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    Ooh, was she on fire tonight. Fiery enough that she was outa there by 7:30. And that crazy caucasian bespectacled deputy of hers who likes to call me KKK and point fingers at people, she was right behind. And you know what? Things calmed down quite a bit. It still took about 20 minutes before you could start hearing what people had to say, and some people continued to strut their discontent, but all in all I could see where we were and where we were going.



    Not that anyone's going to be surprised, but here's what I think. Rational, smart people disagree on whether or not to go ahead with a study. My take, and yes I've listened closely to the arguments and done my homework, is go for it. I don't agree with the folks who want to do a dead-in-the-water-before-it-starts independent study - they're wasting their time. But I get where they're coming from. In a perfect world, I'd also like to tax the obscenely-rich like they used to pre-JFK. Ain't gonna happen. I'd also like my clothes to wash themselves, and hair to stop growing down my back at the same time it thins on my head, making me wonder if it's just plugged up somewhere and coming out a different hole in the pipe. Like a busted sewer line. Where was I?

    I hope a letter to Planning looks much like my petition. Which was a milder, less wordy version of what already passed the Board last March, and that I tried to get CB9 to vote on in December. And the new letter will probably look the same, with even less specificity. With this line "we won't accept the loss of even a single unit of current rent-stabilized housing." A little line in the sand never hurt anybody but the sand crabs.

    I also learned tonight that while many people in the room feel strongly, there are actually very few assholes. Queen Asshole needs no introduction. That lady with the great hats and the evil stare that would burn right through your asbestos sweater? Asshole. Imani Henry? Asshole. They may have perfectly good things to say, but when it gets right down to it they're just plain mean. And looking for blood. If we weren't their well-meaning neighbors, maybe the hate would be justified. Tonight, Imani joins the list of select few because after many productive and informative personal conversations with the guy, and my past vocal endorsement of his anti-gentrification project "Take It Back," Imani ran to Channel 12 news cameras to decry my racist and bigoted blog. When I stepped in to ask him what in particular he was talking about, he had the gall to scream, on camera, "I'm being assaulted." To which the police officers just looked puzzled. "This Racist Touched My Shoulder!" The guy's a phony. He doesn't want dialogue, and his soft-spoken voice is a cover for a deep and fear-soaked hate. Sorry dude. I'm not taking your bait. (Or maybe I am by writing this!) And you don't even live in the neighborhood anyway. (My offense, that he wrote me while we were at the meeting (yay smartphones!) after I told him how uncool he'd just been, was that I had attacked a black leader in the community (Alicia Boyd) and that I was therefore a racist. Which...oh whatever, I'm as racist I suppose as any white liberal who actually loves black people, black culture, black history and black politics, as in, you know, this shit is implanted in us and we have to push really hard against it. But I'd like to think I could call someone on their bullshit regardless of their race. To him, everyone black gets a pass even if they're hateful? I actually think that would be MORE racist, but you know, all of this stuff is topsy-turvy sometimes. My favorite was the lady who called me racist tonight because I wrote a post called Bye Bye Black Brooklyn. Clearly, she hadn't read it. At least now I know who's helping Ms. Boyd spread a lot of this racial division stuff. Monsieur Henry, J'Accuse!)

    I'll end by printing Laurie Cumbo's open letter, because she's got the huevos to tell it like it is. And unlike Ms. Boyd, she's actually in a position to do something about it. Thank the Lord it was Laurie, not Alicia, who won that election. Not that Alicia would've scored more than the protest vote, but you can see in her eyes that she's gunning for something much bigger than this small town community board fight. If she finds a target worthy of the bluster, well, then maybe I'll be HER ally. Though I'm still not encouraging my parents to stay at her AirBnB when in town.

    FROM LAURIE CUMBO, AN ACTUAL NYC COUNCILPERSON (take notes Mathieu - you might be one yourself someday):
     

    Dear Neighbor,
    Rapid change, growth and development are happening throughout Brooklyn. We have all been to the town hall conversations, rallies and protests surrounding our beloved Brooklyn and watched as people and local businesses have been displaced as luxury skyscrapers have taken their place to attract more affluent residents who did not participate in the struggle to make Brooklyn what it is today.

    The rapid change that is taking place in Brooklyn would naturally cause every resident to fear what this change would mean for his or her community, including myself. As a born and raised Brooklynite whose family migrated here in the 1940s, I have always loved the diversity and neighborhood feel of our communities. I love the fact that this has been a place where local businesses could thrive and people could afford to raise a family.

    In the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, more specifically in Community Board 9, the potential approval of a resolution to conduct a study that would evaluate how a rezoning would impact our community has caused a great deal of contention to put it mildly. When you look at what upzonings have meant in other parts of Brooklyn such as Downtown Brooklyn and Fort Greene, where the entire fabric of the community has been changed with big box stores, massive buildings, a new arena, etc., the level of anxiety and contention that this idea poses is completely understandable. Logically, one would think that the best idea is to do nothing – as in no resolution, no study, no ULURP and no rezoning, in order to preserve the character and affordability of the community.
    The reality of the situation is that as I write this letter, the cost of rent is increasing dramatically in Crown Heights, people are being displaced, local mom and pops are being replaced with boutique style shops and bars, plots of land are being cleared for “unspecified reasons,” and housing developments that require no allocation of affordable units are rising.


    The development that is happening in this neighborhood is completely unplanned and the current zoning does not require the construction of affordable housing alongside new market rate development. In addition, unplanned development means that developers can build on their property as-of-right without having to take into consideration more support for the building of schools, parking, hospital beds, sanitation, and many other critical needs. It also means that the cost of rent will dramatically increase as the demand for housing increases, outpacing the development and creation of affordable housing.

    I have stated at Community Board 9 meetings several times that not making a decision is making a decision. I have come to the conclusion that we simply cannot abstain and just hope that Crown Heights will remain the same, because you only have to walk down to the Franklin Avenue train station at 8am to see that the Crown Heights of 20 years ago has dramatically changed. I believe that the best option is to put forth a resolution that takes into consideration the lessons that have been learned from past studies and infuse them with the vision of local residents for their community.

