No one seems to know exactly when Charles Moerdler became the one name associated with land use in this community, not even Charles Moerdler.
But we know it goes back a long time, even before there was a Community Board 8 and this part of the Bronx was represented by Community Planning Board 14. In fact, Moerdler not only was the last chair of CPB14, as we’re sure it must’ve been called back then, but the first chair of CB8 when it formed.
So what exactly happened the night of April 10 at the Fort Independence Community Center that would prompt Moerdler to suddenly call it quits?
Always the diplomat, Moerdler blames it on a growing realization that the board itself has taken a different path than he has. That’s possible. Not everyone can always agree, and sometimes you’ll be part of the majority opinion, and sometimes you’ll be left by yourself.
But that’s the kind of decision you make at the end of the term, not in the middle of a board meeting out of nowhere. And it’s not like Moerdler would have had to wait long — the current term ends in just a couple months. Simply make an announcement you won’t seek another term as chair, and then give everyone a chance to celebrate your accomplishments.
That didn’t happen in this case, however. Moerdler walked into the April 10 meeting as chair of the land use committee, but left — early — no longer holding that position.
Moerdler is not the kind of person who would shy away from disagreement. In fact, he has celebrated diversity in opinion, even on these very pages. Not long ago, we called him out, chastising him for talking over and openly debating members of the public during their time to talk.
Was Moerdler mad about that editorial? Not at all. In fact, he called the paper thanking us for that insight, and endeavored to do better. How can anyone not respect someone willing to see their mistakes, accept them, and work to make it better?
That’s Chuck Moerdler. He fights for what he believes in, but listens to what others have to say. And in the end, he has the community’s best interests at heart, at least what he believes those best interests are.
We really need Moerdler right now. In the coming weeks, the community will have a very tough discussion to make over planned expansion at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. While Dan Padernacht is more than capable of leading those talks as vice chair of land use, no one ever expected to go through this process without Chuck Moerdler.
A simple disagreement over policy and approach? Sorry, we’re not buying it. And when it comes to losing a pillar like Charles Moerdler, our community deserves answers.