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.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Please Vote For District $$ By Sunday!

I suggest, if you haven't already made plans to vote, to show up from 11-2 at the opening of Smorgasburg, or whatever they call it, at the Lincoln Road entrance parking lot.

You know, after bothering to add up the requests, I see that it won't cost much more than $1 million to do ALL of these projects. So it's reasonable to expect the Councilman to add them all to his budget, regardless of the voting. Just sayin' ...

Here's the website. I'm going to go easy on the Councilman today, since this is a step in the right direction. But sometime you should check out his actual "website," an embarrassment to say the least. Oh, be sure to note that the latest deadline to submit proposals for his discretionary spending is over...for FY13. What a joke. Oh, but there's a Fax number you can reach him at! And he apparently hosts a cable access show. On a network that no longer exists, and whose videos are not available online.

The items up for support:

  • Computer Lab Updates for Local Schools
    $35,000 per project 
    PS 249, PS 245, PS 139, PS 6
    General technology updates at P.S. 249, P.S. 245, P.S. 139, and P.S. 6
  • Education
    Technology Updates for M.S. 2 Parkside Academy
    655 Parkside Avenue
    Various technological updates at M.S. 2 Parkside Academy
  • Education
    Gymnasium Upgrades at Erasmus High School
    911 Flatbush Avenue
    Physical upgrades to the gymnasium
  • Education
    Smartboards for P.S. 92
    601 Parkside Avenue
    Twenty-nine smartboards are needed for PS 92.
  • Parks & Recreation
    Kensington Dog Run
    Parade Grounds
    An enclosed Dog Run at the Parade Grounds
  • Parks & Recreation
    Replacement of 'Lake Mess Monster'
    Prospect Park Lake
    A vessel that would grind up duck weed and other contaminants that cause visible pollution in the Prospect Park Lake.
  • Parks & Recreation
    Community Barbecue Sites in Prospect Park
    Lincoln Rd & E Drive; Parkside Ave & E Drive
    New-style municipal grills, which are similar to those at Brooklyn Bridge Park Picnic Peninsula.
  • Transit
    Montessori School Sidewalk Extension
    $200,000 to $300,000
    SE corner of Rogers Ave. and Rutland Rd.
    Sidewalk extension on the South East corner matched by a painted curb extension with flexible post barriers
  • Transit
    Real-Time Passenger Information
    $20,000 per sign
    Lincoln Rd Entrance; Church Ave. B35 Stop
    Bus display signs that are visible from a distance and inform riders when their bus will arrive
  • Transit
    P.S. 92 Sidewalk Extension
    $100,000 to $300,000
    SW corner of Rogers Ave. and Winthrop St.
    A concrete sidewalk extension, which could be matched by a painted curb extension with flexible post barriers on the North West corner.
  • Transit
    Little Red Riding Hood Pre-K Sidewalk Extension
    NE corner of Rogers Ave. and Lefferts Ave.
    Sidewalk extensions at this corner paired with heavy-duty bollards


Seth said...

You know, after bothering to add up the requests, I see that it won't cost much more than $1 million to do ALL of these projects. So it's reasonable to expect the Councilman to add them all to his budget, regardless of the voting. Just sayin' ...

The project totals are actually a range of $1.3 million to $1.8 million. Some of those small ticket items are for multiple schools. You might see up to two thirds of the items approved but not any more than that...

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Not so. Been through this rodeo a time or two in other districts (though I couldn't vote!) Here's the deal. Most of these items are over-stated in cost. Plus, getting a bit less on each item won't be a dealbreaker. The schools, for instance, can supplement from other parts of their budget or PTA fundraising. Happens all the time.

Plus - Eugene has plenty of wriggle room to use the information gleaned from this project to add the non-winning items into his budget, above the $1 million. That's what happened at my kids' school last year. We lost, but we got funded anyway, because constituents had shown this was a popular capital expense (though not popular enough to win outright.)

Then again, Eugene could simply snub the losing items. But that's his call to make, and would show little sensitivity to the ways that popularity politics is not the only way to make funding decisions. And...he could always fund each item, across the board, at a lesser amount. But that would be kinda cruel.

Seth said...

What are you describing is a rather all-encompassing view of a program that tends to take on different outcomes depending on which council person is involved.

I was a delegate for District 40 this year. This requires becoming intimately involved with the process, its rules and limitations in addition to the many meetings with community members, discussion among delegates and the council person's staff, negotiations with city agencies and so on. One comes to realize this is a very complex endeavor.

In the case of our district there is already considerable flexibility built-in to the prices of several of the major projects - upwards of half a million dollars. You can see the price ranges listed on the ballot. Ultimately the costs may be on the lower end as you point out but that is irrelevant since agreeing to fund everything would be a commitment to pay up to $1.8 million. That's not going to happen.

I'm not sure I understand your point about a "snub" to items that do not garner enough support. It is very rare for a council person to fund both winning and losing choices. It's definitely not a basis on which any elected official is evaluated. Or should be. Only half of the city council has joined in participatory budgeting. Any member that is involved agrees to let their constituents directly fund up to $1 million in community initiatives. That is something to be applauded...

Clarkson FlatBed said...

If you look at other PB's in other districts, it's actually very common for a) the items not to be fully funded but still receive money in order to fund more projects and/or b) items that lost to receive funding. Above $1 million, it can show up on his overall Capital Requests. PB is just a way for them to decide what their Capital requests should be. In the case of our district, and given that all the requests are worthy of funding, I think it would behoove the Councilperson to fund all of them. It wouldn't bust the bank to do so. I'm also a bit skeptical of the valuations, but that's because I do fundraising and budgets for a living and know they are rarely accurate to the dollar. You always go high!

Believe me, I was as surprised as anyone when our school's losing proposal got funded. But there it is, and I found other examples as well when I went to the District meeting.

I'm not calling into question your service, Seth. You've been a remarkable advocate for the neighborhood and Park in particular. And I'm well aware of the Ditmas Park groups pressing Eugene to participate in PB - they had a huge piece in this. But I assure you, it was not ME's intention to do so until that pressure was felt. He told me as much, back when he was talking to me!

Seth said...

Thanks for the compliments! I guess we agree to partially disagree.