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.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Council Member Eugene Not a Fan of Domestic Violence

If you're like me you may be wondering about the capabilities and passions of your elected officials. Here in the heart of the 'bush, we've placed our votes and trust in Dr. Mathieu Eugene, the first Haitian-born elected Councilperson in the City of NY. You might recall the controversial election that brought him to the throne in 2007. He wasn't living in the district on election day (which for most NYC races offices is actually the lower turnout PRIMARY day), so we had a second election which he won with 51% of the vote (just a couple thousand is all it takes to get elected to perhaps the country's most powerful civic body).

Most City Council members have a fairly high profile and its possible to find out what they're up to. Not so with Dr. Eugene, though he did make a very powerful series of appearances when the Haitian earthquake hit. He also got skewered for trying to give a bunch of dough to a non-profit that he himself started. And he was fined a few tens of thousands of dollars for breaking election laws. But nobody's perfect.

So I was heartened to see that he's taken a hard stance on an issue that can be quite controversial. Whether you're for or against domestic violence, you really can't argue with Dr. Eugene's performance here, particularly given the hardball tactics of the interviewer:

Dr. Eugene's Thoughts on Domestic Violence

Anyone want to speak up on the councilman's behalf? I can't seem to find any positive things in the press. Is this anti-Haitian bias? Do we need to give him more than his three full years in office to distinguish himself? Is he given short shrift by the mainstream media?

Or is he, perhaps, a bit of a dumbass?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Or is he, perhaps, a bit of a dumbass?"

Bingo!

Carmen said...

My experience with Mr. Eugene is that he doesn't have strong feeling about any issue in particular. He's receptive to phone calls and will respond to e-mails, but when it comes to real issues, he's quite lossey-goosey about it all. I'm not sure how he got elected into City Council, but it gives me hope that me and my half-assedness can do it too ;)

Bob Marvin said...

The first time I heard Dr. Eugene speak was prior to the first (abortive) primary, at a forum organized by the pro-preservation Historic Districts Council. Eugene knew his audience well enough to promise that he'd work hard to pass a landmarks law in NYC, but he did NOT seem to be aware that such a law HAD in fact been passed over 40 years earlier. My judgment, at the time, was that he seemed to be the least qualified of the several candidates speaking. I have yet to find a reason to revise my opinion. I wish it were otherwise--Eugene's heart seems to be in the right place, but one tires of platitudes.

Anonymous said...

you just wonder how much we're missing out on as a district by not having a councilman who knows how to get stuff done. i bet if we had a go-getter like they probably have on the UES and UWS Fat Albert's would be a Frank Gehry-designed museum grinding fair trade coffee in the clocktower by now.

babs said...

I still cannot decide if Mathieu Eugene is incredibly duplicitous, utterly clueless, or both. It is so sad to compare our sorry excuse for a City Councilperson against intelligent, hardworking, and committed individuals like Tish James (I love her!), Brad Lander, Leroy Comrie, and Charles Barron. Mathieu Eugene's current term expires in December 2013 and I for one fully intend to do everything in my power to insure that he does not have another. Unfortunately, there is no procedure in place for impeachment of a sitting Councilmember, but if there were, you know I would be all over it!

And I think that if we had a competent, active Councilperson, the Phat Albert's building would be landmarked, and maybe developed into a mix of affordable and market-rate housing (maybe even with some additional stories approved - be kind of cool to see some modern glass stuff on top of the existing building, maybe somehow even wrapping around the clock tower.). No Gehry deformities, thanks!

babs said...

Oh, and PS, "Doctor," disease or not domestic violence is a CRIME. God is he clueless.

babs said...

And actually, it's Mathieu Eugene's long-suffering assistant Jonah Rogoff, who responds to his e-mails and who writes just about every letter the Councilmember sends out. I'm really not too confident of Eugene's command of English, both written and oral (I think comprehension is also an issue).

babs said...

Actually, just a correction on Eugene's term of office - he was first elected in a special election in 2007 replacing Yvette Clarke when she went to Congress (Eugene was her hand-picked successor, just as she had been chosen by her mom (and PLG resident) Una Clarke). He was re-elected in 2009, running against Ricky Tulloch (the only competent opponent) and some other nutjob named Rock something (I saw the three at a debate - only Ricky was on time, Eugene's answers were full of meaningless platitudes and generally incomprehensible, and Rock actually YELLED at an old lady who'd asked a question). So his current term ends in 2013 and he is eligible to run for another, since the first one doesn't count, because it was only a partial term.

As I said I will do everything in my power to prevent that from happening. Apparently the Clarkes are less-pleased with Eugene as well lately, so look for Yvette to swing back to Ricky Tulloch, who was her initial chosen one, until he pissed her off by supporting renaming part of Church Ave. Bob Marley Blvd. (Yvette and Una don't think Bob Marley is good press for the Jamaican people because of his fondness for ganja).

Carmen said...

I've had the pleasure? to communicate directly with Mathieu Eugene several times regarding several issues. I'm familiar with Rogoff and am not a fan. If you want even more nonsense answers than what you'll get with Eugene, talk with Rogoff. Its frustrating that he'll be in office till 2013.

babs said...

I dunno - having had extensive dealings with both of them, I'd say Jonah does the best he can with what he's got to work with/for. I find him more honest and forthright than his boss. I've been in meetings with the two, and have seen the look on his face when Eugene goes "off script." I've also witnessed Eugene sending him out to speak with no preparation whatsoever, like at the Ocean on the Park landmarking hearing - what an embarrassment. Should Jonah consider his own political career one day he's certainly had an extensive education in What Not to Do.

Bob Marvin said...

"I find him more honest and forthright than his boss".

Faint praise?

babs said...

True; kinda hard to be less so...

Anonymous said...

Please feel free to contact me at JRogoff@council.nyc.gov or (212) 788-7352 if you would like our office to address any problems or if you have questions about where he stands on an issue.

Jonah

Anonymous said...

Potentially equal parts dumb ass, opportunist, and 'peopletIcian' which is his term, though I am unsure as to whether he has TM'ed it. He makes the Clarkes look bad by association, if they supported or anointed this man. Notice how Mr. Rogoff doesn't bother to clarify his boss' position, he merely asks for a phone call, which is more private and isolated than actually taking a public stance. Congrats FlatBed Nation, you elected a real winner.

Anonymous said...

I do not know this man, except by reputation for blowing with the prevailing wind. I have worked for nearly 20 years in the communications business consulting with public figures, CEOs and elected officials. I am a good judge of people. He's a blathering idiot. Maybe a good hearted one, but a blathering idiot nonetheless.

babs said...

Every time I get e-mail updates from Brad Lander, Steve Levin, et al, I just want to cry over what we have to "represent" our interests. I found it very interesting how a coalition of area politicians going all the way to Washington (Congresswoman Nadia Vazquez) came together to fight to save LICH's merger with SUNY Downstate while not a whimper was heard from anyone in our area, even though SUNY stands to get $40 million in grant moneys to make it happen (LICH gets $22 million).

babs said...

Oh, and PS, I have NEVER voted for this man, and none of my neighbors, some of who did vote for him previously, will do so again. We are decided!