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, November 25, 2015

MTOPP Suit Against CB9 Dismissed

After many months of trumpeting its lawsuit against lowly Community Board 9, MTOPP lost today in Supreme Court. Not THAT Supreme Court, mind you. The decision completely denies MTOPP (Alicia)'s claims that CB9, under district manager Pearl Miles, was underhandedly trying to dismantle the wheels of democracy. If you're into this sort of thing, the details are kinda fun to read. Otherwise, here's the short version. Nobody is trying to pull the wool over your eyes, Alicia. Some people, believe it or not, simply disagree with you. At the same time, in a separate decision, the disorderly conduct charges against Ms. Boyd were dropped. Meaning, basically, that she can continue to scream, shout and holler, then get hauled out of the meeting, but can't be sentenced for it. That seems about right to me. No one should be denied the opportunity - say in the Senate - to jump up and yell "you racist fascist pigs." However, that same person shouldn't be allowed to do that indefinitely. At some point, you gotta move on with the business at hand. Senators are allowed to filibuster in certain circumstances. Individual citizens, however, are granted no such powers.

And so another meeting went by, this one with not much to report. The Citywide text amendments to promote the building of affordable housing failed, predictably, after being hammered with all manner of blunt tools, ranging from misinformation to lies to specious economic arguments. Never you mind, says the Mayor. I'm the decider, says he, not to be swayed by a tide of public opinion. We'll see - if he wants another term he may need to rethink. Oh, and the Empire Blvd Reconstruction Project was tabled. Had the vote happened last night, I fear it would have failed for being lumped in with all the other anti-City votes. DOT is coming back to the table to better make its case. Here's hoping they succeed, because god knows I was losing the arguments.

Both Laurie Cumbo and Diana Richardson gave lengthy but powerful speeches trumpeting their good deeds. So did Mathieu Eugene. The Q happily shook M.E.'s hand and thanked him for all the new trash baskets. You know, the ones that say Mathieu Eugene all over them? Diana ripped Alicia a new one in a pulpit-pounding diatribe that reminded us why we voted for her in the first place. Man, that gal can speak! She's got such a terrific cadence and she rarely trips over her well-chosen words. Plus, she went into some detail about her plans for an ex-felon job fair. NOW we're talking! Too many young people get saddled with the wrong kind of degree - one from Superior Court, that dogs them for life. Second chances, that's why we let people out of jail in the first place. Regain your footing, grow up, take responsibility. But just TRY to get hired with a Felony on your record. You go Dee!


Anonymous said...

What's it called when an employer who hires an ex-felon finds out the ex-felon murdered the last boss who fired him ?


Creepy Burger King said...

"Both of these arrests were dismissed by the Judge, who stated that "standing, yelling, and chanting constitutes constitutionally protected speech!”

We are proud of this victory, and promise to keep up the pressure on our community's bad actors." - MTOPP Email

Creepy Burger King wonders if he can go to the same Judge's courtroom, if the quote is accurate, and stand and chant and yell so that the Judge cannot finish his/her sentence.

The issue is repeatedly disrupting a public governmental meeting...taking away someone else's speech...kind of like taking away Bernie Sanders speech, but instead of chanting Black Lives Matter, chanting, Sterling Street Brownstones Matter!

Anonymous said...

Dear ULURP committee:

At this moment, MIH is being targeted for Washington Ave

It has height limits of 12 stories!

However it a wide street with transit access, at both ends

QBS and 2,3, 4, 5! MIH target these type of blocks!

HUD own publication done in 2014, called Sustainable Communities

sited that development along major streets with transits access

causes displacement of low and moderate income families!

This we have seen over and over again, in other cities as well as here!

East New York which is slated to have MIH, on all of their major streets

Atlantic Ave, Fulton St etc...

East New York rejected City Planning Plan, where they promised

to “preserved the in between streets”

but took all of the major streets and plan on building 200% – 220% more

However, if these streets turn into MIH, which is what they want to do during

the rezoning they will see 33% even more!

