The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Et tu, Imani? Imani Henry Is Behind the Racism Charge

The Q had always wondered where all the talk of my racist blog started. I combed old posts for things I might have written that could be misconstrued. I guess I figured my sense of humor was such that sarcasm could get me in trouble. I blame David Letterman. I was a pretty sincere kid, then I caught the irony bug. It's really hard to wash it out in the tub.

A couple years ago I came across a guy named Imani Henry. His group "Equality for Flatbush" sounded great on the surface. The anti-gentrification thing seemed a tough sell, but he'd been priced out of various neighborhoods (who hasn't?) and felt that black Brooklyn was being colonized. Basically, I agreed, and we spoke on the phone about his efforts to film cops doing bad stuff. Cop Watch. I think it's become a lot tougher for police to go all Rodney King knowing they'll be filmed, but clearly it hasn't stopped the insanity. I never imagined what would happen next. He went crazy on me at a CB9 meeting after I called out Alicia Boyd as a jerk. This was, in his mind, paramount of treason.

When Imani hooked up with Alicia and MTOPP they saw that they were birds of a feather. They were willing to go to any length to achieve their objectives...actually, I still don't fully understand what their objectives are. Clearly there's a power thing there, the ability to say you're leading a movement, that you have substance, that your thoughts and values have worth in society. (Wait...why does that sound so familiar?)

Last year a petition was put out asking for my removal from CB9. I wasn't surprised to hear that MTOPP was pushing it. The racism cry was painful but I kinda got it. Nobody likes a big white guy yelling at you. Nobody. Except maybe at a football game. My bad.

So who was behind the petition? Who was pushing it and making it such a big deal? I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to learn it was Imani Henry. "Equality" for Flatbush indeed. What a sad excuse for an activist, sinking to lying about people and skulking behind the scenes. Oh, he'd deny it of course. But this time Mr. Henry, you've been caught red-handed. The Q has unearthed the following email, and clearly Mr. Henry did NOT want to go one the record as having written and promoted the petition. As a local blogger I guess this as close as I'm going to get to the Pentagon Papers.

CB9 Chair Removes the Q For...Being the Q

It is with both surprise and relief that the Q is here to tell you just how disappointed and oddly elated he is. I am. I've been removed as Chair of Transportation, after enduring an evening of blatant lies about my character. I was particular struck by LMA President Ben Edwards' harsh words. He barely every speaks at all, and apparently he holds me in extremely low regard. Perhaps his miserable work as ULURP Committee Chair last year plays into it? To date, I've not knocked any members of the Board personally, and I'll continue to try as best I can to take the high road. Ben blew me off when I looked for LMA to weigh in on the Empire Reconstruction Project. As in he didn't say "no." He just never responded.

I'm not feeling anything yet. BUT, I did send the below to anyone and everyone. I joined the Board in part to shed some light onto its inner workings. Why stop now? 

Chair Demetrius Lawrence:

Okay. This is very disappointing. I believe that the members last night have internalized all the nasty things that Alicia Boyd and Karen Fleming and their group have been saying about me. They are false, and personal. No one who knows me, or has read extensively of my writings, could conceivably call me a racist. I take great offense, and will continue to call out people who take quotes out of context to skewer me.

The content of last night's meeting was clear. The Board is unable to contain a virus that has spread through the membership. It is poisonous, and it is vicious. Rather than stand up to it, and support your fellow Board member, you decided to capitulate.

I do not agree at all that members of the Community Board cannot be activist members of society in general. The Board's assertion that we must somehow remain silent and passive while people in the community hijack our meetings is offensive to the hundreds of people who have signed petitions to the contrary. Look around you - on other Community Boards you will find countless members and officers and chairs who could easily be called activists and outspoken critics of politics. This is not a fault - it's a plus! If anything I fault board members for NOT taking stronger positions against housing injustice, City planning, greedy landlords and developers, and broken City agencies.

Today you did a great disservice to the community. By once again caving to the outrageous behavior of MTOPP, you have shown that you do not have the resolve to stand up to Ms. Boyd.

Mr. Chairman, I think you are trying to be all things to all people. That is NOT leadership. You have alienated a giant segment of our neighborhood in order to appease a few.

