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, July 8, 2013

We Choose a Councilperson Two Months From Now

If you're a reader of the Q, then you are most likely residing in the 40th Council District (map). Your current councilperson is Mathieu Eugene. He's been in office 6 years, and is therefore running as the incumbent. I've had a chance to meet with the Councilman on many occasions. I'd go as far as to say we've "worked" together. I like Mathieu Eugene, and I also think he hasn't the slightest idea what he's doing, or the desire to learn or grow. He's had six years to distinguish himself, and that is enough. I think as a district, as the greater Flatbush area, we deserve better. I'll be voting for Saundra Thomas, a longtime Ditmas Park resident, on September 10 in the all-crucial Democratic Party. I hope you'll consider her too, and more importantly, I hope you'll vote.

Too few in our district take their civic duty seriously...and your vote is incredibly important, even by the numbers. Politics don't get much more local or crucial for us New Yorkers than City Council. Due to a top heavy City Charter, the Mayor's really got the power in this town, but a Councilperson speaks for her district, and can lead in so many ways - if only they have the spirit, passion and smarts to do so. They can respond, set agenda, identify problems, take City agencies to task, and see that money is allocated wisely for the District. They can take on causes and make them, by sheer force of will, the causes of the City itself. Witness Jumaane Williams and Stop and Frisk - his passion has led to new laws and heightened interest in dealing with human rights issues underlying the policy. So yeah, a council person is a big deal. Even if you're incredibly cynical about politics, you gotta admit it's nice to have someone you respect representing you.


We're a rapidly changing district, with all the attendant growing pains. We're a wildly diverse area. We're full of newcomers from the world's nations and lately from the nation's colleges too (checked the subway platform lately? It's like campus library some days.) We've got old-timers of every stripe living in every type of domicile from every economic background and ethnicity imaginable. We've got giant houses with yards in "Victorian" Flatbush; giant troubled apartment buildings resembling a Dickensian NYC; we've got lots of new buyers in Dinkens-ian era coop conversions; plus a lot of Edwardian era built brownstones (built 100 years ago as tract homes, but now suggesting a Victorian Brooklyn that's all myth) changing hands at top dollar. Oh, and the neo-Tudor's on Chester Court and the Georgian Revivals of Albemarle Terrace, to run with the theme. There are so many gorgeous stabilized rental apartment buildings of the pre-war variety that our district will likely (hopefully anyway) remain livable, rowdy, exciting, surprising and full of the guts, brains and sweat of an honest-to-goodness REAL New York City neighborhood. We're the real deal, and we deserve a real representative in City Hall.

(Speaking of City Hall, we've got a steaming hot mayoral race going on, and frankly I've been so buried in local community stuff I haven't really been paying attention. Seems to me de Blasio and Thompson will have the upper hand in our area. I have yet to meet a single person excited about Quinn. The rest of the field look like a bunch of dorks to me, though Liu has been fairly tough as a Comptroller. And Weiner? Really? Frankly, I don't WANT to know what my elected leaders looks like with their shirts off. And now, as is often the case, I'm on a tangent and talking out my asphalt. Feel free to comment on your thoughts for Mayor!)

What this competitive mayoral race means, hopefully, is that this September 10 Democratic Primary will likely spur a much larger turnout than 2009, the last time we elected a council person. Our district tallied a pathetic 6,000 or so votes that cycle, and elected Eugene over two mediocre campaigners, and yet the incumbent tallied only about 58% of those who bothered to show up at the polls. Remember the district has over 120,000 people in it. You figure at least 50K can vote, and since most are registered as Democrats, and it's the primary where these things are won...well, Flatbush isn't exactly winning any Civic Responsibility Awards. Other neighboring districts voted at twice that rate. (Every wonder why so little gets done around here?) To those who DID vote, I know I'm preaching to the choir. (And what a wonderful richly voiced tapestry of a choir you are, too!) But we can do much better, and at least if the incumbent is reelected, we'll know democracy made it so. And we can cry into our loose chads.

We have three challengers to Dr. Eugene's throne. John Grant is sweet; I met him at the CB9 meeting. He will not win many votes, if he can even accumulate enough signatures to get on the ballot. Sylvia Kinard is starting to rev her engines. Besides being the ex-spouse of Bill Thompson (here's a fantastically gossipy piece on their divorce), she's a lawyer who seems way too eager to step into the spotlight - she ran unsuccessfully for congress last year, so maybe (certainly) she has some extra bread in the collection plate, and needs to spend it on another campaign. Is she merely fishing for a job? Out to upstage her jerk husband? Maybe. She's smart, she's got experience, but her credentials reek of insider-ism, and same ol' same ol'. Prove me wrong, but she just seems too traditional a candidate for such a flashy district. Which leaves us with Saundra Thomas (no relation), and this is what she looks like when she's doing her favorite thing - hanging out with and listening to the needs of young people:

I've only known her since February, but I gotta say I've grown to respect and dig her a lot in a short time. She's very, very real. And by that I mean she doesn't put on airs, she's not overly slick or politician-y. She knows the City well, its people, and most of all, she knows the way kids are often left behind, far behind, in this City of wealth, prestige and power. She'll listen to you, but she won't pander. She's not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom, and she carries herself with dignity and respect for others. As they might say in Crown Heights, she's a mensch, and her reputation as such is echoed by those who know her.

This would be her first elected office. In early conversations I could sense that despite her years as WABC TV's VP of Community Affairs, where it was her job to get out there in front of people, and assess the needs and efficacy of countless non-profits, and dole out philanthropic dough, and  get honored a time or two for her dedicated service, she was/is still new to the game of electioneering. However she's grown more confident in the last few weeks and is really strongest one-on-one with people. But most of you probably won't spend a lot of time with her between now and September, so in the spirit of active bloggery, I did what any Qurious Quasi-Journalistic Brooklynite would do...I asked her to come over to my house and sit on my stoop one night and talk turkey. My first question? How would someone with little experience in politics hit the ground running. Answer? It's all about your network, the hires and volunteers you surround yourself with. True, true. A council candidate needn't be an experienced legislator, but she dang well better hire one. And be a fast learner. Added Ms. Thomas:

I would want someone strong in legislation, and someone, actually a few people who are really good at constituent services. This is a crucial part of a council person's job. People want a place to bring their problems. I did that a lot at WABC. We will be responsive and caring, and if we don't know the answer we will find out what we need to know and bring it to you.

