Articles on this Page
- 07/22/13--19:56: _They're Locking the...
- 07/22/13--19:59: _Dollar Van Tragedy
- 07/24/13--08:08: _I'm Waiting For THE...
- 07/24/13--19:41: _Kwenci Jones Remake...
- 07/25/13--08:56: _Help Clean Up Aroun...
- 07/25/13--20:25: _These Are No Trees ...
- 07/27/13--17:56: _Neo-Pagans Arrive i...
- 07/30/13--19:40: _7 Story Hotel In De...
- 07/31/13--06:49: _The South Brooklyn ...
- 07/31/13--09:31: _UPDATE: Vacant Lot ...
- 08/02/13--19:15: _Red Lines
- 08/04/13--18:46: _Latest Curiousities
- 08/05/13--20:07: _We Got Pictures To ...
- 08/05/13--20:15: _National Night Out ...
- 08/06/13--05:48: _Farmer's Market at ...
- 08/08/13--19:13: _The Fishin' Musician
- 08/10/13--18:50: _Open Letter to Math...
- 08/12/13--18:15: _A Modest Victory Fo...
- 08/14/13--17:47: _Q Gardens Coming! M...
- 08/15/13--12:23: _Murmurs from the 40...
- 07/22/13--19:56: They're Locking the Playground At Night
- 07/22/13--19:59: Dollar Van Tragedy
- 07/24/13--08:08: I'm Waiting For THE Man
- Weapons involved or carried?
- Are “lookouts” or “steerers” used?
- Are cell phones used?
- Are children present/involved?
- Are animals present/involved?
- Specific stash locations (for drugs or weapons)?
- Hidden compartments or specific areas (for drugs or weapons)
- 07/24/13--19:41: Kwenci Jones Remakes Mural
- 07/25/13--20:25: These Are No Trees To Sneeze At
- 07/27/13--17:56: Neo-Pagans Arrive in Flatbush - Create Temple
- 07/30/13--19:40: 7 Story Hotel In Deep Flatbush
- 07/31/13--06:49: The South Brooklyn Whodunit
- 07/31/13--09:31: UPDATE: Vacant Lot Soon To Be Lot Less Vacant
- 08/02/13--19:15: Red Lines
- 08/04/13--18:46: Latest Curiousities
- 08/05/13--20:07: We Got Pictures To Prove It!
- 08/05/13--20:15: National Night Out Against Crime - Two Locations!!
- 08/06/13--05:48: Farmer's Market at Caton Market
- 08/08/13--19:13: The Fishin' Musician
- 08/12/13--18:15: A Modest Victory For Truth - Justice, Are You In There?
- 08/14/13--17:47: Q Gardens Coming! Meeting Tomorrow, Thursday the 15th
Ali Jacobs (email@example.com; 413-636-8042)
Anne Schoeneborn (firstname.lastname@example.org; 503-866-7195)
A space for children and adults to learn about gardening
A space for children and adults to participate in the process of planning and carrying out garden-related activities, including: sowing, weeding, watering, and harvesting
A local source of fresh, organically grown vegetables and herbs
A place for children and adults to experience and enjoy a safe, green space in their community
Community Board 14
DSJ Management, which owns the two large apartment buildings closest to the lot
More than Sevenlocal business owners
Flatbush Community Garden
Flatbush Farm Share CSA
Church Ave BID
Fiscal sponsorship for 501(c)(3) status
Tools and storage space
Materials for raised beds (wood, tools, topsoil, compost)
Materials for compost bin
NYC Compost Project
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Citizen’s Committee for New York
Brooklyn Community Foundation - Brooklyn Community Garden Fund
Merk Family Fund
Phillip J Hahn Foundation
Brooklyn Food Coalition
Compost for Brooklyn
- 08/15/13--12:23: Murmurs from the 40th Council District Campaign Trail
Email me if you're interested and I'll pass your info along to the organizer.
In other Parkside Playground news, a group of concerned neighbors formed a 311 chain and complained the heck out of the fact that all but one swing has disappeared. It's been that way for months. More than 15 people gang complained, and low and behold, we all got a note this morning that the swings have been ordered, to be replaced soon. Bet your butt we'll be staying on top of 'em til they arrive.
