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.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Open Letter to Mathieu Eugene - Incumbent for the 40th Council District

Dear Mathieu "inside the flag" Eugene:

It started off so hopeful, and we had some nice times together. But for my sanity and for the sake of the 40th Council District, I think it's time we start seeing other people. Oh the heck with it...I'm breaking up with you, and here's why.

better days!
When I first met you a couple years ago, I was excited that you showed interest in dealing with trash and the Flatbush Trees, plus the Parkside Prize and our efforts to remake the plaza at my hometrain the Q. It turned out, though, that you couldn't even find a few bucks in your discretionary budget for a project that's been embraced by so many in the community. You gave money to all sorts of pet projects and churches and organizations that seem to mean something to you, but when the neighborhood pulled together to create a plan to improve the business environment and physical appearance of our humble part of the borough, you came up short. A councilman with six years experience should be able to command more resources than that. It's very disappointing. But that's just the sour icing on the fruitcake. I mean, how is it that after six years you're still near the bottom of the pack when it comes to dollars brought to your district? Like I said, very disappointing.

When you came into office, you cost the taxpayers roughly $400,000 because you failed to move to our district in time to get the election certified. You refused to state under oath that you lived here. Why exactly did you do that? Was living in the district you represent that unimportant to you, that you failed to cross your t's and dot your i's, and um, live here? And exactly how much time have you spent at the apartment in Flatbush, the one that you apparently have trouble paying the rent at? By the way that Ditmas Corner article I just linked to noted that you're occasionally seen taking your kids to school. I won't touch that one, but frankly I rarely see you out and about. Most council members spend a great deal of time getting to know their constituents. I mean, it's not like you're in Albany most of the time. You're right here in NYC. I see State Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs more often than you. Where are you most of the time? I'm shocked to say it, but I'm quite sad not to see more of you. Your reelection campaign website cites 2011 information. You have next to no presence ANYWHERE on the web. Google you then google Jumaane or Tish or Lander. It's bizarre. You're the only person I know who's able to hide from the internet!!

But now I hear that you're not even playing by the rules in your current reelection campaign. Why, Mathieu, did you send out a brochure trumpeting your achievements in the Council within 90 days of the Primary Election? Did you forget that this was absolutely against the law? It's called a "blackout period," during which you're not allowed to utilize your office or its funds to campaign. I wonder if the Campaign Finance Board has been alerted to this. Surely they, and the Council itself, must frown on such illegal activity. Very disappointing indeed. Is it true that your reelection campaign team (basically run by your well-compensated brother) had listed your district office on Linden Boulevard with governing authorities? Did you not know that this is also illegal? It's important to at least APPEAR to separate your office budget (that we all pay for) and the budget of your campaign, that frankly we all pay for too, but you have to at least raise 1/6 of it yourself from friends and supporters. Wait a second. You haven't been approved by the Board to receive matching funds. Why is that? Doesn't every candidate want 6 times their war chest? Or is there something preventing you from getting that taxpayer money? Poor planning maybe, or poor accounting, or maybe spending too much from the wrong kitty. Either way, it was a very big oversight, Mathieu. It's disappointing to be sure, but par for the course I'm afraid. You're just not interested in such thorny details.

Maybe someone whose job it is to look at such things will complete some sort of audit of your books. I'd be surprised if they didn't find more irregularities. You're just not very careful, at best, and perhaps even willfully negligent or criminal, or more likely, just plain incompetent. I've begun to suspect the latter, because I'd like to assume you're a nice guy who means well.

But Mathieu, meaning well is not a qualification for reelection. Don't take it hard; I still like you. But you're unfit for office, and certainly unfit to represent the people of Flatbush, or more accurately the various Flatbushes, since each micronabe and cultural community deserves to be recognized, respected and represented. There is just one community that you've shown interest in, and even the Haitian community deserves better than your generalized statements and much ballyhooed use of your office for immigrant information, a service that's provided to you pro bono anyway and would be to any councilperson living in an immigrant rich neighborhood. I suspect any of your challengers would do as well if not better at championing the causes of the Haitian diaspora.

