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, April 14, 2015

A Pinnacle of Propaganda

The Q was trying so hard to ignore her. But this poster really got my goat. (My goat is getting got way too often for my own good these days).When you see it, it's outrageous isn't it? These poor protesters, surrounded by surly cops. So gruesome! So inhumane!!

Pretty much everything about this propaganda schlock is complete bull. So what actually happened? After disrupting the meeting for about 20 minutes, keeping an important government meeting with a serious agenda from taking place, the cops were asked by the chair to have her removed. She refused. With an extraordinary amount of delicacy, they managed to get her out of there. It took about 10 minutes just to remove her without hurting her, since she was basically foaming at the mouth and kicking and flailing. Then the text - she claims a draft was created in secret, when I happen to know for a fact that the draft was collectively written and reviewed by the committee, then the draft was brought before the public, and we went over it line by line to discuss it and hear dissent. Hell, we might have heard more if she hadn't been disrupting the damn meeting.This is one whole year after a near-identical letter to DCP was overwhelmingly voted for. And she claims the point of the draft is to create luxury high rise buildings, when in fact it's a request for DCP to study the neighborhood in RESPONSE to an accelerated level of displacement and real estate development and speculation. The document asks for contextual zoning, maximum affordable housing requirements, height limits and a look at all possible unwanted outcomes and consider remedies where appropriate. It's all much to sane and reasonable for Ms. Boyd, who's real objective, it seems, is for status quo. She has no rationale vision of her own. And so, in order to be super clear, let me give it it's own paragraph:

The whole point of doing a study is to minimize the insane explosion of ill-conceived luxury (market) housing at the expense of affordable housing and to create decent sized buildings that don't dwarf what's around them. Clear enough? And while we're at it, maybe we can look at the effect of 30+ new projects already going up, with many more to follow.

Meanwhile Alicia deserves an Oscar for her memorable performance as aggrieved citizen number one. She's admitted that it's all a show, overheard laughing to a friend about how she really turns it on for the public. Meanwhile, half the Community Board she so reviles is up for reappointment or not. One would hope that good people are retained and dead-weight let go - without regard to political orientation or allegiance, so that the board could continue (yes, I said continue) to reflect the diversity of the neighborhood. A few dedicated souls are trying to right the ship and one can only hope they're allowed to continue in the right direction. Let them keep at it. A number of folks have already turned in their resignations or chosen not to reapply. It could be yet another fresh crop of faces by May. I obviously crave the mayhem or I would have joined the exodus. I'm still asking questions, being curious, being amused. I never intended to get this close to the action. But it's sure entertaining - no cable subscription required. I'll know in a week or two whether I'm back on or not. Don't hold your breath...I know I won't. I need all the brain cells I have left!

I still have faith that a lot of folks really DO have the needs of the citizenry at heart, and are working to create a better future. But it's hard to feel that way, when everyone's talking over each other. Fear, anger, disappointment...they're powerful intoxicants. And you should never try to assume reasonableness in a roomful of drunks.


Anonymous said...

Is there a point she can be sued for libel and slander? I'm serious.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Nah. It's just old-fashioned protest and politics, proudly protected by our Constitution. I'm actually fond of her resolve and gumption. I just don't happen to think the propaganda is warranted, because she's picked the wrong targets. But I have no control over her aim.

Seth said...

It's just an opinion. Not one that I support but there isn't anything in the flyer that would constitute libel or slander.

Warren said...

My favorite picture of Alesia

Anonymous said...