Also no one is paying attention to fact that MIH and Senior text amendment

will actually get 40% more bulk if they add Senior text amendment of

2 and half stories to the 33% more for Mandatory Inclusionary zone.

Take example, 961 Washington Ave, right now they can build up to 120”

with MIH they can get 140’ but if they give those affordable apartments to

senior they can build up to 170” That is 17 stories!

Finally, why does it seem that homes boarding on Empire Blvd are expendable

to protect, homes that might be located in a soft area,

that may or may not be developed!

Why should one neighbor get 20 stories buildings in their back yard,

so that another neighbor may not get it, and most won’t get it!

How many 20 stories buildings are in our community,

how much space do we have currently to build them? None!

That is why MIH is so important, to developers.

They need to be able to build taller buildings!

They get 33% more to build and if they add the Senior text amendment

they can get up to 40% more to build

and most of that 40% will be in height!!!

Please remember,

we are packed to the rafters in this community

we don’t have any space to go wide!

96% of our land is residential!

That means if building is going to happen here it has to go up!!!

It is basic math and physics!

Also City Planning never once stated

they were going to down zone us!

That is all the saying of Tim Thomas!

There are no statements coming from either

City Planning or Borough Hall that talks

about downzoning!

All they have said is that they want to build up on the Aves,

and provide some protection on the in between streets.

Look at the parameters, they contain all of our major streets that sit

right up against the park. The densest community in Brooklyn!

Do you know what our lives will be like if they make any of these Avenues

in MIH! We can have 15-20 story buildings depending upon the zoning

category that City Planning will come up with!

And there will be nothing that anyone can do about it!!!

Not the community board, not the politicians!


This community is a goldmine to developers!

It is primarily black, with compromised elected officials

a clear racial division, with Whites homes being promised

to be protected at the expense of Black homes

and White organizations now fighting against Black ones!

So now they just say Empire Blvd, but there are 55 streets on

the parameters of that zoning request and you can believe

most of those 55 will be up zoned!

Even those in between streets

like Lefferts Ave, which sits on a wide streets and is in between

two major train systems! And it is just one block away from the Park!!!

Perfect for developers to come and buy, destroy and rebuild!


MikeF said...

So, basically, the future looks a lot like the past.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Alicia: Your numbers are bogus. Going over your nonsensical readings of zoning plans and regulations with City Planning shows that you're getting terrible guidance. Most importantly, not building new buildings is NOT going to save low and moderate income tenants. That's a totally different issue.

All I want is for you to be a team player. Express yourself, but don't assume that yours is the only opinion. Plus, we all know the only thing you care about is your little corner of paradise.

You know, if they can build permanent means-tested housing along transit corridors, we should be thrilled to get 10-12 story buildings along subways. The trade-off is to protect gorgeous tree-lined streets that aren't currently landmarked or historic districts. This is a City, not a suburb. Density shouldn't be feared, if it can be done reasonably and with affordability. Keeping all of Brooklyn low-rise is not possible. But if we work with the City, we might just prevent the excesses of Downtown. Right now, they'd be on our side in that regard. Who knows though, 10 or 20 years from now? Being one of the highest points in Brooklyn, the tide-rising, the City might decide this is the best place to build tens of thousands of more units.

A couple years ago, the neighborhood was clamoring for a decent coffee house and some sit-down restaurants. You too, if your AirBnb listing is to be believed, loved the "progress." Now, we have to halt economic development exactly as it is today, even as your and my houses have appreciated astronomically. It's unfair to the rest of our City's citizens to make choices based on your views (both meanings) alone. And frankly, I've ridden past your house many times to the vaunted corner of Sterling and Washington. It's nothing to be proud of.

Alex said...

Alicia, as a neighbor, I ask that you come to the table prepared for a reasonable discussion. Your actions hurt everyone.

Anonymous said...

We will defend our homes, even if it means war. By any means necessary. We will NOT be pushed out. Black homes are under attack from greedy developers and you want us to sit here and let it happen? What the hell is wrong with you? Would you like it if developers came to your hood and started pushing you and your neighbors out?

Anonymous said...

