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.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

CB9 Votes In (Almost) Entirely New Leadership

Whoa Nelly! Now THAT's entertainment. In a mtg that lasted past 10:30pm, we saw the "retirement" of Rabbi Jacob Goldstein after 34 years as Community Board 9 chair. We voted in a new 1st Vice Chair, Laura Imperiale, who just happens to live in Lefferts. We voted in a new secretary, Lefferts resident Rosemarie Perry. Jacqueline Welch joins Eve'lyn Williams as Members at Large (both Lefferts livers). They're all cool, and along with the new treasurer Diana Richardson and returning 2nd Vice Chair Demetrius Lawrence (both from south Crown Heights near Medgar Evers) you've got a formidable Executive Committee. Yours truly lost in the four-way election for member at large, but given Eve'lyn and Jacqueline's more than 100 years between them of life in the neighborhood, I should be proud of my 12 votes and vow to serve as a lowly committee chair, and I'm hoping maybe ULURP?

Something like 15 new board members were there, an unprecedented amount of turnover, most appointed by Eric Adams, who, it must be said, took the unnecessary step of forcing Jake out by threatening to not re-appoint him to the board if he didn't step down (true story). Why unnecessary? Because anyone could see that Dwayne was gonna win in a cakewalk, so why risk angering the Chabad community? Which, if my sources are correct, is in fact exactly what he did. One Lubavitch board member told me they (the Jewish community in Crown Heights) were ready to throw the bum (Eric) out tomorrow if given the chance. Add to that the fact that now there are NO Jewish executive committee members or committee chairs, and well, frankly I don't know how you can say the representation is appropriate. The Lubavitch Jews have a HUGE presence in our Community District. Of the new members, all but one was black. The lone new Jewish member - Avi Leshes from the Chamber of Commerce - is replacing a non-reappointed Chabad board member. Frankly, I just don't see how that makes political sense, but I ain't the one driving this bus. (And no, I'm not complaining about how few non-orthodox white folk are on the board, so don't misread what I said! There's plenty of honkies, maybe too many, what do I know. Writing that word "honkies" sure feels weird though...does anyone actually say that anymore?)

Like I always says, I'm gonna call it likes I sees it!

Speaking of which, man oh manischewitz, there were some ANG-GRY people there tonight from over on Maple almost to Utica. I'd written about it before, this apartment building going up on a long-empty lot. It's to be developed and run by a group called The Bridge, who are experts at running permanent housing facilities for people with permanent mental illness. It will also have affordable housing units, probably for seniors, as well. But the folks who live right around there are LIVID that so many crazy people will be dumped in their front yards. Never mind that these are not VIOLENT crazy people, or anything other than ueber-monitored and cared for by full-time supportive services. To hear people screaming about not wanting "those people on our block" and concerned for the safety of their children and feeling their house prices will plummet (it was a filthy and dangerous vacant lot before for chrisakes) was eerily reminiscent of what whites used to say when blacks tried to live among them. I mean, it was nutty how intensely discriminatory they sounded. A well made and well run building on my block that includes affordable housing for seniors? I'd trade that for 60 Clarkson in a New York minute! Let the thorazine shufflers in, man. They deserve a place to live like everyone else, and some of them may be relatives of yours, so give bigotry a rest!

That's enough, but I thought I'd share before beddy-bye. Night.




26 comments:

Carmen said...

I'll trade The Bridge building for 127 Fenimore in a heartbeat!

Alex said...

Were people (including Eric Adams) unsatisfied by the previous CB membership? I know I've had my issues with CB9 before, but I guess I'd like to understand the build up to the near wholesale change.

diak said...

No doubt the Lubavitch bunch are unhappy with the new CB9. Sounds like it's just overrun with persons of color and even worse, women. (Are there any gay people involved? That'll really make the black hats apoplectic!)
A prediction: in the coming term, whether publicly and overtly or quietly, in a de facto manner, the fundamentalist Jewish community will declare CB9 illegitimate and it's decisions nonbinding on God's elect. Those on the board who dare to challenge this will be showered with bogus accusations of anti-Semitism and interfering with the free exercise of religion...

And BP Adams... watch your back, OK?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

It's a new BP, and they get to appoint 25 members. This is one form of patronage, but from what I saw it's mostly a good thing. I can bet though that most of them were firm Eric Adams supporters!

After 12 years of Marty Markowitz, this is one way to influence the direction of Brooklyn.

msbossyrossy said...

wtf? really and 4:01...that's okay to say? how long have you been in this neighborhood?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Diak: Please qualify that last statement a bit. I know you're being facetious, but the venom is a bit much.

I've had long conversations with members of the "black hat" community and I've never had anything but respectful dialogue about race, religion and tolerance. Sure, politicians tend to tread lightly for fear of losing the "voting bloc." But that's not much different than any other group seen as voting one way or t'other.