My opinion of you went from disbelief (that any elected representative could speak with such vapid platitudes - check out this absurd video about domestic violence) to shock, when I sat around a table with some of my fellow members of CB9 to discuss the budget. You showed up late, but hey, you showed up. When we asked you whether you'd even read the Community Board's requests to the City, you clearly had never bothered to read it. We sent it to you Mathieu. It contains your districts most important needs and concerns. We voted on it as a neighborhood. You wouldn't have even had to come to an actual CB9 meeting (though you occasionally do to claim victory for some budget priority that you had little to do with getting). You could have read the document from your Campaign Office, er, District Office, or even at your primary residence in Canarsie. And you seemed to have NO IDEA how the City budgeting process works. That's, like, your most crucial job as City legislator. Six years in and you still don't know how the budget works?

Feel free to have your people contact me to verify or deny any of the things I've said here. I'm quite confident you won't, because frankly Mathieu, you don't have much to be proud of at this point, and much more to lose than to gain by picking fights.

Some of the newer or less politically minded folks in your district might wonder how you got elected at all. It's pretty simple really. The old council person Yvette Clarke, and the council person before that, her mother Una, hand-picked you to be their successor. Here's what Una had to say about you at the time.  “I think he will make an excellent and competent council member" and “Yvette and I are sparing no effort to help someone who will build on our legacy and do better than we did and that person is Mathieu Eugene."

I'm cc'ing you on my open note to Una: Hey Ms. Clarke, it's never too late to admit you got it wrong. Please, please use your clout and expertise at getting out the vote and endorse someone else, preferably Saundra Thomas, who actually has a website and a passion to lead the district. For the sake of the 40th that you love so much, please consider the good you'd be doing!

But Mathieu, here's hoping I see you again soon, back practicing as a doctor and not pretending to know what you're doing in public office. Actually, I've heard you don't know what you're doing as a doctor either, and have actually keeping up a ridiculous facade that you're even licensed to practice, but let's not go down that road.

See you in the 'hood! Flatbush that is, not Canarsie.

- The Q


Rudy on Winthrop said...

If anyone from Dr. Eugene's campaign is reading this, can you please comment below, to us know when Dr. Eugene will be appearing in a debate with Saundra Thomas?

Bob Marvin said...


Anonymous said...

Mathieu is, and always was, an incompetent and corrupt office holder. The sad part is that you couldn't see the obvious before he was elected.

diak said...

Way to come back swinging, Mr CB! Vacation has certainly re-energized TQ@P. I hope many will forward this post to those who might not be regular readers of the blog. (And also show up on primary day!)

Also, any thoughts re the Brooklyn DA's race? (And what ever happened to that second meeting with Hynes? I admit I was out of town for a week, but ...)

Anonymous said...

Moving soon to the neighborhood and thankful for this informative and sadly humorous post.

babs said...

Mathieu Eugene is not a licensed physician in the US and has never been so.

Daniel said...

I got those brochures too. What a waste of good paper.

Vote Saundra Thomas!

The Snob said...

Not sure to whom Anon 7:35 is referring, but it was ALWAYS obvious that M.E. was incompetent. From the git-go. Look at the dog and pony that was necessary just to get him in office, "handpicked" by the underachieving and undeserving (and under-serving) Clarke dynasty. Look at Yvette on Colbert if you need a reminder. How did M.E. get here? People didn't vote. It was that simple.

Anonymous said...

What can we do to make sure he's not re elected? Who can I contact to get involved with another candidate? Is there a website with all runners views on politics and the neighborhood? I want to get involved, but I'm not sure who to contact. Is everybody else just choosing their person based on their website and contacting their campaign? Politics this local are new to me. I'm used to there being more coverage on elections than this.

Anonymous said...

Only somewhat related, but am I the only person who is enthusiastically supporting de Blasio in the primary?

ceelledee said...

Amen. Amen. AMEN! Also ditto to Daniel's advice to VOTE FOR SAUNDRA THOMAS!

And, yes. I am screaming with those capitalized letters and exclamation points. Anyone who has suffered a day under Eugene's so-called representation of the 40th CD must be screaming for his ouster as well. This time around though, we have a real chance to get the job done with Saundra Thomas -- a most promising and credible candidate who deserves our votes on September 10th!

babs said...