A NYC Councilperson needs to communicate. And it's important to know that different people have different access to technology. How do you deal with seniors and people who aren't technologically savvy? You must be able to reach out the old fashioned way, AND have a strong online presence.

I want someone in my office who's excellent at being a liaison between the various constituencies. We need collaboration between the different parts of the district. We're not communicating with each other now. If we get something right somewhere, the other parts need to know about it. And I'd want a whole committee dedicated to youth and education, because that's where my passion lies.

Q: Your social media person, Danny Hairston, said something that will always stick with me, I think. He talked about kids in Brownsville, surfing the subways. Not a crowd likely to be given much in the way of opportunity. And in his program, he comes up to these kids and says "hey, you wanna go snowboarding? we can sign you up for that." And once the kids are out of their neighborhood and all the stuff going down there, they can open up, maybe talk about the way they really want to live their life, not just the streets and dead-end jobs.

ST: Danny's figured out how to bring youth to the table, and new ways to use their skills and talent. You look at kids who are into hip-hop culture and rap, they're amazing writers. Innovation is happening all over around this stuff. A program in Texas has former drug dealers, just out of prison, and hones their business skills. You gotta work with people where they are.

Q: What about the most difficult kids, the known dealers, the ones who might have guns and that we hear about all the time.

ST: I know where the drug dealers are in my neighborhood. These wild kids, I engage them, I'm not afraid to talk to young people. They're a lot more respectful than you'd think. People don't talk to them, they're afraid. And the problem gets worse. We've got to engage them, talk to them.

Q: I feel like we've all become so fearful we just avoid people on the street we think might be into "the life." And I emphasize the word "might," because it's hard sometimes to tell who's cool and who's not. Tell me about the makeup of the district. People call Flatbush a black neighborhood. How black?

ST: I was just looking at the numbers today. It's 59% black; less than 20% white; and among the other you've got Asian, Hispanic, Southeast Asian (Pakistan, Burma, Yemen), you name it.

Q: And among that overarching group referred to as "black" the diversity is astounding. As a newcomer years ago, I don't think I had any idea how many ways a person could be "black." I mean I knew theroretically, but not up close and in person. African-Americans of every background and "class," West Indians from every island, Africans, Europeans...it's just remarkable. And the district goes how far east?

ST: To Kingston. And west to roughly Coney Island.

Q: With Empire on the north and a weird step-like zig zag on the south, heading down towards the Junction. What's the key to victory?

ST: I've got some good people in my corner. But being new you got prove you can do it. The Unions, for instance, ask "what's your number to win?"  And they want to see how much money you can raise, and how many ballot signatures you can get. In the end, it's gonna come down to who comes out to vote.

Q: Does your partner, Susan Siegal, come up in conversations with folks?

ST: Absolutely. She used to head Flatbush Development Corporation. She was very involved in getting Cortelyou Road off the ground, and starting the farmer's market. She was part of a group called Friends of Cortelyou Road, with Jan Rosenberg (Brooklyn Hearth Realty) long before the area became trendy. I'm always happy to talk about Susan. She's one of the deeply committed stakeholders in Ditmas.

Q: Let's talk more about youth. Beyond the obvious other things that people are concerned about - like public safety and affordable housing - what to do for young people seems like a huge issue for the area.

ST: You know I really want to figure out a way to engage businesses with young people in the community and bring clergy, schools, business owners together to talk about ways to bring youth in. There was a time when clergy could do this; we need to try again. And we need to create apprenticeships...we need a mechanism to do that. People don't know what to do with these kids...they're scared of them in some cases. Too scared to engage them.

Q: And of primary importance to so many in the district - immigration?

ST: I'm very progressive on pathways to citizenship. I will be every bit as effective working for the rights of immigrants in this neighborhood as we're seeing now, and better. I can see that so many people I talk to WANT to vote.

Q: Let's talk about affordable housing. This seems like something politicians give a lot of lip service too. So many of the issues of housing come back to landlords for me. Politicians talk about rent stabilization, because that's something you can vote on. But I believe the power of capitalism is just too great. The lure of money, fast money, steady big money. That's where change happens, and it happens so quickly...

At which point it started to sound like I was interviewing myself because I kept on talking about affordable housing like I was a politician. Saundra sounded  all the right notes, and echoed my frustration at the lack of real options to deal with rapid change and greedy landlords.

AND now, for those brave enough to make it to the end of this post, I ask you to pose your own questions in the comments, and I'll ask Saundra to respond in a separate post once I've compiled them. Anyone game? You may consider this post 1 on the subject. I'll continue to check in with Saundra on the issues that you know, as a Q reader, are near and dear to my heart - from traffic and trash and crime to community building and plazas and the green metal Flatbush trees. Maybe we can get Saundra's partner Susan to come and help us start a green-market on the Q plaza? Hmm?

Let me say it loud and clear - electing Saundra isn't the end...it's just the beginning. And you have my word that I'll do my best to hold her feet to the fire. Not literally of course, that would be cruel and illegal. Probably more like a persistent nudging, but you get the idea.

Don't forget to go to Saundra's website and get on her e-list or give, if you're so inclined. www.saundrathomas2013.com. Her campaign wants people to weigh in on the "education issues" section of the site.  They'll be monitoring it closely.

I guess this could be described as an endorsement. Maybe not the most important online endorsement, but definitely the first. And if you can't be the best, be the first, as my dear Auntie Merriwether used to say.*



*this is a complete fiction used to bolster the Q's cred as a Will Rogers folksy type.