311 chain. Darn good idea!
from the NY Post:
70-year old woman fighting for her life after being hit by van on Flatbush
By NATASHA VELEZ
“She was bleeding like crazy, a lot of blood. She was on the floor,” Metro PCS manager Sean Dunlap,35, said. The woman was rushed to Kings County Hospital in critical condition, cops said. No criminality is suspected at this time and the investigation is ongoing, cops said.
People often ask what to do when they see drug deals go down. It's a persistent fact of life in the City, and whether it bothers you or not is likely a result of a number of factors, like, um, whether you're a buyer for one. (Not that I have a PROBLEM with that, per se. If you managed to get through high school and college and acquire gainful employment while smoking copious mounds of weed, more power to you. Me, I'd probably still be back on my folks couch watching reruns of Get Smart and eating Chips Ahoy).
Needless to say, though I'll say it anyway, dealing, and particularly dealing in public, is a serious quality of life problem and can lead to certain buildings, apartment and corners becoming well-known, drawing nefarious folks from all over to get in on the action or just to party. We live in a dense environment, and this can lead to unsafe conditions. And while you may have weathered your "experimentation" with drugs personally, a lot of the kids around here don't have a summer or "phase" to waste. The difference between success and failure is a thin line for kids from hardscrabble backgrounds. We need to do everything we can to help them stay on the right side of that line. (I like to say encouraging things to kids whenever I can - show them your approval and that you notice! Who doesn't like to be complimented?)
Of course, you could and should call 911 if you see a crime take place. You don't have to leave your name. But witnessing dealing is not a 311 call - save that for relatively minor offenses like dog poo (which we all know isn't MINOR, but the 911 operator will probably be playing back your call to colleagues and laughing at break time). Public dealing is a menace on a number of levels, and I would argue that the worst part is that it sends a signal to the kids that this is an acceptable lifestyle, and that no one will stop you if you choose this path. There's no glamor in street dealing (trust me I KNOW)*, but it starts to look good when it looks like fast, easy, money.
But here's a powerful (and relatively under-publicized) way to get the attention of the authorities - the sort of authorities who can actually do something about it. Your email to email@example.com goes DIRECTLY to a senior narcotics staff member at D.A. Hynes' office. He has the authority to conduct a proper investigation, using non-precinct-specific narcotics officers.
This from the D.A. website:
Thank you for your willingness to provide information that will aid law enforcement in combating drug activity in your building or neighborhood. We do not need your name. However, the following information would be of critical assistance in addressing the problem and should be included in your email report.
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Type of Drug(s) Apparently Being Used or Illegally Distributed (Examples: cocaine, crack, heroin, marijuana, synthetic drugs, prescription medications):
2. Date(s) AND Times of the Activity:
If the activity is ongoing, time frames and/or patterns of activity
3. Locations of Activity:
Specific locations, including (where possible) street addresses, apartment numbers, NYCHA
location names if applicable, AND the specific areas within these locations where the activity has occurred (ex. hallway, lobby, stairwell, roof landing, roof)
4. Identifying information for those suspected of criminal activity:
Name, nickname and/or address; telephone number(s);
Vehicle license plate number, year, make/model and/or color;
Physical description: male/female; estimated age; height/weight; hair color/length/style; scars and/or tattoos; facial hair; complexion; clothing (hat/cap, coat, glasses); apparent culture/ethnicity
5. Additional Helpful Information:
The staff of the Major Narcotics Investigations Bureau who review this information will not contact you hereafter, unless you indicate in your email that you are willing to communicate with us further and specify the means by which you would like to communicate. Thank you again for taking this step to make your community a better, safer place.
Personally, I wouldn't worry about anonymity. The D.A. is significantly more attentive to such details as your safety than other outlets. But you could always create a free dummy email for these kinds of things.
I'll bet you know a spot not far from your home. Why not send an email? What can it hurt?
*because I've seen gritty reality shows, silly.
Perhaps you've seen him along Flatbush just north of the Prospect Park Station, working on his mural, the one that you thought had been left for gone, elephants and all. Not so. With help from the Crown Heights Youth Collective, a group after my own heart led by local legend and community activist Richard Green, the artist Kwenci Jones has set about bringing his mural of 15 years ago back to life. Today when I spoke to him he was hard at work with an assistant, John Carrero, reworking the colors and figures, clearly glad to be revisiting his pictures that he created these many years ago.
