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.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Last Night's Council Candidates Forum

The Q kids you not. I went to the forum at St. Gabriel's prepared to listen to the candidates, take some notes, maybe some pictures, and go home. The event was hosted by a blog/paper called Street Hype, which would lead one to believe that the forum - one of the few chances to see all the 40th Council Candidates in the run up to the Sept 10 primary - would be hyped to the hilt. In fact, after you subtract the longtime Mathieu Eugene supporters, the organizers, the people working for the church, and the candidates themselves...there were probably 10 people there from the community at large. I don't know anyone in Lefferts (where the forum was held) who knew about the event, which was a shame, because I honestly believe every candidate had a pretty good chance to strut their stuff. They each got 10 minutes to talk, and 10 minutes to take questions. The moderators did a good job of sticking to the format. So far so good...

Your candidates for City Council in the 40th District - John Grant, Sylvia Kinard, Saundra Thomas and incumbent Mathieu Eugene - were all there and spoke in that order, interspersed with two others, starting with the passionate left-winger Randy Credico who actually managed to get on the ballot for mayor. To learn more, check out the awesome videos here. After his attack on the evil ONE PERCENT, it was ironic that a black republican candidate for comptroller, John Burnett, who hails from Wall Street, took the podium next to preach his conservative agenda. "I'm a proud Republican" he stated at the end. I wanted to raise my hand and ask if he'd been following the Republicans SINCE Lincoln freed the slaves and the racist Southern Democrats switched parties to become racist Southern Republicans, but I figured he's been too busy following the ups and downs of the financial markets to pay attention to the fact that the Repubs have been on the wrong side of nearly every moral issue for the last 100 years. But he was too busy questioning John Grant about his (Grant's) attack on the "sagging pants" epidemic among young men. Burnett said Grant needs to do his research about the origins of the sag, and he dropped the old inference that it comes from prison "bottoms" signaling their availability for gay prison sex. Speaking of doing your research, Burnett was dead wrong on that one. Think about it - how much "advertising" would you need to do in prison anyway? Gossip gets around pretty quick I suspect. pretty much debunked that homophobic myth, and though prison may have been an "inspiration," its the prevalence of the "sag" as fashion statement in rap videos that caused the sensation. Add in some moral outrage from the older generation, and you've got a full-blown fad along with tattoos and nose pierces and heavy metal. People - it's a SIGN, not a cause. Though I do love Eric Adams' video on the subject...

Next issue prices. Despite the fact that rent rate laws barely make a dent in the issue of affordability for most New Yorkers, candidate Sylvia Kinard used her time to voice her disdain for rising rents. But as with most politicians, she's only talking about the prices by the Rent Guidelines Board for stabilized apartments. As noted in my previous post, apartments are disappearing from stabilization all the time and in all sorts of ways. Not to mention that its hardly a fair system to those unlucky enough to live in a non-stabilized apartment. She's calling for a 0% increase next year and for years when the median income for the middle and lower classes doesn't budge, as it apparently hasn't for years. But I DID like that she's planning a protest/press event at the Q at Parkside station on Friday at noon about that very issue. Way to choose an excellent location, Sylvia! She's a smart lady, and if she were the only challenger, I'd certainly vote for her. Her heart isn't in it though...her campaign hasn't raised much, and she has no deep support from Flatbush. She may just end up splitting the vote, sending Eugene back to his throne. Sigh.

Saundra Thomas, the Q's choice for council, came next. She was more impassioned than I've heard her yet. (I'll be printing the answers she gave to my list of questions in the next day or two, to give you a better sense of what she's about). It's a shame she's just hitting her stride now, but better late than never. Her early support from popular former councilwoman Una Clarke never turned into the juggernaut I anticipated - even Una's daughter Yvette and my man Eric Adams endorsed the incumbent. I asked Eric about it last night and he just flashed a smile when I asked if his endorsement was made "publicly," because Eugene trumpets it all the time. Ah well. I guess it's just politics, since if Eugene wins, Eric gets to call him friend, and if he loses, Eric just befriends Saundra. Yuck. Nobody says what they mean anymore. Maybe they never did.

Then the incumbent, Mathieu Eugene took the mic. At times screaming at the audience, he made a loud and angry case for his reelection. His claim? In the past six years he has worked tirelessly on your behalf. He has been ahead of every issue. He has brought millions to the district. He is a great leader and a compassionate man, who (as he always reminds us) believes that all power on this earth comes from almighty God.