45 comments:

disco princess said...

I'm just outside of the 40th district so I can't vote for any of those candidates for City Council. But best of luck to Saundra Thomas!

Speaking of City Council, Christine Quinn should not be surprised that her mayoral campaign has been hitting bumps. Did she really expect all New Yorkers to forget how she (and others in City Council) sold us down the river to extend term limits?

And I'm surprised you didn't mention that now Eliot Spitzer wants to run for Comptroller too. I guess he waited for Anthony Weiner to come out of self-imposed political exile first.

Anonymous said...

Quinn? Term limits? Thank goodness term limits were extended.

It's too bad Bloomberg isn't willing to run for another term. Instead, we're going to find the city in the hands of a new administration that will corrode rapidly.

At this point, Quinn is the most likely winner. Thompson, you may recall, lost to Bloomberg in 2009. He's even less compelling today.

By the way, though there are well over 8 million citizens of this city and probably a third are legal voters, the number of votes cast in the last mayoral election was about 1.1 million, with slightly more than half going to Bloomberg.

The cast of kooks and screwballs, like The Rent is Too Damn High, Jimmy McMillan, will return for another round of election-year theater.

It's not likely to matter who runs on the Republican ticket. Other than Joe Lhota, name recognition of Republicans is so low that a day after the election voters will have trouble remembering who the Democrat faced.

Meanwhile, Weiner's out.

Danny D. Hairston Jr said...

I think that I may speak for everyone on Saundra's campaign when I say that we view this endorsement equally as important as any we may have or hope to receive. Thank you!!!

disco princess...thank you also for your support. Even though you are outside the district, we are always in need of volunteers, supporters and campaign advocates.

Check out the options at our website http://www.saundrathomas2013.com

We would love to have you aboard!

disco princess said...

Re: "Quinn? Term limits? Thank goodness term limits were extended."

I don't agree...and they weren't even extended indefinitely. Even if they weren't extended just to keep Bloomberg in office (although, interestingly enough none of the incumbents can benefit from the temporary extension of term limits), the whole process just looked bad as well as undeomocratic. Why wasn't the issue even brought up to the people for a vote?

Re: "It's too bad Bloomberg isn't willing to run for another term." Bloomberg can't run again anyway; he's already his term limits.

babs said...

I will be happy to see the last of Emperor Bloomberg. His elitism (Gracie Mansion wasn't good enough for him) and blatant disdain for people worth under $1 million are an insult to the very people who keep New York running (goodness knows he doesn't - Christmas blizzard, anyone?].

His insistence on treating City departments and agencies like businesses is completely wrong-headed and harms the people who need these resources most - the less well-off. If you're rich you can send your kid to private school, and you don't need public parks, as you can afford to visit any of your numerous country properties or fly your private jet anywhere else you feel like visiting.

And remember - Bloomberg may have won his last election, but he LOST Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

Saundra Thomas had better learn the essential secret of elections -- promises, promises. Money promises.

Promises to spend as much tax revenue as possible on whatever each interest group wants.

Sure, a lot of people are bothered by Stop, Question and Frisk. Although it's pretty likely the people most bothered aren't voters. They're not relatives of people who've been shot.

Meanwhile, a city council member has very little power. If the police commissioner makes it clear to the mayor that S, Q &F is the way to go, the procedure will continue.

Meanwhile, Thomas did reveal that she supports illegal immigration, a popular way to spend tax revenue, which she makes clear by stating:

I'm very progressive on pathways to citizenship.

She's also wants to push local businesses to hire people they'd rather not hire:

I really want to figure out a way to engage businesses with young people in the community and bring clergy, schools, business owners together to talk about ways to bring youth in...And we need to create apprenticeships...we need a mechanism to do that.

But Jumaane Williams is pounding on business owners -- McDonald's, etc -- to raise wages. Of course that effort has accomplished nothing, though quite a few new franchises are opening around the city. So, as usual, the candidates/office holders are talking a lot and accomplishing little.

Thomas says:

People don't know what to do with these kids...they're scared of them in some cases. Too scared to engage them.

But she's against S,Q & F. even though she admits some of these kids are truly dangerous AND she seems totally oblivious to the concept of PARENTING.

In her Government-Will-Handle-Everything nannyism view, there are no parents. Only others, stuck with the unwanted responsibility of managing other people's offspring.

But Bloomberg is criticized for his Nannyism. However, Thomas wants to kick that up about 10 notches. Is is Ultimate Nannyism okay when it comes from her?

Unfortunately for the district, our current city councilman will probably win.

disco princess said...



Re: "Meanwhile, a city council member has very little power."

Except for maybe Christine Quinn, who came off as Bloomberg's lackey at times. (See again, "extension of term limits".)


Re: "If the police commissioner makes it clear to the mayor that S, Q &F is the way to go, the procedure will continue."
Is the purpose of this statement is to state why she should support stop and frisk? Why should she do that if a significant portion of her constituents don't support it? Wouldn't that be political suicide?


Re: "But she's against S,Q & F. even though she admits some of these kids are truly dangerous AND she seems totally oblivious to the concept of PARENTING.

In her Government-Will-Handle-Everything nannyism view, there are no parents. Only others, stuck with the unwanted responsibility of managing other people's offspring."

Here's a hypothetical question: What about the youth who have no parents? What about those who are subject to ineffective parents?

Anonymous said...

babs,

Has the city gone downhill in any important ways during Bloomberg's years in office?

Crime is down. The economy is reviving as much as possible under the weight of the huge costs imposed by the city and state governments.

Real estate is improving wherever developers are able to get to work. Soon the Domino Sugar site will become productive again, a source of construction jobs, tax revenue and housing.

Developers in Brooklyn are doing their part. Say what you want, but Barclays Arena is good news for the area. Coney Island is coming back. New amusements, new restaurants. Applebee's may not excite many palates, but it's open, employing people and serving the public.

Tourism is booming. The tour buses are cruising streets in Brooklyn.