And I will not be silent as CB9 continues to mock the very idea of community by removing hard working, caring and passionate members of that community. To remove someone for breaking a rule or law - that's one thing. Today, you cut me loose because a few members of the community don't agree with me and set out to "destroy me," in the worlds of Alicia Boyd.

With respect to you personally, but not to your actions today,

Tim

P.S. I will not remain on the ULURP committee. Chair Liburd has done a tremendous job trying to run the meetings in the face of MTOPP's behavior. But the meetings themselves have become a farce. After twice voting for a Planning Study, the Board continues to drag its feet. 



On Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 10:38 AM, Demetrius Lawrence <demetrius.lawrence@gmail.com> wrote:
Tim,

Good morning. 

I want to first Thank you for attending last night’s special executive committee meeting. 

We appreciate and Thank you for your service as Chair of the Transportation committee, however at this time as Chairman of this Community Board 9 and in accordance with our by laws; Article VII sec. 8.2 (The committee chairpersons shall be appointed members, shall be appointed annually by the Chairperson of the Board and shall serve at the pleasure of the Chairperson of the Board), I will remove you as Chair of the Transportation committee effective immediately.

Myself or another executive committee member will be chairing next weeks transportation committee meeting. Please share with Terri and myself any additional information for the February 10th Transportation committee meeting.

Tim as you offer a wealth of knowledge and information to this board, we would like for you to remain as a member of our ULURP committee.


Sincerely,

Demetrius Lawrence
Chairman - CB9 

Blogger's Band Plays Rare Show - Tomorrow Saturday

Perhaps you've heard the racket coming out of a basement on Lefferts. Babe the blue OX, once a fixture of Lower East Side dens of iniquity, plays a show at the Dad-Rock friendly hour of 3:30 pm sharp (3pm doors) on Saturday Feb 6 at the Owl Music Parlor right here in Lefferts at 497 Rogers. Some of you Daddy and Mommy rockers may know Elizabeth Mitchell, who's child-friendly records for Smithsonian Folkways make excellent entries into the American folk canon. She'll be playing with her sweet singing band IDA. With appearances by Karla and Matt Schickele (of "K" and Beekeeper fame - Karla also runs the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls.), and Chris Rael & Tom Kotik. Should be a great time. The sets are short, the whole shebang will be over by 6, in time for some late afternoon pie at Pels or sammiches at Gratitude Cafe.

$10 at the door, all proceeds benefit the kids of beloved lost brother Jan Kotik, a gem of a musician and artist who will be missed til the day we die. He moved to Prague a dozen years ago, married, had two adorable boys, and died at a tender age.



Thursday, February 4, 2016

Prosecution...and Defense (update)

Meeting happened. Lots of words of advice on how to behave in meetings. Will try to conduct myself with less passion in the future. Not sure about the Trans Chair position, but less inclined to care one way or another. Apparently it is considered unseemly to blog while sitting on a Community Board. Couldn't disagree more, but not the first time I've held a contrary opinion.

Holy cow. Why would the Q deprive readers of the verbal pyrotechnics in advance of my trial tonight to be removed as Transportation Chair of CB9? One of the reasons I joined the Board in the first place was to share a (big) bird's eye view on the mechanism of local government. So here's Alicia's latest "poem," sent to hundreds of her minions and plenty of swiped emails, and then my response. Happy reading!

Reminder Today!


Dear Neighbors
CB9’s Executive Board will be considering Tim Thomas removal off of the Transportation Committee
on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 7 pm
at 890 Nostrand Ave.
This man should not only be removed from the Transportation Committee
but from the Board.
And it should not just be because of a fabricated vote,
but his whole mannerism and lack of professionalism,
his aggression and lack of respect.  His racist blog.
He has called the black community, Nutjobs, afraid, assoholics etc...
He called his members of his committee, “Fucking Clowns
He referred to FOIL requests as “Bullshit
He has an harassment charged filed against him
Petitions have been presented against him and given to CB9
and to Eric Adams,
He has disrespected his fellow board members by talking about
them in his blog post.
He has stood up time and time again yelling at the public
making personal attacks against members of the community.
So please come out and let CB9 Executive Board know
It is time for him to go!
Also please come and see if the Chairs of CB9 now consider
themselves apart of the Executive Board with voting power.
In violation of our Bylaws!
Alicia,
www.mtopp.org
(718) 703-3086


Wow! Ms. Boyd, even for you, this is over-the-top. Since you've stated many lies and allegations to the world, I believe I should respond. The folks you sent this email to include dozens of community members, many of whom I consider friends. You have also sent it to elected officials and members of the media. Shame on you.

