Despite the fact that private citizen Alicia Boyd is neither elected nor appointed to any public office or position, she will now be negotiating with the Department of City Planning, developers and (potentially, if she shows up) Councilperson Laurie Cumbo, on the fate of the neighborhood just east of the beloved Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
To the Q, this is such a stunning and undemocratic turn of events that I fail to understand how any sitting judge would see fit to offer Boyd and her cronies such enormous bargaining power ON OUR BEHALF and without scrutiny. (Story in Brooklyn Eagle)
Check this insanity out. For a crew who spends most of their time decrying a lack of transparency in civic matters, this "private session" crap takes the crumbcake:
Boyd agreed to participate in the settlement talks, which will take place in a private session in the judge’s chambers, and will include lawyers for the entities they are suing. Boyd, Ellis and Hollingsworth are suing City Councilmember Laurie Cumbo, the Department of City Planning and its Director Marisa Lago, plus Winston Von Engel, who is the department’s Brooklyn director. The City Planning Commission and the city Buildings Department are also targeted in the suit.
Think about it...the Community Board by law has a role to play in the ULURP (zoning changes) process. Those 50 members of the community represent many walks of life and mindsets. Their job is to deliberate and make recommendations. The elected Borough President weighs in. The duly elected Councilperson decides, follows by a full-Council vote, again consisting of elected officials. Also in the mix are the landowners and developers and the Department of City Planning, beholden to the (elected) Mayor and his housing and job and economic growth initiatives.
And then, there's un-elected, un-expert and un-civil Ms. Alicia Boyd (with Janine Nichols and Nichola Cox and LaShaun Ellis among others). The scorched-earth Boyd continues to pummel all things deliberative and decent, sitting in a room with the powers that be, deciding your fate through supposed "good faith" negotiations. She's entitle to sue, though god knows it's gotten her (and us) nothing. But negotiating on our behalf?
Don't get me wrong. The Q argued for height limits long before Boyd became Queen of Empire Boulevard. Had we negotiated the zoning changes years ago we would not be here today, vainly attacking one building projects at a time. She'll tell you she's a hero, but it's crucial to remember she got us into this mess to begin with.
At bottom, the movement to protect you (the people) had things to say in their latest missive to supporters. Hey, they're entitled to their opinion. And apparently, they're entitled to YOURS too, in a private session in judge's chambers.
Here's your heroes, and the actual renderings, rather than the hyperbole put forward by Boyd and co. And remember, this isn't even the REALLY big buildings being proposed, the ones that even the garden is pissed about. Though, after Boyd's mistreatment, the BBG wants nothing to do with what otherwise would be a natural ally. I'm betting the Garden will come out okay, albeit with more buildings in the horizon. Democracy and civility however, will continue to take hits on the regular.
|photo by Lore Croghan of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle|