White, Worth and Madison Sts. on the south.
Continued from page 1
Chinatown groups battle over a proposal for a BID
Photo by Lesley Sussman
Saying clean streets reﬂect well on Chinatown, members of the Chinatown Part-nership Local Development Corporation turned out to back the BID plan at C.B. 3’sNov. 23 meeting.
‘I urge Community Board3 members to besupportive of the BID.’
Councilmember Margaret Chin
BY LESLEY SUSSMAN
At its October full-board meeting,Community Board 3 considered a proposalfor the construction of a statue of Dr. SunYat-sen to be erected on the trafﬁc island atCanal and Baxter Sts. in Chinatown to cel-ebrate the 100th anniversary of the ChineseRevolution in 1911.C.B. 3 gave its support to the resolutionthat called for the creation of the Dr. SunYat-sen statue. The measure was presentedby Gary Tai, assistant to the president of theChinese Consolidated Benevolent Association,at 62 Mott St., who said his civic group isawaiting city approval for the site.“We wish to honor one of the mostimportant ﬁgures in modern Chinese his-tory as soon as possible,” Tai said, “as nextyear is the 100th anniversary of the ChineseRevolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen.“This statue, which would be erectedadjacent to the Chinatown information kiosk,would become another world-famous land-mark in New York City’s bustling Chinatowncommunity and, undoubtedly, a favorite withtourists,” Tai said.He added that the statue would bedesigned by the New York City architec-tural ﬁrm of T.C. Ho, at 33 Bowery, the ﬁrmwhich designed and engineered the statuesof Confucius and Lin Ze Xu in Chinatown.Ho is also the president of the New YorkViet-American Lions Club.Tai added that much of the memorial’sfunding would come from money donated bySun Yat-sen’s granddaughter.
C.C.B.A: ‘Need Sun Yat-sen soon’