First: I love my neighborhood. I love the black community, and I prize the black culture of my home borough. Many of the readers of my blog are black, and continue to appreciate my frank essays on race. Some disagree - white, black, other. But I am always respectful, clear, and pointed in my criticism of ongoing racism and injustice. I look at issues in the face. Sometimes I don't like what I see coming from white folks and I call them out on their bull. Sometimes the hypocrites are people of color. I am proud of every statement I've made and stand by it. I don't think you have read much of what I've written, or you would never call me out for racism. I will never know what it is to be a person of color in this society, and I don't pretend to. I speak from the heart. BUT none of that has anything to do with my work on the Community Board - I merely express myself as you do, under the full protection of the First Amendment. I will continue to exercise that right.

Second: You are indeed a menace to civil discourse and I will continue to call you out, and certain members of your group, for your hateful, disruptive and menacing behavior. I've seen you go off on me and other members of the Board. Were I the Chair, frankly I would have you barred from meetings for at least a year. There is precedence, and I will continue to advocate for your prompt removal from meetings you disrupt. That is my right, though clearly not all the Board is inclined to agree with me. Unlike you, I respect the majority opinion.

Third: What I said about the addition of Karen Fleming to my committee was not meant for anyone's ears but the person with whom I was speaking. And I apologized to the person who felt she was lumped in with her, and you. Karen Fleming had already logged numerous complaints about me before the Board, and it's my belief she should never have been added to a committee that I chair. She can join other committees as the Chair sees fit, but her addition actually broke the Chair's commitment to not add more Community members than Board members to a committee. I'll ask that she and others be removed. Again, it's the Chair's call.

Four: You should try running a meeting with openly hostile participants. It ain't easy! I've been fair, but I've been firm. I will listen, but I won't be bullied.

Five: I have never called the Black Community "nutjobs or ass-a-holics." I have called you and two other members of your scrum that. In honor of the great Martin Luther King, Jr., I have judged you on the content of your character. One of your pals likes to point a finger in my face and call me "KKK." Nice. You have a nasty habit of calling people who don't agree with you "Uncle Toms." Again, nice. You have no moral authority to call me out on anything.

Six: I did call your FOIL request "bullshit." Why? Because you need only have asked us the question. Your constant threats of legal action only underscore just how unable you are to play nicely, as a team. 

Seven: I have never fabricated ANYTHING. I repeat, I have never fabricated ANYTHING. I have already been through this with the Board. The minutes from the meeting in question will be voted on at the next Transportation Committee meeting. There were occasional mistakes made, but never, I repeat NEVER have a lied about anything in public. EVER.

You speak a lot about "community" Alicia Boyd. It's high time you exercise the idea in your own life and in your activism. We are not your enemy - we are your neighbors.

Tim

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Scrapping

Okay, question. Who of you knows what this is? No reading!


When I was growing up most people had 'em. That's right, the Disposall. I always wondered why dad pronounced it so funny, but now I get it. The spelling suggests it. I never knew it looked like the above pic, though, just under the sink, usually covered by a cupboard. I just assumed there was some metal troll down there chewing up the orange and banana peels, and occasionally, a spoon. You had to run some water, and I guess people thought that was wasteful. These days the things don't take much water at all.

Some of you young-'uns might not know it, but there was a HUGE environmental movement in the 1970's. During the OPEC oil crisis everyone started looking to save on fossil fuels. "Don't heat up the whole outdoors!" was a favorite line when you left the front door open. "Kill-a-Watt" was an ad campaign. A guy named Eul Gibbons ate a whole tree when he wasn't hawking Grape Nuts cereal. (I think he might have died from too much bark; I can't remember the true story). My grandpa was way into organic foods and jarring. Granted he'd been a farmer his whole life, but he understood there was a big difference between what you grow to eat and what you grow to sell at market - usually food meant for cattle and pigs anyway. Everyone talked about how we were destroying the planet. There were books, and movies (remember Soylent Green?) about how overpopulation was going to make us all follow the vision of that Neil Young song.