Mathieu Eugene debate? Don't hold your breath. In the last election, he did attend a debate against the two other candidates Rickie Tulloch and someone whose full name escapes me, but you can still see his "Votr for the Rock" stickers plastered in spots throughout the hood.

The Rock responded to every question with, "See my website for that," and actually yelled at an old lady who said she didn't know how to do that.

Rickie Tulloch gave thoughtful answers and showed up on time.

Mathieu Eugene was, of course, the last to arrive, and responded to every question by saying how he was always working SO HARD, and that he couldn't do anything without our help - which is how he has spoken in every meeting I've ever had with him, when he wasn't outright lying about something he was or wasn't going to do and then of course did the exact opposite.

And yet he won reelection. Pathetic. Please, people, wake up and go out on September 10 and vote (preferably for Saundra Thomas, but really for anyone but Eugene)!

MargaretBKelly said...

Way to go, Q. Saundra Thomas's website isn't loading.

rose said...

From the moment I met him, I knew he was incompetent. I'm wondering what took the rest of you including my husband, so long to figure this out.
He went to medical school in Mexico-not sure he received a license.In any event, he can't practice in the states-thank God.

Anonymous said...

Please,PLEase. PLEASE!

The Snob said...

Anon 10:27 (and anyone else)

Here are your choices for district 40. (If you are currently in Tish James' district, this is not for you):

The Q has interviewed Saundra Thomas and John Grant and profiled Sylvia Kinard.

If really want to prevent a third visit to the Doctor, join a campaign and get your neighbors to vote. I did.

The Snob said...

....and further, if the Dr. carries the day, you can thank the following for getting out the vote:

United Federation of Teachers (UFT)
Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 1180
Professional Staff Congress (CUNY employees)
Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100
NYC Central Labor Council
Doctor's Council/SEIU
Working Families Party (WFP)
New York Communities for Change (a real slap in the face, that one)

babs said...

Rose, I'm with you, and proud to say I've never voted for him. However, I would like to point out that the mere fact of having gone to med school in Mexico doesn't make you a bad doctor - I had many classmates who couldn't get into US schools - some went to Mexico, but most to the True Blue Medical College of St. George's University in Grenada (and some of them even got rescued by the Army in 1983!). However, all successfully passed their US boards and became licensed to practice. I wonder if Eugene even tried?

ceelledee said...

Great informative posts, Snob. Only thing I would point out about those union endorsements is that these are nothing more than CYA bets which have been placed on the incumbent. For their own deal-making best interests, the last thing those unions want is to get caught backing an unknown who the incumbent easily defeats.

As you've made clear, this is why it's doubly important for the people of the district to inform themselves about the candidates (e.g., as here on this blog, in block association meetings, street encounters, coffee shop meet-ups, etc.) and then to join an actual political campaign which can mount an intelligent and organized opposition. (At the risk of annoying redundancy, when I look at the candidates, I see only one such credible political alternative worth supporting -- Saundra Thomas.)

Lastly, we all know -- love it or hate it -- that the 40th CD electorate has experienced significant demographic changes since the Clarke era in the City Council. Therefore, regardless of shallow union endorsements, constituent voting blocs and the will of political dynasties, it's this change in the demands of the greater electorate, along with the emergence of an energizing and credible political alternative which finally gives us the necessary power to drive the clearly incompetent incumbent from office.

I say let's reclaim our voice in the City Council, by claiming our will and our votes on September 10!

Anonymous said...

Excellent points Ceeleedee!! If you were running you would definitely have my vote.

Anonymous said...

"Therefore, regardless of shallow union endorsements, constituent voting blocs and the will of political dynasties, it's this change in the demands of the greater electorate, along with the emergence of an energizing and credible political alternative which finally gives us the necessary power to drive the clearly incompetent incumbent from office."

Ceelledee, best comment of the day, best syntax of the day, best political imperative of the day. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

All I can say about him is that he's well meaning. It looks like an easy win for the Dr. since the other 3 will split the opposing vote. Look, he as effective as Yvette Clarke and may even know as much about American history as she does.

Sylvia G. Kinard said...

