5 Reasons Gigi Li Should Resign from Community Board 3
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Chad Marlow vs. Gigi Li for CB3 Chair, June 2014
Gigi Li is currently the sitting Chair of Community Board 3. Her three-plus years as purported puppet of Susan Stetzer and the Silver machine have been tarnished by controversy. In such short order, she managed to piss off many people within the district, including member peers.
Here are five reasons why Gigi Li should step down from her (volunteer) post immediately.
Alleged election fraud
This is the most obvious. Gigi Li implicated herself during the campaign against incumbent Jenifer Rajkumar for the District Leader position in Part C of the 65th Assembly District. In a lawsuit filed against her two weeks ago, Li was accused of employing underage and unregistered youths to collect signatures. That is, election fraud. Some were unsupervised and validated ipso-facto by absentee witnesses, including the Chief of Staff for Councilmember Margaret Chin.
Li maintains that last week’s withdrawal from the race has nothing to do with the allegations of election fraud.
Accusations of “racial insensitivity”
Former CB3 member Ayo Harrington accused Gigi Li of “racial insensitivity” for not appointing Black or Latinos to Executive Board or committee chair positions.
A subsequent Equal Employment Opportunity investigation found the charges “unsubstantiated” because Li’s one-year term as Chair wasn’t long enough, nor had she enough appointments to have established any “consistent pattern.” A technicality. Nevertheless, the report concluded that CB3 leadership ultimately “failed to sufficiently emphasize the value of diversity and inclusion.” So, racial insensitivity with an asterisk.
Harrington was allegedly booted from the board for her actions earlier this year; Borough President Gale Brewer didn’t include her in this year’s appointment roster.
No public forum for liquor license renewals for problem bars
Both the Sixth Ward and Epstein’s Bar were up for license renewals last fall under the category of “renewal with complaint.” CB3 didn’t publicly hear the latter bid; in the case of Sixth Ward, however, the local backlash was strong enough to reinstate the item for public consumption.
The public has the right to know.
Unethical suspension of the LES Dwellers
Gigi Li and Susan Stetzer probably aren’t the biggest fans of the LES Dwellers, who seemingly keep the advisory board in check. As such, Community Board 3 in 2013 suspended the block association from participating in the process for three months, based on the belief that they overstepped their bounds. The argument was that contacting license applicants and the State Liquor Authority directly was not proper protocol.
The group argued that suspension amounted to muzzled free speech, yet was nevertheless upheld.
Beastie Boys Square
It was a little over a year-and-a-half ago that one LeRoy McCarthy created international headlines with his bid to co-name Ludlow and Rivington Streets “Beastie Boys Square.” The petition was a nightmare for Community Board 3 which totally bungled the proposal. McCarthy had withdrawn the application at the behest of the panel. However, under the auspices of Gigi Li, it was rejected at the full board meeting. Rejected without due process or public input. This decision again required the Manhattan Borough President’s office to intervene.