Pandering comes in all shapes and sizes, and speaking "code" is also a blood sport. Singling anyone out does nobody any good. Wait...does sentence even make sense?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

That said (poorly), I must add that I too am concerned that this turn of events could lead to a breakdown of civility. Such public tantrumming was certainly on display last night, particularly as it related to The Bridge project. The Exec Director of the Bridge was incredibly brave after getting shouted down, to walk right into the belly of the beast and entertain question privately. A mob formed. I thought people were gonna beat him up, but he survived.

diak said...

4:08—lived here almost 15 years. Your point is...?

Mr CF—qualify which statement? My prediction? No need to, really. Time will tell. I may be right, I may be wrong. For now, I'll stand by it.
Or qualify my advice to BP Adams? I say that based on the Hasidic communities' long history of picking political enemies and going after them with, as you say, a "voting bloc." This move might well put the BP in the (metaphoric!) crosshairs. I think voting for a candidate under the direct order of a rabbi (or a priest or an imam or whatever) differs from a group of individuals who decide to vote in their own best interests. (It's also illegal for tax-exempt religious institutions to participate it elections this way. But alas, it's very hard to prove.)
Look what happen to Charles Hynes: Long a Hasidic favorite, he lost their support when he was forced by bad publicity to prosecute Orthodox child molesters. No, we didn't see much Jewish support for Ken Thompson but Hynes almost certainly would have had a better chance in the primary had the black hat bloc shown up. And according to the NY Times at least, Hynes entered the general election as a Republican because he thought he could persuade the Hasidic voters to forgive him (who knows what kind of promises he made). But they turned a deaf ear to him and Thompson won easily...

Jeannine Andre-Burns said...

Being new to the happenings on CB9 I think this post is quite offensive and I hope this is not representative of the board.

I think diversity is the key to a good group of any progressive committee. That being said, racist remarks is just creating more tension than this community needs.

I walked into this very intense community and I feel it is hard enough living hear with a bunch of skeletons in all sides closet. It is very disheartening to not allow the truth and strong activist in the community to just turn a community. Kuddos to Eric Adams for allowing fresh blood to enter into the decision making engine but I hope this blood doesn't bring any bloodshed and unproductive talk.

no_slappz said...

The borough presidency is pretty much a ceremonial position, and the community boards aren't empowered to do much of anything.

Soooo, other than giving some people in the neighborhood a chance to strut and fret on the public stage available at the community board meetings, not much happens.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

And Slappz. I used to think as you do. You'd be surprised how much power the BP has. I had no idea how much money and influence are under his control. He can put pressure on many things that aren't even under his control, and I'm watching him do that right now behind the scenes.

I would argue, for instance, that Barclay's never would have happened without Marty. And that, my friend, was a very, very big deal.

The upcoming rezoning of the neighborhood is being led to the CB. City agencies often don't even return phone calls until the CB weighs in.

And while it's true the Board acts as a venue for venting, I'm not sure I would call that "ceremonial." I haven't met a Board member who wasn't upset, pro or con, about the issue being addressed by members of the community about longterm residential support for the mentally ill. And most of the folks on the Board, myself included, take those impressions back to whatever groups they lead, represent or try to influence. I would argue that's just as crucial as any non-elected body, and in fact, many a State legislator as modeled their votes on what they heard at CB meetings.

Alex said...

Are there any concerns about Dwayne being anti-downzoning? I believe Eric Adams is not a huge fan of downzoning, either.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Dwayne is interested in downzoning parts of his area as well. So no, he won't be against it.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I think Eric's position will be that downzoning one area means upzoning another...or perhaps converting commercial and manufacturing to residential, or some combination. He, and the Mayor, want to see increased inventory overall.

Ernie Ern said...

My disrespect? I didn't even say or yell anything at the meeting (by the way it was my first one to attend - I had NEVER even heard of The Bridge until that night and had no idea it was such a huge issue) - I sat in silence and observed the whole thing. Don't accuse me of something didn't do - especially in a public forum like this blog. And you remove my comment?

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Sorry Ernie. I thought you were this dude who gave me an earful at the meeting. My apologies. I'll delete my comment now, and allow yours to speak for itself.

And I didn't intend to delete your comment. I thought I was deleting some spam from another post...

Here's your comment again:

From Ernie:

I agree with you Jeannine - this post disgusts me. Equating race with mental health - are you serious?! And for anyone who was NOT at the meeting - there was a LARGE contingent of Jewish folks whose skin was as white as the screen I am typing on who were VERY vocal in also NOT wanting The Bridge in the neighborhood - this issue crosses racial barriers. Residents of ALL colors questioned the developer after the meeting not just black people.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Better?

And I will respond in a more measured tone.

Ernie: I did not equate race with mental health. I equated discrimination with discrimination. And there is nothing racist in my post, so your calling my words disgusting is pretty over the top.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Unless of course, you were offended by my use of the word "honkies." Which still makes me laugh every time I write it.

Ernie Ern said...