In a word, I wanted to puke. It's garbage, untrue (well, maybe the God part is true, I'm an agnostic so the jury's out on that one), and designed to deflect the very real fact that Mathieu Eugene has barely lifted a finger for you or for his district. He is never here; he never leads; he doesn't know the people of his district; he doesn't have a clue how City budgets work; ex-staff make fun of his vanity and ego; he holds occasional "forums," then retains nothing and doesn't follow through; ex-members of his staff joke of his vanity and ineptitude and claims of being a doctor; he claims to have brought millions to the district for things that the Council actually CUT in total from its overall budget; he takes credit for projects that were already in the pipeline - Kings Loewe's Theater for instance, and Parkside Playground and Parade Ground playground and affordable housing projects - he never leads; he constantly makes reference to an organization he started called Y.E.S. that helped young people through sports, but the organization folded as soon as he won office amid allegations by the City of shoddy bookkeeping; he voted against Bloomberg's extended term limits but won't rule out running again in 2017 making his potential term 14 effing years (read the City Charter - it's depressing but true, he could actually do it); he's so cheap he pays some of his staff less than minimum wage; he managed to find $20,000 for the Jewish Children's Museum which ISN'T EVEN IN HIS DISTRICT but precious little for popular project IN his district; he lavishes his tiny discretionary budget (other Council members so dislike him they make sure he doesn't get much dough) primarily on pet projects and churches (yes that's legal - read all his giving by putting the name Eugene in here). And the one that I find most sad and perplexing - he trumpets the 10 million dollars he's given to Kings County Hospital from his capital budget. Because "health" is his number one issue. But here's the thing. While buying millions of dollars of equipment for a hospital that has countless other potential funding sources, he hasn't spent that $10 million on projects that could truly benefit the community at large - his actual constituents, rather than the relatively few patients who need those machines. Machines that could have been procured through other means. Machines. To promote health. Because he's a doctor. And to win over the powerful hospital union that endorsed him. Cynical? You bet.

Imagine - community centers, public plazas, a new park, another revitalized park, new senior center, basketball courts, programs for troubled youth, and SCHOOLS. The only thing he's done for schools is to buy some computer equipment, including his much ballyhooed smart boards. Guess what? Few teachers even like or use those stupid smartboards. They're already ancient equipment in the digital realm, way overpriced, and recently I've seen them in classrooms with pieces of paper taped to them - that's how cutting edge and useful they are. The blackboard is still the visual aid of choice, and computer projectors are a zillionth of the price. But given Mathieu's inability to even maintain a website, I can't imagine that he understands or cares.

And after all the nonsense he spouted last night, we had to once again endure his "as a medical doctor" mumbo jumbo. And that's when I lost it I guess.

Folks, the man has never earned a license to practice medicine in the United States. He has lived here for decades. At any time, he could have become a doctor, or updated his credentials. For intents and purposes, he is as much a medical doctor as you or me (except those of you who ARE M.D.s, my apologies). Yes he went to medical school, in Mexico, if he's to be believed. But he has never worked as a doctor in Brooklyn or anywhere else in his naturalized country. Everyone must refer to him as Dr. Eugene, but it's hogwash and designed to make it seem like the man has some tiny bit of credentials to run on. I mean check out this ridiculous piece below on his having held a thing at Maimonides. The digital voice over doesn't even pronounce the name of the Medical Center correctly. And is this hospital in his district? Check out his extended praise service near the end of his speech as a "medical doctor."

So i guess I'd just had enough, and I walked up to the mic and asked "why do you continue to call yourself a medical doctor when you don't have an active medical license to practice anywhere?" He refused to answer, his supporters (including the organizer) started heckling me, and then, as any strong leader responding to a hardball question, he started to say that my blog has been spreading lies about him. I didn't take kindly, so I told him that was ridiculous and asked him to point out one thing I've written that's untrue. The organizer Vivia Morgan, a Eugene supporter herself, told me I needed to leave. Eugene called me "unprofessional" and said to the audience "this man is intent on destroying the community." At the end of his schpiel I went up to shake his hand and apologize if I was too harsh, and he withdrew his hand and gave me the "I'll smack you with the back of my hand" gesture. He looked REALLY mad, almost as mad as his brother who allegedly pushed a Thomas supporter who brought him the subpoena that said they were going to challenge his signatures, signatures that nine people came forward to say were in fact FORGED.

