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.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Who Can Keep Up With All This?

Street Sweeper is back. You know, the kick-ass pizza joint on Rogers that suffered a fire last year? They've got a killer gazebo sitch out back too. Just in time for winter, with heater. A hot-gazzy, as they used to say absolutely nowhere.

Then a florist is moving in next to the record store (still can't believe THAT came to pass) and Honey Badger, the truly quirky but savory (quavory? squirky?) micro-bistro on Fennimore off Flatbush. Gonna have Xmas Trees soon, so says the F-book, which NEVER lies.

Then I find out that Christmas and Jesus are related, and I nearly bust a challah trying to explain THAT to the kids. Why did he have to be so cute, that baby Jesus? Hard to raise agnostic children anymore...

Then, and here's where it gets truly American upscale diner moving into the space next to Greenlight Bookstore at the base of 626 Flatbush? What's that I hear - that parents of Maple Street School parents are opening the place? Ah. And I thought we might finally get a Ruby Tuesday's. But a rube can dream, can't he?

And a reader pointed out that I never mentioned the scrumptious cake, cupcake and gelato triumvirate (or Holy Trinity to sugar addicts like moi) at 664 Flatbush - the brilliantly named J&J Delicious Cakes. You can save a heap of cash over those absurdly costly Boerum Greene and Ft. Gardens shoppes that everybody's rich friend raves about. Keep it local, yokel. The 'hood is alive with the sound of music, mozzarella, mousse, marzipan and morning glories. Ugh. Why does my brain behave this tiring. See you on the Flabenue! (and if you need to deal with some of that flab, we got you covered...with loose fitting garments OR fitness centers. Yes, plural.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Bedford-Union Armory Complex Is Now Officially the Done Deal the Q's Been Telling You It Is For Months

This Is Now Part Of Your Future

Round Halloween, from the sorely missed DNA Info, word came that the NYC Planning Commission approved the plan for the Armory to become housing and rec center - in City-time this whole five year process has been relatively straight-ahead (the bumps, it turns out, were mere bumps - the Q being a bit player I can attest that a whole lot of noise turned out to be just that). And then just yesterday, councilwoman Laurie Cumbo declared victory for the neighborhood, Pyrrhic though it may be, saying she'd extracted the best possible scenario from the proposal by adding more affordable units and nixing the "luxury" condos. (The Q insists on using the quotation marks, because frankly anything new these days gets the "luxury" tag, to the point where buyers roll eyes and haters use the term as a gentrificational pejorative.)

For those not in the groove on this one, the story is remarkable, though hardly unique in the annals of NYC land-use history. I'm gonna try for the layman's version and you can let me know whether I nail or flub it. The short version: the neighborhood gets a big new rec center, an inexpensive one at that, replete with swimming pool, basketball courts and space for community groups. Developer BHC gets to build a big, new signature project in the middle of Brooklyn, one that will surely be its urban calling card, if not its most profitable deal ever. 250 or so below-market rent-stabilized apartments get built; as many more market rate get built. So maybe 1500 new people move to the neighborhood, a great many of them white and professional, and the juggernaut of gentrification continues unabated. Housing activists feel they got nothing. Developers feel they lost millions. The elected officials are grateful the election happened beFORE the final decision (coincidence? I think not).

And while the site rests on City property, no new public housing will be built. And the Q would add that if the City can't find its way to build any truly affordable housing for those struggling below the poverty line RIGHT HERE, it clearly has little will to build it anywhere. One might say without hyperbole - the days of NYC being affordable to the working, senior or disabled poor are officially winding down. To say otherwise, in the midst of a humanitarian housing crisis of obscene proportions in this City of Trump, would be to tell a bald faced lie. Or bold faced lie. Maybe both.

This is America folks, in 2017. It is the land of entitled greed. The land of populism. The land of anti-immigrant fervor. The land of anti-anti-immigrant bark but no bite. The land of guns, drugs, overindulgent consumerism, vulgar and violent entertainment, voting-in sexual predators, and to top it all off - liberals apparently unable to do anything about any of it. Because, among many many other things, and let's get real here, nobody REALLY wanted poor people moving into newly built housing along the 2 and 5 lines. It's just and La Guardian and icky.

For a moment in the Empire Blvd Farce and Bedford Union Armory battles we were witnessing a strange mixing of true lefty activism and NIMBYist anti-development tantrum-ing. To the Crown Heights Tenants Union, homeless advocates, NY Communities for Change (nee ACORN), Flatbush Tenants Union, Equality for Flatbush and more I'll re-up my advice: you have no true allies in the halls of power and the tree-lined streets of Brooklyn. Ripping through Community Board meetings and carrying signs and marching does little more than prove, in the eyes of the deciders, that YOU are the ones out of touch, and thereby, out of luck. Good riddance, you can almost here them saying.