The folks on Maple 3 are really getting it together...why not lend them a hand on Saturday cleaning up and readying the vacant lot that they're turning into a Community Garden? It's kinda like an Old Fashioned Amish Barn Raising! Without the barn or the Amish...
Real trees! Not the green sheet metal kind, though those too will soon have a new life...
Below you'll find the evidence that an ACTUAL meeting took place between the Parkside Project crew (nee the Parkside Prize), our winning architect In Cho (and partner Tim Shields) plus Nick from DOT and Annie from City Parks' Forestry department. Oh yeah, and that's Hector in the pic, from Pioneer Grocery, and Sonya from Parkside Project, who lives on Ocean.
|In Cho and Annie from Forestry get serious|
And this is the kicker (for me anyway), Nick did a time lapse of people coming from the train at rush hour. You KNOW I'm going to get my hands on that and post it. Maybe with a Koyaanisqatsisoundtrack?
Dang that felt good to be out there for the power meeting. Next up, the big dig?
Delirious Brooklyn sweepstakes. The NYC Polytheist Temple has landed a lease right near the Q at Parkside. We welcome it and wish it the best, though I've always felt, personally of course, that it's hard enough to keep up with ONE god, let alone a few hundred from various faiths and indigenous belief systems around the world and throughout history. I'm sort of of a mind that there are at least five gods though...one to make the world, one to run the weather, one to keep track of time, one to manage gravity, and one to ensure that you will have a nearly impossible time purchasing a mattress without getting sold a bill of goods. Seriously, it's nuts out there. Starts out with a teaser about $499 for a great night's sleep, and pretty soon you're talking body-molding angel noodles made of organic unicorn tails for $5K plus shipping. Below is a self-portrait of the Q after shopping for a bed.
fascinating Facebook page, was the description and picture of a Boggart, seen above. The boggart MUST be the genuine genesis of the bogeyman, or boogeyman if you prefer, though I think bogey sounds much more sinister than boogey, so I prefer the former, even though one became a term for one-over-par and the other for shaking your booty. I still think golf is more of the occult than disco. I've heard various bogeyman origin stories, but this is the clear winner. Boggart. Who knew?
More pictures below of the soon-to-be constructed Temple site. Call ahead though, because it might be one of about six thousand holidays.
Ditmas Park Corner was on the ball today (as it is most days) noting that the re-imagined Loew's Theater on Flatbush is about to get a companion 7-story hotel perhaps of the Marriot variety.
Are you serious? Who in Sam Hill is going to stay there? Is this whole Loew's thing just some sort of Marty good-bye fantasy? I mean I'm seriously shocked. The Q just don't see it working, but then I thought Wesley Clark was going to steal the presidency from George Bush too, so what do I know.
Granted, the total numbers aren't great enough that "Fluke" couldn't be the culprit. Still, Barron's had a piece that confirmed that the Q hasn't been flappin' his digital gums over nothing. The article "Homicides Spike in South Brooklyn" by Danny Gold highlights two things: A: There's a lot of random craziness going on around here that runs counter to the record-low homicides in the rest of the City, and B: the phrase "South Brooklyn" continues to be used as if it has any meaning whatsoever.
Was a time when being from South Brooklyn meant something (before there were fake place names like Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill, which is actually a valley by the way, and even Red Hook and Carroll Gardens were known as South Brooklyn), and that's when the precincts and NYPD started to organize around the idea of North and South. If you check the crime stats, you'll see that the NYPD still considers it worthwhile to cut the borough down the middle. As if those in Bay Ridge, Coney Island, Crown Heights, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Midwood and Sheepshead Bay have something more in common with one another than with East Williamsburg, Bushwick andBed-Stuy. But if you spend anytime with law enforcement folks, it becomes clear that the distinction is real, and the resources for things like narcotics and serious investigations often happen at the "Brooklyn South" level, which has its own czar of sorts, which most people know nothing about, me included until I wrote a letter to the head of Brooklyn South last fall (Chief Chan, at that time), and it set in motion a whole chain of events where I was getting phone calls to come down to the 70th precinct, the 71st, talking on the phone with precinct commanders, and getting emails from Ray Kelly's office. All as a result of noticing that there's something called "Brooklyn South."
