Today it's official. The Q's five year odyssey as Community Board 9 member formally comes to a close. Yesterday he met with Ingrid Martin of the Borough President's office, and it's clear that he's not ingratiated himself enough with Borough Hall to make the cut. And yes, it matters whether or not you're in with the BP when it comes to doing the CB9, long the heart of then-State Senator Adams' district. Appointments are made to people the BP knows and trusts - Ingrid was clear on that. But the Q learned a ton more during his mtg at "The People's House," had some good laughs with Ingrid, and now feels strangely free. Ms. Martin lives in our neighborhood. Grew up here. Has been with Eric for ages and ages as trusted #2. No, says she, the decisions have been made, and I'm not being re-upped. Au revoir, les enfantes. And yes, the Q's sometimes cynical view of local politicians did not help his case.
As IM noted, as a member of the peanut gallery I can now take the gloves off against our common enemy AB. I don't think she fully knows the degree to which I've bare-fisted it even while on the Board these past years. And maybe I'll just skip the whole CB thing. It's been severe taxing to my nervous system. But like any great wreck, it's hard not to rubber neck. (That's a sweet line for a C&W tune. Feel free to nab it if you like.)
I've heard for the past couple years since Eric Adams' wholesale shakeup of the Board that my days were numbered, despite making allies and enemies a-plenty. But yesterday I saw the official sheets with my name upon them, showing that BP Adams actually never appointed me in the first place. I was a Marty Markowitz appointee who was given a one year extension by Councilman Mathieu Eugene. That is hilarious of course; the guy hates me, and only realized he'd oopsed when asked whether he wanted to give it to me again. I even learned that he didn't bother to make a recommendation for one of his Councilperson recommendation slots, and the BP asked if they could fill it for him and he said yes. I got that spot in what's called a mid-term reappointment, meaning I was finishing someone else's term.
Ousted chair Rabbi Jake Goldstein tells me that's absurd and never happens - only new appointments get the one-year treatment. Sorry Jake. It happens now. And I hate to be the one to tell you: the "old ways" are over. Jake has been ousted from the Board altogether, along with other longtime members. In Jake's case, of course, he was Chair for nearly 30 years, and canning him entirely is a kinda big dis to the Jewish Community. It's score settling time! First DM Pearl Miles, then Jake, then the rest of the old crew. Ed Fanning. Mike Cetera. Lots of others. Is Jake pissed? Damn straight. He's not going down without whatever fight he can manage, and he says he has "the goods to take them all down." We'll see! Read all about the suit here. I talk to Jake on the regular. Talk about stories!
But you won't hear the Q getting involved in any lawsuits. And the one against me by AB will go nowhere. CB's can be great deliberate bodies, and can help create tighter communities. This one? Nope. If anything it's torn apart what community existed here, especially by having to absorb so many new faces so fast. That chaos and naivete made Alicia Boyd possible. Maybe I'll come back some day, after Eric and Ingrid and this current crew have moved on. Which is likely just five years away, when Eric makes his (already announced) bid for Gracie Mansion.
To my count, 27 seats of 50 have changed persons in just two years. With an over-50% turnover I'd say you can count on CB9 lining up tightly with the BP for the foreseeable future. In particular, I expect that Carmen Martinez (Ingrid was clear that she's always been their first choice) will get the gig. The first hiring committee was disbanded, ostensibly for not having a quorum at all its meetings. But when Martinez didn't make the final cut, somehow we now have a new process. And guess what? Carmen's on the list! She's qualified of course. But I took the opportunity to warn Borough Hall that hiring someone who has been fired for "stealing time" and who is linked to a disgraced politician and convicted felon (Clarence Norman, Jr.) may be legal, but it's not going to sit well with a lot of folks. Sure, the firing of Martinez was probably political. Carmen had been working on a campaign of a Scott Stringer opponent, while working in Scott's office. And so he found a way to fire her. Or so the story goes. Ingrid and most Norman pals HATED Pearl Miles with a passion. She's still pushing her lawsuit through the courts by the way. And if she succeeds, you know what one of her demands is? Her old job back. How odd would that be? (Let me be clear - I disliked Pearl's rabid personality but thought she was extraordinarily effective. I think Carmen's super competent. But I don't think putting someone so politically toxic is a good idea for a civil servant job charged with serving EVERYone in the community. I think the plan will backfire. We'll see.)
What's fascinating to the Q is that he, me, is on board with nearly every one of the BPs objectives, including but not limited to, working with City Planning on a neighborhood study and rezoning, building affordable and market rate housing on Empire and making it pretty and commercially diverse, keeping people in their apartments, fighting predatory landlords, encouraging businesses to move here and thrive here, and helping to create an inclusive environment that allows both old Brooklyn and new Brooklyn to live and work peacefully as one. I like the way he both recognizes problems with racial policing AND the realities of youth violence - he was a cop himself. I love, love the way he's turned Borough Hall into "The People's House." Generally speaking, I really like Eric Adams. And after breaking the ice with his First Lieutenant, I found myself really enjoying Ingrid and her passion for doing what she can to help her neighborhood, her community, and the world, better resemble her ideals. She was an activist; but now of course she has to play the role of a political creature, and that means toning down the rhetoric. Unless, of course, you're Donal Trump, who more and more seems some sort of Eastern European style thug-o-crat.
Speaking of the Donald, yesterday I was riding my bike to work, through the park, and needed to pull to the curb, thereby slowing down and riding briefly through the walking/running lanes. A jogger who was approaching shouted "now you're taking over the walking lanes too!" After coming to a stop at the curb, I said as she past "don't worry lady, I'm just pulling over" to which she said loudly "Trumper! You're a Trumper! Go back to Manhattan you Trumper! We don't like your kind in Brooklyn!" I'm still trying to unpack that one. So much stuff there, and yes, I'm almost exactly Trumps size. But the day I see Donald Trump riding a bike in Prospect Park is the day I scrape my jaw off the blacktop. Backpacking and camping with Trump. Eating GORP with him on Earth Day. Arguing which is our favorite Toni Morrison character. Doing a few Sun Salutes. Hugs. Lots of hugs.
What's next for the Q? A shower. Beddy Bye. God Bless you. And God Bless the Borough of Brooklyn.
The Q at Parkside
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.