Were there ever a moment for Great Cities to explode into chaos, here in 21st Century USA, I'd have to guess this is it. Something must be holding back the rioting, looting and burning...low unemployment perhaps? Trump shock? Tough policing? Or is this just the calm before the hurricane that finally convinces us that income inequality is just as dangerous as climate change?

And make no mistake. It's ALL about the gap between rich and poor. They will write our story, the Obama-Trump-?? story, and they will wonder how we didn't see it coming. We were focused on the reckless and rude snake-oil salesman, missing the real problems behind the Brash Baby Man. It's dangerous stuff, but maybe not in the ways that we and the Media Elite keep telling us.

Either that or this year's The Bachelor will merge with Game of Thrones, Walking Dead and American Idol to create a truly un-missable season of mind-numbing suspense and can't-look-away repulsive sexual tension. Oh, and check out the new X Box, iPig and self-driving social media convertibles from Amazon Prime Whole Foods Venture Capital Silicon Home Delivery Gluten-Free Yoga Uber anyway "Where's the Fuck Is My Charger????"

Friday, November 17, 2017

Flatbush Zombie House - Expectations Be Damned

The Q is typically full of opinions, but I can't manage a single up, down or sidewise on this particular new business called Flatbush Zombie House, which seems to be taking off quite nicely as a new neighborhood nightclub, just next to famed Peppa's Jerk Chicken off Woodruff on Flatbush. Somehow without being from the Islands, the owners seem to have embraced the Caribbean flavor of the neighborhood in a big way. With a tiki bar. As if tiki is an actual thing. And it's named almost exactly after an acid-ingesting rap group, quite bizarre and oddly excellent band actually those Flatbush Zombies, but not related, though I'll bet they'll drop by off the Dollar Van at some point. Or Dollar Limo, cuz they sell a ton of music, and outcast kids really dig 'em. With a love for Dance Hall and hip-hop, and island-themed drinks, right next to a storied Jamaican take-out joint - so many things happening at the Flatbush Zombie House I can hardly make sense of it all. See for yourself on the vid below:

Every time I peek in (theQ don't drink so a peek is how I roll) it seems great. The crowd reflects the full range of neighborhood flavor, though (of course) skewing to the young, professional side. Drinks ain't cheap, even in dimly lit bars anymore. Hip, not trying too hard. Great reviews on the Online. Seems like a winner to me.

I'll be you're wondering what THE Q always thought would be a winner, and I'm sure you were. Check this out - I call it Chuck E Cheese After-Hours. You take that Chuck E Cheese at the Atlantic Mall, and once the kids stream out around 8pm you turn it into the wackiest club ever. Dance music, even live music (they have a stage after all), heavy bands etc. Maybe partner with the Chucky film franchise for a real chilly Halloween vibe.



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Coffee Shop Opens and The Q's Guide To Gentlemanly Behaviour

Since this is ostensibly a blog about the neighborhood, just let me note that a cute little coffee shop and kids clothes store opened on the west side of Flatbush between Parkside and Beekman, 696 to be exact. Called "Loud Baby." Love it! And a restaurant is going to move into 626 Flatbush's other retail space - that should put a lot of rumors to rest, though still not sure what sort of place. Methinks bourgie to go with the tower, but methinks wrong sometimes. Speaking of...

It has come to the Q's attention of late that many male titans of arts, politics & industry regularly read The Q at Parkside (too many to list, I'm afraid. too too many...) It has also come to the Q's attention that many of these powerful men (and they are nearly all men, let's admit) have allowed their God-given sexual appetites to cloud their moral vision. Any man of sound mind should understand the difference between consent and non-consent, and yet these very "sane" men often claim that they were engaging in consensual behaviour - over years and years and dozens of occasions -- only to find that "whoops," they're knee-deep in legal and professional scandal. My guess is that most of them loosened their definitions of consent over time to meet their fetishes and, receiving no push-back from their colleagues, media or law enforcement, came to the jaundiced conclusion that their behaviour was well within the limits of reasonable, though naughty, behavior. They were just being bold, taking the bull by the horns (so to speak), behaving with rough masculinity, or maybe they even managed to convince themselves that this was all well within the realm of kinky but normal sexual behavior.

So for those of you - ye great men of overflowing passions and enviable success - if you seem befuddled by the outcry, I would like to offer some advice from the heart. The Q is no Lothario or great lady's man, or even a particularly adept suitor. He has, however, mostly handled his personal and carnal affairs with a degree of dignity, and so I offer these few "Q" tips for your edification.