    Herein lies the challenge. Every Community Board 9 meeting has been abruptly interrupted by a consistent small group of individuals, who ridicule, humiliate, verbally attack and interrupt anyone that attempts to speak at the meetings with racist and anti-Semitic comments. Their bouts of shouting, running up and down the aisles and spinning on the floor is a total lack of respect for everyone that has taken valuable time from their families and jobs to participate in the meetings in order to have their voices heard. It has risen to such a level that a squad of police officers with a van parked outside has to be present at every meeting to ensure the safety of the people in attendance. The unfortunate part about all of this is that we have all missed a valuable opportunity to hear diverse opinions, ideas, thoughts and experiences in a safe space that can be incorporated into the planning of the community. I too have great concerns and reservations about the 80/20 model and how moving an influx of wealthy people into our community will impact us in exchange for a modest amount of affordable units and my concerns are further compounded by the fact there are very few safeguards in place for our commercial corridors.



    As an elected official, you have to make difficult decisions and I believe that putting forth a resolution to conduct a study gives us the greatest understanding of what all of our options are in order to determine what is the best way to move forward. I do not have enough information nor have I come to any conclusions as to whether a re-zoning is right for the community. However, I am clear that we need all of the information possible to determine what is best for the community and I also support the idea of independent studies to be simultaneously conducted in order to create a checks and balance system for the recommendations of the study.

    I ran for this office not to “go along to get along” in order to get re-elected. I ran because I care about my Borough greatly and I value the sacrifice and commitment that my family and thousands of other families have made to make Brooklyn a better place. A study conducted by City Planning with our input is only a set of recommendations and is not legally binding. Though my character has been challenged at meetings, on flyers and in emails, specifically in order to create an environment of distrust amongst the political leadership and the communities that they represent, I will simply let my track record over the past two decades; my body of work at not-for-profit institutions and my voting record speak for itself. We have to move forward.

    Yours in Partnership,
    Laurie A. Cumbo
    Member of the New York City Council


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  • 02/13/15--07:59: Crime Stuff
  • Never fun to write about this. But a woman was shot multiple times in the stomach last night, the apparent victim of a robbery gone super violent. it happened on Maple between Kingston & Albany around 1am. I asked Vinnie whether multiple shots was consistent with a robbery, but apparently they're pretty sure and are putting serious manpower on finding the assailant. Here's the good news...she's in stable condition at Kings County. Wow. That's a narrow escape. Amazing the powers of a young body (she's 18) to sustain a brutal attack. A near miracle I'd say.

    And while I'm at it, against some misgivings because of the graininess of the photo, the 70th precinct is looking for a serial burglar down Caledonia way. As a colleague of mine said, though, if you DO know this person then you'll probably be certain. Like, I could tell most people I know from a half-block off, you know? Here's the wanted poster: WAIT! I'LL BE DARNED! As if responding to my concern, the 70th sent out another picture that was clearer! Thx Detective Walker! (below the poster)








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    Maybe the real estate types out there can help me with this one. So, we've all seen this two-story four-apartment place on the southside of Lefferts, right? Say I'm in the mood to make some money. Do I buy it with the current rent roll as listed? I believe a building this size is not subject to rent regulation.

    Or, do I think big? It looks like it's only using 1.17 FAR out of 3.44 potential, so it appears I can build something quite a bit bigger by tearing it down. Right?

    Just trying to see things the way the smart money does. This understanding will come in handing if we ever get to rezone.

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    The Q's been reading a lot lately about topics that once would have sent him right to sleep. Zoning. Text amendments. Theories on displacement. Urban blight and urban growth. The history of NYC's migrations and settlements. I was always into issues of race, class, power, money...that's the sexy stuff. But I'm no longer sexy, so my tastes have changed.

    Through 100+ years our town has grown, despite the one down decade-or-so in the late '60s to '70s. Current projections see us at 9 million in 2030, and as many as 10 million in 2050.  It's kinda silly to assume things like terrorism and climate change aren't bogeymen, that could blow those numbers to smithereens. No one saw the 1970's coming either. But for sake of spits and giggles, let's roll with it.

    Who's coming?

    Immigrants, for one. Notoriously undercounted in the ham-fisted  2010 census, NYC continues to beckon to dreamers all over the world. There are few cities that can so quickly absorb new workers - there's a never-ending supply of need for people willing to endure the toughest domestic, retail and sweatshop work. The entire region is teeming with undocumented workers. Bloomberg was right to head to Washington and to call them the backbone of the City. Without such labor, many of the things we take for granted would disappear from child care to stocking to everything else. Other cities take in fair numbers of foreigners with or without papers. But NYC is still the world's city, and it's a quick entry for almost any non-English speaker.

    Glory-seekers. I love to call them the quarter-finalists - folks who grew up all over the country, and world, eager to make their mark in their respective specialties, from tech to theater to music to food etc - to a surprising number here to make the world a better place, one garden or student or issue at a time. They showed promise, or deluded themselves they had promise, won the local pageant, came to NYC with money in their pocket or not, knocked on doors, drank in dive bars, hooked up, maybe even got knocked up, maybe went to rehab. It's all documented, because many of those people went out to make art about it - writers wrote, filmmakers made films, the zeitgeist got its fair share of cultural recognition. All well and good, same as it ever was, and it's still happening, though if I were to do it over again I might choose Los Angeles. Or Detroit.

    Young professionals. This one still kills me. Granted, there were always Wall Street types moving here, or to the near suburbs. But despite their outsize affluence, they were never a large enough minority to make a huge dent on the population - just on the atmosphere. Besides, they tended to ghettoize themselves in certain parts of the City, mostly the UES. Well, at least until the last decade or so. (Tribeca? Dumbo? Been to Battery Park lately?)

    No, I'm not talking about Gordon Gekkos. I'm talking about Amanda and Amber and Ashley and Caitlin and Josh and Justin and Tyler. Just graduated from XXX, the Harvard of XXX, they majored in Econ or Psych or Poly-Sci or one of many Lits, and they're here to, to, you know, start life. Nurture a career. Find a mate. Go out. You know, party. Bowl at Chelsea Piers. Engage in trendy activities. These aren't the "hipsters" you hear so much about. No, if you're still under the impression that everyone young and white in NYC is a hipster, you haven't pegged the nuances. [Hipster (a term too broad to have much relevance, but here goes) is someone who isn't you but who thinks like you and likes the same music and goes to the same parties and wears the same glasses and is just as misunderstood. Meaning, it's you and your friends, because the rest of us are too busy living our lives to care what you call them...which brings me to...]

