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.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Definitive Article on MTOPP and Boyd?

pic RHS - Yes that's yours truly taking a bath in Alicia's spit
Rachel Holliday Smith attempts to describe the last few months of disruption and divisiveness in an objective manner. God bless her. I know I couldn't do it!

From her article today in DNAInfo. Please read it on the DNA site and give her the "clicks" she deserves. Nicely done, Rachel.

CROWN HEIGHTS — Last September, a woman with a booming voice and shock of curly gray hair walked into the middle of a Community Board 9 meeting and slammed down papers serving the executive board and District Manager Pearl Miles with a lawsuit.
“This community board has been hiding behind all kinds of bulls--t!” shouted Alicia Boyd, the head of an activist group of local residents calling themselves Movement to Protect the People, which had recently been formed to protest the board’s effort to begin a study of rezoning parts of its district in Crown Heights and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens.
“We are not playing!”

Since Boyd likes to knock the RWDs, or Rich White Developers (and who doesn't these days? It's as popular as being "for education"), and since she heavily supported Geoffrey Davis in the Assembly election, and since he got less than 5% of the vote, perhaps I should start referring to her as the leader of the Four Percenters, because that's about as much support as she's drawing right now. As she continues to claim she speaks "for the community," she becomes increasingly marginalized by attacking every single person and group that dares cross her in any way. Now - shockingly - she's turned her ire at the Crown Heights Tenants Union for its support of Diana Richardson. Apparently all the idealistic young white people who've joined forces with longtime tenants of color are simply working for the Man and ready to take over when the timing's right. Any natural ally gets trashed. It's truly, truly remarkable to watch this "piece of work" at work. Though I'm trying desperately to watch from a distance, rather than sit in front of her like in the above picture and try to be Zen. I don't do Zen well.


Zach S said...

It is a good article, although I wish it tried to tackle the most important issues, like what maintaining the status quo means for development in our community vs. what a zoning study would accomplish - the possible consequences, in other words, of this prolonged battle. But I understand that no one has a crystal ball (at least not one that predicts the future at any rate).

I'm glad that Rachel highlighted the silence of the CB in the face of Boyd's screaming - "Questions from MTOPP about simple parliamentary procedure, how long public comment periods would be, which board members ran CB9’s committees and how, precisely, the rezoning resolution had been written were met with repeated silence from the board’s leaders."

I've said it before, but Alicia Boyd became the de facto leader in this debate because she was the only one who acted like a leader. Everyone realizes that the members of CB and ULURP were in a very uncomfortable position with someone standing up and screaming and interrupting at every possible opportunity. But the response, more often then not, was silence, and that's unacceptable. I assume the reasoning was that by allowing Boyd to scream throughout public meetings, everyone else in attendance would quickly realize that she isn't the kind of person who would be willing to work together with CB to come to some sort of mutually agreeable solution. That line of reasoning was correct. Everyone realizes she will never listen to others and work together and come to a compromise. In politics, even local politics, that's enough to get you shunned from the process, because politics IS compromise and consensus. But to many others, the domination of a public meeting looks like power and leadership, and people are drawn to that. Especially when the alternative is people sitting at a table at the front of the room in silence looking embarrassed, playing on their phones and clearly wanting to be anywhere else but at the meeting.

Anyway, I don't mean to criticize too much. It's very easy for me and others to observe these meetings without having to be the person at the front of the room who would have to confront Alicia Boyd. Laurie Cumbo gave it a shot in February and we all saw how that went. If the CB is indeed ditching the resolution, I hope they're allotting some of their newly available time to trying to figure out how to deal with members of the public whose goal is to shut down public meetings by screaming over everyone else who tries to participate.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

In my colleague's defense, no one had any idea how to deal with it. I think some of us kept thinking it would just go away eventually. There were a lot of meetings behind the scenes trying to figure out what was legally possible to get things moving; but even the cops took their sweet time removing her. Remember, the CB is just a bunch of volunteers. I think they (not me) showed remarkable restraint, actually.

The whole point was to let everyone speak, then deliberate. But we never got to. You could argue it was our fault - but there was never a clear path, and frankly no one on the board had the experience to deal with it.

But I would never, EVER characterize what Boyd's been doing as leadership. No one that I know likes her or wants to work with her. She has maybe 10 buddies total and they're all equally cranky and uncooperative. I don't know on what planet that's called leadership! It's divisive, mean and ultimately destructive. She may have gotten her way, but she didn't lead anything.

Curious27 said...

I wonder if she's still got her pro bono attorney working with her or if he's moved on as well

Alex said...

Great article. Hats off to Rachel. I've been waiting for this kind of summary of the situation here. Until now, most coverage has been pretty poor.

Zach S said...

Welp, in the article Rachel described Boyd as a "divisive, vocal and highly effective leader." Leadership doesn't mean making friends, being popular, or even making a coherent point, as Boyd has demonstrated.

Again, I don't mean to be too critical; it's clear to anyone who witnessed any of the meetings that she created an incredibly difficult situation. An almost hilariously ironic one, too - there's nothing like watching someone demand that public feedback be incorporated into the process, as the same person screams over everyone else in the public that's trying to get their feedback incorporated into the process.

Alex said...

I found the factual errors in the Voice piece on her to be rather annoying. The worst was the claim that she started MTOPP as a result of 626 Flatbush. Nope.

MikeF said...

It really doesn't matter if she goes away or not. Or, if CB9 ever gets its act together.

Both CB9 and MTOPP are way above their heads, and would be even if they joined forces.

Anonymous said...

Good article. But I despise MTOPP and its leaders' outrageous behavior/remarks. Just now, after looking on the MTOPP website, I read this little nugget of ridiculousness:

"When I was a little girl growing up in Brooklyn I remember seeing pictures of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and thinking why does everyone love her, she is so ugly. But as I have grown in wisdom I have realized the truth . . ."

It seems that, even trying to applaud people, she/they go out of their way to insult them (and, I'm sorry, stating that "[Shirley Chisholm] is so ugly" wasn't necessary to get the point across and is disrespectful.

Caucasian Please said...

I have heard that several political parties are considering shelling out 6 figure sums to have MTOPP, and Ms. Boyd endorse their political opponents.

Not sure if that's just a rumor???

Christopher said...

@zach I know Joe Ricketts claims that DNAinfo is independent of his political beliefs, but he and his family (except for one daughter) are so deeply embedded in RNC and rightwing circles that I have a little trouble trusting their agenda. It's definitely pro status quo.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

Do those six figures include the ones to the right of the decimal point? Cause I guarantee it ain't worth more than a couple hundred bucks.

And how many political parties are there? You note several. Let's see...there's the Love Yourself Party. The Go With Your Gut Party (GWYG). The Time To Elect Someone Different Than My Opponent Party. The Rent Is Too Damn High Party. The Looks Like A Duck, Swims Like A Duck and Quacks Like A Duck It's Probably A Duck Party. The Garden Party. The South Is the New North Party. The Melons & Gourds Party. The Party Party. The Pizza Party. The Drop A Few Pounds Party. The So Bored I'm Fixin' To Cook Party. The Turn That Music Down Party.

Oh, and the Republican Party.

Which ones did you hear the rumor about?