Community Board 1 District Manager Lucille Hartmann said the board has asked the city to look into a website that closely resembles the official website but accuses the board of favoring developers and being out of touch with the community.
“It’s bogus,” Hartmann said. “They copied the community board’s format, they try to pass it off as our official website and they put a spin on the way they feel about things.”
CB 1, which represents Astoria, is at 45-02 Ditmars Blvd., LL Suite 1025.
The parody website, which can be found at cb1queens.org, looks like an official website at first glance, with a map of the board’s boundaries and accurate contact information and an address for the board. But the text accuses CB 1 of supporting developers and car owners and not representing the community.
“Queens Community Board 1 fights tirelessly to protect the rights of developers and property owners to do as they please,” reads the fake site’s “Accomplishments” page. “Many of the new buildings have won awards,” with the last word linking to a picture on the Tumblr blog “Astoria Ugly,” which mocks architecture in the neighborhood.
There is a disclaimer on the bottom of each of the fake CB 1 website’s pages marking it as a parody, but it is written in a tiny font. Hartmann said because of this the city Law Department would be looking into the website.
“This is a free country, so people can say what they like. I don’t think it’s right that they try to put it off as somebody else’s material,” Hartmann said.
The board’s actual website can be found at nyc.gov/ht
The fake website at several points mentions popular Broadway eatery Queens Kickshaw’s quest to get a bike corral put in place of a parking spot.
Ben Sandler, co-owner of the restaurant, said he is still trying to work on the issue with CB 1 and takes no position on the fake website.
“It just seems more recreational to tell you the truth. And it’s funny to some and not to others,” he said. “But that’s going to be the case no matter what.”
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) said he had not visited the bogus website and did not want to give credence to an anonymous creation . He disputed the site’s claims that the board was out of touch or only represented one interest, saying he had appointed residents from all walks of life.
“I think it’s a shame that the hardworking volunteers on our community board have to put up with anonymous, false accusations,” Vallone said. “It’s not right.”
The fake website has responded to CB 1 and Vallone’s slams by reprinting their arguments on the site.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2013 Community News Group
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