What you're about to read may shock you. A prophylactic Klonopin may be in order. It would appear, on close inspection, that the ill-fated motion to rescind CB9's Zoning Study Resolution has...PASSED AFTER ALL. That's right. The vote count was wrong. So even though 18 members of the Board in September were new and had little knowledge of what was being voted on (since the meeting itself was meant to inform them but there was no chance of that given the screaming and yelling, and some even complained after that they didn't realize a "yes" vote was actually a "no" vote) even the tally itself was reported wrong. In a nearly epic display of Keystone-Copsism, the motion to rescind did in fact pass. Adding a note of irony to the proceedings is the fact that your correspondent - the Q - had actually just left the auditorium before the motion vote, sensing that the meeting had been a dismal failure and that his presence was not needed, especially because there was no plan to vote on anything, it having just been summer and there was nothing on the agenda or committee reports to vote on, until Fred Baptiste blindsided everyone by giving in to Alicia's ranting. Meaning had I stayed, and voted "nay" as would have been my preference, the motion actually would have FAILED, because it would have been an even number of ay's against a combination nays/abstentions, meaning no majority of yeses as required by the City charter. I mean, how nuts is that? Once again, you can blame it on the Q.
Words cannot convey the supreme absurdity that has accompanied a seemingly straightforward attempt to make updates and improvements to the 50 year-old zoning rules that led to a certain 23 story tower at 626 Flatbush. At this point, I'm flabbergasted that so much energy and time has been wasted on this sh#tshow.
Here's the smoking vid from which Alicia made her astute observation about the real count:
There's a lot of hilarious moments in that, but I suspect you're not prepared to give up an hour and forty minutes of your precious time. And rather than post all the pictures of the tally sheets, I encourage you to simply go over to MTOPP's website if you want the whole sordid history with footnotes. The gist - a couple votes were tallied the wrong way, which made it appear that there weren't enough "yes" votes to rescind. Before you jump to the assumption that someone rigged the vote, I would remind that MOST people voted to rescind and we all figured it was passing anyway so there was no reason to fudge. Seems secretary Rosemarie Perry or Pearl or whoever was writing them down didn't do themselves or us any favors here.
It was an error, a human error. But costly, when you consider the fact that now Alicia and her acolytes have more ammunition to accuse the Board of corruption and deceit. For all I know, this could turn out very badly for the current Executive Committee, whom I suppose with all the legal paper floating around could be forced to resign or at least eat some public humble pie. Though the easier route, and the one that I've been pushing them to take at every opportunity I get, is to just send it back to committee and let the chips fall where they may. I get why Board members are loathe to do that, feeling they've been bullied into it. Now I believe there's no getting around it. You have to respect the motion and go back to committee. I'm actually hoping the Board appoints a Parliamentarian, because they're completely lost when it comes to procedure. That person could be me, since I offered, but the Board chair has decided he doesn't like me and is probably not going to do that. So an outsider might be forgiven for thinking the whole circus has gone from very "high school" to very "junior high." At the last meeting, I sat in front of two of the Hasidic board members whom I'm friendly with, and they were making hilarious side-comments throughout, which made me feel that I had in fact turned back the clock to 1980 in my junior high auditorium, though in Ames IA there were 100% fewer Orthodox Jews. Despite the heckles being occasionally in Yiddish, it was pretty much the same scene as when Kathy Gradwohl ran for student council.
In a related story, this week I was at a Town Hall organized by the Washington Avenue block association. That loooooooonnnnng block runs from Eastern Parkway to Empire, and is interestingly MOSTLY as developed as it can be, given the extraordinary five and six story pre-war structures currently on it. Plus, two new projects that are coming on line (and therefore not affected by any talk of zoning changes that wouldn't take place for a couple years anyway) will flesh it out. There's a fair amount of low-rising fruit and parking and vacant lots and vacant to the east that seems likely to rise into housing at some point. One thing to note: many in attendance would start their question by saying "I keep reading that...", and of course what they've been reading is the MTOPP literature and emails that get pretty much every point wrong. Adams was clearly annoyed by that, but generally kept his cool.
Anyways, the BP started the Q&A by laying into Alicia, although not by name, for a hate-filled campaign that the night before had exploded on a scene down in Ditmas Park, where neighbors gathered with Adams and Councilmen Eugene and Williams to talk about crime amidst a current spree of armed robberies. Apparently, Miss Boyd (you can read the meeting's play-by-play
) made it very clear that she considered gentrification to be the cause for current criminal strife and and hijacked a meeting about "solutions" and turned it into a referendum on housing. Which, while important, was hardly the point, and instead of "coming together" as the politicians like to say, insults were hurled and anger stoked.
What the hell? So anywho, there's Adams and his zoning guy Richard Bearak once again saying what they've said for a half a year, which is that they will not abide tall towers, only six stories max, to be built within the CB9 zoning study. And he made it pretty clear that Boyd had made it impossible for people to talk to each other and that he had even reached out to her and she had told him "I hate you" and would do everything in her power to make sure he fails to meet his development goals.
Oh, and did the Q tell you about her performance at the CB9 meeting on Tuesday? After threatening to shut down the meeting because the allotted time for public comment had expired and some people weren't gonna be able to talk, the dude from Medgar Evers offered to cede his presentation time to hear from the remaining speakers. Which I figured Dwayne Nicholson and company should have done anyway since there were only four more speakers lined up and what the hell give them their time at the mic. They mostly said the same old stuff - mad as hell and ain't gonna take it anymore - so there wasn't much to report there.
BUT...Boyd actually brought up a prop for her passionate and tear-filled performance. A young boy. He was, according to Boyd, about to be evicted the following day. There was no information provided on the why, but she claimed she was not fight for herself, but rather fighting for him and his mother (who was in the room) despite the fact that zoning has pretty much NOTHING to do with housing laws for current residents. During her speech, a few of the well-connected officials in attendance offered up their help to keep them in their home, but she not deterred. She went on to say that the young boy would end up in the awful homeless shelter system where (and this floored me) he will be subject to sexual abuse. She actually suggested to us all that the boy she was using as a prop was going to be sexually abused because we were not giving in to her position, whatever that is.
That, my friends, was the single most despicable act I've seen in these public meetings and I've seen a few. That kid was right there. In front of us all. Being paraded like a pygmy at a carnival and told he had horrible inhuman acts to look forward to in his near future. And it was at this point that something came out of Boyd's mouth that I suspect was not a malaprop. She used the word "we" and "us" in a couple of instances that made it quite clear to me that she considered such abuse to be something that she was familiar with. I could, of course, be mistaken, but suddenly my memory of conversations with folks who have had the unthinkable happen in their own childhoods suddenly came to me as a possible reason for the healing non-profit that she started and the mania that I've seen on display when she fights for the "dispossessed." At the very least, SOMEthing is going on here that for the life of me I can't explain, and perhaps the explanation is something human, something horrible, or at the very least psychological. I'm no expert, but I can recognize pain disguised by furor when I see it. And Tuesday's performance betrayed pain at the core, and suddenly I have no interest in assailing her character. Were I a praying man, perhaps this would be the time.
That's all from your seeking-humble correspondent, and I hope that all's well in your world as you enter the T-Giving week, which despite the hype I still try to imbue with gratitude for the remarkably bountiful and politically stable life that many of us have been merely born into, not earned. Thus the gratitude, to the fates or to your higher power. Because while Democrats and Republican might be tearing each other new ones, much of the rest of the world seems gripped with a homicidal passion from God so powerful that it would deny every human being in its path the right to live peaceably, if live at all.
God, so he tells me, has taken no position on the rezoning plan for CB9.