Given the tenor of the debates, and the issues at stake, one might assume that large numbers of your fellow Leffertsonians and Southern Crown Heightsians would come out and express themselves at the officially sanctioned neighborhood meetings, like Thursday's CB9 ULURP. Maybe you were all at PLGNA's? I wish I'd been there to show support, since AB's been targeting them with a lawsuit meant to destroy them.
There are certain people you WILL see at nearly everything these days. That is, beyond the CB9 Board members who have managed to last this long despite the constant suing and lying and misinformation campaigns of MTOPP and its fearless leader. Board members who have been brave stalwarts include Warren Berke, Michael Liburd, Fred Baptiste, Zorina Frederick, Pia Raymond, Musa Moore, Yaacov Behrman, Beverly Newsome and others. They've managed to stay engaged and informed, though I often disagree with their sentiments and the pace of their deliberations. Regardless of what their nemeses may say, they do not have deep ulterior motives to do anything but be civically engaged and compassionate neighbors. (One, Denise Mann, seems to hate everyone and everything, but she's an exception. I've never seen her smile. If it's a medical thing I apologize.) Sure, some, like District-Manager-In-Waiting Carmen Martinez and many others are deeply involved in the affairs of local elected officials. They are, after all, chosen by the Borough President and Council Members from applications and supporters. So if you're looking to demonize them, I suppose you could say they're TOO deeply involved in local politics. Which is, of course, absurd. That's the whole point isn't it? Taking a deep interest in local politics? There's even enough of them - 50 in all - that creating monolithic decision-making is nearly impossible. From what I can ascertain, none of them are getting rich off connections or backroom deal-making. They hold beliefs and agenda like anyone else. (Thank god. We're gonna need every opinionated liberal on the planet to fight the Orange Bonehead-elect.)
So I mean to say that it's the non-Board members that seem to number around a dozen, all committed to poking holes in any and every effort to discuss or decide issues of importance to the neighborhood's future. Not that they're not entitled to their opinion. But it would be nice if that opinion weren't accompanied with shouts, accusations, interruptions and slurs - and ultimately tantrums when they sense they aren't getting their way.
The rallying cry continues to be Empire Blvd. Local anti-gentrification gentrifier Janine Nichols put it the below way on her MTOPP mouthpiece, the wince inducing-ly named Whitey on Whitey. She's referring to another perfectly reasonable group of neighbors to your north who are trying to landmark their area - the Crown Heights South Association (CHSA), led by architect and neighbor Evelyn Tully Costa. Like every other local group with an acronym or membership, they're in the crosshairs now too. Here's Whitey in her own Whords:
I suggest that it would be more useful for CHSA, whoever they are, to join our ongoing fight to prevent the Dept of City Planning (Plotting) from rezoning Crown Heights, and in particular Empire Boulevard. If DCP succeeds in rezoning Empire from commercial to residential, Black Crown Heights will become Williamsburg. No amount of landmarking will change that.There it is. The central thesis. Given that Nichols (white) and Boyd (not white), and workhorse acolytes like Elizabeth Mackin (white) are textbook gentrifiers themselves, it's laughable that they should be the face of keeping the neighborhood black and (enter stereotype) poor. As if their tactics were working in the slightest, right? They're homeowners, folks who moved here because this is where they could afford. Nichols actually complained the other night about having been priced out of Park Slope; Boyd out of Cobble Hill. And Mackin bought a house on Lefferts all of, I dunno, three years ago now? Don't get me wrong here. I don't find their presence in the neighborhood to be a problem in the slightest. It's the galling hypocrisy, and the thinly veiled disdain for their fellow gentrifiers, as if somehow holding the right social and political views washes away guilt like so much turpentine. Then to USE the plight of renters, caught in the crosshairs of so much market topsy-turvy, to use them to their advantage, all the while opposing any and all below-market rate home creation...it beggars belief.
I guess that's the answer, right? You don't go to these meetings because you probably want nothing to do with that nonsense either. And yet, that's the soup of the day, and right now, there's a gadfly in it. Waiter, oh waiter???