As for your comment about Bloomberg being an elitist, well, which parks have been abandoned by the city? Prospect Park? Nope.

You don't like his preference for living in his own home rather than Gracie Mansion? Seems you don't get it. Gracie Mansion is a ceremonial place. A place for galas, dinners, social events. There's no need for a mayor to live in it. As mayor, Ed Koch spent plenty of nights at his apartment.

disco princess said...

Anonymous at 3:45 PMRe: "Has the city gone downhill in any important ways during Bloomberg's years in office? "

Bloomberg had appointed Cathie Black as NYC schools chancellor, who had no experience in education administration, and that turned out to be a joke. For a businessman, that seemed to be a bad business decision.

Anonymous said...

disco princess,

Quinn has skillfully played her hand and is now positioned to become the city's next mayor.

I had the misfortune to listen to her blab endlessly at my kid's recent graduation from Mark Twain I.S. where the principal of the school gave Quinn the longest introduction I've ever heard, during which she described Quinn as a woman who single-handedly built NY City from the ground up, enacted every good law and vanquished every bit of ill will.

It was shocking to witness a school principal turn a graduation ceremony into a political rally. But it happened. Quinn let everyone in the audience know that as mayor she'd spend every tax dollar she could lay her hands on, and then some. She'd give everyone a raise, and reduce the prices of everything that's too expensive.

No group was left untouched by her largesse. What a festival.

Should she support Stop & Frisk? Not publicly. Privately, the next mayor is going to have trouble with Ray Kelly if the NYPD is forced to drop the practice.

If he decides to retire in response to being overruled, the mayor will appoint someone who spouts whatever the mayor wants to hear, and then the shooting crimes will begin to creep up.

But, as I said, most people opposed to Stop & Frisk are people who don't vote, and they are also people who haven't lost anyone to a shooting. A lot of black mothers are in favor of Stop & Frisk.

Why do you offer your "question" about kids with no parents or ineffective parents as a "hypothetical"?

What's hypothetical about it?

Anyway, the subtext of your inquiry makes it clear you think parents who are ineffective are off the hook. Not responsible. Therefore, extending your logic, you think that whatever any kid does -- excel or bomb in school or sports, engage in crime -- it's all outside the realm of parental responsibility.

Okay. Okay. But then you want the city government to make things right in the lives of the kids, and, apparently the parents too. Could nannyism reach a higher level than that?

Is there any evidence government can manage the lives of kids?

Meanwhile, the kids most often in serious trouble are those with no functional parents. Those are the kids with guns, the shooters. Once they go down the road of shooting at people, there's no basis for going easy on them.

Anonymous said...

disco princess,

Yep. Bloomberg made a blunder with Cathie Black. Then what happened? She got dumped -- quickly.

So that's it? That's Bloomberg's big error? One that he corrected post haste, with a chancellor who seems to be on the ball.

But, in fact, what can a chancellor do when it comes to molding students who come neighborhoods beset by powerful pathologies?

What can a school administrator do to overcome all the bad stuff that occurs in a kid's life outside of school?

Why are 72% of Stuyvesant High School students asian? Especially notable when you consider that only 15% of all students in the NY City public schools are asian. Is there any school administrator who can take credit for that?

SouthAsia07 said...

A few questions for the candidate:

-What is your exact position on Stop and Frisk?

-Would you join the Council's Progressive Caucus?

-Do you support increasing the number of charter schools allowed in NYC?

-What do you think of Mayor Bloomberg's climate change plans (sea walls, etc)?

-Who are you voting for in the Democratic mayoral primary?

-Do you support the council's recently-passed legislation concerning the NYPD? (Intro 1079, which establishes an Inspector General for the NYPD and Intro 1080, which opens the door to racial profiling lawsuits against the NYPD)

-Since Christine Quinn will no longer be speaker, is there anyone on the Council that you think is up to the task?

ceelledee said...

Anonymous 3:22, thanks so much for sharing your viewpoints! I'd pretty much decided already that I would give my support to Saundra Thomas as the most promising candidate to represent the 40th CD in years. Still, it wasn't until I happened upon your tea party style postings here that I got especially energized about giving my support to her campaign. If her progressive, articulate, "pro-people" take on some of the critical issues facing our community gives you that much angina, then great! It means she's already representing the views of the majority of us and not those of the privileged elite who think that the true purpose of government is to serve the interests of a wealthy elite. For all us regular folk who've been looking for real and positive change for the 40th CD for a very long time, let's not waste our chances by failing to act on Election Day. Vote Saundra Thomas!

disco princess said...

Re: "So that's it? That's Bloomberg's big error? One that he corrected post haste, with a chancellor who seems to be on the ball."

People usually are not hired to run major organizations/companies who do not have relevant experience in the field, especially with a field that requires specialized knowledge such as education. That is apparently common sense,if not good business sense. The point is that Cathie Black should have not been hired in the first place.

The official story is that Cathie Black stepped down. Do you know something we don't know?

disco princess said...

Hi, Anonymous,

Re: "But, as I said, most people opposed to Stop & Frisk are people who don't vote, and they are also people who haven't lost anyone to a shooting. A lot of black mothers are in favor of Stop & Frisk. "
Why not ask Samantha Rosenbaum whether she supports Stop and Frisk?
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/stop_sue_by_klyn_gal_8mwCHZnYQDlu0H0aSssefP
And if she does win her lawsuit, will you be happy with helping to pay that bill as a taxpayer?


This is a serious question: Do you know anyone who has been a victim of a shooting here in NYC?

Anonymous said...

I think Anon has made HIS opinions quite clear. Time to give it a rest dude. We get it. Bad parenting bad. Good parenting good. I'm sure your own parenting skills are excellent, I look forward to reading your book on the subject.

You talk a lot about problems. You offer two solutions: Stop and Frisk, and unfettered development. And you claim you're against a nanny state? Is there anything more over reaching and autocratically parental than using government authority to unlawfully profile and search (unconstitutionally by the way) and give out massive taxpayer handouts to rich developers to basically just do their jobs?