There has been only one debate that Dr. Mathieu appeared at with all of the other candidates for District 40 - and that was the forum held by the Flatbush Tenants Association on June 15.

A forum for Lefferts Garden is being organized by the editor of the Lefferts Echo - so reach out to him and let him know you want a local debate.

My grandmother had a home on Rutland Road and I love this neighborhood, which is why I am running to be the next City Council Person for the 40th. You can get more info on my website:

Best, Sylvia G. Kinard, Esq.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the Working Families Party endorsing Eugene is a black eye on them. I dunno, I've always valued their opinion in the past. If you think it's weird, might as well write and tell them so. I did:

Anonymous said...

I find the Complaint voiced against Councilman Eugene a little ironic.
Basically, it is a Complaint that the author feels that HIS pet projects aren't getting enough of the Councilman's slush funds as the Councilman's favorite pet projects.

I think this is forest-for-the-trees time.

How about abolish the "discretionary" funds of City Council members.

You know, of course, that this creates a slush fund that City Council members use to pump up their electoral base, engage in general back-scratching, etc.

This system was designed for political paybacks, and is the most corruptible system of distributing City tax dollars possible (under the veneer of "local control" )

I realize that we can't fix this in one fell swoop, but I think that the general point needs be made.

But yes, Matthew Eugene stands even above most others in sheer hackery. He was elected out of "pride" etc. by and for the Caribbean community. And so, he has become a bit of a "teflon" politician, with his core constituent base now familiar with him, and pulling the lever for him every time, out of ethnic solidarity.

This is, unfortunately, where identity politics ultimately gets us: to politicians whose actual achievements and character are not as important as their ability to promote race/ethnic/sexual orientation identity.

And so, the emblems of "progressive" (identity) politics, ultimately become indistinguishable in their actions from old Tammany Hall --only its their preferred identity groups who get the kickbacks.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Wow. Did you even read my post, anon? My complaints go WAY beyond his not backing ANYTHING that the community asked. Btw, I'm hardly alone in wanting a little bit of support for our plazas. Were I asking for something that benefited me personally, you might have a case.

The idea behind each candidate having discretionary might strike you as pork...but what's the alternative? The council is extremely politicized and top heavy. Without the earmarks we could rest assured that little if anything would reach our district, and powerful Manhattan politicians would see that their troughs get filled first (which they are, but not to the degree they might be).

There is nothing inherently wrong with an elected official having some money to dish out to "deserving" local charities and community-based projects. But watch the money - if it's overtly political, and doesn't include obviously deserving projects, it's time to throw the bum out.

Frankly, I'd come to the conclusion the guy is a moron long before the Parkside Project sought money through PLGNA.

And what OTHER basis would you suggest we, as a neighborhood, use to judge our elected official than their ability to lead and fund projects we care about?

Save your sanctimony for more exalted bodies than the City Council.

babs said...

I, too, am stunned and disappointed by the WFP's endorsement here, and will write immediately to them to say so. Thanks for the address.

Anonymous said...

"And what OTHER basis would you suggest we, as a neighborhood, use to judge our elected official than their ability to lead and fund projects we care about?"

Not tax us to death (which is what the competition for pork results in)

Not make our quality of life worse, by passing unnecessary laws micro regulating every aspect of a business, labor, rents etc. Case in point: how difficult SHOULD it be to put together a community garden? The fact that you have such an extensive "permitting" process with multi level approvals required, insurance, etc. bespeaks a City government that is often, not always but often, more an obstacle than a help.

I realize that you have many more objections to Mr. Eugene than how his pork is distributed, but I also felt that there was, and is, a larger issue as to discretionary fund use.

When allocations must be voted on by at least a majority of a body, then it tends to neutralize some degree of spending that appeals to only very local interests and the level of overall spending tends to go down.

I find it interesting that so many continue to equate amount of $ spent on your neighborhood by the government as equal to quality of life. Our NYC schools all spend much more $ than most schools in the rest of the country, but are hamstrung by a horrible bureaucracy and teachers union that will not remove the deadwood, or reward innovation.

We obviously differ on our views of government, but I did indeed read and respond to your post.

Anonymous said...

You publicly asked me a pointed question and I responded to you. Why not print the answer?