Articles on this Page
- 08/17/18--15:10: _Schools and the Rac...
- 08/24/18--08:18: _Jesse Hamilton Gets...
- 08/29/18--20:17: _Love and Race and P...
- 09/01/18--16:14: _J'Ouvert - Great Pa...
- 09/06/18--05:08: _Garden Shadows? Not...
- 09/12/18--12:11: _80 Flatbush - Maybe...
- 09/13/18--04:00: _Give 'Em Hell, Zell
- 09/14/18--07:25: _Earthquakes and Sub...
- 09/21/18--06:39: _The Q In the Crossh...
- 09/25/18--06:54: _Taking Them Down, P...
- 09/30/18--13:13: _Need a Mission? Bri...
- 10/04/18--21:04: _A Mea Culpa and the...
- 10/09/18--11:47: _This Was the Apolog...
- 10/09/18--11:57: _The Terrorist's Dem...
- 10/13/18--21:58: _That Was One Weird ...
- 10/16/18--08:26: _The Best Trick-er-T...
- 10/18/18--13:14: _Garden Living
- 10/19/18--13:34: _From Formerly Homel...
- 10/20/18--16:45: _You Love the Neighb...
- 10/23/18--05:54: _Are You a Brooklyn ...
- 08/17/18--15:10: Schools and the Racism Discount
- 08/29/18--20:17: Love and Race and Politics. Oh My!
- 09/01/18--16:14: J'Ouvert - Great Party. Don't Even Dream Of Driving
- 09/06/18--05:08: Garden Shadows? Not So Much
- 09/12/18--12:11: 80 Flatbush - Maybe It's Time To Concede The Reality
- 09/13/18--04:00: Give 'Em Hell, Zell
- 09/14/18--07:25: Earthquakes and Subtle Shifts
- 09/21/18--06:39: The Q In the Crosshairs
- 09/25/18--06:54: Taking Them Down, Piece By Piece
- 09/30/18--13:13: Need a Mission? Bring It All Home To Staten Island
- 10/04/18--21:04: A Mea Culpa and the End of the Q
- 10/09/18--11:47: This Was the Apology That Alicia Rejected
- 10/09/18--11:57: The Terrorist's Demands
- 10/13/18--21:58: That Was One Weird Week
- 10/16/18--08:26: The Best Trick-er-Treating in NYC
- 10/18/18--13:14: Garden Living
- 10/19/18--13:34: From Formerly Homeless To Probably Homeless
- 10/20/18--16:45: You Love the Neighborhood - Please Come Monday Eve
- 10/23/18--05:54: Are You a Brooklyn Bloke?
To the read the rest of my award winning essay (the Q at Parkside Award for Dynamic Bloggering) be sure to go to Romper.
We wanted to live in the big city. We wanted to stay in the City. Then we wanted a house or big apartment in which to raise kids. Seemed straightforward. But that's when the struggle for our very souls began in earnest. The next big question facing us is existential: which school will we send our children to?
Who's we? We are the mostly white, mostly middle- and upper-middle class, schooled in liberal arts, culturally attuned to NPR and the New York Times, The Atlantic and the New Yorker, with a smattering of Mother Jones or The Nation issues in our lobby mail slots. We can go to parties and talk about racism and bemoan white supremacy in a gorgeously renovated living room with a Black Lives Matter placard in the window. We want to fix X and Y problems, and yet when it comes down to it, we support charter schools, “forest schooling,” and testing our children into the “gifted” school.
Living in Hipville, USA, is exhilarating and challenging in equal measures. Smart, funny, fascinating, and quirky people are everywhere. Jobs come in every style, size, and income. Culture and cultures surround us, making us feel like a citizens of the world. We're never more than a subway or bus ride from intellectual stimulation. We become hooked on the daily high of intense, tightly-packed living, full of surprises and adventure. We're often car-less, and take pride that we're leaving less of a carbon footprint than our rural and suburban brethren. We try hard to hide our smugness.