You've got it backwards my friend. The laissez faire approach would be to leave people be until they actually commit crimes and not give capitalism a helping hand.

Basically you're making your ideology up as you go along, to fit your own choices. Nothing less democratic than that.

ceelledee said...

Well said, Anon 5:56!

babs said...

Under Bloomberg's tenure, rents in New York (especially Manhattan, and, now Brooklyn) have risen astronomically, making nearly the entire borough of Manhattan unaffordable to people making less than $80K/yr (if you go by the 40x one month's rent in income requirement - there are very few apartments in Manhattan for under $2K/mo. The average rent in Manhattan was $3418 in April, 2012, and has only gone up since).

Entire neighborhoods have been turned into tourist/rich kid playgrounds (Times Square, the LES, Williamsburg). Coney Island is well on its way there as well, thankfully with some holdouts. Don't even get me started on Atlantic Yards (which Bloomberg and Marty Markowitz cannily passed off on the State by allowing Ratner to bypass the City's ULURP process, so they can't be blamed for it).

And the City's contribution to our parks has been going down steadily, leaving them to replace this lost revenue with outside, corporate funding, a la the Great Google Debacle and the closing of the Audubon Center at the Boathouse to allow for more private paying receptions. Of course, those parks in poorer areas, without access to wealthy patrons, are faring far worse than Prospect Park or Central Park.

Ed Koch may have spent time in his bachelor pad in the village, but he also stayed often at Gracie Mansion, as have all of our other mayors since La Guardia moved there in 1942 (at the suggestion of Robert Moses!), although Giuliani had to move out to live with Judith Nathan (This may be the real reason Bloomberg doesn't live there, although he has suggested otherwise).

Anonymous said...

disco princess,

Bloomberg truly bungled things when he hired Cathie Black. As I stated, he dumped her quickly and hired Dennis Wolcott, who seems to have won the respect of everyone who matters.

It's hardly a crisis of mayoral competence if Bloomberg makes one hiring mistake and quickly rectifies the situation.

As you should know, everyone in high appointed positions hands the boss -- mayor, president, whomever -- his resignation letter the first day on the job, and that letter will be accepted by the boss if the appropriate moment arrives, as it did for Cathie Black.

Anonymous said...

comment threads like this are why our incompetent city council member still has a chance. stay focused on mathieu eugene as opposed to talk about bloomberg and term limits which he actually opposed.

Time is 100 percent right to say that mathieu has no idea what hes doing. If i were Saundra Thomas I would do everything possible to get kinard to drop out of the race. 1 on 1 eugene is done. even if grant gets on the ballot he will not have a chance to get more then mayve 100 votes or so.

Anonymous said...

SouthAsia07,

Saundra Thomas will respond to NONE of those questions with a straight answer. I'm sure you know that.

Anonymous said...

disco princess,

The Samantha Rosenbaum story is catchy, and if events transpired as she said they did, then she's got the basis for a lawsuit against the city.

However, for reasons not apparent, you seem willing to believe, without question, a person who has no reason to tell the truth in this circumstance.

Has she left out an important part of the story? Who knows? There's no penalty for lying to the NY Post. And there's no penalty for filing a lawsuit against the NYPD, even if the case gets tossed out of court. Or maybe she'll net herself some cash.

Drunks have fallen on subway tracks, been injured by trains roaring into stations, and juries have awarded them substantial sums.

I was on a jury deciding a lawsuit case involving an illegal alien riding a bicycle on Ocean Parkway at 9 pm in January -- well after dark. He was clipped by a car-service limo, fell and broke his arm, which prevented him from doing his off-the-books job as a day-laborer.

He was Guatemalan and living with a woman who was also from Guatemala, but legally in the US. They had at least one child together. She was receiving rent subsidy, Medicaid and food stamps, and he was along for the ride.

His lawsuit prevailed and he won a settlement, though I don't know how much because the lawyers settled on a figure while we, the jury, were at lunch. Personally, I would have given him an amount that would have approximated his lost earnings. Oh, and he had to have a court-appointed interpreter because he spoke only Spanish.

Soooo, when it comes to abusing taxpayers, well, the list of abuses is long, long, long.

You wanted to know if I've known anyone who's been a shooting victim in NY City? Yes.

The number grows if we include people with whom I've come in contact for commerce. One example -- Josh Rubin, briefly the owner/operator of a coffee shop on Newkirk Ave.

And, sad to say, in a couple other cities too. Some brutal killings.

A couple of years ago, after having a lengthy talk with a fellow who struck up a conversation with me at convenience store, he shortly thereafter went out and murdered -- shot to death -- a liquor store clerk in Midwood.

Anonymous said...

babs,

Rents in NY City are always rising. Have they risen a greater percentage during Bloomberg's three terms compared with Koch's three terms? Not likely.

Rents in stabilized units are still capped each year. However, if were no longer possible for people to keep rent stabilized units forever, handing them down to adult children who move back to the nest when the parent is at death's door, a lot of the one-million stabilized units would leave the program and it would be possible to build other free-market units.

If construction were to keep up with demand, we'd see a leveling or rents with the high-end locating itself in the best parts of each borough while Manhattan below 96th would be most expensive.

A normalizing process would occur, with the rent expense becoming a function of distance from Manhattan and quality of the local elementary school, and crime.

Anonymous said...

Now that the Q's resident racist has taking over the comment section, we get treated to this classic:

"I was on a jury deciding a lawsuit case involving an illegal alien riding a bicycle on Ocean Parkway at 9 pm in January -- well after dark. He was clipped by a car-service limo, fell and broke his arm, which prevented him from doing his off-the-books job as a day-laborer.

He was Guatemalan and living with a woman who was also from Guatemala, but legally in the US. They had at least one child together. She was receiving rent subsidy, Medicaid and food stamps, and he was along for the ride.

