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, September 23, 2014

Wow. That Was Weird.

So here's what I learned tonight.

If you show up at a meeting with enough people armed with misinformation, then you start yelling and tossing insults at speakers, and keep it up for an hour and half, you will eventually get your way.

Here's how I know that the majority of people siding with the hysterical Alicia Boyd have no idea what they're talking about. They listened to the more reasonable voices in the community making the case for rezoning, and if they heard the right catchphrases they applauded enthusiastically. By the time poor Pearl Miles, the district manager, finally had a chance to read the100% benign resolution that she had drafted last spring to City Planning, before which she had "been served" by Alicia with papers for a lawsuit for...for...doing her job I guess, and yours truly was called a KKK'er and a scumbag, despite not having been given the chance to speak my three minutes, and the police had made empty threats about escorting people out if they didn't let the speakers speak, and the clinically insane Geoffrey Davis overtaken by some unearthly spirit wouldn't sit down and incited the crowd to near riot...this folks, below, is the document that nearly shut down CB9 tonight and ultimately led them to turn their back on the only fair shake this neighborhood has of a decent plan to save it from outsized development and create affordable housing...



In the end, a gutless CB9 actually entertained, and passed, a motion to rescind the above. Good luck ever getting ANY rezoning now. The elected leaders and folks from Planning were stunned. Read the above. Read it closely. Because I guarantee that most MTOPP members have no idea what it means.

Folks, never in my life have I seen so many people tantrum so hard against their own self interest. (Maybe low-income working folks voting Republican). The only people who won tonight are the homeowners of Sterling Street, who will now rest easier knowing that they fought hard to be sure no one, poor or otherwise, will ever live on Empire Boulevard.

Postcript: Actually it's worse than that. They basically assured that we will be ignored, once again, and that landowners and developers will do whatever they want, because they've got the dollars, the lawyers, and the politicians they need to get the job done.

Forgive them Lord. For they know not what they do. Oh, and they're blindly following a lunatic.

Much props to Suki, Cheryl, Brenda and Celeste for their noble performances. The joke? People actually AGREED with you. Then pressed ahead with their nonsense.

36 comments:

babs said...

Is there any way that Geoffrey Davis can be divested of (or never inducted into) his new office due to his conduct tonight? It was simply appalling - that an elected City official should so disrupt a City government proceeding is unconscionable. Think I'll be e-mailing Ms. Mark-Viverito tomorrow AM.

Ernie Ern said...

Who is Pearl's boss?

no_slappz said...

There must be two Alicia Boyds.

https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/4937803

babs said...

"The District Manager and the Board staff are hired by a Community Board and serve at the Board's pleasure. " Therefore, her boss is the Community Board, and if they wanted to remove her they could (although I thought I'd heard she was retiring - and after this nonsense who'd blame her?).

babs said...

Nope, that's the one and only - but so different in person!

babs said...

Although that does give another reason she'd fight against construction in her backyard - a downturn in her airbnb revenues :(

no_slappz said...

Here's what the Airbnb customer might see before deciding to stay a while:

http://www.trulia.com/homes/New_York/Brooklyn/sold/20816930-89-Sterling-St-Brooklyn-NY-11225#photo-1

Anyway, she's obviously a two-headed type who takes some daily medication. That aside, it's obvious no one in the neighborhood knows or understands or cares how the gears turn. We all know what will happen. Hello tall buildings.

babs said...

Well, from tonight's behavior I'd say she was definitely off her meds. Most people I know on that block know her to be a crazy person, but unfortunately it seems that she's enticed enough people to follow her now (and giver her money, isn't that what it's always about?). Very sad.

Ernie Ern said...

I found both Geoffrey and Pearl to be shameful tonight. You covered Geoffrey above and Pearl yelling at a constituent to 'shut up' repeatedly is no way a District Manager should behave no matter how heated things become. I was with a group who SUPPORTS the rezoning resolution study and we were all appalled. And the cops assertion that we were all in affordable housing - which we are NOT - was a major faux pas at the beginning of the meeting. Now let me go look at this Airbnb listing - I think I'm going to get a chuckle from this!

Ektorp said...

