The Riverdale Press 05-13-2021

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A8 - THE RIVERDALE PRESS - Thursday, May 13, 2021

Padernacht steps aside for new CB8 traffic leadership n Summer is a time for change, fresh ideas, the longtime chair shares By ROSE BRENNAN rbrennan@riverdalepress.com

Some roads are straightforward, while others are winding and complicated. And that’s certainly the case both for Dan Padernacht’s tenure as chair of Community Board 8’s traffic and transportation committee, and the projects he’s worked on in his eightyear tenure. But that journey will soon draw to a close, as Padernacht says when his current term ends in June, so will his leadership role on one of CB8’s higherprofile committees. This will mark the first time in 11 years Padernacht will serve on the board, but not occupy a chair position — whether on the traffic committee, or at the head of the community board itself. Why? He wants to make room for new leadership. “I believe in new people (and) new vision after a certain period of time,” Padernacht said. “It’s been four years since I became the traffic committee chair again, and I think it’s time for new leadership of the committee and somebody else to come in with a fresh perspective, because I think that’s what’s best for the community.” After all, it was not long ago Padernacht himself was that new perspective he’s now looking for. Eleven years down the line, he’s definitely become more acquainted with and understanding of local politics — which wasn’t quite the case when he joined the community board in 2009. Appointed by Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., Padernacht immediately joined the housing and public safety committees. But only a year later, the traffic and transportation

JULIUS CONSTANTINE MOTAL / File

Dan Padernacht has been a mainstay on Community Board 8 for a dozen years. But he’ll step down from his longest-held position — chair of the traffic and transportation committee — by summer. committee chair position opened up, and with encouragement from some of the board’s leaders at the time, Padernacht submitted his name for nomination. Sure enough, he began his first stretch as the committee chair not long after. Padernacht described the first six months on the job as a “trial by fire.” However, he didn’t face the obstacles of running a community board committee alone. “The former chair of the board, Damian McShane, really helped me in that first six months of being a com-

mittee chair,” Padernacht said. “As did Chuck Moerdler, who I learned a lot from, and Rosemary Ginty as well. The three of them had much more government experience than I did. And they really helped me out in that first year of being the chair.” That support made a difference for Padernacht, who rose from that position to lead the entire community board. When Ginty succeeded him after his third term came to an end, Padernacht had planned to take a year off from any leadership positions on the board. But that changed when the

leadership position of his old committee opened up. Before long, Padernacht was back in familiar territory, and would stay there for the next four years through Ginty’s leadership of the board, and now the first year of Laura Spalter’s tenure. Although there are some “big-ticket” items that have remained on Padernacht’s agenda as chair — including sidewalk installation on the north side of West 254th Street by SAR Academy — there is so much more that happens behind the scenes.

“Most of the things I’ve done over the years as traffic chair are smaller things that most people don’t see,” Padernacht said. “And that’s the everyday phone call. It’s an email. It’s an accumulation of matters that are important to people in their everyday life, and it’s just addressing those in a responsible and professional manner with as much information that you can to advocate for the community.” And to Padernacht, making those calls and sending those emails are part of the gratification he gets from the position. While serving as a committee chair can certainly be time-consuming, it’s worthwhile when he can help solve a problem, or share something new with someone they didn’t know before. “It’s … rewarding when you call somebody back and you can give them information and they’re happy just to know about it,” Padernacht said, “or you’re able to change the way a utility is operating — or the way an agency is operating — to make the quality of life just a little bit better for somebody today.” Padernacht is excited at the prospect of new blood leading the traffic and transportation committee. And while he hopes to resolve as many outstanding issues as possible before his term is up, he also plans to meet up with his eventual successor to ensure a smooth transition when the time comes. Still, Padernacht plans to stay involved with the community board going forward. And of course, he has a city council primary campaign to focus on as well. But after that’s all said and done, after the race is run and the seat is vacated, he plans to take a moment simply to breathe. “After June 30, I think I’ll take some personal time and just gain perspective,” Padernacht said. “Then reflect as much as I can on the last five years, and on the very next day.”

POLITICAL ARENA Cabrera earns nod from former guv Gov. David Paterson, who led the state between the tenures of two embattled executives — Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo — is backing Councilman Fernando Cabrera in his quest to become the next Bronx borough president. Paterson cited Cabrera’s “affordability agenda” that he says is “meeting the crisis that is

By Michael hinMan campaign of Abigail Martin to take over the seat currently held by Eric Dinowitz — the same seat Koppell himself once occupied. “Abigail Martin is a fresh, independent voice who will represent the district without ties to the Democratic machine or the politics of the past,” Koppell said, in a release. “Abigail is a natural leader who has the knowledge, independence and broad support needed to win.”

most critical to Bronxites, who are being priced out of where they live.” The former governor says Cabrera has “proven himself to be an effective and compassionate advocate for the communities he represents.” Paterson isn’t the only former state leader jumping into more localized races. Former state attorney general Oliver Koppell announced Monday he’s backing the city council

Koppell originally backed Jessica Haller in the March special election that Dinowitz ultimately won. Haller is not running in the primary, and Martin did not run in the special election. Martin picked up another endorsement also once held by Haller — “21 in ‘21,” a group pushing to create more gender equality on the city council. The National League of Conservation Voters have not

weighed in on the Bronx borough president race, but is taking a stand on two council races. The group is backing Dinowitz to keep the seat he won in March that once belonged to Andrew Cohen, and are looking to have Pierina Sanchez succeed Cabrera in his council seat. “Amidst the climate crisis, New York City must be a beacon of hope and leadership on the environment, and serve as

a role model for cities around the world,” said Julie Tighe, president of the conservation league, in a release. Finally, Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez picked up her own endorsement for Bronx borough president, earning the backing of the Transport Workers Union Local 100. “What is most telling about Nathalia is that we never had to ask for her support,” union president Tony Utano said.

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