Now everyone likes to talk compost. I compost (some). Do you compost? It's become a bit of a politically correct conversation. Smug, even, like saying "that's so easy" during a Trivial Pursuit question. So I goes over to neighbor Kendall Christensen's house (in le Manor) for coffee and a healthy fruit breakfast, and he entertains me with the story of Maple Street School's move to its Lincoln Road location about 10 years ago (he was instrumental in that difficult endeavor) and his current stewardship of the Linden Avenue extended care facility - the NY Congregational Nursing Home - you know, the site where the old building at 123 Linden is going to be taken down in exchange for 20+ story apartment building. Both those stories deserve their own posts! But then Kendall blurts forward and blows my mind with his beliefs, well-researched and documented by his core business, which is garbage, literally. Here's what he says:

We shouldn't be focusing on composting to solve our food waste needs. It's about turning the waste into watery goo and sending it to through the sewers. The time for the Disposall's return, ladies and gentlemen, is NOW. Here's his treatise:


Following the Philadelphia food scrap model

Philadelphia leaders recently amended the city's building code to require all new residences to include in-sink food waste disposers. In the wake of that action, a consultant with long-time ties to the country's largest producer of sink disposal systems offers his viewpoint on the state of residential food scrap diversion.
January 26, 2016
By Kendall Christiansen, principal of Gaia Strategies
Kendall Christiansen
The lowly garbage disposal is turning the corner to new-found respectability as an essential element in urban toolkits for managing household food scraps.
The latest evidence: In December, Philadelphia adopted a building code requirement for in-sink disposers in all new residential construction, beginning now. The City Council’s action, followed by then-Mayor Michael Nutter’s endorsement, emerged from three years of discussion and research, including a 175-home demonstration project conducted in partnership with InSinkErator.
Over the course of a year, moderate-income homeowners received a disposer and learned how to use it effectively; waste audits, surveys and focus groups confirmed high levels of satisfaction and use, which was not surprising, given that 60 million disposers are installed across the U.S.
Most importantly, the project found that food waste – approximately 10 percent of Philadelphia's residential waste – was reduced by 35 percent. Similar projects in five other cities (Boston; Calgary, Alberta; Chicago; Milwaukee; and Tacoma, Wash.) confirmed or improved on those results.
What's more, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) – recognized nationally for its innovative leadership – joined the project as it was being planned. PWD operates two state-of-the-art water resource recovery facilities that turn slurried food waste into clean water, biogas and Class A biosolids. It also confirmed findings from a dozen studies that additional water from disposer-using households is minimal.

Multiple methods a must

Prior to consideration of the in-sink disposer project, Philly had already resisted truck-based collection of household organics. For a host of reasons – including pest and odor management – it also has encouraged use of commercial disposers for more than 25 years.
Ultimately, the city's decision acknowledges the need for multiple tools to tackle the challenges – and harness opportunities – associated with managing food scraps as a resource, especially in dense urban areas with high percentages of apartment dwellers. Philadelphia also supports community-based composting and is reviewing other options as part of its current solid waste management plan process.
In addition, using food waste disposers in this manner addresses three key goals of Philadelphia's GreenWorks sustainability plan: less trash, more renewable energy, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Other cities – both those that participated in a demonstration project and those that did not – are considering in-sink disposers with a fresh perspective.
The method is no longer hidden under the sink. Philadelphia's decision to embrace and embed disposers into residential buildings and infrastructure systems will help advance similar initiatives elsewhere.
Kendall Christiansen is principal of Gaia Strategies, based in Brooklyn, NY. He formerly was senior consultant to InSinkErator, leading its public and environmental affairs work across the U.S.; he continues to support its engagement in the organics resource discussion across Canada.