Business is Business: When conducting business, even informal or "after-hours" business, do not attempt to negotiate matters of the flesh. That is to stay - keep your jimmy in its cage. Don't refer to it. Don't engage it. In fact, don't press your luck by going in for anything more than a handshake where warranted. You are in a place of work, even when that place LOOKS like a place of play. If there is a current, past or potential business relationship involved, always err on the professional, the dignified, the gentlemanly.

Why? It is illegal, unseemly and abusive to use your professional standing to push your advantage sexually. That's it! Simple. Doesn't matter if you're a Senator or Manager of a Burger King. No sex, or even flirtation. If the woman is interested in pursuing something she will do so, and you will not miss the signs. Promise.

Done? Hardly.

Sex, if you hadn't noticed by your own predilections and histories, is a barely understood and somewhat distant bi-product of reproduction. At best. What turns you on is no one's businesses and anybody's guess, unless you come out and say it (or in frightfully many cases, SHOW it without so much as a warning.) But even the most taboo fetishes are difficult to contain, particularly for men I think. Some are relatively banal - guys who are turned on by this part of the anatomy or another, or tall or short or dark-skinned or platinum blondes or legs or fingers or, I dunno, nostrils. Then there are the somewhat socially acceptable fetishes - positions, activities, orientation, role playing. It gets kinkier of course, but even those things (so I hear) become erotic and playful within consenting situations. Some of them might even LOOK like illegal or inappropriate behavior. But again, the consenting adults have made plans and safe words and maybe even a list of do's and don'ts. Fair enough. Rules within rules.

All of that requires enormously clear communication and trust. And while many of us engage in or say we're fine with "casual" sex, particularly when participants are single, the words "casual" and "clear communication" don't really line up. What's the result? Lots of unwanted "hookups" and awkward, perhaps even demeaning experiences to relay down the road to friends, therapists or fellow inmates. Why, women might ask, would it be so hard for men to remain dignified in the sexual realm, to know how to keep their libidos in check, to recognize the signals accurately and to proceed only when given the clear green light? Ever seen a guy go uber-ape when he IS given the green light? There's your answer. The floodgates unleashed, watch out downstream. Same for women of course. Once the gloves are off, it's a fool's bet to figure what's to come of it.

Not for a minute would I excuse ungentlemenly behavior, in any way shape or form. But I have two young daughters, and I'm not going to leave them in the dark. Men want sex. They are clever animals, but animals nonetheless, with not a particularly noble ancestry. And they have but one primary biological imperative. To say that we have somehow moved beyond that basic animal fact is ludicrous. Try telling a horny teenager to better manage his hormones. Not bloody likely.

If we've decided (or perhaps I should say if we decide FOR REAL) that we want our boys to grow up understanding what's happening to them, sexually, when biology and maybe their buddies are telling them one thing but morality says another...we're going to have to do a hell of a lot better job explaining something that for many of us adults is barely comprehensible. The blind leading the blind; or the libidinally confused leading the pubescently challenged.

Are you, my male reader, fully in charge of your sex drive? If you do you must have an extra special chromosome that I've yet to encounter in the real world. Perhaps you've found a good mitigant - religion or some spiritual practice, some tonic or potion, maybe anti-depressants. Maybe you've been castrated (nothing wrong with that of course!) Or perhaps you've got one of those socially taboo fetishes that have forced you to push it all down, way way down, like so many Catholic priests have done to the detriment of legions of young boys (and girls) again and again and again and again. On some level, I can't believe this conversation hasn't been decided. There are temptations that will leave even the best-intentioned man to wander far from his supposed morals. Unchecked, by power or station, we have Mr. Hydes to contend with.

Biology does NOT favor women in the species when it comes to sexual coercion. Size, patriarchy, testosterone and physical strength conspire, as does the tendency for men to band together with like-minded brothers to reinforce the worst in behaviors. There is no progress without an open dialogue in the home, with boys, with colleagues, about the true power of the sex drive, and like absolute power, its ability to corrupt absolutely.

