In an unusual move, Community Board 2 last night voted down the co-naming of a Clinton Hill Street for the late father of a former Democratic District Leader for what some board members allege was a politically motivated co-naming.
For several years, Renee Collymore, the former 57th Assembly Democratic District Leader, wanted Putnam Avenue between Grand and Downing Streets to be co-named Cecil Collymore Way for her late father, a businessman who bought property on the strip when it was overrun with prostitutes and drug dealers and helped turn it into a thriving block.
Since losing the district leadership position to Olanike Alabi in 2013, Collymore has maintained close ties with both Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, and lawmakers sent letters and representatives from their offices to the CB2 Transportation Committee strongly recommending the street get co-named for her father.
According to several committee members there was a strong feeling that the lawmakers were “twisting arms” to get the co-naming approved, and the committee ultimately approved it, 9-3. But when the matter came before the full board, it voted 12-6 with 15 abstentions to kill the measure as abstentions count as no votes.
“Hey, my father did a lot of great things. He was an aeronautic engineer, but I don’t think a street should be named after him,” said longtime CB2 Member Kenn Lowy, who voted against the co-naming.
“It just seemed like a vanity plate for her father. I think most people (on the Board) could smell something was wrong and their abstaining was a way of voicing that,” he added.
Lowy said several board members told him that Adams and Cumbo, who together appoint the majority of board members, might seek to have him thrown off the board for the ‘no’ vote.
But Lowy noted that nobody from either Cumbo or Adams’ office had contacted him and the talk of his being thrown off the board could just be conjecture.
CB2 District Manager Robert Perris said several board members indicated they thought the co-naming was politically motivated, and a local political operative source agreed.
“Community Board 2 should be highly commended for seeing through a poor attempt at making a political comeback at the expense of dead man who simply tried to make ends meet for his family,” the source said.
Adams and Cumbo did not respond with a comment at post time and Collymore could not be reached.