Then, in response to my question about why Disposall's were banned from many new and old apartment buildings, he had this to say:

 "This week the City Council is doing an oversight hearing on the pilot program to separately collect organic waste (food scraps and yard waste) in certain neighborhoods. One of our neighbors is intensely engaged in this issue - sharing the goal of getting food scraps out of our trash and landfills - but from the perspective of managing it as a liquid resource (which means underground pipes) rather than a solid (which means trucks). He played a small role in the city's legalization of in-sink food waste disposers (aka garbage disposals) in 1997, and has been working with cities across the U.S. and Canada for the past decade to promote their use. His home has kept virtually 100% of their food waste out of household trash for nearly 20 years.

Yes, there remains something of what i call the "old building pipes syndrome" - which is mostly a myth, but has been sufficient to keep some buildings from installing them; esp true of rentals, where disposers can be abused and present more of a maintenance issue (or at least the perception of, for NYers generally unfamiliar with them). After city-wide legalization in 1997, Battery Park City required them in its last six apartment buildings, and NYCHA began installing them - initially as a pilot and then as a standard appliance when renovating kitchens. I've had numerous discussions w/sanitary engineers who try to advise building clients to not be concerned; common sense would suggest that pulverizing food scraps makes it LESS likely for pipes to be obstructed - when compared with NOT having a disposer and people flushing leftovers down their toilets (yes; i've heard pretty amazing stories, even from folks that should know better). A pipes video here. on a going forward basis, IF apartment buildings are given a choice between managing a food scraps collection system, or installing/using disposers, it's pretty clear to me which option most will choose.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Neighbor Takes Some De(Con)struction Pics

Thx to Diane Greene Lent for taking some pictures of the carnage. Nicely collaged to boot!


Sunday, January 31, 2016

New Winthrop Neighbors

The Flabenue Goes Fratbush? More Like Vegas.

What's with all the flashing neon? Even Castillo de Jagua, soon to open where the last Dominican place was, has invested in some spectacular visuals to go with its victuals.


video
Given the recent uptick in neon and flash one might assume that either a) laws governing them have become more lax or b) the price has come down to within reach of the average store owner. All I know is that I'd prefer not to have one shining in MY window when I'm trying to sleep. Thoughts?

Last night the Q walked down the Flabenue from Empire and was blown away by the nightlife activity. The salons were crowded and lively as usual, but so were the saloons. There was a party scene happening in Bluebird Cafe, a gallery opening at Tugboat, Midwood Flats could have been a college party, there was a packed house at Burger Mexicano, Erv's was filled to the gills with jovial inebriation, Westbury Inn was getting rolling, an elegant crowd raised wine glasses to their personal pan pizzas at Parkside, Mango Seed and Zurilee were jumping...all that to say the Flabenue has come a long way in just three or four years. And unlike Franklin Ave north of Eastern Parkway, the crowd seems more comfortably diverse, by age, race and style. I've not yet felt compelled to call Flatbush FRATbush, though somebody's gotta be the first. Okay, I'll be the first. Flatbush is becoming Fratbush. Too easy...and not really true. Where IS Fratbush? Ah yes. Near Barclay's and downtown. Particularly on game nights.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Man Matching Q's Description Busted Buying Viagara

Okay, so maybe only the age was the same. But a dude was arrested quite near my home buying Viagara at a not-so-deep discount of $35 for 3. According to reporter Rachel Holliday-Smith they were both arrested for buying and selling prescription medications. Rachel...don't you mean one for buying and one for selling? Or were they passing it back and forth? "Jacking Up" the price as they went.

From DNA Info

Questions abound. Was the seller from Canada? Were the pills placebos? And if so, did they do the job anyway? Did the guys stick around, or did they come and go?  Is this the latest offering from Fresh Direct? Could you describe this as a Schwing Operation?

A Wayne's World Fan or its inspiration?
In honor of the bust, here's a related picture:






This Is What Indifference Gets You

Those of you who've walked down Clarkson Ave recently must have noticed how dang much demolition and construction is happening. 195 Clarkson was two wood-frames that are about to become this:

195 Clarkson Rendering
Notice anything about the people in the rendering? That's right! None of them are fat! And none of them tucked in their tops. The discrimination against fat tuckers continues. (Ever noticed how men of from the South are way more likely to tuck than their northern counterparts? Belts are more common as well, as befits a man who likes to tuck.)

Oh, and once again, none of these units will be means-tested a/k/a below market/rent stabilized.