You have betrayed your progressive principles when you sided with these racist developers. You are just like every gotdamn so called "liberal" in America. I can see the yellow streak running down your back, you coward! Go home. We are not for sale!

Anonymous said...

Alex, maybe you should open your damn eyes and stop carrying water for these developers. Our actions are hurting no one other than the people who seek to benefit from our complacency. Never again. You and others have been warned. We will not rest until these gotdamn developers get it through their thick flipping skulls that WE ARE NOT GOING TO LET YOU PUSH US OUT! GOT THAT? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Since those three comments happened within minutes of each other, I suspect y'all are one Anon. You may be unwilling or unable to hear it...but the Developers are not your real bogeyman. Your enemies (dare I say "our" enemies?) are greed, systemic racism, and an unfair and improperly regulated rental market. The Developers are simply doing what they always do...seeking the greatest profit. The reason we offer subsidies is because we understand this - that folks aren't going to just "do the right thing" unless it's not costing them their bottom line. This is much more about math than folks want to believe.

You will rail against Developers and you will lose. They have every advantage imaginable. But if you use your head, and start to recognize that black homeowners aren't necessarily your allies, then maybe you'll start to see that building affordable housing is just as important, if not more so, to the longtime needs of NYC's precious diversity than fighting Developers alone. Your so-called champions - say MTOPP - have different objectives than just keeping black folks in their rental homes. They're worried about their low-density quality of life and home values. And they will continue to live here long after you've moved on, perhaps unhappy with the change of racial makeup in the neighborhood, but not altogether upset with the price of their homes.

This is a class struggle, first and foremost. It is very sad to see it devolve, neighborhood by neighborhood, into anti-City protectionism. That housing activists have bit into the poison apple of downzoning EVERYwhere absolutely boggles the mind.

Alex said...

Actually, anon, MTOPP's actions, aka blocking a needed contextual rezoning in our area, does hurt everyone. Spreading false rumors about "upzoning" helps no one. Believing that Boyd is fighting for anything but her own self interest is folly. You are being exploited.

Anonymous said...

Tim your arguments for rezoning of PLG have always made sense to me however when you see how zoning boards across the city have voted on DeBlasio's plan (which seems in line with your prescription for our micro-nabe)does it not give you pause? Perhaps, although Alicia is a crackpot, she has a valid argument. If Empire were to be developed with 80% market rate housing many long time African American residents and business owners would likely get shoved out. I know your argument that Empire etc. is going to be developed anyway but why has that not happened yet?

Anonymous said...

I think the funny thing here is how much the MTOPP poster sounds like Donald Trump, king of the developers. Reality is what I say it is? Check. Anyone who doesn't agree with me is a loser who hates ____? Check. Fact-free rants about "liberals"? Check. Incendiary comments about "war"? Check.

Maybe the next time they're shouting down everyone else in the vicinity instead of working toward constructive solutions, Team MTOPP could wear "Make PLG Great Again" shirts.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Excellent question Anon 11:18. The Community Boards, if they're anything like ours (and they are), are made up of Old Gentry. Homeowners whose stake in the neighborhood relies on it staying as is. That is not a "wrong" perspective. It is, however, but ONE perspective. And if you look at the votes, you'll see that tons of the CBs voted unanimously, a couple CBs even voting unanimously FOR both measures. Think about it. How many complex progressive issues like Affordable Housing can you think of where everyone is on exactly the same page? This is the result of two things...ignorance, and propaganda. You can quote me. No one seems brave enough to buck a trend. And why hasn't so much unanimity tipped the scale completely? Because smart and progressive City Planners - the Eggheads in the equation - and the actually progressive Mayor - know that the outcry is pure NIMBYism. The future of the City is at stake, and a bunch of blowhard NIMBY's shouldn't win the day just because they say so.