    Young Non-Professionals, or Reluctant-Professionals: How they make their rent is their own damn business, so don't bother speculating. I was one of these. Cynical, reactionary, arty, in need of grooming advice, in-sleeping, slightly maladjusted, thrill-seeking, probably raised somewhere between the Hudson and the Rockies, ambitious but not conspicuously so. Since at least the days of the Beatniks, Teds, Mods, Hippies, Stoners, Metal-heads, Punks, New-Wavers, Goths, Grungers and Technoheads, there seems to have been a steady progression of disaffected trend setter/followers who help create a market for cool music and (slightly) outsider lifestyles. Given that we humans are essentially animals with an abundance of language and self-consciousness, there's clearly some biological imperative happening here. Maybe it's a way for the Betas to have babies? I remember a friend saying once that Punk was invented so ugly people could get laid. I remember grunge being an opportunity to identify as unsatisfied while having the time of your life. Not to put too fine a hat on the point, but it's really all about hooking up, mating, procreating, keeping the civilization going. Granted, that's an incredibly simplistic and entitled cynical remark, coming from the dominant class, in a country that dominates the world. So to those who haven't taken your daily supplement of iron(y), please note where my tongue is planted. (Is that a canker sore? Too many of those delicious Coop clementines...)

    Those groups will account for most of the influx. At the same time, the City will lose folks too. Some to the onset of middle or old age, the suburbs, child-rearing. Some to death of course. Many, however, will be from what we sometimes call the lower classes, who in reality are mostly hard-working people who just can't afford to live here anymore. The bright side is that some of them will move to warmer climes or better qualities of living. I mean heck I know lots of people who are decamping now, and they're college-educated white-folk who can't take it anymore. But a great many, too many I would argue, will simply be forced to give up the only home they've known and embark on a scary and potentially unfruitful search for new apartments and a workable future. 

    Part of this process will mean that an important part of Brooklyn's and NYC's history will become less and less a part of its identity. Black folks, or rather those of the African Diaspora (if you need to be reminded of the wide breadth of such a tag as black) will become more and more of a minority in this City. From 2000 to 2010, black population declined 6% even as the borough gained overall. It's been half a decade since, and some surveys suggest we've lost another 5 or 6% since. I don't have to tell you the borough has become more affluent, and that Lefferts has become more affluent. And in a country where race and wealth are intertwined, well...you don't need another history lesson. You get it.

    So what's the Q's point? Growth, my friends, is happening whether we like it or not. The City will not close its borders - it relies on growth to sustain itself. It doesn't want to be Detroit...it wants new opportunities, new jobs, and, yes, new housing. I'm not telling you nothing you don't already know, but it's good for me every once in a while to remind myself how we got here. To this moment, a moment where our neighborhood is up to bat, looking at itself in the mirror, and wondering whether the status quo is sufficient to deal with the reality of unprecedented real estate development and speculation.

    That's where we at. That's the backdrop, as we figure how to grow smart and with purpose and compassion. That's the start of the story unfolding as a fight, a fight that didn't have to be so cantankerous. Or maybe it did?

    There are other folks moving in and out of course. My sardonic categorizations are hardly exhaustive. So many pieces that create a life, a home, a destination, an opportunity, a purpose. All here, all the time, never-ending, always open. How to plan for that? Times 9 million? 10 million? Rising sea levels? Transportation? Sanitation? Did I mention rising sea levels?

    Or to put it another way...at my first job at the Brooklyn Museum, there was a bottom drawer to my desk. It was full of carbon paper. You know?









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  • 02/17/15--08:26: RIP Alfredo
  •  
    thx to Seth K
     
    If you ever enjoyed a meal at Lincoln Park Tavern, you probably knew Alfredo. As the chef he had a hand in everything prepared in the restaurant from the day it opened eight years ago to almost the day it closed. Sadly, he passed away on January 30 after a long battle with stomach cancer. We called him the "warrior" because he was so strong. He barely ever missed a day of work and many people never even knew he was sick.

    After living here for 19 years, we want to send Alfredo home to his final resting place in Mexico. Anything you can give will go directly to his funeral costs and Youcaring takes no percentage of your contribution. Thank you for anything you can donate!
     

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  • 02/18/15--09:42: Burger Mexicana - LPT Redux?

  • Flatbush 'tween Maple n Lincoln

    From Meytex to Tex-Mex. Another Jim Mamary production.

    Speaking of which, the Q doesn't eat out much, but there I was last week enjoying that comfy chill at Bluebird. It's very civilized, nice mix of folks. And the fact that there's a weird social club pool hall vibe up front makes you feel like you're in on a secret. The food's a nice mix, but I still miss fries.

    Frankly though, I don't like when restaurants use the animal you're going to eat to beckon you (the cow, not bluebird). Can you imagine a Cannibal Bistro with a marquis that has animated people smiling at you from the big boiling cauldron? Well, at least not at the upscale Cannibal joints. Actually, the joints are the best part.


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  • 02/18/15--13:43: More and More More More
  • Apologies to Stephen Smith at YIMBY for borrowing so heavily! Click through for his post.

    No surprise of course that this corner at NY Ave and Rutland is going to be residential. The first line of Mr. Smith's post says it all though..."another day, another Flatbush filing." Also, note that current zoning does not have the commercial overlay that would encourage ground-floor commercial. Too tall, no added vibrancy.


    by Stephen Smith for YIMBY

    Another day, another Flatbush filing.

    Today’s is for a development planned for 599 New York Avenue, in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens subsection of Flatbush. There, on the northeastern corner of New York Avenue and Rutland Road, Floral Park-based developer David Dilmanian is seeking to erect a six-story, 22-unit apartment building, reaching 65 feet into the air.

    Designed by Karl Fischer, the building’s 22 apartments will be spread over a bit under 16,000 square feet of residential space, for a rental-sized unit average of a bit over 700 square feet. The second and third floors will have five apartments each, and the fourth through sixth will each have four.