Having developed a pair-bond with a like-minded mate, we decide to mate and spawn offspring. But having a child upended our carefully calibrated sense of moral balance. This was the first time we looked up from our navels and took full stock of where and how we lived. Is the neighborhood safe? Is it clean? Is it too noisy or hectic? Are there other new families to bond with, playgrounds nearby, nurturing day-cares and good schools?
Most of our specific "settling down" decisions were informed by how much money we had or could poach from relatives. (In the minds of every city-dweller you'll find a collectively determined running list of best and worst neighborhoods to live in if you have kids. The personalized version of the list fluctuates with one's own financial condition, the vagaries of hipness, trends, age, and various insecurities and prejudices.) A round of musical chairs ensued, and we all sat down in our various neighborhoods, though some couldn't find an affordable "chair" and had to leave the game. A bonus: we were finally able to confirm our suspicions about who was actually wealthy; you can't hide a four-bedroom townhouse in the middle of a real estate boom.
The rich friends moved to their first-choice neighborhoods, and bragged of the good schools therein. The middle-classes began to re-assess previously undesirable neighborhoods or assail the pricier zip codes as "over" and dull. We started talking about real estate — obsessively. We started to become our parents even before we became parents ourselves. But we're NOT our parents, we'd say. We're more progressive, more open-minded, more attuned to the needs of others and the world's ills. So we convinced ourselves it's desirable to live around other races and cultures and economic classes. We liked to chastise others for living in nearly all-white enclaves.
The RD was greatest for the first to arrive — the Early Bird Special. My wife and I weren't even married when we purchased our house in the Lefferts Gardens area of Flatbush back in 2003. There were just two other white folks on the block, as far we could tell, a block with somewhere close to 1,500 residents living in 30 old town-houses and nearly 500 pre-war apartments. We were a serious minority, and we took great pride in our ability to look past race and poverty. The whites didn't show up in numbers ‘til years later. In all honesty, those early years were awesome, and the least soul-crushing. We were welcomed, and we felt alive.
The black and brown residents of our block were as varied as the world itself. A great number were African-Americans whose families arrived during the Great Migration, some sending their kids down South in the summers to be with relatives, some making plans to move back down permanently once retired. Like immigrants from within their own country. There were hundreds of Caribbeans from every nation, lots of Yemenis, some Puerto Ricans, Africans, mostly citizens but plenty were just residents. No one cared about such things. And not everyone was poor.
Still living four doors down is the two-home-owning gay, black judge, and the Vietnam War veteran who was the first black electrician in the union, the black female sanitation worker who won a multi-million dollar lawsuit, lots of nurses, salespeople, social workers, business owners. There were also lots of Section 8 families, folks with little or no income but who possessed the prized housing vouchers. (Back 15 years ago, landlords would still accept them readily, as the vouchers were a steady and certain source of rental income.)
Some of the single-family homes had become boarding houses. Our three-floor 20-foot-wide row house had eight separate one-room apartments when we bought it — "SROs" in the lingo. It was mostly immigrant men living there, looking only for a place to lay their heads at night while working three, maybe four jobs.
We didn't think about the schools. We thought about how lucky we were to live near the subway, the Park, the Botanic Garden, the Museum. The other side of the park cost three times as much. The racism discount was steep then; the price differential is closer to double now, as more and more white folks have moved east. It's incredible how one can quantify people's discomfort with minorities, but there it is, right on the Zillow listings.
The schools? Education was being delivered, for sure. But our zoned school and the others nearby were nearly all black and all poor. Even the wealthier black and mixed-race couples we'd met sent their kids out of the neighborhood, many to private or parochial schools. Solid, progressive liberal arts grads would say, with straight faces, that their conscience told them to go local, but they didn't want their own kids to be guinea pigs for a school's diversification. It should be noted that most of these parents have still never set foot in any of these schools, let alone taken the time to meet the principal or take a tour. Many used test scores to decide whether a school met the acceptable threshold, even though, as Leonie Haimsen wrote in the New York Times, they are vulnerable to cheating and tend to respond directly to injections of money. On top of which, “the National Academy of Sciences has not once but twice spoken out against imposing this sort of high stakes accountability scheme on our schools.”
