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Gerrymandered Bensonhurst lacks leadership

David Greenfield is purported to be a councilman of a gerrymandered district — one of many created by the government demagogues in manipulative fashion, to ensure a seat remain in the hands of a particular party rather than to serve the public.

When this is done, neighborhoods get torn up, and subsequently get torn down, thanks to a lack of leadership.

A case in point is Bensonhurst, which is sliced up like a pizza pie. A Staten Island councilman, James Oddo, owns a chunk of Bensonhurst streets. Dominic Recchia, based in Coney Island, has a piece. And Vinny Gentile spends most of his time in Bay Ridge. Then there is Greenfield, based in Borough Park; the newest hind leg who replaced Simcha Felder, another of the invisible councilmen.

Simcha called me after taking office. He wanted to drive with me around my corner of his district.

In particular, he wanted to see the foibles of Bay Parkway, one of Brooklyn’s pioneer main streets. It was the very first city avenue to dig into its own pockets to raise funds that would “light the way.”

It was at a meeting on Bay Parkway of the Brooklyn Joint Council of Kings County Boards of Trade, where a Con Edison guest speaker showed us the most modern powerful street-lights, and they were all ours, if we, the merchants, paid for it.

Bay Parkway resident, the late Charles Merante, went store to store and bank to bank to raise the money for the brand new brilliant lamps that would sit on the shiny new silver posts. Setting a new pattern for old New York City.

It took time and money and small merchant action, but look at the avenue today. Then go to Sheepshead Bay where they chose to darken Emmons Avenue and the Boardwalk, with old dark lamp posts for nostalgia’s sake and not for safety.

Now Simcha is retired and a new councilman has been elected, working out of his headquarters in Borough Park; David Greenfield is alleged to be his name — but I’ve only seen him once fleetingly at a political meeting. He disappeared before that session ended. When I raised my hand to speak to him, he had vanished.

I then found out that he was to attend a monthly meeting of Community Board 11, held at the Guardian Angel Home.

We skipped dinner just to make it to the meeting on time and meet Greenfield in person. But — you guessed it — Greenfield was a no-show; and he sent no fill-in to lend an ear to his constituency either. At least Bill Guarinello, Community Board 11 chairman, gave me the turn to holler about the pathetic ruts that have ruined wide Avenue P as it passes under the McDonald Avenue train station. The rutted roadway has not been repaved in probably a century or two; the blocks go east toward the direction of where the film “Dog Day Afternoon” was filmed, based on that horrible day of the bank robbery on Avenue P and E. Second Street, remember?

With that pathetic pebbled stoned rutted portion, the empty stores reflect the disenthused pols, who apparently have bigger fish to fry in the bigger portions of thier districts.

At least the evening out gave me the opportunity to renew an old friendship with State Assemblyman Peter Abbate, who we knew years ago as an aide to then-Congressman Steven Solarz.

Get it off your chest Lou, he told me. Keep Speaking Out! Fight when you’re right.

This is Lou Powsner.

Low Powsner's column appears every two weeks on BrooklynDaily.com.

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