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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Cynical Circulars Send Sinister Signals

The special election for Assembly is but a week away, and rather than focusing on the issues most pressing in our district, we get stuff like the below:

It's true that Geoffrey Davis has a bit of a troubled past, with an order of protection from some eight years ago against Renee Collymore, a former district leader who is now (coincidentally?) the treasurer of his opponent Shirley  Patterson's campaign. Fair enough, that's all for anyone to see online, and might be enough to disqualify him for office in the view of many. But for the Independence Party to spend a bunch of dough to send this big creepy card is a bit over the top. Granted politics is rarely pretty. But then the flyer goes on to note that Geoffrey Davis has been accused again "less than two weeks ago" without any details. That's weird. Accused by whom? In a court of law? Is this information public? And who's the woman in the picture? It doesn't take an Alfred E. Newman to figure out that this is a way to siphon off votes from the Davis camp for Patterson, though I don't know why the I.P. would assume the votes wouldn't just as easily go to Richardson. The Independence Party, btw, is Patterson's party du jour, since the King County Democrats didn't fill the ticket on time, another outcome with a mysterious backstory.

And guess what? Guillermo Philpotts, who was shunned at the altar, is BACK, claiming he was hoodwinked out of his rightful spot atop the ticket. This report from NY1 basically says the Dems conspired to keep his name off the ballot, and that it wasn't a "mistake" at all that led to his missing a deadline. Why on earth Mr. Philpotts would wait til this late date to make mention of it is anyone's guess. Maybe Mrs. Philpotts knows, but I don't get it.

Listen, I've got nothing against Shirley Patterson. I hardly know anything about her. And she seemed thoughtful enough, though a little out of her comfort zone on Monday at the "forum" at Grace Church on Bedford. She could have used some pep, and didn't seem at all interested in responding with zeal to the accusations that she took "tainted" developer money that some say makes her biased in favor of those greedy high-riser types. But then I get the below flyer, also from her campaign, and I really have to say it's pretty pandery. Yes, we all believe that killing of unarmed black men is horrendous. But how is this Shirley Patterson's issue to resolve? I mean, Assembly members don't have any say over the NYPD, do they? It seems like this is a way to grab a few more votes from unsavvy voters. One could safely imagine that both Richardson and Davis would take a similarly dim view of profiling and the outsized use of force by cops. Shock tactics like these don't show good judgment, in my view. Then there's the quote from the awesome Shirley Chisholm - "you make progress by implementing ideas." Which begs the question: what are the ideas to be implemented by this campaign? Or any other campaign, for that matter.


The Snob said...

I'm actually the most curious about the split in the Dems on this one. We have most of the unions, Una and Yvette Clarke, Kevin Parker and then Jumaane and Brad Lander for Diana Richardson.

Then Shirley Patterson's got Eric Adams, Jesse Hamilton, and Velmanette Montgomery.

So it seems like a draw...but is there any through line to these endorsements? Or is it just politicians helping politicians?

Adrian said...

As a member of the State Assembly, any assembly person would be in a position to advance legislation that would affect oversight and behavior of cops. For instance, Assembly member Joseph Lentol sought to introduce legislation requiring videotaped interrogations. It is of course the state legislature that sets the Penal Law, which determines the bulk of the crimes people are charged with in New York State, as well as the Criminal Procedure Law and other issues germaine to law enforcement. So, yes, policing cops is within the ambit of a state legislator. There are also provisions generated by the City Council (for instance, the CCRB was established by the City Council).

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Now we're talking. Adrian, you sound quite knowledgeable. What would an appropriate response to accusations of police violence be at the state level? And shouldn't an Assembly candidate address those specifically?

Anonymous said...

The writer will never understand the worry of a parent that their son will be shot or intimidated by a police officer. Assembly Members can change policy and pass legislation to reform the criminal justice system. Yes we know you are a Diana fan but you know nothing about the state legislature

Anonymous said...

You know nothing about the NY State Legilature

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Diana has a son; I know him fairly well. Do you think she's not equally concerned about the world he's being brought up into?