For all that, I suppose I shouldn't care too much either way. I've got my home and ain't going anyplace. I don't mind more density if it helps alleviate a housing shortage, but I'm not going to bust my ass to make it happen. No, what really irks me, is that low-income folks are ALREADY getting crushed by gentrification. Whether or not Empire gets rezoned will have nominal impact on current residents. A rezoning effort will take time, and by that time much of the damage will have been done. People who will tell you that stopping affordable housing on Empire will keep people in their homes? They're delusional at best, and deceitful at worst. It's a wedge issue, that will keep us divided instead of helping our neighbors when they need it most. My cynical side feels that all this talk about the poor is just nonsense. Homeowners don't want poor people living around them, what with the crime and grime they supposedly bring. Listen to them talk when it's NOT about development, and crime and schools and littering and noise - those are all things the middle and upper class whine about most. And with good reason sometimes. But very few of these advocates for the poor do anything at all for them outside of lip service when it's convenient. That convenience galls me to no end. I see it in myself I suppose, that's probably why it's so hard to stomach.

I could go on, and probably will. But you ask a great question and I thought I'd spout an answer before going back to work...

Anonymous said...

Your lies exposed!

"What is Airbnb:

Airbnb is an online rental company that advertises living spaces for travelers all over the world. A person wishing to travel to a particular country or city can log on and search possible places to stay. Once they have decided they pay Airbnb directly, who charges a service fee for this service and collects all the monies and gives the payments directly to the hosts.

The host on the other hand contacts Airbnb, gains assistance in listing their apartments or rental space, and they even provided a professional photographer to shoot the location. All financial transactions take place with Airbnb and the host is charged a very small fee for this service. Airbnb also provides tax statements to the hosts at the end of the year. For more detailed please contact Airbnb directly.

How Gentrification occurs.

Gentrification can be done in two ways; one, a natural condition that occurs as demographics, economics and social conditions change and two, it can be done intentionally by political policies such as rezoning and tax breaks.

Rezonings in poor and moderate communities that encourage up zonings,(increase in building heights) are a major contributor to gentrification for it signals to everyone that change is happening, money is coming, property values are rising and this will now be a more affluent community. Thus landlords and property owners begin to engage in all types of illegal and legal tactics to make room for a wealthier population. It also encourages this wealthier group to head into the community with the idea of getting in on the ground floor of apartments and homes before the price values hit the ceiling.

Thus our stance in this community (Flatbush/Crown Heights) is to prevent up zoning of our community because of the negative impact it will have. As residents are literally pushed out of our communities, both legally and illegally, with no place to go, as has been attested to the serious increase in the homeless population all over NYC.

Why into the street. The vacancy rate for poor and moderate households is almost at 1%. This is an all time low, but the overall vacancy rate is almost 4%, because the vacancy rate for market rate housing is almost 8%. The overall vacancy rate is the combination of the two. Thus when residents of poor or moderate income households are put out of their apartments, there is literally no place to go but into the streets or the shelters.

There are currently estimated to be from 120,000 to 150,000 people who are homeless in NYC today! Just recently squads of police have been employed to remove these people from the streets and we expect to see “details” assigned to look for the homeless and drive them off the streets into the shelters. Currently the shelters have 60,000 men, woman and children with over 30,000 being children!

Impact of AirBnb in NYC

Airbnb popularity actually started in mid-town Manhattan, about ten years ago, in an already white middle-upper class, a non-gentrified community. What Airbnb did was take away billions of dollars from the hotel industry and begin to distribute this wealth to the common resident.

Thus the hotel industry a powerful group began to lobby their local officials to demand a stop to this enterprise and one of the things they began to think about was to pass legislation that would not allow a rent-stabilized tenant to use this service, because most of the Airbnb rentals were coming from apartment dwellers in Manhattan!

tim said...

Holy cow! What a load of rubbish. Airbnb takes thousands of apartments out of the potential renting pool. It's ludicrous to suggest that it's NOT contributing to high rents, even homelessness. Sure, the casual Airbnb'er adds some bucks to their pocket, often illegally. But a huge part of the business relies on professional Airbnb's. And besides, my complaint about your Airbnb profile is that you glorify the neighborhood's gentrified characteristics, all the while decrying the gentrifiers. The price of your house, and your home-away-from-home for Caucasians on vacation, suggests just how mixed are your motives.

