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, May 23, 2017

When Your Bank Says No, Champion Says YES!

Is it all just a game of good-cop bad-cop? Maybe. The City Planning Commission (read: the Mayor) is going forward with the current plans by BFC Partners for the Bedford-Union Armory - they just decided to start the official ULURP process, which does NOT mean a for-certain conclusion. But the battle lines have been drawn. Usually, though not always, the City Council sides with the council person on these matters. T'would be interesting if they didn't in this case, since Laurie has come around to finding the deal insufficiently community controlled. I've discussed the issue ad nauseum, but story keeps giving. It's a terrific metaphor for so many social, political, racial, economic zeitgeist issues.

Maybe my analysis is too grandiose. I think what's really going on is that Laurie Cumbo senses she cannot get re-elected if people feel she has not been sufficiently Lefty on the issue. And by Lefty, I mean Socialist (this is Brooklyn, USA after all). At this moment in political history, it's not enough to be a Democrat. You must defy the very forces of capital and the captains of industry! You must make certain that no one makes any money, even if a few good things might come of it.

Seriously...seriously. That sort of one-up-person-ship as to who is the true progressive - that's what I sense is happening, and not just around the Bedford-Union Armory. In my own life, at the kids' school and work and friendships, I see folks struggling for their very identity in a world turned upside down. It's not okay to side with forces that could be seen as reactionary or pro-business. To do so would be to betray one's liberal bonafides, to side with the Trumpers, to send the country back to its darkest days i.e. last Wednesday. Or was it Thursday?

If you want to know what the Socialist perspective is, why not go to the source? NY Communities for Change is one of the closest organized relatives of the World Workers Party we have going right here in the Windy Apple, as I like to call Brooklyn. Actually I think Brooklyn's outline looks more like an apple than Manhattan, which always struck me as more of a sawed-off shotgun. When I look at the outline of Brooklyn, I actually see the silhouette profile of a bear, sort of a Paddington like fellow, with a funny hat. See how his back leg (bottom right) is in the air, making him look like he's walking leftward? That leg is actually Floyd Bennett Field. And are those little shards of poop coming out of Canarsie, or maybe his backup ruptured sending cheese puffs a-flyin'?

Anyhow, the beef of the matter here is that NYCC is actually deeply involved in the Armory issue, and their participation has shown that the Left, as in the REAL Left, has plenty of kick left in her, not unlike Mrs. O'Leary's cow. It's never too late to set a City on fire, you know.

Here's the latest missive from NYCC, which many of you first encountered as ACORN:

We are not moving forward with the project.”

That’s what Council member Laurie Cumbo said last week about the Bedford Armory deal, but yesterday the City gave the development process the greenlight.1

That means that Mayor de Blasio’s administration will move forward with the project while Laurie Cumbo gets to tell her constituents she’s against this gentrification plan during the election season.

But we can still stop this deal from happening. Laurie Cumbo has the power to finally kill this deal and start over with a new plan for community-controlled, 100% affordable housing at the Bedford Armory.

Tell Council member Laurie Cumbo to stand up to Mayor de Blasio and demand that this project be pulled from the approval pipeline! Call her office at (718) 260-9191.

Laurie Cumbo and the administration are in the middle of playing good cop/bad cop with us, all while leaving Crown Heights stuck with a terrible housing deal.

This is completely unacceptable. Our neighborhoods, homes, and lives are not a game. Laurie Cumbo may say she’s fighting with us, but now she has an opportunity to actually step into the ring and stop this deal from happening.

This deal prioritizes private profit on public land, in a neighborhood that’s facing rapid gentrification and a homelessness crisis. We shouldn’t have to choose between a recreation center and the housing Crown Heights needs.

The only acceptable way forward is to kill the deal and start over under a framework that puts community control front and center. Council member Cumbo should demand that the City stop this process and start over with a deal for 100% affordable housing at the Armory.

Call her office now at (718) 260-9191 and urge her to demand that the City stop the approval process. Click here for a sample script of what to say.

Until we win,

Vaughn Armour
NYCC Member & Crown Heights resident of 16 years

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