It's all true folks. That's what went down. I was in the hall talking to district leader Jessie Hamilton and Eugene continued to berate me. I asked why he refused to shake my hand, and then why rather than answer my question he decided to tell the audience how divisive I was and how I had lied about him and that my blog was nothing but an attempt to discredit him. And I'm unprofessional. As a what, exactly? A blogger? A constituent? The dude flew off the handle.

In the end, I rode home on my bike, annoyed with myself for losing my cool, and disheartened for the future of our neighborhood. Folks, the guy is a crank. He's inept at best and dangerous at worse. Please, go to the polls. I don't care who you vote for anymore. Just do what you can to throw the bum out.


MadMommaCarmen said...

I'm disappointed to read about Eugene's attitude problem, but not surprised. This is why its so important to call him out on his shit. The man is so comfortable with his lies and blatant disregard for the needs of his constituents that he flat out doesn't care how other people see him. As he is someone who is seeking another term serving the people, this is a problem. This is a HUGE problem.

I've had my own run-in with Eugene where a very minor disagreement turned into yelling and name calling on his part. All I had said to him was that his help was needed in the community. He turned around and yelled that he's done enough and that I was stupid to expect him to do more. Yep, he called me stupid. He, the mad who wants to supposedly serve this community resorts to a childish tantrum whenever one doesn't silently agree with him.

We will be in a world of hurt if he gets re-elected. Eugene's incredible inaction (because really, his ineptitude is quite impressive) is how our community has gotten to where we are today: stagnant (if not going backwards in many senses).

Get out and vote!

Rutland Runner said...

I was going to stay out of the whole mess because I'm not convinced anyone running can do better. But Eugene has so impressed me as an idiot that I had to chime in.

I'm with Q. If you want to find out who this guy is, go to the only place he's bothered to post info on himself. It's a youtube channel called YesWeCanHaiti. There are dozens of horribly produced videos touting one silly thing he's done after another. They're all endorsed by Eugene. In fact, he loves them.

I know two other council members. They not so secretly agree that he's useless and feel sorry for Flatbush for the poor representation. But if people don't care to get involved, I guess you get what you earn.

Anonymous said...

I was one of the 10 community members not affiliated with the meeting in some way. All in all I liked what Thomas and Kinard had to say, but I don't understand the tactic of staying positive. They're gunning for a job held by an incumbent who's failed to make a name for himself after six years and they're talking about the same old stuff. But I guess people are turned off by negativity.

I like Saundra Thomas enough to give her a chance. She seems like she'll grow with the job and stay engaged with the community. I like that youth issues are her passion and area of expertise. I know she'd vote the way I want her to. She's going to be part of the progressive caucus. She's smart and naturally funny. I like that she raised her daughter in the neighborhood and gets what the public schools are all about.

And six years is enough for any council person who hasn't done anything of note. If in four years Thomas hasn't either, I'm voting for somebody else. That's how it works.

Anonymous said...

you mean it's not pronounced Mayo-mem- des?

LilHomerFlanders said...

Eugene was absolutely out of line last night and your passionate plea for him to answer the question was fully justified. He has a terrible attitude and is quick to dismiss and verbally assault anybody who questions him. He is a very divisive and dangerous man and I hope for the love of real doctors everywhere that we do not have to endure his ineptitude for 4 more years.

Anonymous said...

As should be obvious by now, Matthieu Eugene is a thug who should be voted out of office as quickly as possible.

There's probably grounds for taking him out in handcuffs. He reminds me of Clarence Norman, who left his Brooklyn office for a jail sentence.

Anyway, to boot Eugene, the best bet is for everyone to vote for Saundra Thomas. That's only because she seems to be the most acceptable.

However, if the vote is split between any two of Eugene's opponents, he'll be able to hang on and serve another term.

Lilhomerflanders said...

Over the past week I have talked to several neighbors who I respect tremendously who don't even plan on voting. Not because they don't like any of the candidates but because they don't think this position impacts their lives/community in a significant way. While the blog is a tremendous tool for spreading the word, please continue to talk to your neighbors to make sure they get out to vote and preferably for Saundra Thomas.