Just to play devil's advocate and not to defend Alicia's crazy behavior, if we're being honest won't the rate of gentrification accelerate if Empire is rezoned? Seems like even if height, context and affordable units are provided for in new zoning, removing another barrier for developers to start putting in high-end residential will bring them in that much faster. As we know, when all that fast food and storage crap on Empire is replaced with nice residential buildings, rent increases will go into the logarithmic phase as will displacement of mostly black long time renters. I totally get Tim's argument that since it's probably inevitable anyway the community might as well have some say in what is built. But, the real crux of the MTOPPish anger is that however much Tim and others talk about wanting more affordable housing, it seems like whispy rationalization for what is primarily desired which is accelerated gentrification and subsequent appreciation in home values, lower crime, better restaurants etc. Sorry but it's true. I know people like Tim aren't happy displacing people but let's have a real conversation about ALL the factors shaping opinions of rezoning. Personally, I wish someone could bulldoze Empire and start building luxury condos tomorrow because I own an expensive house in the Manor but that's just me being honest.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

You're buying the idea that a rezoning will have that effect on gentrification. It's purely speculative. The need for new housing is real, and it's pushing people into East New York. Who ever would have thought that would happen? Geez Louise this process will unlikely make a dent in any of it.

There are concerns that are specific to Empire. There are concerns that are specific to Lefferts/Crown Heights. There are concerns specific to Central Brooklyn, Brownstone Brooklyn, Brooklyn in general and the City.

I have a very hard time accepting arguments that assume residential on Empire will have some massive effect on gentrification that is already moving faster than the speed of the moving company trucks.

If your suggestion is to keep Empire crappy in return for lower rents, I'd love to see your data. We're talking about planning for 10 or 20 years or more. I'd hope that we'd not accept as fact a far-fetched scenario in which New Yorkers are the beneficiaries of fast food and parking lots and self-storage on Empire because it'll knock off $100 on the rent.

Remember we're potentially looking at half of CB9 with this thing. A district with more than 30 current market rate projects with no affordable housing. And MTOPP has made two blocks of Empire the focus of a black/white rich/poor battle.

She's really done one hell of a job pulling the wool over people's eyes. But whatever. If we don't rezone, someone else will.

Alex said...

Anon, really the only thing missing from your perspective - most of which I share - is that we're talking about 2 blocks. MTOPP is lead by an a**hole who only cares about construction near her home, so the impact of development on said stretch of Empire has been overblown.

It's two blocks, that's all. It's not that many building sites, and the owners of said sites are not all going to jump up and sell at once.

So will it accelerate gentrification? Maybe, but only as much as two blocks of gradual, new construction can.

Anonymous said...

I certainly do not advocate keeping Empire crappy. Perhaps you missed the part of my post where is said I wish it could be bulldozed tomorrow. As far as any wool pulling, I have thought that empire is the key to accelerating PLG gentrification long before I ever heard the name Alicia Boyd! After one drives around grand army down Flatbush, past the beauty of library and garden and zoo and park one is smacked in the facewith a big flashing neon sign that says, "You have officially entered a hellhole!" It's why I love the idea of fixing up the flatbush trees. Tim, you've said yourself that this is the gateway to PLG. Similarly, when one exits the train, maybe on their way to the zoo or garden or even to look for a new place to live and sees the Wendy's across the street...not enticing. It's not that I don't think affordable housing is a good thing it's that I think that you're being a little disingenuous with its overuse as an argument for rezoning. MTOPPs fears are not totally invalid although their tactics stink.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

So making the neighborhood nicer is now reason to be blamed for gentrification. Okay. Then don't clean up your trash or work to reduce crime. That's utter nonsense.

Plus, you use the word disingenuous. That means liar. Which means you're calling me a liar.

That's MTOPP bullshit. Just because you and I disagree about what's best for the neighborhood doesn't make me a liar. Sick of that shit.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Don't work to make the schools better. Don't try to improve public transportation. Don't develop employment opportunities, or work to keep the neighborhood diverse (a huge plus to many gentrifiers by the way). Don't work with neighborhood youth to bring down recidivism or gang affiliations.

I could go on and on. Blaming making a neighborhood nicer for gentrification misses the main point it's here. Because the whole city has become exceedingly popular, and there's not enough housing.

roxv said...

i would argue their fears are invalid, or at least misdirected. high rents and displacement will happen no matter what anyone does. if they have their way it will just mean higher rents + more storage facilities

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Plus, the irony of Alicia - hardly a lifelong resident - who lives in a lovely home on an award-winning block, whose own house price is undoubtedly many times more than what she paid, and who uses her lovely home to host European tourists through Air BnB, citing the many upscale opportunities just steps from her door...

