|The Real Man of the Hour|
Then Jake and Pearl become the dominant force around here, mostly getting things done and taking no gruff. After Clarence spends time in prison, he states he's done with politics for good. Or is he? There are scores to settle.
First, he needs to get rid of the D.A. that put him behind bars. Stealthily he puts together a solid campaign, from the shadows of course, to knock off the once-unbeatable white Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes with the capable though decidedly not-white Ken Thompson. Ouch how that must have hurt Hynes, the Big Kahuna out in Breezy Point, Rockaways, where it's over 99% Caucasion. The corrupt politician you took down comes back and settles the score, and every day you gotta face the firemen and cops that make up your neighborhood, head hung low.
Next up, get Pearl Miles. In partnership with Borough Hall, now home to your one-time proteges Eric Adams and sidekick Ingrid Gordon, stack the Board with loyalists. Kick out the longtime chair Goldstein. "Help" the Board fire Pearl. The opening leaves an opportunity to replace Pearl with her onetime rival years, your old "friend," though many years after the initial duel! Everyone's older now. Pearl was almost ready to retire. Jake and Norman are likely in their 70s. Carmen? A woman never tells, a man should never guess. Ironically, of course, Pearl, among other things, claims age discrimination.
Crazy side bar? The BP stacked board doesn't even mind that Carmen was last fired by Comptroller Scott Stringer, though in fairness it's been suggested that that was political since Carmen was supporting a Stringer nemesis. She's been the presumed hire for months now, long before the Board went through the charade of putting together a committee and vetting resumes. Apparently, calling for references is no longer part of the hiring process. Unless of course they bothered to call just one - ex-Felon, corrupt boss Clarence Norman, Jr., who I'm quite certain would have offered glowing praise.
Tonight the Board met behind closed doors, again, but this time to seal the deal. And while I didn't stay long enough to see them come back from sequester, suffice to say I'm certain of the outcome. Actually, it was just texted to me. Carmen Martinez will be our District Manager. She'll be the one you call when you need a street tree or to complain that the drains on the street are backed up or to help you get permission for a block party. Oh, and there's the part that IS political, meetings, agenda, access to people and communication between, say, Borough Hall and the Board office, or say, Norman's First Baptist Development company. Pearl never did like Norman or Adams or any of them. She would always tell me they were all cut from the same cloth, that she had to put on blinders and just keep her eye on the work. She'd been called any number of names through the years, and she'd grown weary and wary. Now she's at home, maybe laughing, maybe not. To you, dear reader, I assure you. It's not funny. It's ugly, and it's anything but fair. Of the hundreds of people who applied to be District Manager, the only one the Board finds qualified is...the one we could have told you six months ago was going to get the job. And that was before they placed a single help-wanted ad.
Oh, and did I forget to mention that Carmen Martinez is a current CB9 Board member? Technically that doesn't disqualify her for the job. But she's spent the past couple years getting to know everyone who eventually ended up voting for her. She's even been answering phones at CB9 and holding down the fort while the Board has gone without a single employee in the office. And did I mention that Carmen is actually related to chooser-in-chief Ingrid Gordon by marriage? Of all the people who are qualified, motivated, personable, eager and untainted by controversy and corruption the ONLY one to make it through was Carmen?
Did I mention that I know for a fact that a very qualified woman who has worked for the community before offered her resume a few weeks ago and was told by the head of the new hiring committee that it was too late? "Too late" is after you offer someone the job. They didn't even read this person's resume
Pearl has a lawsuit cooking quite nicely. She wants compensation and she wants her old job back. Her lawyers have deposed any number of influential types, and they'll keep working their way through the list if they can. Alicia Boyd has lawsuits still in play, for shenanigans and foul play. After tonight, it's hard not to agree with her assessment. Even Hector Robertson, who tried desperately to wrest control of the hiring process from the Adams disciples, was dumbfounded at how blatant was the disregard for the community. He ran against, and lost, to Demetrius for the Chair gig tonight. Of course.
Do you remember the bit about how his committee chose three candidates who were NOT Carmen Martinez, then his committee was somehow disbanded for not following "the rules," which is hilarious because the Board rarely adheres to "the rules," except when "the rules" don't guarantee a desired outcome. Folks, this is madness, and you're being used, and there are actual real life consequences. While the Board plays these games, roads aren't becoming safer because of this Board. The neighborhood is being cut up and served to developers while Empire Blvd gets left to fallow. And we continue to have the single least-capable City Councilperson in town, who was actually endorsed in this last election by the Working Families Party, the Borough President and Jessie Hamilton among others more interested in loyalty to the machine than what's best for the neighborhood.
So. It's official. Norman and the BP's office got what they wanted. Part of me is relieved that it's over. But what kind of elected officials - disgraced or otherwise - go to such tremendous lengths to settle scores?
Petty ones. Petty people, with myopic vision and Machiavellian egos. That's who.
Good luck Carmen. Good luck Chairman Lawrence. And good luck Eric Adams, as you try to gain the trust of the electorate, so that they will hand you the keys to the City in 2021. So far, so not so good. I'm so disappointed, but I guess I should've known. The deepest, saddest, most unfortunate disappointment? Adams and I share priorities. He could've risen above it all. And why DID he meet with the AirBnB lobbyists at least five times and accept $32,000 for his non-profit? And to what end? If you're going to run a pay-to-play scheme at least make sure you get $100K minimum.
You can tell a lot about a person's character by the company they keep. Especially when that company is...Clarence Norman, Jr.
I leave you with a quote from then D.A. Hynes about Norman's conviction. Tonight we saw the evidence that Hynes spoke too soon. Voters; beware.
Mr. Hynes saw the conviction yesterday as the nail in the coffin of the Brooklyn Democratic machine, and a cautionary message for anyone who might try to revive it.“We have exposed it for the evil that it is,” Mr. Hynes said. “Any political leader who engages in this kind of rank extortion, and think about it, any political leader who tries this, does so at her or his peril.”
long, long ago.