I guess sometimes it pays to meet people where they are.
FYI y'all I just heard from developer Tom Anderson (8/1/13) that the ink is not yet dry but it's looking very good. They got the permits in anticipation so they can get right on it when the contracts get signed. Tootles, tim.
|yes, i'm tired of looking at this rendering too|
For those new to the story, the lot that will have entrances at both 33 Lincoln Road and 510 Flatbush, was once to be a towering gleaming windowed phallus (tgwp) for birds to smack into. That idea faded (though not, as is commonly believed, because of neighborhood outrage) and the property shifted hands to Tom and he has tried to get State financing to build his 80/20 rental building for awhile. B-stoner thinks the money came through; thus the new permits. And to those who would call this an "affordable housing" project, I think it should be noted that while the building will be rent stabilized, that stabilization starts at just 10% below market rate on 8 out of 10 units - no chump change these days. The other 20% goes to working people under a certain thresh-hold, and their rent will start at (if I remember right) 1/3 of income. Hardly, as one commenter said, a "housing project."
More on this soon. I'm actually away and should be enjoying the work 1/3 of my vacation. But there's so much doin' on the Flabenue I just had to update y'all!
A fantastic conversation is taking place on the Yahoo Lefferts Listserv about rising rents and stabilization laws. Seems like some verification on the facts and some statistics would help immensely. Barbara? Is there a great article out there that I could post on the subject? Actually at the bottom of the page I cut and pasted her comment from the listserv (hope that's okay BR!)
The bottom line - rents are rising so fast that recent transplants to the neighborhood can't afford to stay, to say nothing of long-term residents who are being pressured to leave. Many forces at play.
But let's not forget the pink elephant in the room...race. Landlords often take the position, illegal as it is, that renting to whites increases their chances of moving up and out of stabilization thresholds quickly - particularly youngish recent graduates. And who do you suppose has been the most conspicuous demographic of newcomer to the neighborhood? White looks green in a greedy landlord's eyes.
People call gentrification inevitable, and maybe that's so. But why the massive change in racial makeup, from Harlem to Bed-Stuy and Ft. Greene and Crown Heights? Is it really all just "desirability" and the fact of racial income disparity, or is it also a bit more sinister? I don't accuse anyone moving to a black neighborhood of racism. That certainly wasn't on my mind when I moved to Clarkson 10 years ago. The process itself ENCOURAGES racism though. I believe that's what's so troubling to many of us who've moved here and watched the average skin tone lighten. It's a creepy feeling, am I right?
This is big, big, big stuff. Heard recently from an interracial couple I know - "he always does the dealing with the landlords. It's just "easier" that way. Sad, but true." Speaks volumes to me. Btw, when we moved to our block we could count the white folks on both hands. It would be foolish now to guesstimate; almost every new face is, if not white, certainly post-collegiate and paying considerably more than one would have payed three or four years ago.
The argument about stabilization and market forces and warehousing and lack of affordable housing is an old one, and no one seems to be able to fix it. There's so little political will. But we at least ought to be able to stand together, as they did back in the last big REDLINING era, and throw the book at landlords practicing discrimination.
If we could find out authoritatively which landlords are the worst offenders, we could protest outside their buildings, and run stings in concert with the district attorney. It's easy. One person applies with an African-American sounding name, another with a probable white name. On the phone, one sounds "black," the other sounds white. Or better yet, go in person. Even make sure that the black applicant has a better credit rating. What happens next would be very telling indeed.
You may shake your head and wonder if it's happening. But I've gotten to know a few landlords a bit, and heard some stories that will scare you straight, and I can assure you that it is VERY much happening. There are some real scumbags around here. A forum on the subject is fine, but I suggest action. This is the sort of thing PLGNA was created for. I hope they take the lead.
If other neighborhoods in Brooklyn and upper Manhattan are any indication, our neighborhood will be majority white within 5 years or so, maybe less. Barring natural or unnatural catastrophes of course. To illustrate further just how quickly a neighborhood can change complexion, check out this fascinating document I found showing the census numbers from 1960 and 1970. Of course, Prospect-Lefferts-Gardens, having only been coined, was extrapolated from census tracts from the previous census.