There are those who will say that these high-profile cases from C.K. to Harvey to Cosby to Trump to Roy "Dick" Moore are about power, not sex. And I will take heat for what I'm about to say next I'm sure. I will say they are about sex first - but that the men are using their power to get the sex. That is, they do what all men do at every station in life. They use whatever tools they have available to convince a woman to have sex with them. Good looks, nice bod, hot car, good sense of humor, good father instincts, good timing, liquor...yes, yes any man who tells the truth will tell you he uses whatever advantage he can find to attract a mate (and I do mean mate in the most carnal sense, as well as the more Victorian rituals of pair-bonding). OF COURSE there are also other aspects of mating that are special and outsized in our species - including love and friendship and a desire for lifelong mating and shared child-rearing. But when sex happens, it happens with a spark that's absolutely insane, counterintuitive, bizarre, and many times far beyond our control. I really don't think we can control the fantasy or the urge, any more than we can control our first thoughts on just a bout anything. We can only seek to choose the right action. But to deny that the urges are there only makes matters worse.

Take Bill Cosby, for example. One of things most people thought and said when they found out that he had essentially been a roofy rapist for years was...gee whiz, the guy is rich and famous and funny. He could have any girl he wants! Really? Well, what if the sex he wants must allow him to drug his partner and have his way with her? How many women might be turned off by that fact? Sure he could have, and probably DID have sex with lots of ladies consensually. But that's not what consumed him (of course I don't know this for a fact; this is conjecture). What drove him crazy to the point of acting out was immoral and illegal, and unlike homesexuality (which was and in some places IS both of those things) I don't see society deciding that roofie rape is suddenly hunky dory. There are probably tens of thousands of Bill Cosby's out there. To think otherwise is foolish. He had the enablers and resources to get away with it for longer than most. But I doubt his predatory predilection is that much different than the average necrophiliac, the pedophile, the person with desire for beasts or family members or any other horrendous sexual deviation that seems to happen in hundreds of thousands or who knows how many people worldwide. You can't lock them all up for their thoughts. You have to figure out how to prevent the acting-out in the first place.

How do we change a culture that encourages, or at least doesn't DIScourage, coercive sex? I don't know to be honest. But it will involve vigilant reporting and authority figures empowered to do something, to SAY something, whenever and however it happens. Men must stand up against other men. Much as I've argued here previously, Trump is WHITE AMERICA'S PROBLEM. He is a symptom of a deep sickness in a fearful and manipulated electorate. 60% of whites voted for the guy. That is ASTONISHING. Take that home to Thanksgiving, and remember to go easy. Screaming at the Trump voting relative is not going to change minds. Appeal to their hearts, to their sense of decency and patriotism. And if that doesn't work, kick them hard and fast in the groin.

It will require all women to recognize they cannot allow a man to get away with the behavior, since not doing so is just kicking it down the hall to the next victim. Women AND men can venerate the truth tellers and castigate the belittlers.

But we also have to tell our boys that they're not sick or immoral for having the fantasies or urges to control women or worse. We have to differentiate between fantasty and reality, and build empathy for those who are vulnerable as an opportunity to own our dignity as modern men, men capable of knowing the difference between right and wrong and then acting accordingly. 

Men: cop to your own darkest fears and fantasies about sex. Then relay your strategies for dealing with them. Your son is not weird for his fetishes. But his dignity, and ours, is in danger if he behaves badly to women. It's really that important, and our daughters deserve it.

Every victim deserves our attention. Every son is a potential sexual assaulter. Let's see that it's not ours, because ours is ALL of ours.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

Judge Rules Against Alicia Boyd, Bigly

Attending a community meeting at which attacktivist Alicia Boyd is shouting and preening is a bit like enduring an un-anaesthetized tooth pulling, minus the relief afterwards. Especially if you're expected to attend, as a member of a committee or community board, to muscle through it without overreaction.  The Q has resolved to keep his Boyd-induced headaches to a minimum in the future. However, unbridled by Board membership, I will allow myself to let loose a roar of my own from time to time. I find her most enduring when she's calling me a fat white fuck, or FWF for short.

Because he has found her behavior so endlessly compelling, the Q kept you abreast of the self-taught lawsuits that brought the board to its knees, and caused not one, not two, but three chairs to step down. Not to mention the bitter firing of its longtime district manager, and the utter chaos that kept the neighborhood from engaging with the Dept of City Planning on a Zoning Study. (So glad we dodged THAT bullet! It's not like development isn't proceeding full-speed-ahead. Except for Empire, which remains incredibly dumpy considering a booming economy and full-fledge housing crisis. Ouch. I think I just felt my tooth hurting again...)

As I've said before, if you want a copy of the full ruling just email me. I've read the whole thing and here's the summary:

Boyd and Janine Nichols wanted the letter that was drafted to City Planning to be nullified because it was drafted "in secret." The judge said it was not drafted in secret. In fact, I was at the open-to-the-public meeting where we discussed it and voted on it.  A first draft had gone around to committee members by email, if that's what was bugging her. And no, she was not cc'd. What a shitshow that woulda been. The meeting she referred to ended in chaos, and accusations of violence, and the arresting of Ms. Boyd who took a table down with her while kicking cops. It was a tour-de-force performance, and you can see it on the youtube. It's quality reality TV.