I've never known the State Legislature to be particularly adept at anything. But you, Anon, claim to know a great deal. So please...enlighten us. How exactly, in your estimation, is the State Assembly going to change the behavior of the NYPD? I'm not being flip...I'd really like to know. Body cameras? Easier convictions? One of the keys is to improve relations between citizenry and do you "get tough" AND create a stronger bond between the blue uniforms and the people they serve?

I'm not arguing that much pain has not been caused by a racist society, poorly prepared police, and a history of intimidation and profiling. I'm wondering why Ms. Patterson is more qualified than Ms. Richardson to deal with the issues. That's all.

It would seem, in fact, that Geoffrey Davis has been considerably more involved in the issue of gun violence and police/civilian relations than either of the other candidates.

Shirley Patterson may be intelligent and capable. But she hardly seems interested in the job. Her passion is lacking. I've never once heard her speak up at Community meetings. She even seems unprepared to deal with the attacks about Leonard Litwin's contributions. A good team would have coached her on that at least.

Sadie Malbone said...

Let me get this straight. Clarkson Flatbed says "I've never known the State Legislature to be particularly adept at anything."

This sounds rather cynical. Yet Clarkson calls the Patterson circular "cynical."

Personally, I don't mind if Davis, Patterson and Richardson all campaign on police violence. It's hugely important. Yeah, maybe the circular is "cynical," but it's a real issue, and you seem too caught up in rhetorical ju jitsu to recognize the life experiences of your neighbors.

I find "Cynical Circulars Send Sinister Signals," well, problematic. Is it "sinister" to point out that Geoffrey Davis has a troubled past? Is it "sinister" to use Shirley Chisholm's image?

So let me propose an antidote: Shirley Patterson has been serving the neighborhood for years. We've all grown so jaded that we no longer appreciate a woman like that who does things like serve on the school board, which is a thankless task.

And to respond to @The Snob, the one endorsement that matters to me is NYSUT coming out for Patterson. Schools are very important statewide and to me personally. Richardson and Davis bothered to mention education on their websites.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Cynical about the Assembly? Check. Cynical about local elections and campaigning? Check. Totally consistent if you ask me. And when you can give me one good reason to consider the NY State Legislature anything less than corrupt and ineffective (sounds sinister to me), I'll gladly cede the point.

But you got me. To get a good post title I used the word sinister. It ain't that off the mark. But I would NEVER call Shirley Chisholm sinister. Linking Patterson to Chisholm though is a bit of a stretch don't you think?

I know what Diana's life experience is, at least what she's shared. Suggesting that you must be in your '70s to have experience is just as ageist as calling someone too old. I'm going with the candidate who clearly wants my vote and seems willing to stand up in front of a room and argue her position, no matter how unpopular. Plus, she smiles once in a while. Yes, I'm that shallow. I've shared many a good laugh with Diana, and that means an awful lot to me.

Unknown said...

Sadie, you're being way too easy on Mr. FlatBed. He's not just inconsistently cynical, he's bordering on offensive. He belittles discussions of police violence, but he loves Ms. Cumbo. At the same time Patterson's supposedly cynical mailing is going out, Ms. Cumbo is tweeting up a storm about wearing denim to fight violence. Yeah, that's a sign of great leadership in some alternate universe.

FlatBed calls out Patterson, but did he call out Cumbo and her team when she wrote about how Jewish success is the reason for the knockout game? Or did he call out her cynicism when she followed that up by showering the Crown Heights Jews with money?

Oh, FlatBed says that Cumbo has "huevos" for standing up to Alicia. Does she also have "huevos" for the baseless claim that "blocs of Asians" are moving into her neighborhood?

Mr. Eugene may not be the most dynamic council member, and he might not smile as much as Laurie (which seems to be the main criterion for who Clarkson likes). But Eugene has never done of the outrageous things that Cumbo does, like calling to segregate public housing, which was how she tried to get out of her "blocs of Asians" disaster.