Buildings are not stabilized, apartments are. A building can have a mix of stabilized, controlled, and market rate units. Currently, the threshold to remove an apartment from stabilization is $2500/mo. (was $2000 up until 2011), so what many landlords try to do is to get that legal rent above the threshold as quickly as possible.
The Q may have gone fishin', but that doesn't stop him from hearing tales of oddness in the 'hood.
Like...the long blue wall along the Duane Reade? Suddenly beige? Why? That blue was the only thing saving that wall from not being blue. With the Berlin Wall fencing on the roof, it must now truly resemble Sing Sing.
But more ominous is the fact that Pioner took down the flags representing many of the Caribbean islands in favor of many of the old red, white and blue.
Huh. Wouldn't want to read to much into that one now would you...
Here's a list of the 13 largest (by size) West Indian islands, in preparation for the big day on Labor Day. Clearly, the Bahamas are the least population dense by a longshot. That's what I took away from this exercise anyway...
Area: 42,803 square miles (110,860 sq km)
2) Dominican Republic
Area: 18,791 square miles (48,670 sq km)
Capital: Santo Domingo
Area: 10,714 square miles (27,750 sq km)
Capital: Port au Prince
4) The Bahamas
Area: 5,359 square miles (13,880 sq km)
Area: 4,243 square miles (10,991 sq km)
6) Trinidad and Tobago
Area: 1,980 square miles (5,128 sq km)
Capital: Port of Spain
Area: 290 square miles (751 sq km)
8) Saint Lucia
Area: 237 square miles (616 sq km)
9) Antigua and Barbuda
Area: 170 square miles (442 sq km)
Capital: Saint John's
Area: 166 square miles (430 sq km)
11) Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Area: 150 square miles (389 sq km)
Area: 133 square miles (344 sq km)
Capital: Saint George's
13) Saint Kitts and Nevis
Area: 100 square miles (261 sq km)
Thanks Rudy for the following to prove the last post was no August Fool's Day joke:
|didn't they get the memo about DR's new look?|
And to prove that Parkside Ave is cookin' with gas, a new cell phone store next to Mickey D's!!!!
|there's a story in the biz model of these stores I simply don't get. Anyone? The Wireless R Us on Flatbush near Woodruff I get. Constant charismatic chaos in there. But can the City really support these all?|
Once again it's time to eat some hot dogs and talk turkey - about crime, and how to stop it - by going outside. Flyers below. The tradition has a rich history. Read more about it here. Seriously, go out the doors to the out-of-doors and meet your neighbors and precinct folk. Both the 70th and 71st precincts have their spots.
|anybody else see a ghost face just to the right of the hot dogs? and what are the yellow things? popcorns?|
|In the family picture above, I get that there's a Dad, baby, mom, and little girl. But who's the other figure? The chubby uncle?|
For those who've been craving the farmer's market experience (FME), a humble FME can be had at the corner of Caton and Flatbush every Wednesday from 8am - 4pm (ignore the dates/times on the Flatbush-Caton Market website). It's sponsored by the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce.
Please do stop by it and share your comments. Perhaps if it becomes popular enough they'll add more vendors!
For those who know what a market is, but are not quite sure about the farmer part, here's a picture of a typical farmers-market farmer to give you a sense of the man behind the melons:
It's come that time of year when even the most dogged of bloggers clear their noggins by heading for the country. Southern Vermont, if you must know, in a valley without cell service from ANY company. The internet is available in the old town hall, which I'm parked outside of, trying desperately to distance myself from the need to communicate with y'all. Deep breaths, unplug, unplug. No one here gives a darn about NYC, except what they read in the papers sometimes. It's amazing how City-centric we get. People live the whole year with nothing but the change of the seasons to get riled about. We're renting a tiny farmhouse from the 1820's, when people were short - I hit my head everywhere. It's owned by Junior Bentley, who just turned 90 but takes a ride with Sue and Valerie out to the hill to "hay" the cows off the back of a flatbed. Last night we went to an Oxen Show and ice cream social. My daughter riled one of the Oxes, and he riled her right back. Guess what that ox's name was. Blue. Blue Ox. As Sting sang, "synchronicity." Dang that record blows in retrospect. "I'll Always Be King of Pain?" Yuch. Worse than Coldplay lyrics...