His lawsuit prevailed and he won a settlement, though I don't know how much because the lawyers settled on a figure while we, the jury, were at lunch. Personally, I would have given him an amount that would have approximated his lost earnings. Oh, and he had to have a court-appointed interpreter because he spoke only Spanish.

Soooo, when it comes to abusing taxpayers, well, the list of abuses is long, long, long."

He was a day laborer, which means he was most likely working for some tax evading citizens too cheap to hire legally. If they didn't hire, he wouldn't have had work. Follow?

He was working, meaning he was helping support his family.

He was a father, who was working, and supporting his family best he could, and he was, according to you "along for the ride."

He didn't speak English well enough for an American court. Apparently this is some sort of tax travesty.

He was riding a bike, "well after dark," and "in January" which apparently is relevant to the story because he was at fault somehow for making those outrageous decisions?

The problem with you Anon is you're all brain and no heart. A human being needs both. This is actual empathy I'm feeling for you. You should try it sometime.

Anonymous said...

Btw if it were only non-voters against stop and frisk, how is it that a majority of the council voted to reign it in? If S&F were so crucial to voters, wouldn't that be electoral suicide?

disco princess said...

Anonymous at 10:34 pm, thank you for your eloquent comments. I was thinking of taking this guy to task over that.

The fact that the man hit by the car did not speak English is not relevant to whether or not he "cheated the system" and the inclusion of that tidbit is borderline offensive and it undermines the argument. NB: This country does not have an official language.

Besides, important relevant details are left out of the story, like whether or not the limo driver had committed a hit and run or whether he had actually stopped to see whom or what he had hit.
Re: "The problem with you Anon is you're all brain and no heart. A human being needs both. This is actual empathy I'm feeling for you. You should try it sometime."


That is apparent from comments like this: "Rents in stabilized units are still capped each year. However, if were no longer possible for people to keep rent stabilized units forever, handing them down to adult children who move back to the nest when the parent is at death's door, a lot of the one-million stabilized units would leave the program and it would be possible to build other free-market units."

Hey, no hate for adult children who inherit a rent-stabilized apartment from dear old mom and or dad. It is one of the few remaining benefits of being a native in a city with a very high cost of living and is rapidly becoming more unaffordable. The comment makes it seems like the adult child just moves in when mom and/or dad is about to die, when legally the adult child has to establish residency for at least a year before claiming succession rights. Plus, he hasn't proven that the depletion of rent-stabilized apartments will directly lead to construction of new units.

Dan Freed said...

What are we missing out on by having Eugene as our councilman? I suspect its a lot, but I'm not clear what it is.

What will Saundra Thomas do about (in no particular order)

--mediocre (at best) schools
--very few businesses that cater to middle class people
--mosquitos in my backyard. I'm serious. Do they have to deal with this in Park Slope? it feels frivolous but i swear it is my #1 quality of life complaint
--thugs
--food deliverymen who one day will run me over driving the wrong way down the street or on the sidewalk
--really loud parties (hasn't been a problem this summer but i suspect its just dumb luck)
--trash
--threat of too many too-tall buildings when developers get going
--ugliness of parkside ave b/w flatbush & the park
--chaos of flatbush traffic
--ugliness & uselessness of empire blvd.

ducky k. said...

Hi Dan,

I have no idea, but I think that the mosquito issue is a borough wide problem (although it is important for people to remember that ANY STANDING WATER CAN AND DOES ACT AS A MOSQUITO BREEDING GROUND so tip it out.)

Personally, I kind of want to know whether to candidates will keep the citibike program and expand bikes lanes. Hopefully along with this expansion will come more enforcement of bicyclists who break the law. But I think that the police may look the other way when it comes to deliverymen as it's a lot of under the table work and their immigration status maybe questionable. Also, the deliverymen are the least able to afford the fines, but there's no way to send any fines onto the restaurants which are encouraging them to break the law.

As for businesses that cater to middle class people, I would be interested in what you think those are. I consider myself middle class, but the kinds of businesses I would enjoy seeing more of aren't necessary the kinds that most would want to see in the neighborhood. It's more curiosity than criticism here.

disco princess said...

Hi, Dan,

Re: "--ugliness & uselessness of empire blvd."

What is your vision for Empire Boulevard? (I can see wanting to get rid of Western Beef and that yet-to-be-opened Checkers is utterly useless, but) what else?

What kind of businesses do you want to see that "cater to middle-class people"?

ElizabethC said...

Seriously...mosquitos in your back yard? That's a quality of life issue? Dude, must be nice to HAVE A BACK YARD.
Also not living near a huge park with a lake would help.

Also, what is a business that caters to "the middle class"? Are we taking fancy groceries again?

ElizabethC said...

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.backyardcity.com/Images/WTI/2009-Screen-Enclosure-Large.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.backyardcity.com/Umbrellas/WTI-Mosquito-Net-A-SE.htm&h=500&w=500&sz=58&tbnid=FDmaBLj-1qjhaM:&tbnh=105&tbnw=105&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dmosquito%2Bnetting%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=mosquito+netting&usg=__msPFs0Jon0rkBWnc3mkjBQDci5Q=&docid=hhI7NB0i48hCzM&hl=en&sa=X&ei=qSvdUfDWDJel4AOemIGoDw&sqi=2&ved=0CIABEPUBMAc&dur=2734

Anonymous said...

disco princess writes:

The comment makes it seems like the adult child just moves in when mom and/or dad is about to die, when legally the adult child has to establish residency for at least a year before claiming succession rights.

In fact, what you described is EXACTLY what happened in a case I know well. About three months ago, the adult daughter moved into her mother's rent-stabilized apartment literally days before her mother died.

The daughter now has legal possession of the apartment. I'll spare you the details, but none of this is in question. The building is a 48-unit structure in the Kips Bay section of Manhattan.

Dan Freed said...