Regarding that fateful meeting, the judge says we were well within our rights to request the study at all. And he said that the board must only take action at an open meeting, not that every meeting needs be open, though they generally always are. He also upheld the board's right to restrict non-board or community-member participation, but not attendance, at committee meetings, other than in matters involving privacy concerns or personnel issues or both. (In other words, sit down and shut up, Boyd. Or you'll be dragged out by your ankles. You can't just create a ruckus and stop people from debating issues in a civilized tone.)

The judge said Boyd's opposition to a Planning Study was understandable but that doesn't mean she can hijack the process as set forth in the City Charter. He acknowledged former City Planner and anti-DCP activist Tom Angotti's affidavit made potentially valid points, but it's not the judicial systems place to litigate matters that are clearly for legislative consideration. The spirit and letter of the ULURP process had been followed. So no-go on that one either.

Boyd and Nichols claimed Board members were placed illegally. They didn't provide proof that BP Eric Adams put more than his share of people on the Board all at once, thereby destabilizing it and making it possible for Boyd to bring it to its knees. Actually, it's longtime Adams deputy Ingrid Gordon who made THAT mess, but it's besides the point. The members appointed were all qualified and the City Councilmembers themselves didn't object (in fact, remember that guy Mathieu Eugene? He appointed me...not once but twice. Think he looked at the list? Hah! Not bloody likely. The dude hates me like vampires hate garlic. That's more proof than anything else right there.) Also neither the BP or Gordon were named in the suit, so that point was moot.

B&N wanted to nullify sections of CB9's by-laws that allow the committee chairs and overall board chair to appoint non-board community members to committees. Actually, it's people like Boyd and her followers that show why the rule is such a good one in the first place. It allows the board to keep them off, while at the same time offering up plenty of seats to people who DON'T disrupt meetings. I know lots of people who serve on committees, myself included now that I'm off the board proper, and there is no litmus test. All that's required is a desire to serve and show up at meetings. Oh, and NOT create a ruckus.

B&N said the board didn't respond to FOIL requests. Yes they did, said the judge.

And finally, and perhaps most importantly, B&N said the public wasn't allowed to speak at meetings as is required. It's actually not required, except on the agenda at the monthly board meetings.

In fact, the public is given ample opportunity, informally. But guess what? If you hurl insults or cause the meeting to stop functioning, you're gonna lose that opportunity. Basically the Board sets its own agenda and policies. The only meeting where the public is REQUIRED to be given an opportunity to speak is at the full Board meeting. And even then, only on the specific agenda items to be voted on. (Personally I find the bitch-and-moan open forum to be a waste of time, since its only used for Board bashing anyway.)

So there you have it. Two years after we tried to initiate a planning study, Boyd gets shut down legally. And it's probably all too late now anyway, so in fact, she wins. That doesn't mean she's going away. Expect more antics and more opportunities for the rest of us to kvetch and groan and keep our distance.

Cunningham to Challenge Eugene Electioneering

Good for him. Let's not get our hopes up about overturned results or sweeping voter reform just yet. But at least the message seems to be getting through...Mathieu Eugene's version of the Kings County Democratic Machine is built like bull dozer. Mathieu had no business being in ANY polling place where he wasn't voting. His supporters were not to be within a 100 feet of any precinct. Poll workers were only to respond to questions about the ballot, not instruct voters how to vote straight down the party line.

This from City Limits, says Cunningham is now planning to challenge the election formally. In the story you'll hear how hapless poll captains had no formal training on how to deal with complaints. Of course not - they're being chosen and paid by politicians, and they're far from neutral themselves. I heard a full on political argument happening between workers at PS92. They shouldn't even be talking about candidates at all. That said, an election is hard to get exactly right. For shits and giggles I tried signing my name in a completely different way, all loops, just initials. Not so much as a second look.

The Election Day antics all point to but one conclusion. Eugene's a fool. Why would one take a chance at all of breaking the law? He was the Democratic Party candidate in a district of Democrats - basically a shoo-in. Foolish. Reckless. And even if a judge rules no reason for a do-over, it's sad for the neighborhood and City that so many people have had their faith thrashed when it comes to voting and politicians. Then the Man goes and thanks God for his blessings? Oof. If you're gonna cheat you should at least own it.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Moving On - The Parkside Plaza Wants YOU Tomorrow

Come nurse your wounds and hang with the real "winners." The beloved Parkside Plaza Committee!!