I actually don't fish, but I do love the above sign. And craziest thing...the cat's all fish here too!
AND send me any tidbits you'd like amplified by this most odd of megaphones and I'll do my best to get it up here. You know where to reach me...mines the kitty on the left by the way. Quite the angler.
Dear Mathieu "inside the flag" Eugene:
It started off so hopeful, and we had some nice times together. But for my sanity and for the sake of the 40th Council District, I think it's time we start seeing other people. Oh the heck with it...I'm breaking up with you, and here's why.
When you came into office, you cost the taxpayers roughly $400,000 because you failed to move to our district in time to get the election certified. You refused to state under oath that you lived here. Why exactly did you do that? Was living in the district you represent that unimportant to you, that you failed to cross your t's and dot your i's, and um, live here? And exactly how much time have you spent at the apartment in Flatbush, the one that you apparently have trouble paying the rent at? By the way that Ditmas Corner article I just linked to noted that you're occasionally seen taking your kids to school. I won't touch that one, but frankly I rarely see you out and about. Most council members spend a great deal of time getting to know their constituents. I mean, it's not like you're in Albany most of the time. You're right here in NYC. I see State Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs more often than you. Where are you most of the time? I'm shocked to say it, but I'm quite sad not to see more of you. Your reelection campaign website cites 2011 information. You have next to no presence ANYWHERE on the web. Google you then google Jumaane or Tish or Lander. It's bizarre. You're the only person I know who's able to hide from the internet!!
But now I hear that you're not even playing by the rules in your current reelection campaign. Why, Mathieu, did you send out a brochure trumpeting your achievements in the Council within 90 days of the Primary Election? Did you forget that this was absolutely against the law? It's called a "blackout period," during which you're not allowed to utilize your office or its funds to campaign. I wonder if the Campaign Finance Board has been alerted to this. Surely they, and the Council itself, must frown on such illegal activity. Very disappointing indeed. Is it true that your reelection campaign team (basically run by your well-compensated brother) had listed your district office on Linden Boulevard with governing authorities? Did you not know that this is also illegal? It's important to at least APPEAR to separate your office budget (that we all pay for) and the budget of your campaign (that frankly we all pay for too, but you have to at least raise 1/6 of it yourself from friends and supporters). That was a very big oversight, Mathieu. It's disappointing to be sure, but par for the course I'm afraid. You're just not interested in such thorny details.
I've also learned that you've been unable to balance your own office budget, leading to questions of whether you'll be able to meet your own costs. We may hear you complain in the media that it's all Bloomberg's fault for cutting this and that, but really Mathieu, it's your job to spend only what you have and not a penny more. Where exactly ARE you getting the money to meet payroll and other costs? It might be interesting to investigate that. Maybe someone whose job it is to look at such things will complete some sort of audit of your books. I'd be surprised if they didn't find more irregularities. You're just not very careful, at best, and perhaps even willfully negligent or criminal, or more likely, just plain incompetent. I've begun to suspect the latter, because I'd like to assume you're a nice guy who means well.
But Mathieu, meaning well is not a qualification for reelection. Don't take it hard; I still like you. But you're unfit for office, and certainly unfit to represent the people of Flatbush, or more accurately the various Flatbushes, since each micronabe and cultural community deserves to be recognized, respected and represented. There is just one community that you've shown interest in, and even the Haitian community deserves better than your generalized statements and much ballyhooed use of your office for immigrant information, a service that's provided to you pro bono anyway and would be to any councilperson living in an immigrant rich neighborhood. I suspect any of your challengers would do as well if not better at championing the causes of the Haitian diaspora.