    While each of the other three corners of the intersection have ground-floor retail, the city’s unbending and non-contextual zoning code does not allow new commercial space in this area, so this project will have none. It will, however, have some active ground-floor uses in addition to the 11-car parking garage (the minimum number of spaces required by the zoning code), in the form of a 723-square foot community facility space.

    599 New York Avenue traded hands late last year, when the developer bought it for $1.5 million, or $92 per buildable square foot.
    Down and to the southeast comes this building (thanks MikeF, er WhyNot at Brooklynian - his thoughts on crime mapping worth reading here).

    Interestingly, this building on Ocean south of Church is part of a wall of gorgeous old pre-wars and some freestanding stuff. Ocean is wide, so the building can go taller than a narrow street. Since it's been contextually rezoned, to R7A, there are the following requirements:

    The floor area ratio (FAR) in R7A districts is 4.0. Above a base height of 40 to 65 feet, the building must set back to a depth of 10 feet on a wide street and 15 feet on a narrow street before rising to a maximum height of 80 feet. In order to preserve the traditional streetscape, the street wall of a new building can be no closer to the street line, than any building within 150 feet on the same block, but need not be farther than 15 feet. Buildings must have interior amenities for the residents pursuant to the Quality Housing Program. Off-street parking is not allowed in front of a building. Parking is required for 50% of all dwelling units.
    These newer distinctions (the A's and B's next to zoning like R7) are part of the Quality Housing initiative, designed to keep residential development within reason and matching the character of the surroundings. Maybe it doesn't go far enough. But it's better than one narrow tower, that would have given nice views of the Park and beyond. Probably Manhattan and the harbor. When I was up on the top of a six story on Ocean at Caton, I was absolutely stunned by the gorgeous view.

    The rebuilding continues unabated.

    How about this cute little number at 25 E. 19th near Church? Gonna be an 8-story as well:


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    The Q at Parkside is proud to present to the un-hip-hop of y'all Mr. Kirk Knight, who grew up using the Q at Parkside as his home train. With Joey Bada$$ he's a founder and part of the gigantic crew called Pro Era. Despite their, um, unfortunate Nazi looking logo, they're pretty fantastic rappers. Below is a remarkable video - BBC1. Who the hell is that DJ? He's playing these weird grooves and they're "free-styling" over it. (To the uninitiated, free-styling has a little improv but it's mostly rehearsed lines in new contexts. I know, I know if you're too old you probably don't think much of this, but it's incredibly skillful and literate and the Obama daughters like it! Just think for a minute about how much incredible wordplay and vocabulary is involved, even if it ain't your thing. Check it out:



    Right? So maybe you think you know what these kids are like in person (after all they wrote a hilarious, if not age appropriate, stoner anthem - School High), but here's the more likely character of Kirk Knight, from an interview with him.


    In Flatbush, I can only talk about my side of Flatbush. I lived all in Parkside and that, and there’s two types of Flatbush: There’s the whole Flatbush money-violence-drug shit, and then the Flatbush where we have those aesthetics, but we bring something totally different. People look at me and think, “Oh, he’s about to rob me,” and I really do get that because people do say I look like that, but in all actuality, I’m one of the nicest guys, and I’m one of the most knowledgeable guys, at least in terms of just thinking, because I think a lot. People judge a book by its cover. I might look like a hood dude, but my mental is totally different.
     His mental is totally different. If only the bad guys wore scarlet letters! Hey, there's a lot fewer of them that you might think.

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    From the Haunted House of Clarkson to the Princely Pride of Parkside, I give you builder Seth Brown's ode to post-ISIS modernity:

    Thanks Brownstoner's Cate!
    Actually looks strikingly familiar to some older buildings on Lenox. Again though, I'm deeply troubled by how thin are the people in all these renderings. Just ONCE I'd like to see a chubby person featured. Probably a good move to keep race out of it by making these animated folks entirely, um, white.

    About 50 units in all, I'd expect a net gain of about 100 people. Or 99, since the ghost of 111 has moved to East New York somewhere. Cheaper haunts.

    so long, caspar!


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  • 02/19/15--11:35: Fast and Furious
  • Thanks again to Rachel at DNA Info for this scoop. The parking lot at 227 Clarkson that I just photographed the other day has been purchased for $1.35 million with more than 11,000 buildable square feet. For condos, apparently.

    227 Clarkson near Rogers (pic by Rachel Holliday-Smith0
    In the article, Rachel quotes the broker as saying it “affirms [his] belief” that Prospect-Lefferts Gardens is “the next big neighborhood in Brooklyn. As of late, larger scale condo and rental development projects have been popping up throughout Prospect-Lefferts Gardens granting the area a lot of continuous attention from investors and developers.”

    I better start baking pies for all my new neighbors moving in over the next couple years.

    Also the new bar up on Rogers - Branch Ofc - opens tonight. It's right by the giant church that was torn down to make way for a large new condo building. 225 Rogers. Here's the Brownstoner bit. (What you think I should go over myself? I'm working for chrisakes! This is my lunch break!)


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  • 02/20/15--07:39: Flatbush Makes the List
  • De Blasio's Vision Zero targets for improvements the 9% of roads that cause half the traffic deaths. A cool map of those roads is in the Daily News:


    Perhaps I don't need to point out, though, that while it sounds like a big deal that 9% causes 50%, the roads with the most traffic deaths are...the roads with the most traffic. If anything, I'm surprised that it's not MORE than half. Just sayin'

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    Queeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeequeeeeeeeeeegggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg!!!!!



     Ishmael, Tis Moby! 
    Tie Him Up Tight
     To the Starboard Side!
    We Eat Tonight!

    Many of you were kind enough to donate to the Spring Comes to the Flatbush Trees project. Artist David Eppley has been working with area middle-schoolers all winter, preparing for the big blooming of the green sheet metal trees at the intersection of Flatbush/Ocean/Empire this May & June. Some didn't believe me, and still don't, that the Q will finally sink his harpoon into his great white whale, and haul Moby and his carcass back to port at Mill Basin, where we'll feast on blubber and fresh roasted vegan meat. DJ meat. Always tasty, always knows when to drop a massive four-on-the-floor just when you think your electrolytes turned electroheavy. Wait, where am I?

