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 15, 2013

Murmurs from the 40th Council District Campaign Trail

Two excruciatingly hard-to-swallow endorsements came out in favor of our incumbent in City Council, Mathieu Eugene. Health Workers local 1199 has once again given thumbs up to the good "doctor," and lest you think this is inconsequential, 1199 has a HUGE presence in the neighborhood, with many health workers living within the 40th. No surprise then that rare appearances in the area by Eugene have included hospital related issues, and Eugene has funneled large sums (in the millions) to Kings County Hospital for big ticket items. (e.g. $3.5 million in 2012 - video here; $2 million in 2010 - video here).

It's not unusual for unions to back the perceived frontrunner in campaigns, so as to receive the best possible treatment from the presumptive winner once in office. Such a disappointment to see, however, that the area's biggest mobilizer of votes has seen fit to endorse a seriously disastrous candidate...yet again. For shame.

Even more disappointing, however, is the endorsement by the Working Families Party. I'd be extremely surprised if they've actually done any homework at all on our current Councilman. Perhaps they're busy with the Mayor's race, and unable to Google the man, who has shown absolutely NO leadership on any of the issues they claim to hold dear. Dan Cantor, are you serious? There's still time to reexamine your choice.

Here's a note I sent to WFP today. I hope to be able to report some sort of explanation:

Hi from the Q at Parkside blog (  I write neighborhood news, essays and lean towards community betterment for the Prospect Lefferts Gardens and North Flatbush area. I've also taken a serious interest in core concerns of residents, though not strictly on the level of business development. I've watched too many neighborhoods grow and change without the interests of its longterm and less affluent residents at heart. Schools, jobs, housing, crime, trash. These are big concerns to me and my readers and those issues cross arbitrary lines of race, ethnicity or economic class. The Working Families Party has often seemed aligned with these interests and many of our goals (though I wouldn't be sincere if I didn't strongly disagree with you from time to time!)

It is therefore extremely surprising for me, and many of my neighbors, to see your endorsement of Mathieu Eugene for City Council from the 40th district. On what basis was this endorsement made? I would love to have the chance to discuss this with you. Perhaps you are not fully aware of the Councilman's lackluster record on...well, just about everything. Those who know him well, including those who have worked with and for him, detail a man completely over his head and unable to lead on the most basic level. I have personally sat across the table with him in my role at Community Board 9 and on various issues. I can assure you he understands next to nothing about budgeting, and has "led" on exactly ZERO issues. Occasionally, he will latch onto something that sounds beneficial to him. That's about it.

I hope that Dan Cantor or someone with knowledge of Eugene can contact me at or 917-822-5346.

An explanation as to WTF's understanding of this district, and of the incumbent's opposing candidates, would go a long way to giving us the confidence that you have done your due diligence.

Very best, and in most all other races --- "go get 'em!"

tim "theQ" thomas


John Mark said...

I wrote a similar--less eloquent--message to the Working Families Party the other day and received the following answer from Sarah Johnson at the WFP. I requested (but haven't yet received) the questionnaire, and will be happy to share when/if I do. If they are willing to trumpet their rigorous process, I hope they are willing to be transparent about it. I've always respected their endorsements in the past, but this one seems naive at best, cynical at worst. Curious to see what the questionnaire says, though!

We go through a rigorous process in which each candidate completes a questionnaire that asks broadly about a number of progressive issues and an interview with our Brooklyn chapter. The chapter typically weighs a number of different factors including alignment with our values and also viability. The questionnaire typically measures values alignment and the interview is a chance for local supporters to discuss both viability & also issues like the one you mentioned above w/r/t non presence in the district.

No process is perfect, but we are the only political party in NYS that goes through this rigorous of a screening process. I wasn't present for this particular interview, but in this case the chapter felt strongly that Eugene was the best candidate to advance WFP's values in the 40th CCD. I'd be happy to share his questionnaire with you if that's of interest when I get back into the office tomorrow.

Thank you for your support over the years & I hope that you'll consider joining our Brooklyn chapter to make your voice better heard around our table for decisions like this in the future. If you're interested in joining, let me know & I can connect you with the appropriate person.


