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Queens Chronicle

Bogus CB 1 site takes jab at board

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Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:30 am, Thu Mar 28, 2013.

One or more individuals with a biting sense of humor and probably more than a little beef with Community Board 1 has created a mock website.

The site takes many jabs at the ages of the board members, their policies and their alleged primary interests.

On the “contact” page it reads “Average response time is one week, but we cannot guarantee a reply. If you are a property, business, or car owner please mention that fact.”

The phony site’s creator hammers out the point that he or she believes the board to be pro-car, calling bikes a “frivolity.”

The site, which links quite adeptly to dozens of different websites of local businesses and news articles, says that although the average demographic of the area is younger than 35 and 48 percent white, the board, which covers parts of Long Island City and most of Astoria, is mostly Greek and Italian and more than half its members are older than 60.

“Four of our members are nonagenarians! Maybe it’s something in the air,” the website mocks.

The site’s author takes offense that some of the board’s members do not live in the area, but instead own a property or business in CB 1’s neighborhoods. This is allowed under the citywide community board charter.

Under “accomplishments” the writer takes a few more jabs at the board, noting many contentious votes such as those against a pedestrian plaza on Newtown Avenue, a bike corral in front the Queens Kickshaw and a rail link to LaGuardia Airport.

CB 1 District Manager Lucille Hartmann calls the site “bogus,” adding “it definitely has somebody’s opinion. It’s very slanted. It’s incorrect.”

“It’s a disgrace,” CB 1 Chairman Vinicio Donato said. “If they want to say something, they should say it outright. We don’t even know if this person showed up to voice their opinion, which we would have welcomed.”

One resident who has spoken before the board is Robert Draghi of Astoria, who also constructed a website about a medical building under construction adjacent to his backyard, which has caused structural damage to his and his neighbors’ homes. When Draghi created that site he put a link to what he thought was the CB’s official page. It turned out to be the decoy.

“It does us no good to have bad info,” Draghi said of the phony site.

CB 1 does not have a separate website, as many other boards do, from the one given through the Queens borough president’s office. The fake site, which visually looks very similar to the real page, is the seventh item that comes up when Queens Community Board 1 is Googled.

However, some of the information isn’t fabricated, including a year’s worth of agendas and minutes, contact information for CB 1 and all the names of board members.

The website was created on Nov. 25, according to DNAinfo, which first reported the story.

Welcome to the discussion.