Legally a community board vote means nothing -- it's purely advisory. So I don't think there is anything that stops City Planning from continuing the rezoning study they already started. The train already left the station on that one. If the de Blasio administration wants to see zoning changes for more affordable housing-- and they say that they do-- they are going to make this happen. They are not going to let a couple of whackjob demogogues spoil one of the mayor's biggest initiatives.

leffertstonian said...

First off Tim, just want to thank you for all you do for this community - from this blog, to your work on crime and sanitation issues, to your efforts to renovate the flatbush trees. I'm sorry that folks in the crowd yelled slurs and refused to let you speak for your assigned 3 minutes, and I hope this wont discourage your efforts.

Last night was my first community meeting, and it left me speechless. Geoffrey Davis's behavior was appalling! That an elected official actively tried to incite disorderly behavior and disrupt the process of the meeting was really shocking.

I have an intense dislike of public speaking so I didn't sign up, but this morning I'm really regretting that decision and kicking myself. I should I have forced myself to do it and been one of the voices of reason. I think our community just shot ourselves in the foot with this decision, and I'm really discouraged by it.

I will say though, that while I don't agree with their position and tactics, I am impressed with what the MTOPP crew accomplished... they got a large turnout of people to engage in coordinated civil disobedience, which is not so easy to do. And just chatting with the people sitting next to me, who were mild opponents of the re-zoning, it seems there is just so much fear and mistrust of government and developers that there is no faith in the process, so shutting it down seems to people like the best option.

Sigh.

babs said...

Granted, yelling, "Shut up!" at s loudmouthed, foulmouthed protester (which she did twice, but only after hours of being taunted, interrupted, and just plain shouted down by that mob) isn't ideal behavior, and lord knows I've never been a Pearl Miles fan, but she was simply pushed to the breaking point and I understand that. I'll bet she regrets not retiring at the end of last year.

And I've already e-mailed Melissa Mark-Viverito on Geoffrey Davis, ccing the Mayor and the Borough President.

disco princess said...

re: And the cops assertion that we were all in affordable housing - which we are NOT - was a major faux pas at the beginning of the meeting.

Granted that was a microaggression, and I'm amazed that it didn't derail the meeting much further. (The MTOPP group did enough of that for everyone.)

Q, Kenya and a couple of the new CB9 members wanted clarification on the motion and the implications of passing such a motion. If the resolution were to be rescinded, would it have gone back to the land use committee? Would the board have to start from scratch? It didn't seem like they were clear about it (and I wasn't either.)

Alex said...

I did not go because I did not want to watch this meeting go down, and I'm glad that I made that decision. I'm embarrassed for our community, what a pathetic performance.

Tim, thanks for your efforts and reporting on this and many other issues. Was there any media present? This type of behavior, especially from an elected official, seems newsworthy. Were any of our local times reporters present?

disco princess said...

Alex, members of the media was present. I saw a News 12 camera, and supposedly DNA Info was also there.

This was my first time attending a CB9 meeting. Honestly, I was tempted to walk out (before anyone would have followed through on a threat to shut the meeting down...which didn't happen). There were probably some of us (like me) who didn't appreciate what was probably going to be a lengthy evening meeting be dragged out even longer by those who took great lengths to disrupt the process. I was trying to be a good citizen by showing up to watch the proceedings at the very least and see for myself what was happening, instead of sitting at home and only getting bits and pieces on local message boards afterwards (no offense, Q). :)

Are CB9 meetings usually this rancorous?

Bob Marvin said...

"Are CB9 meetings usually this rancorous?"

No, they're usually about as interesting as watching paint dry.

babs said...

I stand corrected - Geoffrey Davis is only a District Leader. Thank goodness, but still a shameful performance and one that should be sanctioned.

And Bob, recent CB meetings have gotten pretty out of hand; I recall one last year where the police had be called to shut it down as people protesting (I think) the construction of supportive housing near Kings Count Hospital.

babs said...

Oy - that's "...as people protesting...construction...near Kings County Hospital" refused to leave, even though we'd overstayed out allotted time in the MS 61 auditorium (where we used to meet). The even turned the lights off to get people to go.

Skei said...

When Empire looks like 4th Ave in Park Slope and the group of people who are so outspoken against rezoning can no longer attend the CB 9 meetings because they can no longer afford to live in this district, perhaps then they will understand the issue. Empire will be developed with or without our support. Just like 626 is being built with our without our support. The only thing Alicia and others have succeeded in doing, is ensuring no sane developer will give a flying frog what we want, because no one wants to sit down and have a conversation with a lunatic.

disco princess said...