Naomi said...

Well-said, Tim. I especially like where you abbreviate the name of their party as WTF.

Bob Marvin said...

Both endorsements are extremely disappointing. Local 1199 is probably the more important one, in terms of votes; I had been told months ago, by someone extremly close to our congresswomen, that the union would't be endorsing Eugene, so I'm surprised and VERY dismayed by this news. Sadly, it probably means that we'll be stuck with Eugene for another term.

Sylvia Kinard said...

The WFP is free to endorse whom they will. That said, my campaign neither received a questionnaire nor were invited for an interview. In fact, we were lead to believe that they were NOT going to endorse a candidate in the 40th and so their late endorsement of Eugene is surprising to say the least. I continue to believe that we must work together to make "Brooklyn Better for Everyone" and encourage folks to vote Sept. 10. Best, Sylvia Kinard, Candidate for City Council

Saundra Thomas said...

Thank you Tim and everyone here for your support of me. You all have been a significant energizing force in my campaign. It is amazing to see what we have built since I entered the race in mid March. Meeting neighbors and voters of all ages and diverse backgronds, the discussions, the forums, the petitioning, the canvassing, the phone calls, the endorsement interviews, and all the activity have been awesome and energizing.

After my recent mailing and the phone bank calls we have been making, more and more people have pledged their vote. We have received the maximum amount of matching funds...My opponents have received none! This will enable us to mount an even more formidable campaign.

You will see more from me in your mailboxes,volunteers at your doors and posters in the neighborhood.

We could really use your help in the few weeks left until election day. We need volunteers to make phone calls and knock on doors. Please send emails to your friends in the district letting them know that you support me and ask them to volunteer and let their neighbors know. We have posters in the office at 1190 Nostrand Ave. Please take them and put them in your window. We are open everyday from noon to 8. If you can't stop by, let me know and I will ask someone to deliver them. You can contact me through the website at While you are there you can sign up as a supporter and you will receive regular updates from me.

I can't thank you enough for your support and your commitment to the community.


Anonymous said...

Most unions endorsed early. The central operations are the ones who have the final vote. If a present elected has voted for their bills and showed up for their rallies, that equals and endorsement. End of story. Voters can outweigh this if they come out.

ceelledee said...

"Voters can outweigh this if they come out"

So true, Anon 9:52. As you say, the key here is that we, the people, actually have the power to take this election . . . if we care enough.

Care enough to put our thoughts into action.

Care enough to get informed about the candidates by visiting their websites, social media pages, candidate forums -- including one scheduled for PLG this very week (or so I hear).

Care enough not just to post our opinions to the blogs but to also share them with our neighbors, colleagues, family members and friends who don't frequent these online forums.

Care enough not just to voice support for a candidate but also to actually volunteer a bit of our personal time to a political campaign -- especially in the ways just suggested by the most credible opposition candidate in this race, Saundra Thomas.

Heck, care enough to recognize that, this time around, WE HAVE A REAL CHOICE in this election. That is, we finally have an intelligent and articulate opposition candidate who is "unbought and unbossed", a longtime resident of the district, and with a well-demonstrated professional track record in managing community affairs. Moreover, in just a few months, we have in Saundra Thomas a candidate who has managed to nearly tie the incumbent in fundraising -- so much so that her campaign now qualifies for public matching funds. That's a powerful achievement, tied to campaign organization and commitment, that no other opposition candidate can claim.

Please people. Unions and other organized forces in support of the incumbent aside -- we, the electorate, need not suffer another 4 years of Mathieu Eugene's misleadership if we choose not to!

In short, if we care enough to want change, then we must care enough to make that change happen. That means joining and/or supporting the election campaign of a credible opposition candidate, spreading the word of that campaign and recruiting others to take positive action. At the very least, I think it means getting out to the polls on September 10th, bidding our adieus to the failed incumbent and casting our votes for Saundra Thomas!


Anonymous said...

I also wrote a more brief and less eloquent note to WFP (WTF is right) via a link provided in comments on another thread. I'll never take their endorsements seriously again. It's clearly cronyism - Yvette Clarke. Politics as usual.