I am not politically correct so honky is fine with me - although I find whitey to be just as effective - LOL. At the next meeting I will make sure to introduce myself to you since I have followed your blog for over a year and so there is no confusion in the future. if I ever to curse you out you will know it's me :-) j/k

diak said...

I'm going to chime in on behalf of my frequent adversary, Mr CF, because it seems he's a victim of the very same thing I've called him out for. Namely being reviled and eliciting "disgust" for views he never expressed and there's zero evidence he holds. I've read and reread this post a few times and I have no idea how someone could come away thinking it is racist or with the conclusion that Mr CF is "equating race with mental health." I don't see it in the text, in any subtext, or in whatever the next level of meaning below that might be called. If I'm missing something, please educate me.

I will say however, that characterizing the mentally ill as "the thorazine shufflers" was an unfortunate phrase...

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Hah! Caught me...though it was meant to be as ridiculous as "honkies." Though I have never been a thorazine shuffler myself, I have been deemed mentally ill a couple of times in my life. Thankfully, the diagnose was temporary. And the phrase was used by a nurse, in a loving context. However, many of the patients will have trouble functioning without heavy medication. It is the nature of continued care for many folks suffering severe mental illness.

And I would once again reiterate that these are NOT violent sufferers.

no_slappz said...

Clarkson, in my view the "power" of the BP lies in his relationship with the mayor.

The BP has the mayor's ear, but there's no evidence he's got much more than that. And you can be sure that Barclays was greenlighted by people way above the jovial Marty. His role boiled down to cheerleader.

In contrast, there was a contretemps, a brouhaha in Windsor Terrace last year after the local Key Food closed. The locals wanted another supermarket, but the owner of the Key Food property refused to allow another supermarket to occupy the site. He struck a deal with Walgreens.

Marty was called in to make peace, as were the public figures in the area. Actually, Marty was called in to reverse the deal, which, though completely legal, offended people who believed they had the right to tell a property owner how his property should be utilized.

Marty more or less apologized to the agitated crowd that gathered in the Key Food parking lot to protest, explaining that he lacked the power to force the property owner to change plans.

Eventually a minor compromise was reached. About two-thirds or three-fourths of the space will house a new Walgreens and the remaining space will go to a chopped-down Key Food.

If Marty was unable to swing a deal to block a drug-store and bring in a supermarket, you know he didn't swing the kind of hammer needed to have gotten the Barclays project approved.

Meanwhile, here in the present, it's a certainty that Eric Adams has de Blasio's ear. However, you can be sure that Adams will gladly shake the hands of a lot of real estate developers who generously rebuild playgrounds and small parks while putting up large buildings of all kinds.

Ernie Ern said...

Well as a minority all I can say is if you are going to tell black people who are against this project "hey the way you feel about these folks moving in with mental health issues is the same way some folks feel about you (blacks, others) moving in" and thereby associate skin color with mental health then have at it. Stand up at the next meeting and say that to the room. Own it. If you want the project to get built that wouldn't be the argument to make - in my opinion - but go for it. I think it's a PR blunder but to each his own. So many other effective ways to push it forward. Funny that you didn't say any of this at the meeting last week in front of the naysayers but now it all comes out on the blog.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Sigh. That's EXACTLY what I did at the vote a few months ago. Did you see the vote from the CB9 mtg that they contested the outcome of? THAT was the decision on the matter, and the appropriate time to try to influence said vote. I spoke, in front of the whole crowd, and told them they were being discriminatory and that it reminded me of redlining in the '50s, and that this was actually an asset to the block not a negative. I would like to think that I'm the reason the vote was close: 15-15. I definitely heard from black folk after the meeting that my speech swayed them. So please, don't go on the attack unless you do your homework.

This public hearing was a rehash, and as much as I wanted to provoke a fight, I resisted. But I did talk to people personally, and continue to contend my feelings on this public forum, which, judging from the emails I'm getting, a fair number of them are reading. Trust me, there's no more civility in those comments than you witnessed in the room.

I stand by my statement, and resent the inference that I'm equating blackness with insanity. It's a gross misreading of the analogy. If you want to make claims for my taking racist positions, I suggest you read a little deeper into my past posts. I don't claim to be free from the effects of institutional and propagandist racism, but I do my best to address what I see as one of the greatest ongoing issues holding back our nation.

I talk about race openly because I think it's the bogeyman in the neighborhood, and I'd like to exchange honest discourse.

ElizabethC said...

Being someone who works in the mental health field, let me add that the Bridge is a very well known and well respected provider of supported housing. The bias against allowing this kind of housing astonishes me. People who are mentally ill did not choose to be so. Maybe we could stop additionally punishing them by blocking them from neighborhoods.
I remember people were all up in arms when the CAMBA residence for supported housing for the formerly homeless went up on Crooke-- and there has not been a single issue associated with it. If anything, many of the newly sober residents have talked about the difficulty of living on a street where drug dealing is so overt.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Testify, Elizabeth! May calmer heads prevail...