Mr. FlatBed, I suggest that you stop belittling conversations about police violence. It's not a good look, even if you hide behind your inconsistent cynicism.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Belittling police violence? What alternative universe are YOU living in? For christ sake I would never, HAVE never been anything but supportive a reform. I made a big deal about Kimani Gray. Where the hell were you? Ghost writing MTOPP brochures? You're just as bad as the lot of them. Spreading bullshit.

Cumbo's not running. Why the hell would I call her out for anything right now? Eugene's a corrupt do-nothing fool. Anybody who knows him knows that. And he's MY council person, thus he gets my ire.

So screw you Robeson. Seriously, read what I say, not what you think about me. If you have reasons to vote for Patterson or Davis, state them. I see nothing to support there. But whatever, you've got your anger to feed. And I'll continue to call you out. But feel free to express! That's what I'm here for.

Alex said...

Robeson, your interpretation is at best bizarre.

diak said...

Yesterday I received my first piece of campaign literature from—not about—Geoffrey Davis. I had mistakenly thought that all the major campaign endorsements had been pretty much split between Patterson and Richardson but I guess I was wrong. Mr. Davis is passionately endorsed by... yes, neighbors... his mother. One entire side of the card is given over to her testimony that her youngest son will never remain silent. Well, okay!
The flip side of the card has some pictures of others firmly in the Davis camp, including a kid in a Mets hat (labelled "Future Community Leader"), two Hasidic men ("Friends and Neighbors"), a dozen "Women for Davis," and a DJ from 105FM. Quite an impressive parade lined up behind our Democratic District Leader!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

More shenanigans. Until last week, his mother had been supporting Menachem. Do I smell wheeling and dealing behind the scenes? This is not the last we've heard on Momgate.

diak said...

Hey what's a local special election without shenanigans? No fun!
I got one piece of mail from Menachem's campaign. It boasts that he has eight kids who attend yeshiva schools and guess what? He's in favor of school vouchers! Big surprise there!
Hope to see all of you on the 5th.

Anonymous said...

It shows disconnect and lack of concern for all of our communities lived realities when the writer of this blog implies that the the issues of police violence and racism are not relevant politically. A response needs to happen on all levels to end institutionalized racism that leaving people dead.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

I'm beginning to think you work for the Patterson campaign, given your insistence that I don't care, and therefore am not qualified to judge this race. The issues are extraordinarily relevant politically. Never said they weren't. Read my latest post.

But now here's why I must take you to task. Shirley Patterson's circular is extraordinarily cynical. Because she has shown, in her 71 years, almost zero leadership on this issue or any other as far as I can tell. How do I know? Her silence up til now for one. But more to the point, there's almost no mention of her doing ANYthing in the public realm. Ever. It's really easy to find out what people have been up to -- just spend a bit of time poking around the internet.

Fast forward, and suddenly she's the one candidate of three African-Americans most qualified to take on an issue of extraordinary import and sensitivity? Hey, I ain't saying NOTHING about the other candidates, because frankly I don't know whether they're up to the task either.

But I do know opportunistic campaign material when I see it. And as I always say, I calls it like I sees it.

Black lives matter. Mean and exploitive campaign material, on the other hand, should be ignored. Thus this post.

Sadie Malbone said...

@Clarkson - I have to say it's quite satisfying to spar with you.

"But I do know opportunistic campaign material when I see it. And as I always say, I calls it like I sees it."

Oh, that's rich. Diana's campaign materials are not opportunistic? You have used none of your insight to say anything critical about the fluff that she has sent out.

You may call it as you see it, and so do I. I give you credit for approving my posts, but yours is not the only opinion around.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Wait. My opinion is not the only one around? Seriously? This is news to me. Do you think I should stop doing the personal, opinionated blog then? Do you think people know they're entitled to their own opinion? Oh, dear, what have I done! WHAT HAVE I DOONNNNNNNNNE!!!

The Democratic Committee throws its weight around a bit too much if you ask me. This is not a democratic town. The Assembly is not a democratic body. Any counterbalance to the status quo is welcome. Including your opinion, which I trust to be your own and not guided by Puppet Master. Who is...