What's the time table for developing Empire Boulevard then?

diak said...

News12 simply pointed their cameras at the shouters and the banners and completely missed the point:

http://brooklyn.news12.com/news/hundreds-attend-community-board-9-meeting-on-up-zoning-of-empire-boulevard-1.9393413#comments

They interpreted the large turnout as evidence of overwhelming opposition to rezoning. Kudos to Ms Rogers for trying to set the record straight in the comments.

disco princess said...

diak, all the chaos may have made it difficult for observers to determine what the true issues were.

I recognized the woman in the hat and orange shirt from the community forum that Eric Adams held on Ocean Avenue a few months ago. I wonder whether she's aligned with MTOPP.

houseofcakes said...

I think the assumption that people in the know here make is that you think people should just immediately trust you and believe what you say. And that's just wrong. I know this is a personal blog and I appreciate it for what it is, but have you ever asked Alicia where she's coming from? I mean, if someone called me a lunatic several times, why would I even give you the time of day (and vice versa). From what I know (being on several lists including MTOPPs), this CB9 was never intended to be a "discussion." It was going to be a disruption and they even called it as such and were organizing to do exactly what happened. What I appreciate about MTOPP is that it seems to be organizing the communities of color, and the ones who are really at the front lines of displacement. So, what I do wish is that someone would give them the time of day and talk with them and help them organize in a productive way. But nope, as tradition and history dictate, no one gives a f--- about "them" and it's easy for us to point our fingers and call them crazy and stuff. Which is historically what happens so you can see why no one trusts what you say and why there's so much fearmongering.

disco princess said...

re: So, what I do wish is that someone would give them the time of day and talk with them and help them organize in a productive way.

What are the indications that MTOPP would be open to having someone to help them organize "in a productive way"?

MTOPP seemed pretty organized.

Alex said...

HoC, with all due respect, MTOPP has been given several opportunities to engage in constructive dialogue. Name calling is a shame, I agree, but MTOPP has rejected calls for civil discussion, and they themselves started the name calling, publicly and privately. The unfortunate consequence is that no one is going to listen to our community going forward because of MTOPP's hostility. City Planning will do what they wish.

Per your question, Alicia, like everyone else, was invited to share her opinion and, clearly, has done so. No need to explicitly ask where she's coming from at this point. It's regrettable that MTOPP will not approach this issue with reasonable tone and truthful statements.

disco princess said...

The situation regarding Empire Boulevard and the situation regarding Barclays Arena are not analogous.


Re: Meanwhile, it's remarkable that so many people seem to have discovered the lunacy of these ranters and ravers only in the last few days. What accounts for the awakening?
Why do you think so?

babs said...

I know personally that Tim (and others) have tried to have a reasonable dialogue with Alicia Boyd, but she's not having any of it - going so far as to insult and threaten people, verbally and in e-mails. She and the poor people she's misled into following her have been given MULTIPLE "times of day" and they have responded only with shouting and disruption - I've seen it myself, when I attended a meeting sponsored by Eric Adams, which was organized ENTIRELY to address peoples' questions and concerns. But MTOPP was having none of that - no-one except their members was allowed to talk without being shouted down, even when they were trying to answer and MTOPP-posed question. All they are doing is guaranteeing that they will lose whatever friends they might have had (myself included) and speed the way for more as-of-right development - as in the case of the Associated grocery store on Nostrand above Empire, which has just lost its lease, it was reported last night. What's the existing zoning there? C2-3/R7-1. The FAR here is the highest of all R7 zoned lots, at 3.44 What does this mean? Well, because of peoples' fight to stop the community from being pro-active in this process, someone can build as of right a very large building, condos or luxury rentals, or whatever a developer chooses (the inclusion of affordable units is currently entirely voluntary) AND include a nice Trader Joe's or Whole Foods on the lower floors (or other upscale retail) for the tenants. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. No-one ever called Alicia Boyd ANYTHING until she showed herself to how she is.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Houseofcakes: I know you. Let's take this offline?

I want to give you the full history of my interacting with Alicia. She has never once wanted to talk...with me or anyone. I'll tell you all about it. She started her own group rather than joining others interested in fighting outsized development. That's quite telling right there.