The rest of your conclusions are not based in fact - pure conjecture. My biggest complaint with your reasoning is that you neglect to point out that the neighborhood was "discovered" years ago. By you, even! Admit it, you haven't been here that long. There's precious little that a downzoning could do to stop runaway gentrification. All a downzoning could do at this point would be to limit the housing stock, creating ever more pressure. There is something so tragic about the focus on downzoning to deny something that capitalism has already cooked into its books.

The focus now should be on mitigating damage and planning for the future, which includes many more New Yorkers. Without adequate housing stock, those of limited means will be ever-more forced to relocate. Not just those who live here now...we'll lose future working class folks too.

But your home should be fine, though your view might eventually be compromised by hotels. Which would be a fitting end to someone who started their fight as an avid hotelier herself.

I appreciate that you've taken the argument to the written word, Alicia. It's much less shrill and taxing on the nervous system.

babs said...

Sunday's NYT article PROVES that there are Airbnb "hosts" who are really nothing more than slumlords holding stabilized properties vacant to rent them out on Airbnb for a lot more than they could legally get. The fact is, the majority of Airbnb rentals in NYC are illegal - either tenants renting out their apartments without being there or landlords renting out what should be affordable housing for normal NYers (or co-op and condo owners flouting their house rules - thankfully these groups are fighting back and I have even heard of some local co-op owners being fined and even threatened with eviction for doing this).

Alex said...

Anon, MTOPP person, whomever you are:

"Thus our stance in this community (Flatbush/Crown Heights) is to prevent up zoning of our community because of the negative impact it will have."

The request sent to City Planning includes no upzoning whatsoever. Right now, parts of our neighborhood are zoning for the highest heights imaginable. Stop misleading people. Contextual zoning does not mean "up-zoning." Changing TWO BLOCKS of Empire to residential is not "up-zoning," because the current zoning has no height limits, either. Go ahead and build a 20 story refinery or slaughterhouse on Empire b/t Rogers and Flatbush, no one will be able to stop you.

So sick of this misleading BS.

And if you think that AirBnB sends out professional photographers? No, they don't.

Tim, correct me if I am wrong here, but wasn't the original intent of the request to city planning to reduce height limits where necessary, aka R7-1 zones? Why the F are people even talking about "up-zoning?" Can someone please set the record straight?

Alex said...

And please do not bring ZQA and MIH into this discussion. Those two proposals are completely separate from the issue of changing our R7-1 zones to something more appropriate, and completely separate from any changes that might happen on the two blocks of Empire that MTOPP is obsessively protective of.

Unknown said...

We are for Brooklyn !!

JoeyDucks said...

Tim and Alex,

I'm a homeowner in the Manor and would personally be very happy if those two blocks of Empire were re-zoned and the row of crappy fast food places replaced with nice mixed residential/commercial buildings. But there is no denying that rezoning will bring a tsunami of displacement for long time, mostly African American residents. I think recognizing these concerns might go a long way in furthering community dialog.

Clarkson FlatBed said...


Why do you say "there's no denying?" A Tsunami? What's happening right now...a drizzle? Your point is that of MTOPP's, but I'm not buying it. The worst thing we could do, in my opinion, is to pretend that by NOT building affordable housing we're somehow SAVING long time residents. The big real estate concerns have already bought up most of the rent stabilized buildings and are systematically pushing out renters who pay less than what they believe they can get. It's not happening in the future. It's happening now, and it'll probably be mostly accomplished by the time this debate is settled. That's why I've become incredibly cynical and pessimistic. I don't actually believe anyone but the Crown Heights Tenants Union and a few housing activists gives a damn.

I guess I'm tired of Empire Blvd being the sticking point. There are thousands of new units coming online that AREN'T affordable. Already. By stopping Empire you're accomplishing nothing, except preventing the building of much needed housing in this neighborhood we all love. Denying others, particularly lower income folks, a chance to live here is selfish, in my opinion. I look forward to the data that suggests that those two block of Empire mean the difference between Tsunami and light rain.