It's seriously stomach turning. You want disingenuous, here it is folks. And yes, I use the word in its proper meaning.

Alex said...

The OTHER irony... Alicia's alternative vision for Empire is upscale shopping.

Anonymous said...

"Nah. It's just old-fashioned protest and politics, proudly protected by our Constitution."

You can't have it both ways. The wishy-washy liberal argument of I-defend-your-right-to-be-wrong doesn't seem to apply when you defend using the police to detain/arrest/hassle your enemies.

Sure, Boyd is disruptive. Can't we conceive of many instances where people need to disrupt institutions that aren't democratic? That includes your Community Board.

I have problems with MTOPP, but I also think your arguments on rezoning are completely wrong. A. Boyd provides a convenient enemy for you. You use her against anyone who has real concerns with your approach. And there are many (concerns, and concerns).

--Rico C.

Anonymous said...

Not MTOPP bullshit. I'm pretty far from MTOPP and I truly hope they fail at blocking the study. I'm all for the neighborhood improvements you listed. I have personally gone over the top supporting neighborhood businesses. Not calling the Q a liar, just suggesting that you might open your mind a little more as to why there is so much anger surrounding the push for rezoning. And Roxv, I agree that MTOPPs fears of high rent and displacement are inevitable no matter what. I'm just saying that it might be useful in dealing with them to acknowlege and understand their fears that rezoning will make the inevitable arrive much sooner. I think you're kidding yourself if you don't believe rezoning will hasten the building of "higher end" units with wealthier occupants thus driving rents up and lower income people out. Maybe we can agree to disagree and revisit this discussion in 5 years. Love to see the Q get fired up!

Alex said...

Rico, what's your approach? How does it differ from how DCP will engage the neighborhood?

Mind you, we do not live in an area like ENY or Jerome Ave in the Bronx that the mayor has identified for creating a new middle/upper class haven.

With that in mind, please share your approach that skirts CB9.

roxv said...

high end units are already being developed, but in side streets generally outside the manor in areas with lax residential zoning. look at that map from the other day. it's already happening. i don't see Alicia fighting those projects

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Rico: Alicia Boyd is not my enemy. She's an enemy to discourse. She was sitting at the table with an equal voice, and she decided to blow things up to get her way. She lies and manipulates to get her way.

I happen to be a big fan of civil disobedience by the way. You say:

You can't have it both ways. The wishy-washy liberal argument of I-defend-your-right-to-be-wrong doesn't seem to apply when you defend using the police to detain/arrest/hassle your enemies.

Clearly you know nothing of civil disobedience, or you wouldn't accuse me of defending hassling anyone (but you of course, since you're hassling me. Fairs fair!) Alicia uses her right to disrupt; but then you must accept that disrupting a government meeting is against the law, and go with the cops when it's time. She's been given 20, 30 minutes or more to completely stop the meetings and discourse and shout her arguments. That's way more time than protesters get in courtrooms or legislatures. Plus, were you even at these meetings? Once the cops were called upon to do their duty they were remarkably restrained. They don't, or rather WE don't, want anyone to be arrested or hurt. But if you go for it, then you have to be prepared to be forcibly removed. She's good at it and I respect her for it. But I don't believe she's been helpful in any regard, and I think she's being unfair to the potential good of an examination of zoning.

The fear is real; that doesn't mean we have to give in to demagoguery and misinformation.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Anon: Not only do I GET the anger, I've been writing about why it's justified for months. Perhaps you haven't been following the Q and I forgive you. But read back and you'll see that I've been hellbent on fighting the real causes for displacement and bemoaning the inherent colonialism of gentrification. You're dead wrong though to suggest a Planning Study is going to be anything other than an opportunity to...that's right, plan. The rest is scare tactics, and I'm tired of them.

But I don't, won't, vilify the perfectly decent people moving in, buying their dream house, or renting an apartment. That's MTOPP's thing. I prefer fighting illegal and bigoted landlords.