    Oh yeah. David Eppley is a superstar. (He's the taller, older guy in photo one.) And here's more pictures of his Flatbush Tree Simulator and some of his young protege's. The class is going great, and the Q for one can't wait for the unveiling, as the pieces are placed one by one till they cover the trees in psychedelic visual revelry.








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    What do you think of when you hear the term "slumlord?" Maybe you have it in your head that it's some scumbag that lives out on Long Island and hates poor people enough to keep their lives miserable while enriching himself? When I picture him, he's a guy like Barry Hers who owns 60 Clarkson, incapable of registering or caring about the pain and suffering he causes. The "slums" were something I'd read about, or hear about in songs or see in movies, and the scenario was always clear. Ill-meaning whites owning and not-maintaining decrepit buildings lived in mostly by people of color. Actually in other parts of the country white folks live in slums too...though they're often called "trailer parks." But as usual I'll try to focus closer to home.

    But what if the Slumlords were really big real estate management companies and trusts, paying way too much money for properties that don't have the rent roll to support that cost? Is it morally any better if the owners denying heat in the dead of winter and harassing tenants into moving and scrutinizing incoming tenants for the proper complexion and making bullshit renovations to jack up the rent, is it any better that they're faceless companies rather than individual scumbags? There are usually individual scumbags at the top though, some of them even paying another company they themselves own for materials for said renovation then using those receipts as proof that they did tens of thousands of dollars worth of improvements, a fact that was only brought to light when fought scumbag was taken to court by one of their law abiding tenants? (true story.)

    And what if these companies were basically falling over themselves to buy up big buildings at a time when rent stabilization laws are teetering on meaninglessness, as the State tips Republican and threatens to turn its backs on hundreds of thousands of people who thought they'd signed a lease on semi-stability in an apartment that would modestly increase year after year? And what if some of these companies were headed by confessed murders like Robert Hurst?

    Wouldn't that be like living in the VERY worst of neighborhood scenarios like you pictured when you envisioned living in "the slums?"

    Well neighbors, you're living in and among "the Slums." It's just that in this crazy era, it's not because the neighborhood's too poor. It's that it's not yet rich enough.

    A POST FROM EARLY JANUARY THAT BEARS REPEATING MANY TIMES:

    The Q gathered together some addresses from the various activist groups fighting landlords for targeting tenants for displacement through many means, from miserable service to harassment to not cashing rent checks to renting only to whites to offering miserly buyouts and intimidating the vulnerable. Evil? Nah. Just all in a day's work on the way towards a Lease That Lays the Golden Eggs - a building free of rent stabilization. Twas a time when the spread between market rate and rent stabilization was not so great. In fact, thousands of people in the neighborhood were given "preferred" rents for years, a discount from the maximum the landlord could charge under stabilization. Those days are gone.

    If you or folks you know live in one of these buildings, I encourage you to reach out to the Crown Heights Tenants Union, the Flatbush Tenant Coalition. And remember, you have the right to get a rent history of your apartment, which will show you how much you SHOULD be paying now. The Q just learned that one of these landlords who owns hardware and constructions concerns actually PAYS THEMSELVES for capital improvements that are shoddy. But the receipts are there for the judge! And the landlord can jack up the rent as a result. It's so disgusting and demoralizing as to make your head spin. This is how neighborhoods are torn apart, typically by race and class, and reconfigured to meet the outsized profit goals of the below companies, who have essentially cornered the market in Crown Heights and Flatbush and Lefferts and... Plus remember, this is just a subset of the bigger story in NYC. At this point, these companies are controlling so many lives they're like mini-states. Any of you live in any of these buildings want to share?