Building a fortress around the neighborhood means that the only people who can move here are those who can afford market rates or higher.

Alex said...

I too am tired - a little disgusted actually - of TWO BLOCKS of Empire being the focal point. It is irrational. And the tsunami is already here, I don't know that landlords could chase people out any faster than they are now. The only thing that can slow the onslaught is tenant advocacy and the hope that local residents qualify for the affordable units under construction.

MikeF said...

Even if people qualify, their is only a miniscule chance that they will the lottery and get in.

The bottom line is that the area will change economically, racially, religiously, etc. have many other neighborhoods throughout the world and throughout history.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

CB9 residents should get priority. That's been the case elsewhere. Regardless, you can't guarantee that they will fit the profile desired by some. I know two college-educated white women who qualified because they made less than $50,000 as a family of four. That might not please proponents of racial stability. But they will help create economic diversity, which is how neighborhoods get and stay diverse in the first place. If it weren't for the nasty reality of racism that has no regards for even money...

Anonymous said...

Stop lying to your readers!!!!!!! Tell them the truth! You are deliberately feeding your readers falsehoods and outlandish statements about us, Alicia Boyd and her livelihood. Why are you carrying water for Hudson? Why are you in bed with these corrupt, compromised politicians?

"On March 25 at Community Board 9, Pearl presented a resolution to be passed. I am making the assumption that this resolution, requested City Planning to study Empire Blvd, to changed from commercial to mix-use residential to “increase residential and retail density..” and “contextual mixed-use development”, because that is the request that City Planning got from Pearl Miles.

This “contextual development”, means The study will look at existing structures and will build up according to what already exists (contextually). In our case, that would be Ebbert’s Field, which has twenty-five story height and is right behind Empire Blvd! This will “increase residential density” and fall right into “contextual development.”

As Professor Angottii stated, the parameters of the study is what they will study and what they will then vote upon! And out of the 140 rezoning study requests that turned into applications, 140 were approved!!!

At this March 25 Community Board 9 meeting there were only three members of PPEN that spoke about the resolution that was being presented. There were no other community groups, block associations tenant groups, church groups etc… apart of this discussion.

There was opposition to this resolution being passed. Several board members pointed out several issues.

No community input in the drafting or creation of this resolution
It didn’t go through any standing committee.
Done as a rush job.
Some Community Board 9 Members were not notified of the resolution.
Not enough information about rezoning.
So what we have is a resolution that was created, not by a member of the community but a paid employee of New York City, that was passed without proper notification, no community input, not derived from any standing committees, with language that is vague and unclear.

This resolution would give City Planning the Power to....

Put an estimated 24,000 – 42,000 people in our community
Build 25 story buildings all along Empire Blvd.
Create a massive wave of displacement of People primarily of color (estimated 100,000 people)
Put the homes boarding on Empire Blvd (Sullivan Place) in the shade, blocking out sunlight for almost 12 hours!
Cause untold construction damage to property owners, all along Empire Blvd, (Sullivan Place, Sterling St. and Lefferts Ave), as these 100 year old small two story homes are pounded for years in this construction nightmare.
Turn a residential community into a tourist community.
Change our affordable community into an unaffordable one!

All because one person made a summary of an Educational Forum! No one should have that kind of power! This resolution will be challenged!

No Residential On Empire Blvd!

Down zone Empire Blvd, Contextually!

Preserve Our Affordable Community!!!

Alex said...

Whoever you are, you're either a liar or an idiot. Maybe both.

Anonymous said...

Think on the positive side Clarkson. You've gotten the attention of mtopp and queen Alicia. That says a lot. They are becoming active participants in the comments section. Also, their influence isn't as big as they claim. People who are paying attention to this issue know they are full of shit. They are masquerading as advocates of tenants rights.

Anonymous said...

Wow Anonymous 12/3/15

maybe pull your head out of your add and deal with change. i know it is scary and you want things to stay the same in your narrow minded little world but things are a changing. Brooklyn as a whole has or is changing and PLG is no exemption. Don't use misguiding info to try to sway others your opinion...