Disappointed? Sure. But Not Demoralized.

Brian was a great candidate, particularly, the Q thought, this second time out. He exuded a new confidence, unafraid of speaking frankly about his opponent's shocking misgivings. But no, you don't dislodge a 10-year incumbent by just being the better candidate and campaigning fiercely. You're going against every last Eugene supporter that he's cultivated through the past years, and the stubborn willingness of voters to vote Democrat without pause. Veterans of previous campaigns privately confided they felt it was an outside chance at best. Roughly 60/40 numbers for the councilman, in all. And yet, it's hard to discount the feeling that the election was stolen, not least because of ME's shady electioneering. More on that from our good friends at Bklnr., replete with gotcha pictures.

Just remember though...nothing's changed. The district didn't get a lift, but neither was it dealt a death blow. I've been involved in community and political affairs in Flatbush for precisely as long as Mathieu has been in office. I was duped into thing that he was more than just smiles and cheap suits, and that he would be able to bridge the chasm between the many wonderful Haitians living in the community and the old-timers and newcomers of various stripes to address issues common to us all. Sure we knew he would be a beacon of hope and a champion (in front of the camera at least) of Haitian immigrant rights and TPS. But we never imagined he would be so absent, so vacuous and so uninvolved on a personal level with the needs of the neighborhood's wildly diverse residents. He leads on nothing. He follows through on nothing. He is, in essence, a nothing entity, at least for the majority of us. Let's just hope he isn't grooming a successor!

And so it goes, and so it goes. Imagine being a liberal Democrat in deeply red and regressive Alabama - it can't feel good to be so misrepresented in government. At least OUR guy is too inconsequential to do lasting damage. Politically, sometimes it feels like you're a fish out of water, unable to swim with the big fish (like tunas Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander and even Laurie Cumbo), In four years, we'll have our chance. And in the meantime, don't let the Councilman forget whom he's supposed to serve - everyone. That is, if you see him. I suspect we'll see even less of him now that he's a lame duck. Emphasis on the lame.
Is that the face of an innocent man? (from Bklyner.)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Welcome To the Undemocratic Democratic Republic of Flatbush

If you're new to the area, you can be forgiven for being shocked. Elections around here aren't an exact science - more like an approximation with a pinch of strong-arm. Our leaders and judges are pretty much chosen for us by current elected officials and the Kings County party. The somewhat Honorable Yvette Clarke can be blamed for choosing Mathieu Eugene as her successor. I guess she and her mom Una felt he'd sew up the Haitian vote from thence til kingdom come. And for 10 years at least that's been true. (Who knows, maybe kingdom will come in the next couple years, proving me right?)

Voting irregularities abound today, much as they do every election. This time, Eugene is running scared, and word is he's PISSED to have to electioneer at all. Much like elections in banana republics, or Oil-istocracies or just about anywhere in the world this is kinda what democracy looks like when the incumbent doesn't want to lose. Eugene showed up at polling places to glad-hand, his "volunteers" are pushy and pushing past the 100 yard zone around precincts. Some confused voters are being misled about how the ballot works - some even told to vote the straight Democratic line. Business as usual.

If you come from somewhere small-town, university town or suburban, perhaps this all seems a bit nutso - the thug tactics, patronage, paying people to intimidate, refusing to shake the hand of your opponent. Welcome to Brooklyn! Even our elections are, um, artisinal!

Keep an eye out. Alert polling captains of any infringement of rules. Take pictures. Report to the AG and BoE. And if the election is super close, expect a legal challenge.

Check out this hilarious defense from Adam Ullian of Eugene's office, as quoted in Patch, in classic Spicer/Huckabee form:

Adam Ullian, who works on the Eugene campaign, told Patch that Eugene was at the polls because he had been told that Cunningham was at the polls earlier in the day. Ullian said Eugene wanted to make sure the poll workers and election officers knew that wasn't allowed.

"That was his intent. Not because he wanted to break the campaign rules," Ullian said. "The intent was to let them know that, hey, he's not supposed to be there."

If You Don't Vote Today, You Lose Your Right To Complain!

Just trying out a new tactic for you naysayers out there.

Look, it's been an uphill battle to unseat the 10-year incumbent, the thuggish, nasty, arrogant, no-show, ignorant, impotent, incompetent, laughing stock of the City Council - "Dr." Mathieu Eugene. It's outrageous that he's lasted this long, but that's the power of incumbency. The good "doctor's" henchmen our out on the streets carrying signs and the candidate himself has been seen illegally electioneering in polling stations where he isn't even registered to vote (according to eyewitnesses - not independently confirmed). One of his placard-bearing soldiers told me he wasn't even being paid (others were of course). Really? Actually campaigning out of the goodness of your heart? Dang. And I thought America had fallen to pieces. You give me hope, young brainwashed Democrat!