    Building Address Landlord
    990 President Street 11225 burke Leighton
    951 Carroll Street 11225 burke Leighton
    805 St. Marks Avenue 11213 BK burke Leighton
    1834 Caton Ave 11226 BK burke Leighton
    1016 President Street 11225 BK burke Leighton
    2505 Bedford Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
    215 Sterling Street 11225 BK burke Leighton
    389 East 48 Street 11203 BK burke Leighton
    78 Hawthorne Street 11225 BK burke Leighton
    31 East 21st Street 11226 BK burke Leighton
    21 East 21st Street 11226 BK burke Leighton
    726 Ocean Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
    2201 Cortelyou Road 11226 BK burke Leighton
    219 E 17th Street 11226 BK burke Leighton
    610/612 Flatbush Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
    476 Ocean Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
    458 15th Street 11215 BK burke Leighton
    2564 Bedford Avenue 11226 BK burke Leighton
    2325 Foster Avenue 11210 BK burke Leighton
    608 Flatbush Avenue 11226 burke Leighton
    115 Ocean Avenue 11225 BK Jonas
    181 HAWTHORNE STREET Jonas
    1600 CATON AVENUE Jonas
    315 OCEAN PARKWAY Jonas
    217 EAST 7 STREET Jonas
    465 EAST 7 STREET Jonas
    1620 CATON AVENUE Jonas
    214 EAST 8 STREET Jonas
    714 EAST 27 STREET Jonas
    415 WASHINGTON AVENUE Jonas
    245 OCEAN PARKWAY Jonas
    241 OCEAN PARKWAY Jonas
    147 Ocean Avenue Jonas
    931 PUTNAM AVE ZT Realty
    637 NOSTRAND AVE ZT Realty
    5 MACDONOUGH ST ZT Realty
    403 MACON ST APT 16 ZT Realty
    1045 UNION ST ZT Realty
    874 BERGEN ST ZT Realty
    95 KINGSTON AVE ZT Realty
    244 NEW YORK AVE APT 8 ZT Realty
    942 BERGEN ST ZT Realty
    1398 DEAN ST ZT Realty
    267 CLIFTON PL ZT Realty
    303 PUTNAM AVE ZT Realty
    299 PUTNAM AVE ZT Realty
    306 PROSPECT PL ZT Realty
    293 STUYVESANT AVE ZT Realty
    585 PARK PL ZT Realty
    276 THROOP AVE ZT Realty
    3 MACDONOUGH ST ZT Realty
    820 FRANKLIN AVENUE ZT Realty
    927 PUTNAM AVENUE ZT Realty
    1082-1092 President St Shamco
    1026 President St. Shamco
    1 St. Pauls Ct Shamco
    200 E 18th St Shamco
    2015 Foster Ave Shamco
    215 Martense St. Shamco
    350 E 19th St Shamco
    538-546 E 21st St Shamco
    543-549 E. 21st St. Shamco
    75-89 Hawthorne St Shamco
    860 Ocean Ave Shamco
    1702 Caton Avenue Shamco
    1710 Caton Avenue Shamco
    1716 Caton Avenue Shamco
    1722 Caton Avenue Shamco
    50 E. 19th St. Shamco
    1901-1907 Dorchester Rd. Shamco
    65 E. 19th St. Shamco
    2110 Newkirk Avenue Shamco
    690 Rogers Ave Shamco
    566 Parkside Ave Shamco
    558 Parkside Ave Shamco
    2101 Bedford Ave Shamco
    1204 Ocean Ave Shamco
    1553 Ocean Ave Shamco
    79-93 Bristol St Shamco
    1155 DEAN STREET Renassiance Realty Group
    1151 DEAN STREET Renassiance Realty Group
    764 ST JOHN'S PLACE Renassiance Realty Group
    1561 PITKIN AVENUE Renassiance Realty Group
    39 ARGYLE ROAD Renassiance Realty Group
    45 ARGYLE ROAD Renassiance Realty Group
    285 SCHENECTADY Renassiance Realty Group
    1646 UNION STREET Renassiance Realty Group
    153 CHAUNCEY ST Renassiance Realty Group
    511 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
    493 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
    495 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
    519 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
    505 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
    487 Lincoln Place Renassiance Realty Group
    2-12 Sutter Avenue Renassiance Realty Group
    235 Utica Avenue Renassiance Realty Group
    1701 Utica Avenue Renassiance Realty Group
    564 West 126 St. BCB Property Management
    556 West 126th Street BCB Property Management
    560 West 126th Street BCB Property Management
    308 West 88th street BCB Property Management
    1159 President St. BCB Property Management
    1153 President St., Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    543 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    529 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    527 Nostrand, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    525 Nostrand, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    179 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    384 Court St, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    1215 Myrtle Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    317 4th Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    250 Pacific St, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    234 Union Ave, Brooklyn BCB Property Management
    285 Court St BCB Property Management
    384 Court St BCB Property Management
    1059 Union St BCB Property Management
    1115 Union St BCB Property Management
    442 Lorimer St BCB Property Management
    15 Crown Street BCB Property Management
    991-993 President Street BCB Property Management
    329 Lincoln Place BCB Property Management
    315 Lincoln place BCB Property Management
    319 Lincoln Place BCB Property Management
    323 Lincoln Place BCB Property Management
    1171 President Street Pinnacle
    382 Eastern Parkway Pinnacle
    225 Parkside Avenue Pinnacle
    991 Carroll Street Pinnacle
    706 Lefferts Avenue Pinnacle
    681 Ocean Avenue Pinnacle
    1554 Ocean Avenue Pinnacle
    459 Schenectady Avenue Pinnacle
    176 Clarkson Avenue Pinnacle
    3301 Farragut Road Pinnacle
    489 Eastern Parkway Pinnacle
    481 Eastern Parkway Pinnacle
    497 Eastern Parkway Pinnacle
    990 Montgomery Street Pinnacle
    40 Argyle Road Pinnacle
    28 Argyle Road Pinnacle
    307 12th Street Pinnacle
    961 Washington Avenue Pinnacle
    1535 Ocean Avenue Pinnacle
    1362 Ocean Avenue Pinnacle
    619 Rugby Road Pinnacle
    615 Rugby Road Pinnacle
    607 Rugby Road Pinnacle
    1042 Union Street Pinnacle
    292 St Johns Place Pinnacle
    926 Carroll Street Pinnacle
    1038 Union Street Pinnacle
    1597 Bedford Avenue Pinnacle
    916 Caroll Street Pinnacle
    1048 Union Street Pinnacle
    85 Clarkson Avenue Pinnacle
    529 East 22nd Street Pinnacle
    1060 Union Street Pinnacle
    601 Crown Street Pinnacle
    426 East 22nd Street Pinnacle
    222 Lenox Road Pinnacle
    2102 Beverly Road Pinnacle
    176 Clarkson Ave Pinnacle

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    Tomorrow night is yet another installment in "How Not To Run a Community Board," hosted by Dwayne Nicholson. OR, you could attend this informative and timely forum on Tenants Rights, hosted by the very elected leaders (Hamilton, Cumbo, Adams et al) who've completely given up on CB9 to the point that they would schedule a community-wide discussion on the night of Community Board meeting.

    What's an MTOPP member to do? Can Alicia Boyd be in two places at once? And if she's really concerned about renters being displaced, where would she spend her time? Hmm?





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    His dog buddy, sadly, does not come with the deal. Luther is fully vetted and ready to snuggle. He was probably left outside nearby by his owners. In time for winter. Can you imagine?

    Here's the ad:

    https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/31522218/



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  • 02/24/15--06:48: Tonight: The Parkside Empire
  • No, it's not a new series on HBO. Parkside Empire is your two-year-old merchant's association along the Flabenue from, um, well, you can probably figure that part out. All are welcome!



    MEET & GREET
    Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2015
    Time: 7:00 PM —8 :00 PM
    Location :  Tafari Café
    593 Flatbush Ave
    (btw: Midwood Avenue & Rutland Road)
    Agenda :   
      
    Small Business Workshop
    Street Fair 2015
    Community Updates

    For more information please contact Shelley Kramer  at (347) 715-9347


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    From Brownstoner:

    59 Units. All Market Rate. We may look back at 2015 as the real game-changer. Tons of activity in the neighborhood right now.



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    664 New York Ave

    More new stuff. Blah Blah from Yimby.

    Let me tell you something weird about this one though. I'm pretty damn sure this is the very spot that was discussed at a ULURP meeting of CB9 I attended a couple years ago. Then, Enterprise was planning to use this corner as a car rental facility. That would have been an easy conversion. But this change sort of spells out the new reality. Anywhere you can build market rate residential, that's the best use of your as-of-right, and this corner apparently qualifies for residential. Maybe both business and apartments on this one stretch of NY Avenue? Who knows. I don't have time to keep up with all the filings.