My opinion of you went from disbelief (that any elected representative could speak with such vapid platitudes - check out this absurd video about domestic violence) to shock, when I sat around a table with some of my fellow members of CB9 to discuss the budget. You showed up late, but hey, you showed up. When we asked you whether you'd even read the Community Board's requests to the City, you clearly had never bothered to read it. We sent it to youMathieu. It contains your districts most important needs and concerns. We voted on it as a neighborhood. You wouldn't have even had to come to an actual CB9 meeting (though you occasionally do to claim victory for some budget priority that you had little to do with getting). You could have read the document from your Campaign Office, er, District Office, or even at your primary residence in Canarsie. And you seemed to have NO IDEA how the City budgeting process works. That's, like, your most crucial job as City legislator. Six years in and you still don't know how the budget works?
Feel free to have your people contact me to verify or deny any of the things I've said here. I'm quite confident you won't, because frankly Mathieu, you don't have much to be proud of at this point, and much more to lose than to gain by picking fights.
Some of the newer or less politically minded folks in your district might wonder how you got elected at all. It's pretty simple really. The old council person Yvette Clarke, and the council person before that, her mother Una, hand-picked you to be their successor. Here's what Una had to say about you at the time. “I think he will make an excellent and competent council member" and “Yvette and I are sparing no effort to help someone who will build on our legacy and do better than we did and that person is Mathieu Eugene."
I'm cc'ing you on my open note to Una: Hey Ms. Clarke, it's never too late to admit you got it wrong. Please, please use your clout and expertise at getting out the vote and endorse someone else, preferably Saundra Thomas, who actually has a website and a passion to lead the district. For the sake of the 40th that you love so much, please consider the good you'd be doing!
But Mathieu, here's hoping I see you again soon, back practicing as a doctor and not pretending to know what you're doing in public office. Actually, I've heard you don't know what you're doing as a doctor either, but let's not go down that road.
See you in the 'hood! Flatbush that is, not Canarsie.
- The Q
Finally mainstream media has taken a close look at something those of us on my block have known for some time. Barry Hers, landlord of 60 Clarkson, is getting rich by running a slum. Not the usual way of refusing to provide basic services to tenants. Oh, he does that all right, and his building is a rat-infested hellhole for the few hundred folks living under his greedy thumbs. But he's figured out how to double or triple his take - make a contract with the City's Department of Homeless Services to rent out his apartments for $3K a month to...homeless families. As if the indignity of putting yourself at the mercy of the City isn't bad enough, for the taxpayer's money comes moldy walls, broken plumbing, bedbugs, cracking paint, leaks, and occasionally no hot water or heat in winter.
It's an outrage. The Q tried his darndest to get attention to the matter, even meeting with CAMBA (the social service agency charged with overseeing the clients in the building) and trying to get a meeting with DHS. I sent out emails to a lot of folks in the media, but interestingly not to WNYC, who actually picked up the story today. No matter how the piece made it to the always on-it Cynthia Rodriguez, I'm glad to see our friend Vina getting a chance to tell the story from an actual tenant's perspective. There are only a few rent paying tenants left in the building, and they're getting SQUEEZED to leave. We're talking good people, folks. Not thugs or nuisances. Mr. and Mrs. King, for instance, have been here for 40 years, helping hold the block together while most newcomers wouldn't have dreamed of living here. It's heartbreaking really. The wife has always noted what a gorgeous building is 60. In fact, back in the day it was where "the rich people lived," according to twins Sandy and Randy who've lived on the block their whole lives.
The story's here: WNYC on 60 Clarkson.
Thanks Cynthia. Everyone, please, forward this story to whomever you know who could actually see Mr. Hers pay for his inhumanity, and change a system that allows slumlords to get rich off of all of us. Yuch.
In my rush to split town, I forgot to trumpet the emerging project at the Church Ave stop on the Q (and it's quick weekday baby brother, the B). A number of neighbors are involved, and they've got some pictures to boot. Tomorrow night there's a meeting for those interested. A note from an organizer:
We are an ever-expanding group of neighbors dedicated to turning this over-grown lot into a welcoming, public green space and edible community garden. The MTA has given the project the go-ahead and that we are in the final stages of entering into a contractual agreement with them/gaining access to the lot -- we want people to be aware of this exciting project in the making! And to join us in our efforts. The next meeting is August 15th. People can email
email@example.com to find out the location.