Even if you do mistakenly vote for Eugene, you get to complain. I voted for him 10 years ago and I've been complaining ever since! Take a few minutes to educate yourself on this race, and maybe the ConCon proposal on the back of the ballot. (I voted yes, but there are those who swear it would lead to a stripping away of environmental and labor protections, to which I say that's fear-mongering and in fact, it could be argued, the proposals sent back to voters could provide MORE of such protections, and do so in a more democratic manner. But to each his/her own. Fear or Bravery, IMO.

Just vote. In the Q's opinion, massive voter turnout now and in the future is the only true protection we have against the Mathieu Eugenes and Donald Trumps and Roy Moores of the world. Regressive Populism can only be defeated with Progressive Big Big Numbers - in other words, Populism with Popularity. We the people, indeed. Makes an old lefty like the Q misty with patriotism, if not for the now, for the future.

Vote Cunningham.

Just a bit of day-of campaigning from the dictator at PS249

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Post-Debate Eugene Refuses To Shake Cunningham's Hand

Brian Cunningham crushed do-nada incumbent Mathieu Eugene tonight in a debate 48 hours before the Election Day polls close. The moderator's questions were solid, the event marred by raucous vapid applause from Eugene's small but loud gaggle of minions. But after final comments, Eugene blasted debate host (not moderator, host) Duane Joseph for being a biased moderator, a Cunningham surrogate. Craaaazy, y'all. Duane merely welcomed the crowd and ran the p.a. Why would you piick on the Gentle Giant? And if that weren't bad enough, Eugene refused to shake his opponent's hand, or as a rascally pundit noted, he went all-in with the Papa Doc optics (hey, I didn't say it, but he was posturing like a dictator). As in seriously, check this shit out:

For a more professional and unbiased account of the debate, check out this from your good friends at BKLYNER. Needless to say, many folks were shocked by Eugene's and his supporter's antics.

The basics of the debate went something like this. Solid question, solid answer from Cunningham, meandering pandering nonsense about "we must work together" and "I have been fighting hard" and then even a few lies like "my office is number 1 in constituents served" and perhaps the strangest answer to "are you pro-choice?" I think you could possibly concoct. I'm still trying to make sense of it.

Eugene was responding to the fact that Planned Parenthood refused to endorse him, because he hadn't come out against Pro-Life fake family planning clinics - abstaining in fact. Eugene talked about having delivered many babies (though he's lived in the U.S. for decades and never practiced here) and how when a mother is giving birth and is given the option save her life or her baby's, it is a very personal decision and she must make it, and of course she chooses the baby. You could almost see an entire roomful of people straining to figure out what the hell he was saying. But wait a a doctor isn't he SUPPOSED to save the mother's life? And how often does one even have time or inclination to present a mother with such a Sophie's Choice? I mean, is he just totally making this shit up??? I'm not even sure he answered the question at all, at least not as it was asked. So very, very strange. And whenever he equivocates, his accent gets suddenly WAY thicker, like he's purposely trying to be misunderstood (not mocking his accent here - but I've noticed this over the 10 years that he mumbles when hoping not to be heard). But seriously...what the fuck was he saying about life of mother/baby scenarios?? It's actually haunting me.

And even if the debate hadn't been so laughably Cunningham's victory, this next picture tells you all you need to know about whom to vote for on Tuesday. End of the night, after Eugene has long since left with his disrespectful supporters (I particularly like the Eugene groupie/staffer Soumia Chraibi who gave me the finger while calling ME out for booing his rejection of a handshake - classy!). BC spent the remainder of the eve taking questions from everyone who wanted a moment of his time; then Cunningham helped clean up the room.

Don't let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the neighborhood's course pass us by. And tell everyone you know.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Two Big Electric Fires - One Night

Came home from work to this happening at (oh god, not again) 60 Clarkson:

According to my pal Vina it was an electrical fire in 6E. She said the lady whose apartment it was is devastated. But nobody - nobody, is surprised by the occurrence of fire. Everyone knew slumlord Barry Hers was doing shitty work in the building and recently folks were complaining of smelling smoke, and not just the cheeby cheeby. To my knowledge no one was hurt, but the street was slammed with people. It's so incredible to see how many people file out of a single NYC apartment building - and this one only has 80-some units.