    On the corner of Winthrop is the Sanitation Garage for our district. It's way inadequate and when I was chairing Environmental Protection we were trying to find space for this to move to, maybe build a proper facility for the hard-working NY's Strongest. As more and more people keep moving to the area, we will likely need more trucks. This space is so small some trucks have to park on the street. Not ideal, especially being right next to hospitals and homes.

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  • 02/24/15--12:18: The Latest. Oy.
  • The way this is unfolding you'd think Alicia Boyd had uncovered the Watergate scandal. Her latest (I think we're up to 40 emails of poetry to her weary followers) includes transcript from last week's Executive Comittee meeting. You'll see her attack dog instincts in full effect (below). She pounces on anything she thinks is out of line.However she thinks it went down, let me tell you what actually went into the draft letter to City Planning from CB9 that is now up on the website. I have an insider's perspective of course, and you needn't trust me, but I'm not a good liar anyway.
     
    (Basically the current draft ain't that different than what we originally passed last March. It took a year to get this far, which is, basically, nowhere new. FYI, I'm happy with the draft, because it will start the process from a pretty blank slate, recognizing as we do that the City is interested in considering downzoning and contextual zoning from EP to Clarkson, Ocean to NY Ave for new residential on Empire Blvd. It's really that simple - don't let MTOPP confuse the issue. They don't want new neighbors on Empire, right in AB's backyard. And they've turned it into an issue of the black neighborhood getting screwed. This is absurd, especially since the majority of members of the Board are black and longtime residents who are perfectly aware of what this all means and portends. But little details like that are easily dismissed by MTOPP, which calls those residents Uncle Toms. I won't begin to tell you what they call the Q!)
     
    Alicia is looking for any technicalities that would invalidate the process. It's making everyone on the Board crazy, and we've been internally writing nasty emails to each other ever since she showed up on the scene. Be that as it may, after a whole bunch of community-wide meetings, the ULURP committee wrote a draft, with all members asked to contribute whatever they felt was important. No one, no one, repeat no one, felt that Alicia's point about excluding Empire Blvd from the Study makes any sense at all. Rather than concede that she lost that battle, she's dug in her heels, now claiming that the committee has no right to create a draft FOR DISCUSSION in front of the entire board and community. Apparently she expects that every word should be uttered and entered into the draft in public, thereby making sure she and others have the right to scream and bitch about every utterance. Tonight, it's likely that the draft will be discussed, Alicia will be removed from the auditorium for misconduct, and the draft will be sent back one more time to the ULURP committee for revisions and voting. At least that's what SHOULD happen. 
     
    And no, the draft was not completed before the ULURP committee meetings happened. I know what was being circulated, and it wasn't completed until basically the day before it went up on the website, with the Committee chair Ben Edwards' blessing. We still have some quibbles about language, but that will be worked out tonight and at the next committee meeting where we'd vote and send to the full Board - exactly one year from the original resolution! 

    From the Grand Dame of Lefferts:
     
      
    Please don't forget tonight!
    Please come out and demand that the community be involved
    in the process of creating a draft and resolution!
    Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Ave, 7 pm CB9 general meeting
     
    Don't let Senator Hamilton or Laurie Combo Tenant forum
    separate us.  We know what truly displaces communities of color
    not individual landlords but huge development that gets
    changed with City Planning!
     
    Please find attached and/or below a transcribed statement of
    the Executive Board meeting on Feb 17, 2015 at 7 pm
    where a "draft" to be presented to the community,
    was included in an agenda item.
     
    Meeting of Executive Board, Feb 17, 2015, time 7:30,
    Board Members Present,
    Dwayne Nicholson, Detritus Lawrence, Evelyn Williams and Jacqueline Welch. 
     
    This is summation of the issues, but please read
    the short transcript for yourself.
     
    1. It seems that some Executive board members
    believe the draft will just be presented
    and Dwayne believes it will be voted upon.
     
    2. The draft was created before the ULURP committees in February met!
     
    3. As Alicia predictedwithout seeing the draft,
    Empire Blvd and Washington Ave would still be on the draft!
     
    4. The draft was created in secret at the CB9 office
    with five unknown members of the board!
     
    5. The Executive Board believes it can conduct CB9 business
    in a CB9 office, but not obey the Open Meetings Law! 
     
     
    Meeting of Executive Meeting on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 7:30 pm
    Sometime at the beginning of the meeting