I've been called much worse, HoH, by her and others. I think she can take it if I can. She's become a public personality. And I stand by my assessment. Armchair? I'd say Borderline Personality.

babs said...

Being myself a member of DDDB and having attended numerous public meetings on the subject of AY, I can say that the reverse is true - inevitably, anyone opposed to the arena was shouted down by Ratner trucked-in (and paid) union members and ACORN members who were promised affordable housing.

Additionally (and here is the real crime - and it's one that can be repeated on Empire Blvd. and elsewhere), the entire AY site was REMOVED from the City's ULURP process as Forest City Ratner successfully lobbied to have it moved to the State level, under the state's Economic Development Agency (now Empire State Development).

And I could clearly see that coming here - all some large investor has to do is buy up most of the lots on Empire Blvd., convince the State that it needs to take over the site because of the potential economic benefits, and poof! All the zoning and ULURP in the world won't mean a thing. And if the area around AY, with a mix of luxury condominiums, historic townhouses, and rent-stabilized apartment buildings, could be considered "blighted" what does that mean for the wasteland that is Empire Blvd. today? Eminent domain, here we come - one of the ONLY ways to legally force rent stabilized tenants from their homes, BTW.

However, a knowledgeable and pro-active community can fight this sort of land grab, but it must be started early, and it must involve people who are willing and able to conduct civil dialogue BEFORE the grandstanding protests.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Folks, my sleuthing informs me the issue is dead. MTOPP won. It's fine. We move on. You can't expect the City to go on trying to gain consensus when it's clear that none will be reached. Consensus is not majority rule. It means that an overwhelming majority are on board. That ain't gonna happen, regardless of any vote for or against.

We are now in basically the same position that neighbors along Barclay's were in. Waiting for the next "big idea" to drop on our heads.

The woman in the hat is "Pat." She's awesome. She has absolutely no social skills and I love her for it. She just blurts out whatever she's thinking whenever she wants and she comes to every meeting. Keeps things light, when we start taking ourselves too seriously. It's pretty unnerving for our invited guests though!

Timetable? We've lost any chance to control that or our own destiny. I'd say...whenever the powers that be decide it's time to do whatever the powers that be decide to do.

Soon enough for you?

no_slappz said...

Alicia Boyd, despite her belief to the contrary, is inconsequential. As any successful leader knows, to carry the day, you have to build a consensus, you have to build bridges to connect groups that are generally unconnected.

She's an epic divider who won't have the slightest impact on the decision-making for the future of Empire Boulevard. Nuts like her never do. In fact, it's probably best to keep her inflamed. That way her madness will permeate everything and further alienate those who handle the decisions.

PLGRRRRRRR said...

Moving forward, if CB9 Meetings are to function & be productive then there needs to be a different approach to dealing with anyone looking to prevent the voices of the community from being heard. Yelling personal insults (repeatedly) at the speakers that are taking the time to participate in the local community affairs should not be tolerated.

These people should be ejected from the meetings and barred from future meetings for a period of time.

I expected it to get nasty last night but the yelling of ‘Uncle Tom’ & ‘Cracker’ should have gotten people kicked out. MTOPP member have some good points to make, but you can't hear it from all the invective that is spat out. They are on the path to being marginalized as the community becomes more educated on re-zoning issues.

Whose Community? Everyone’s Community.

Alex said...

Hey Tim, can you elaborate on what you mean by dead? With the many things said about the process and how it works, etc, I can't decipher what "dead" means at this point. Does that mean no study? No study that includes Empire? No involvement of CB9 in the study? I'm confused!

disco princess said...

Q, thanks for putting a name to the woman in the hat. I remember her from the community forum re: 626 Flatbush a few months ago.

Jenny said...

Exactly what PLGRRRRRRR said. why were these people not escorted out when they disrupted the democratic process of being allowed to speak?

This is the reason that I (and many others I know) have simply given up on attending community meetings, knowing we will be verbally insulted and feeling like there is nothing that we can say that will change anything. And then the people in charge engage in the same appalling behavior and no one who shouts or insults others is escorted out. I've taken to writing to Eric Adams directly instead.

babs said...

A more thorough, better researched account: http://brooklynbrief.com/cb9-chaos-cacophony-leave-empire-blvd-vulnerable-fate-uncertain/