Bewildered Man From Flatbush said...

If this man gets reelected, we should make his last term in office extremely uncomfortable for him. Keep exposing this charlatan Q, you are doing a good. The name Matheiu Eugene should be synonymous with crook!

Bob Marvin said...

While some might think, with some justification, that whoever occupies our council seat doesn't have all that much impact on their lives, the situation changes a lot when we have the misfortune of being represented by an incumbant who is generally regarded as the laughingstock of the Council. At the very least, our neighborhood gets only a fraction of the funds allocated to competant council members. Also, there's a mayoral primary on and no one can pretend THAT'S not important.

I urge my neighbors to vote for Saundra Thomas who IMO has the capacity to be a capible and concientious representative of our neighborhood--a big change from the incumbant.

Fred said...

I was at the forum and listened to each of the candidates speak. It was the first experience I'd had with any of the four candidates (maybe there are more?) for City Council, and I tried keeping an open mind despite being a reader of this blog and possibly having a bias as a result of that.

I left the forum knowing I will not be voting for Mathieu Eugene. After being our Council Member for 6 years I expected a better stump speech than the one he delivered. It was preachy, imploring, and inexplicably vague given his time in office. I think I was supposed to have been impressed by the "millions" of dollars he has brought to the community based on the number of times he said it and how he drew the word out as long as possible, but I wasn't. It just felt creepy and caused me to look away. I don't even understand how one single-handedly brings millions into the district short of winning the lottery, so I guess he raised his hand at a city council vote? Not sure. Did he lobby for it solely because of hospital union backing? Probably. But that's just mutual backscratching; not an accomplishment.

I do not profess to understand politics well. Sadly, I'm like most people and vote based on a feeling I get after seeing them behind a microphone and listening to what they say, and how they deliver it. Mathieu Eugene made me extremely ill at ease, and struck me as the least genuine of the four candidates.

Alex said...

Does the same 40% rule apply to the city council primary? Could we end up with a runoff? I think that's the best case at the moment, it's unlikely that one challenger will win.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Sorry to say, Alex, that I was wrong...the 40% runoff only happens for City-wide offices like Mayor and comptroller. I was confused because I remember the runoff for Eugene six years ago, but that was because he didn't have the decency to live in the district on election day, forcing a re-do. If that wasn't a sign of things to come, I don't know what is.

It's winner takes all I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

Saundra has to win. Sylvia should, despite her impressive résumé , drop out, for the good of the district. Lets keep in mind in 2009 Mathieu only got 59 percent of the vote with even people such as the Q
himself voting for him. So if there is a unified push for Saundra it can be done.

Anonymous said...

Can we PLEASE get the NYT to cover this news story of Eugene insulting and abusing and tossing out of the room any constituents who ask him legitimate questions about his record? The people of NYC all over not just this district need to be told how this charlatan, who even worse, may not be psychologically fit to hold office, has been endorsed by otherwise respected politicians and political parties. I thought we had NYT people in the neighborhood. Tell them to bring this to the attention of their bosses.

Martin said...

You are right on Tim, with all your observations on Eugene. I was at the candidates' forum two weeks ago and came away from it feeling the only hope for going forward in our neighborhood would be Saundra Thomas.
I have cringed at every meeting or forum Eugene has spoken at over the past six years and really blame the two Clarkes for fostering him upon us.
I have already voted for Thomas via absentee ballot which was very easy and quick to obtain. Here is the link This is probably the most important election for our neighborhood in the 15 years I have lived here. Please vote.

Sylvia Kinard said...

Dear Anonymous,

This is a democracy and as such, you are entitled to choose the candidate of your choice, which you have indicated is Ms. Thomas.

However, there are many residents in Lefferts Gardens and throughout the District who believe that I am the best candidate to make Brooklyn better for everyone and particularly for the residents of the 40th District.

Your suggestion that I "drop out" for the good of the district, presumes that you know what is best. I believe that is a decision for your neighbors, the voters of this District, to make.

Therefore, I will not be following your advice, but look forward to working with you and other residents of District 40 to ensure that our District receives its fair share of city funding and that important issues of safety, education and affordable housing are no longer neglected.

Anonymous said...