Probably shouldn't have mentioned the mosquito issue. Thought hard about middle class businesses & realized we have more than I thought (play kids, pet stores, kings county nurseries). It'd be great to have a trader joe's or fairway, but more exciting than that for me would be a really great Y--not a dinky outpost but a 92nd St. Y for Brooklyn. Also a museum dedicated to the history of Flatbush. Not a dull place no one wants to go or a token acknowledgment of the past, but a kick ass cultural institution that creates a greater sense of what this community used to be and in many new and interesting ways still is about beyond 99 cent stores, drive by hooliganism, and guys like me whining on message boards about coffee shops. As for what Empire Blvd could be I don't have a very clear idea but one of my fave big commercial streets is the stretch of Atlantic Ave between Flatbush and the BQE. But lets try to remember in this thread that the main point is to come up with questions for Saundra.

Anonymous said...

disco princess says:

The fact that the man hit by the car did not speak English is not relevant to whether or not he "cheated the system" and the inclusion of that tidbit is borderline offensive and it undermines the argument. NB: This country does not have an official language.

It was made clear in the court case that the injured party was in the US illegally. HIs language skills were not, per se, the issue. But the fact that taxpayers were billed to provide an interpreter to assist an illegal alien collect an insurance award from a lawfully operating local business because the illegal alien was riding his bicycle -- without lights -- on a major road on a dark winter night seems like an abuse of American good will to me.

Besides, important relevant details are left out of the story, like whether or not the limo driver had committed a hit and run or whether he had actually stopped to see whom or what he had hit.

The limo driver stopped. It's that simple. But if he hadn't, there's no way the injured bicyclist would have been able to press the case.

Anonymous said...

If you want Saundra Thomas to win, then someone has to count the votes Eugene got when he ran for office, and a team of Saundra supporters has to pretty much escort a bigger number of voters to the polls on primary day.

Otherwise, the usual voter apathy will hand Eugene another victory.

But even if she wins, it's not as though things will change. No city council person can increase the number of charter schools in the city. Moreover, that's a hot topic. Dept of Ed people would mobilize against her if she were too vocal on that topic.

The way to the City Council is to promise to spend more taxpayers' money on whatever voters demand. HOwever spreading around the dough has to be tempered with the knowledge that powerful unions, like the teachers union, can throw some weight around if they object to something a candidate says.

Bloomberg seems to be unpopular here, but he's been a true supporter of charter schools. That means even though posters here seem to want more charter schools, they don't want Bloomberg, even though he's the guy with the kind of power who's able to make something happen.

Meanwhile, Christine Quinn is in the pocket of the teachers union, so no matter what she says in favor of charter schools, it's only lip service.

disco princess said...

“'The comment makes it seems like the adult child just moves in when mom and/or dad is about to die, when legally the adult child has to establish residency for at least a year before claiming succession rights.'

In fact, what you described is EXACTLY what happened in a case I know well. About three months ago, the adult daughter moved into her mother's rent-stabilized apartment literally days before her mother died.”


Hey, it sounds like it’s the landlord who dropped the ball by not taking the adult child to court. Can’t get too mad at the adult child here. http://nytenantlawyer.typepad.com/my-blog/2010/12/succession-rights-swordsmanship-in-new-york-city.html

“It was made clear in the court case that the injured party was in the US illegally. HIs language skills were not, per se, the issue.”
I don't understand why this tidbit was even mentioned when admittedly it wasn't very relevant to the issue at hand.

“But the fact that taxpayers were billed to provide an interpreter to assist an illegal alien collect an insurance award from a lawfully operating local business because the illegal alien was riding his bicycle -- without lights -- on a major road on a dark winter night seems like an abuse of American good will to me.”
If it could be proven that he was an undocumented resident, then would there have been legal grounds to have the case dropped? If so, that’s the failing of the legal representation of the limo company who was sued.
Yet, you admitted in your previous post that you thought the limo company should have only given the man his lost wages. Your previous line of reasoning however seems to make it sound like the man shouldn’t have even bothered bringing the lawsuit in the first place, as it was a waste of taxpayer money because he is in this country (allegedly) illegally and should have no jurisdiction.

Dan: “It'd be great to have a trader joe's or fairway, but more exciting than that for me would be a really great Y--not a dinky outpost but a 92nd St. Y for Brooklyn.”
Believe me, I’d love to have a Trader Joe’s or Fairway here too, but where is it going to go (unless, again, we get rid of that Western Beef)? Can anyone think of a space suitable and large enough to hold it?

“But lets try to remember in this thread that the main point is to come up with questions for Saundra.”
Okay. Then why not ask her, why not petition for a Trader Joe’s or a Fairway to come to the area? It’d provide jobs (the Fairway Red Hook location is good about hiring people from the neighborhood), and the price points and product selection would appeal to both the yuppies and the working-class residents of the neighborhood.

Why can’t there be more enforcement of the pooper scooper law (since we’re talking about quality of life issues)?

What about petitioning to have the old bakery building on Flatbush Avenue landmarked? Maybe that could hold the Flatbush museum you had mentioned.

Of course, any candidate is going to be asked about affordable housing...how to have it preserved and how more can be created.

“but more exciting than that for me would be a really great Y--not a dinky outpost but a 92nd St. Y for Brooklyn.”
I agree with you. It would be something from which people in the community of all ages can benefit. I don’t want to have to go make the trek to Farragut, or to Park Slope or to Atlantic Avenue. There should be something like that in this area. Again, where would something like this go?

The Snob said...

I met Saundra Thomas at the 40 Clarkson meeting, and I dig her. That said, I think we are making headway on some quality of life issues here (traffic, cops, trash) and what a responsive city council person could do for this neighborhood would be something to discourage the general neglect and exploitation of this swath of central Brooklyn. Get a big-footprint manufacturer or media company to invest in the area. Capitalize on the students, professors, and campuses of Medgar Evers and Brooklyn College and Downstate and offer non-fast food jobs. Marty Markowitz will leave, and someone's gonna have to pick up the "Brooklyn brand." What about the Flatbush School of Urban Agriculture? Hotel Management? How about making solar panels?