As I walked through the crowd I spotted a couple reporters. Without deaths, this fire wasn't going to make the 11 o'clock news I figured. But I'll bet Rachel Holliday-Smith will be here! You know, the intrepid local reporter for DNA Info that I link to three or so times a week? Except...I can't anymore. In fact, all those links are currently dead. Because...well, read for yourself.

Rachel's smart. She can write. She'll find another job and she'll nail that one too. But we just lost two of the most outstanding hyper-local news sources ever - DNA and Gothamist. After I started digging into the 60 Clarkson saga it was Nathan Tempey of Gothamist who really started to make the connections and nail the S.O.B. He was going longform on the story, and many others. These two reporters were among the young guns that you count on to make the Kleptocracy almost resemble Democracy. And with one fell swoop, billionaire Joe Rickets tossed 'em all out. Fact is, only billionaires can afford to run news organizations anymore. (maybe that's just the cost-of-living - it's always been a rich man's sport hasn't it Roop?). And Rickets wasn't doing it for his love of journalism. He saw a way to harness hyper-local advertising. But the fact is, we don't want to pay for content, do we? Like pretty much everything else, we feel entitled. Entitled to good journalism, good TV, free parking and regular trash collection that hauls our plastic and uneaten meat to the dump.

I'm going to eat a Halloween $100,000 bar and rue the day. THIS day. The one where two very different but somehow deeply related Electrical Fires hit home.

An Actual Debate! Check It Out on Sunday 4pm

Hard to believe it'll come off as advertised. But it will be great to see the candidates confront each other up close and personal.

Folks, this race is going to be a lot closer than anyone imagined...

Unwarranted Self-Promotion (no, not from him)

The Q has spent most of his adult life (and a good deal of his pre and post adult life) making music. Writing songs. Playing in bands, you know the drill. I can see in retrospect that there have been two complementary  tracks - one experimental and outrageous, the other poppy to the hilt. Both reside in the rock, skronk and folky veins. One, Babe the blue OX, happens to include two other Lefferts residents (actually ON Lefferts, as a matter of fact), while the bassist singer Rose lives in Kensington).

After a semi-successful run in the 1990's on Homestead and then RCA records, the Q (then known as Timothy James Thomas - his coming-out as the Q was but a twinkling in the groin) turned back to the straight-up rock and pop stylings of his youth. Then he briefly stopped making music to sober up, returning with a vengeance with music made in basements and crummy bars. The Babe continues, and the flame re-emerges every so often in the forms of nostalgia and melancholy. It must be noted, without boast, that the Q can still play the hell out of his Telecaster. You can fool a Strat, but you can't fool a Tele. If you know what that means, you must play at least a wee bit yourself.

Two super-long career-spanning records of material are now available to be freely streamed and cheaply purchased. And they're in alpha order, because who wants to decide what works and what doesn't? I've never had a clue. I'm stunned to see that I somehow managed to pen more than 100 songs that I actually still want to hear. The rest have been scrapped, but even they remind me of moments and emotions that have since faded into wistful, sometimes painful, memory. But like Poloroids in a shoe box, I can't help but be moved that we humans still have a desire to communicate in ways that language alone fails.

Here they are. Enjoy or scoff. They are now free to roam.

always an inspiration

always an inspiration

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Complacency Could Still Put Mathieu Eugene Back In City Council

It's Sad with a capital sssssssss to think that do-nothing, non-responsive, disinterested and uninformed City Councilperson Mathieu Eugene might just win a final four year term representing most of Flatbush. It is an indictment of us all to think that matters of urgency to us would mean so little to so many voters that they'd either care to ignore 10 years of negligent representation or forgo voting altogether.

Shame on us if he wins again. I know no person serious about politics who has even one good reason to vote for the man; yet he will come away with between 5,000 and 8,000 votes just by being a smiling man from Haiti who throws money at a few churches and hospitals. Money which, it should be said, is called "discretionary" because he doesn't actually have to work for it or champion these projects - he just gives it away like Santa. And to put even THAT in perspective, after more years in office than almost anyone on the Council, he gets the third fewest dollars. He's a joke on the council, he's a joke in the neighborhood, and like our president he likes to claim responsibility for little victories he had nothing to do with. Don't let him get away with it...again.

That's why it was heartening to see the Queen of Brooklyn Blogs (QBB) Liena Zagare tell it like it is about Eugene's anemic performance getting one measly stoplight installed over on Coney Island Avenue.

Liena's assessment here in BKLYNER. 

Mathieu Eugene: Always Happy To Take Credit For Things He Didn't Do Or Even Care About