@Sylvia Kinard

You staying in the race presumes that you know best, and therefore you must be rooting for Eugene. You are clearly qualified and what your qualifications will do is siphon off votes and help the incumbent win. You have hardly raised any money,i mention that because it leads to you being unable to hire staff and do the necessary outreach. You have no office I know of , 6 facebook likes, your twitter is unfocused and discusses national issues way more than anything directly related to the 40th district.On twitter, you have accused Mathieu of voting to overturn term limits(which is the 1 issues he was right on). You received 12 percent of the vote against Yvette and therefore know how hard it is is to beat an incumbent despite your impressive resume. The challenger needs every vote they get. I wouldn't say this to John Grant. I say it to you because you are qualified and would vote for you if I thought you could win. If you do not drop out I recommend adding the "committee to reelect Mathieu Eugene" to your otherwise impressive resume. For the sake of the district you claim to love, please drop out and call on your supporter to vote for Saundra Thomas!

ceelledee said...

@Anon 10:16: Hear! Hear! I know I've consistently described Saundra Thomas as the "most credible" opposition candidate in the race. This statement has never been meant to imply that Ms. Kinard is not credible. Indeed, she's quite credible in many respects. Clearly, Sylvia Kinard is intelligent and articulate and has great professional experience. However, we need a candidate with more than intelligence and an impressive professional career in order to beat Eugene on September 10. Especially in a crowded field such as this one, we must get behind a candidate who is committed and credible enough to have put together a real campaign organization, a winning strategy, and enough funds to mount a successful opposition!

I, too, could have easily thrown my support to Sylvia had she gotten out early, worked hard to organize her support in this community, raised the necessary funds and built the type of CREDIBLE campaign organization that is needed to go up against the idiot incumbent. But she did not. Which is why, it's not undemocratic to now advocate against the useless strategy of splitting our votes among opposition candidates who cannot possibly win this election.

If we're saying we've had our fill of Eugene (and I sure hope we are), then the frustrated, unrepresented electorate of this district needs to unite behind the one opposition candidate who is not only intelligent, articulate, with excellent professional experience and a longstanding history of living in the district but who also has the campaign organization and funds to actually get the job done! The only candidate to fit that bill in this race is Saundra Thomas. Let's do this!

Anonymous said...

Okay I read enough, I want to vote for Saundra Thomas but how and where? Sorry guys I need your help here, I normally find the stuff I need when I google but for some reason couldnt find the relevant info on how to vote in the 40th, can someone point me in the right direction? I know the deadline is sept 10

Martin said...

Get an absentee ballot

Or go to your local polling place on September 10th.

Poll site locator page

Anonymous said...

And how do we exactly not allow Eugene another term? R u suggesting all 100 white people vote for Thomas. That will not even be 1/100 of the overall vote.

Anonymous said...

If ever there was a time to Do The Right Thing, it's now.

The Right Thing is to defeat Matthieu Eugene. And the way to do it is by all the candidates throwing their support to Saundra Thomas.

Sylvia Kinard may be competent. But it doesn't matter. If she runs, her presence will help Eugene. As the other poster said, she'd be a valued member of his re-election committee.

The other candidates have to put aside their egos and take a bold step.

Politics being what it is, I have no doubt there could be a patronage job waiting for those other candidates who sacrifice their electoral hopes by helping Saundra Thomas beat Eugene.

Anonymous said...

9:29. No idea what your point is. And it's much more elegant to say 1/100th as 1%. Nice tie-in with the whole "one-percenters" thing though. I don't think Saundra will have a hard time drawing the black vote. Last I heard she's still African-American. And Caribbeans don't identify as a block outside of the Labor Day Parade. Ask a Jamaican how he feels about Haitians and you might be surprised at the answer. So many stereotypes, so little time...

Anonymous said...

I saw Mr Eugene on the corner of Nostrand and Church few days ago handing out pamphlets. I swear, I saw some of those pamphlets on the ground lol. He's counting on the ignorance of our community and I don't mean ignorance as in stupid, but not aware of his incompetence.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Mathieu is out there handing out fliers himself means hes nervous

Anonymous said...

I have had first hand encounters with Mathieu Eugene, the man reaches a level of ignorance that I didn't think was possible in any elected official. I don't live in the district, but I have had a few run ins with him. Please VOTE THIS MAN OUT!

Anonymous said...

maim-mo-knee--des. Oh brother.