Lastly, it was the people who came here long before you or me who kept this neighborhood together and made it the lovely place it is today. Don't forget, the real gentry is largely still here. Fearful? Some are. But some are deeply proud of what they've accomplished. Let's be respectful of everyone please. That's more than Ms. Boyd will show people, I promise you that.

Mark said...

Alicia Boyd is right. Tim, you are making this personal. why do you always make those who you disagree with into adversaries? First it was Mathieu Eugene and now this. MTTOP is growing each and everyday and it must pain you to see this organization get the kind of publicity that I'm sure you wish was heaped upon you. They are on the front lines fighting against gentrification while you watch helplessly from your computer. They are obviously be doing something right. It's getting everyone to think about the consequences of what Empire and the PLG will look like if developers get their way. People don't want to see another 626 Flatbush. Enough is enough.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Of course I'm making it personal. Matthieu Eugene is a moron and does nothing for the neighborhood. Alicia Boyd is the reason we will see no affordable housing, and the way she does it is mean and misleading. She's a class A jerk, and says the same about me. C'est la vie.

If you don't want another 626, or too much market rate housing without affordable, you should be pushing for contextual zoning. But no, you've fallen for her bull. If she succeeds, and I have every reason to believe she will, your victory party will be short-lived. But saying no to rezoning will not stop gentrification. Then you will be left with a fight you can't possibly win, at least until there's another downturn in the economy. Money, politics, greed, growth, white people moving into previously black neighborhoods. The country is growing, cities are popular again. The buildings are popping up everywhere, even on tiny parcels.

Fighting rezoning has become the new favorite fight of the radical left. The fact that it is a red herring doesn't matter. If gentrification is what you're fighting, it's simply not the right target. But whatever. I've said my piece and I can read the tea leaves. I'm not even going to the next ULURP meeting. I've got a more important community group meeting to run.

As to news-attention...this damn blog gets way more attention than I ever wanted. I just wanted to write, to flex my brain, meet and support my neighbors, and tell the truth. It's Alicia who wants public attention and notoriety. And she's done a fine job.

I'll continue to tell it like I see it. And you'll do the same I hope.

Anonymous said...

Oh please, Alicia doesn't want construction behind her fabulous townhouse since it might wake up her airb&b guests.
What a complete self serving NIMBY, she reminds of a grumpy clown and what a circus this whole process is turning out to be I can't believe she is getting her greedy way.

Anonymous said...

After one drives around grand army down Flatbush, past the beauty of library and garden and zoo and park one is smacked in the facewith a big flashing neon sign that says, "You have officially entered a hellhole!"

What neon sign? What hellhole are you talking about?

Similarly, when one exits the train, maybe on their way to the zoo or garden or even to look for a new place to live and sees the Wendy's across the street...not enticing.

I think the old Bond building and the abandoned car wash on Flatbush are more problematic in terms of items near the Prospect Park train station that are not enticing.

You claim that the area is not enticing, yet I still notice new people walking through the neighborhood and moving into my building. So, how do you explain that?

By the way, in light of the recent events in the news about how people are being (mis)treated by the police, I think that there are better battles that can be waged by MTOPP.

Alex said...

"It's getting everyone to think about the consequences of what Empire and the PLG will look like if developers get their way. People don't want to see another 626 Flatbush. Enough is enough."

Mark, pardon my French, but is that a f*cking joke? Don't you realize that MTOPP's efforts are making another 626 MORE likely? Sorry to use such strong language, but you must be an idiot.

As for Tim making it personal... I don't follow, frankly. I don't see his comments about either Eugene or Boyd as personal at all.

Anonymous said...

Disco Princess: Well said. I'd also add the MTA parking lot at Ocean/Flatbush to your list, since it's one of the first things you see if you're driving up past the park entrance and Botanic Garden. Nothing says "welcome to the neighborhood" like barbed wire and old garbage! Maybe the revitalized tree sign will help there.

As for MTOPP picking their battles, I think their primary stance on police mistreatement is that Ms. Boyd is the one truly suffering on that front, if the posters are any indication. So I wouldn't expect much help or constructive input from them.