    Alicia: Who created this draft?
    Dwayne: ULURP Committee members and other Board members
    Alicia: When?
    Dwayne:Two weekends ago
    Alicia: Two weekends ago you created a draft two weekends ago?
    Dwayne: From the information that was gathered at the ULURP meetings
    Alicia: How many people were at that meeting when you created that draft?
    Dwayne: I don’t know five, what was it.
    Suki’s Husband:  Two weekend agopredated the first ULURP meetings.
    Alicia: Thank you, Thank You
    Demetius Lawrence: This is a draft that we started from awhile back, we started this from last year,
    Alicia: Two weekends ago, how many people were at that meeting?
    Dwayne: We had a hundred some people at the ULURP meeting?
    Alicia: Yes but I’m talking about the creation of the draft.
    Dwayne: Oh right it was it five of them?
    Alicia:Five people and who were these five people?
    Dwayne: People who were on that committee.
    Who basically took time out of their day,
    to put up their time their personal time they came up together
    and wrote up the document.
    Alicia: Okay so they came together
     and when did they write this document.
    Dwayne: That weekend!
    Pearl Miles begins to interject! Can’t understand what she is saying, but she is objecting.
    Alicia: Excuse me Pearl, Excuse me Pearl,
    I’m talking to Dwayne, obviously it must be completed and being presented.
    Alicia: Excuse me Pearl, Excuse me Pearl, I’m asking a question.
    So you are still working on this draft without the community
    Jacquline Welch:  We are going to have a draft to be presented to the board
    to get their feedback whatever,
     then we are going to come back and work on it some more.
    Alicia: So you again went into a meeting with five board members
    and you created a draft, did you notify the community of this meeting?
    Dwayne: We don’t have to.
    Alicia: No you don’t have to.  You can just create drafts.
    Pearl: Yes
    Alicia: Excuse me Pearl.
    Pearl:  It was done in this office, this is my office, I can speak, this is my office
    Alicia: Excuse me, it was business, is not a draft business? Do you have a copy of this draft?
    Dwayne: No I don’t have it no.
    Alicia: Does anybody have a copy of this draft?
    This working draft, because it is still a working draft right?
     Does anybody have a copy of it?
    Dwayne: We are going to vote on it next Tuesday.
     First we are going to talk about the capital fiscal year 2015
    then the drafting is going to be presented and then they are going to vote on it.
    Alicia: Vote on what?
    Dwayne: On the Draft resolution that is presented
    Alicia: What does that mean you are going to vote on the draft resolution?
    Evelyn Williams: Let’s move on.
     Alicia: I just want to be clear about what he is asking.
    Dwayne: We already knocked out number 1. (agenda item fiscal year)
    Alicia: So what you are saying is you got a draft that you created two weeks ago,
    with five board members that is still in process,
    that the community is still not a part of
    and you are going to present it on Tuesday.
    Dwayne: Where do you think we get the information from to create the document?
    Alicia: How do we know we haven’t seen the draft,
    we don’t know what’s in that document, do we? Who has this draft?
    Dwayne: I haven’t seen the draft either.
    Alicia:Who has this draft?
    Dwayne: I’m not sure
    Alicia:  Who is responsible for the creation of this draft
    Dwayne: The ULURP chair
    Alicia : The ULURP chair, so he’s responsible for the creation of this draft
    and who will be sitting with him when they create this draft?
    Dwayne: Those other people who were working with him.
    Alicia: And who were these people working with him.
    Dwayne:I’m not necessarily going to name names
    Alicia: You are not going to name names
    Dwayne: They volunteer
    Alicia: They are volunteers so they are going to go back create a draft
    that you now think you are going to present on Tuesday to be voted ,
    and we don’t have any idea what that draft looks like.
    Dwayne: At this point I don’t have it.
    Alicia: You don’t have it, nobody else has it,
    Demetrius Lawrence: To my understanding
    Jacqueline Welch:  We are not voting on a draft.
    Demetrius Lawrence: To my understanding this draft is being formed
    and created with community board members,
    who are a part of the community.
    Alicia: What about the residents, what about the non-board members?
    Demetrius Lawrence: I hear you Alicia,
    But then at the community board general meeting ,
    we are going to present that draft to the community on all the points
    that were put into at the ULURP community meetings.
    Alicia : Yes, but he (Dwayne) just said he was voting on.
    He said there was going to be a vote!
    Jacqueline Welch:  We are not doing a vote.  Alicia we are not doing a vote!
    Demetrius Lawrence: To my understanding as an executive board member
    we can’t vote on the final resolution, if I’m speaking out of turn,
    please let me know, we can’t vote on a final resolution,
    if we don’t present it to the community first to show them draft of the input
    that everyone has placed inside of this resolution. 
    So in fairness to everyone on the board,
    we are a part of the community, and we may serve in the capacity as Executive,
    but we have input but not only our input, it’s the community’s input who at the ULURP meetings.
    Alicia: You call not putting any residents (non-board members) on the ULURP input?
    Demetrius Lawrence: That a different story
    Alicia:  No it is the same story!
    Demetrius Lawrence: Resident from the Board are a part of the community.
    Dwayne: Thank You
    Alicia: Excuse me I’m talking about non- board members
    Demetrius Lawrence: That is a different story
    Alicia: No that isn’t a different story

    Further in the tape.There was a question posed by Suki how differences of opinions are arrived at,
    when there might be two opposing positions.

    Dwayne: Everyone has to have a give and take.
    Alicia: Yes but you have to sit at the table,
    you have to sit down at the table with the community,
    you cannot do it in secret, behind closed doors
    and expect the community to accept, what these concessions are. 
    You can’t expect that, because I know what the agenda's here at this table,
    the agenda is to up zone Empire Blvd and to keep Empire Blvd on the study. 
     And I bet you that draft, even though you had a slew of people standing up sayingthey did not wantEmpire Blvd on the study,
    you will have Empire Blvd on the study,
    even though there was a slew of people,
    that showed up and said they did not want Empire Blvd on the study,
    even though we are already creating our own Study,
     you will have Empire Blvd on the Study
    Demetrius Lawrence: I don’t think no one here wants the up zoning of Empire Blvd.
    Alicia: Well I bet you it will be on that draft. If nobody wants it why is it on the draft?
    Demetrius Lawrence: I think since the last ULURP committee meeting it was removed,
    or it was suggested that we should remove it, Washington Ave as well.
    Alicia: Well we will see if it is removed, Washington Ave as well.

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    It's hilarious. Unless you're sitting right in front of the action. Here's me taking a selfie video, but with my good buddy Alicia behind me. She probably cost us 45 minutes of our time, and basically runs the meetings now. Pretty much everything we do is on the Planning issue is respond to her. District Manager Pearl Miles spends countless hours answering FOIL requests and defending herself and the Board in lawsuits leveled by Alicia Boyd's legal team.

    This video should give you a front row seat to what it's like to sit through these things. I had no idea she was so virtuosic on the noise-horn:


    Some good ideas were shared amidst the shouting. Suki and Alan shared some nice ideas about conducting their own study, which I think they should absolutely make happen. I hope they do, so we have even more information to go on as we move through the process.

    IF we get a chance. I'm still not hopeful that we'll ever get anything going. A narrowly defeated motion to scratch the draft entirely and start over at committee was beyond ludicrous. The draft is a fine place to start and members can add or edit at will. Have you ever tried to write something from scratch with, say, 20 people in the room writing every word? Nightmare. It (discussion) was (past tense? discussion) a (why not an? have we already decided the next word will start with a consonant?) dark (is that racial?how dark?) and (conjunction junction, what's your function?) stormy (adjective choice - too provocative) night (I told you they'd do it under cover of night!). Maybe we should have Snoopy write it. Probably be just as good. Like I said, nightmare!

    Which is probably what I'll have tonight after being subjected to more than 20 minutes of the above. My ears are still ringing. But for the most part, I kept my cool. Progress, not perfection.

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