Anonymous said...

As for the city mayoral race:

DO NOT VOTE FOR CHRISTINE QUINN!!!!!!! DO NOT!!!!!! SHE IS BLOOMBERG 2.0!!!!!!!!!!

VOTE FOR EITHER DIBLASIO, LIU, OR THOMPSON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHY? Since 2002 Bloomberg has crushed the public school system in New York City through draconian policies that have led to a rise in dropouts and quality of education. He has also closed over 150+ public schools under his bureaucratic system!

He has also given teachers a hard time and said verbatim, "If it were up to me, I'd fire half of NYC's teachers," can you believe that?! He has also show dictator-like mayoral control. We know all too well.

SO... Why DiBlasio, Liu, or Thompson and NOT QUINN? Quinn has stated verbatim on school chancellor selections that, "I don't think the schools chancellor should necessarily be a teacher or have experience." WHAT?! and she also said she'd continue much of Bloomberg's policies.

DiBlasio, Liu, and Thompson have shown compassion and experience. Liu graduated from the Bronx High School of Science, an elite public school in NYC, and he has recently launched a report against the NYCDOE and Bloomberg showing how his numbers are fudged and schools are performing worse.

Thompson is on Liu's side and is backed by the UFT.

DiBlasio has also shown awareness and care and is sided with Liu and Thompson.

The education perspective is highly significant as I feel PLG's school district, District 17 needs more quality options in public education than just P.S. 249 and Medgar Evars, and the few charter schools. Everything else is pretty crappy. Liu, Thompson, and DeBlasio will actually care. VOTE FOR THEM AND ONLY THEM!!!!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

The single most important questions I would ask Saundra, and will, when I send YOUR questions (that was kind of the point of my post), are:

Who do you support for mayor? This speaks VOLUMES.

and

What do you think of the job Dennis Wolcott is doing at DOE?

and

What's your thinking on development in Flatbush, given current zoning rules? Should they be looked at, and maybe changed?

and

Flatbush Ave congestion and safety

and

Trash, trash, trash, trash, trash. Golly it gets me how filthy it is around here!

As to S&F I think you can count on Saundra to agree with Jumaane Williams, Brad Lander, Tish James and the Brooklyn progressives. I think she'll vote with them pretty solidly, creating a powerful Brooklyn coalitions of "progressives." This is very important, considering our current leader's inability to articulate a position on ANYTHING. Coalitions have a lot of power in the Council. And maybe one of them (Lander?) could get elected leader. Wouldn't THAT be something!

Lastly, I don't think Sylvia Kinard is a problem at all. She'll help divert votes away from the incumbent, resulting in a run-off. In a head-to-head battle with Eugene, I think we can wrest this seat from the lamest incumbent on the council.

And that TOO would be something to cheer. Big time.



disco princess said...

Re: "Trash, trash, trash, trash, trash. Golly it gets me how filthy it is around here!"

Trash, trash, trash and dog poop. :)

Hey, Q, by the way, it turns out I am just within the borders of the 35th district.

babs said...

Tish is running for Public Advocate this year, replacing Di Blasio. Whoever succeeds her, however, will most likely continue to vote progressive.

Anonymous said...

Here's what's in the budget for the general neighborhood. The next city council member -- Eugene, Thomas, Kinard, whomever -- will have this to talk about:

Flatbush Revitalization. EDC’s Fiscal 2013 January Capital Commitment Plan includes $52 million in Fiscal 2013-2016 for the restoration of Loew’s Kings
Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

The goal of the renovation project is to restore the historic structure and create a state-of-the-art performance facility.
Located at 1025-1035 Flatbush Avenue, the space will be the largest indoor theater in Brooklyn and will be the centerpiece of a revitalized Flatbush. The expected
opening is in the fall of 2014.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love this guy. Obviously Eugene is corrupt and dishonest. NY Times 2007. Remember:

In the end, Mr. Cuomo said that under his interpretation of the law, a candidate must establish residency by the date of the election. And Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, adopted that view.

Dr. Eugene refused to sign an affidavit — a new requirement following the attorney general’s pronouncement — saying simply that he met residency requirements.

He declined to provide a copy of the lease and other information to the Council. And the Council said he could not be sworn in unless he provided a host of information substantiating his residency claims.

Rather than fight the matter in court, Dr. Eugene declined to take the seat, leading Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to declare the seat vacant again and call for a second special election. Dr. Eugene immediately announced that he would run in the second special election. Mr. Schiffman and Mr. Sharpe had also run in the first special election.

Anonymous said...

What will it take for Saundra Thomas to win?

Here's what it took for Eugene:

03/15/2007
Dr. Mathieu Eugene gets a win in NYC Council Race ...Board of Elections certified the special election for City Council in the 40th Councilmanic District, declaring Dr. Mathieu Eugene the winner, with 2,076 of the 6,178 votes cast.


Just about 2,100 votes out of 6,200.

How many voters live in the 40th district? A lot more than 6,200.

Anyway, if you want Thomas to win, then she's gotta talk about giving away a lot of taxpayers' money to every group that has its hand out.

And she's gotta talk about Eugene's corrupt administration, starting with his lies about his residency, then moving to his phony claim of being a doctor. Then following the taxpayers' money he illicitly funneled to projects run by his family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Thomas for that beautifully written, from the heart endorsement of my incredible sister-in-law Saundra Thomas. I've known Saundra for 18 years and she's everything you say she is: passionate, organized, driven, generous. She is running for one reason only: she loves her neighborhood and her people and wants to make things better. I have gone door to door with her and watched her completely intuitive way of connecting with people. Yes, she has the experience for this job and equally as vital: the ideas, the energy and the follow through. Only once in a while does a candidate like Saundra come along. The rest of the time, we get the Mathieu Eugenes of the world. The man is running on empty and counting on apathy. People can decide to make a move, make a difference. Spread the word about Saundra--she needs your vote !