Check out the key points to know, neatly collected here:
In the fall of 2012, Anne Schoeneborn, a new resident to the Prospect Park South neighborhood, engaged 596acres.orgto add this lot to their online map of NYC public, unused land. She subsequently engaged MTA, the owner of the lot, to request authorization to convert the lot into a community garden. Prescott Vann, MTA’s Deputy Director of Leasing & Acquisitions, assigned Arturo Espinoza to help seek approval from New York City Transit. Through 596 acres, Ali Jacobs, a resident of neighboring Lefferts Gardens, has also joined the project. Together, Anne and Ali have reached out to community stakeholders, gotten the official support of Community Board 14 and local businesses, residents and organizations, built a community of 30 neighbors and gardeners who are interested in actively participating in the garden as well as a core group of organizers leading the legal and financial resources of the group. On May 23rd Arturo Espinoza informed the group that the application has progressed to the next stage and the land is approved for our use. Currently the core organizers are seeking fiscal sponsorship and insurance to meet the MTA’s requirements to procure the leasing agreement to the lot.
Although the lot is small, we hope to turn this into a very productive urban garden. In the first year, we envision developing a shared, communal garden (without any individual plots), with a series of raised beds, rain barrels, and a composting bin. We believe the communal garden model will allow us to make the most of the space, and hope to grow a range of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. We hope to engage the local community, particularly children, as much as possible—and believe this high-traffic corner is an ideal location. Currently, the lot is abandoned, over-grown, and trash-strewn. Our goal is to see this corner transformed into a beautiful, green community space that provides:
Some nifty drawings below:
Two excruciatingly hard-to-swallow endorsements came out in favor of our incumbent in City Council, Mathieu Eugene. Health Workers local 1199 has once again given thumbs up to the good "doctor," and lest you think this is inconsequential, 1199 has a HUGE presence in the neighborhood, with many health workers living within the 40th. No surprise then that rare appearances in the area by Eugene have included hospital related issues, and Eugene has funneled large sums (in the millions) to Kings County Hospital for big ticket items. (e.g. $3.5 million in 2012 - video here; $2 million in 2010 - video here).
It's not unusual for unions to back the perceived frontrunner in campaigns, so as to receive the best possible treatment from the presumptive winner once in office. Such a disappointment to see, however, that the area's biggest mobilizer of votes has seen fit to endorse a seriously disastrous candidate...yet again. For shame.
Even more disappointing, however, is the endorsement by the Working Families Party. I'd be extremely surprised if they've actually done any homework at all on our current Councilman. Perhaps they're busy with the Mayor's race, and unable to Google the man, who has shown absolutely NO leadership on any of the issues they claim to hold dear. Dan Cantor, are you serious? There's still time to reexamine your choice.
Here's a note I sent to WFP today. I hope to be able to report some sort of explanation:
Hi from the Q at Parkside blog (theqatparkside.blogspot.com). I write neighborhood news, essays and lean towards community betterment for the Prospect Lefferts Gardens and North Flatbush area. I've also taken a serious interest in core concerns of residents, though not strictly on the level of business development. I've watched too many neighborhoods grow and change without the interests of its longterm and less affluent residents at heart. Schools, jobs, housing, crime, trash. These are big concerns to me and my readers and those issues cross arbitrary lines of race, ethnicity or economic class. The Working Families Party has often seemed aligned with these interests and many of our goals (though I wouldn't be sincere if I didn't strongly disagree with you from time to time!)
It is therefore extremely surprising for me, and many of my neighbors, to see your endorsement of Mathieu Eugene for City Council from the 40th district. On what basis was this endorsement made? I would love to have the chance to discuss this with you. Perhaps you are not fully aware of the Councilman's lackluster record on...well, just about everything. Those who know him well, including those who have worked with and for him, detail a man completely over his head and unable to lead on the most basic level. I have personally sat across the table with him in my role at Community Board 9 and on various issues. I can assure you he understands next to nothing about budgeting, and has "led" on exactly ZERO issues. Occasionally, he will latch onto something that sounds beneficial to him. That's about it.
I hope that Dan Cantor or someone with knowledge of Eugene can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917-822-5346.
An explanation as to WTF's understanding of this district, and of the incumbent's opposing candidates, would go a long way to giving us the confidence that you have done your due diligence.
Very best, and in most all other races --- "go get 'em!"
tim "theQ" thomas