A few white parents went as far as to create a charter school to address the lack of good options in the area. Initially, a fair number of white families proudly attended the newly minted Charter School, which had been gracelessly co-located into a beautiful old school building housing longtime neighborhood school PSXY, which was suffering a steep drop-off in attendance. Which, by the way, was a direct result of the accelerating gentrification in the neighborhood that was bringing more school-aged families - plenty to fill the seats at the two under-enrolled zoned schools. But not one (quite literally, not one) of the newcomers felt comfortable sending their kids to the local-zoned schools. The excuses were always a variation on the guinea-pig defense.
I tried to convince playground friends to give it a shot — together if necessary — to just go to the zoned school. A few meetings were held, but one by one our preschool friends chose other options. A couple Montessories here, a couple fancy private schools there, a few homeschoolers and lots of out-of-neighborhood schoolers. The well-regarded local private pre-school actively encouraged parents to go out of zone, even out of district. That well-regarded school leader coached parents on how to "work the system" legally, and how to find schools that were still accepting out-of-zone students to fill their seats. The unstated irony? Her own children were bi-racial.
As in any massive clandestine effort, code words were used to hide the issue facing parents. The Racism Discount had provided for cheaper housing. But it didn't mean the local public schools would also gradually add new wealthier residents at the rate of home equity increase, and the longtime local proud experienced principals weren't going to beg parents to come "save" their schools from lack of cultural and fiscal capital. For many well-bred whites, this was the first time their privilege met a dead-end. Local elected officials weren't much help either. They, too, were black and proud, or white and smarter than to play race games, and they weren't interested in hearing solutions that didn't involve parents simply crossing out of their comfort zones and going local...
To the read the rest of my award winning essay (the Q at Parkside Spot On Award For Accuracy In Bloggiphying) be sure to go to Romper.
Until recently the Q could have told you with a straight face that Jesse Hamilton was a strong leader. Working hard since winning his seat, he's been at every march and forum you'd expect from a State Senator. He's put forth spicy legislation. He's been responsive to his constituents and an advocate for the needs and rights of the African-American community. But something happened when he dallied with the Dark Side - i.e. the Republican leadership and Independent Democratic Caucus. He chose expedience and power over process and loyalty to the Party that elected him. One could forgive his naivete (being essentially used by the IDC leadership) because he was offered a lot in return, and he slept at night by telling himself he'd done it for the good of his district. But...
He's not sleeping so good anymore. And we're not sleeping either, Jesse. We can see what you've become.
Not long ago, Jesse chose to send a nasty note from what appeared to be a new #BLM group called "Woke Brooklyn." In it the supposedly anonymous writer tried to tear NY Assemblymember Diana Richardson a new one, basically for not being black enough and putting the needs of others above her constituents - essentially a sell-out. (Tell that to Diana's face and see how THAT goes.) Ultimately Jesse was uncovered as the author (due to his own poor judgment), and the criticisms proved to be a desperate tactic from a beleaguered incumbent.
Interestingly - I got the note, and so did everyone who follows Queen Alicia through her MTOPP email list. So I says to myself, hmmm, seems Jesse and Alicia Boyd have some alliance going on here. And since Alicia is nothing if not brazenly tactical, I suspect there's something in it for Aunt B. besides warm fuzzies.
Then yesterday, I get a venomous attack note from MTOPP, targeting none other than the surging Zellnor Myrie, who's managed to rack up a stunning list of endorsements - as in just about everybody who's anybody in the Democratic Party. The nasty note from MTOPP (obviously in coordination with Hamilton, see above) knocks Myrie for comical things like "living in the Bronx" after college and "going to college" in the Bronx. (He grew up right here in Lefferts). The most potentially damaging thing that the grammatically challenged note said was that Myrie had been lying about passing the bar. Then this morning, in a rare show of almost-contrition, Boyd apologized and said (like the Fonz 40 years ago) that she was wr-r-r-r-r-r-r-ong and that her "research" had been mistaken. Fancy that. In years of error-filled missives, this is the first time she's ever uttered an apology. Perhaps a lawsuit was threatened?
If you're sick and tired of Jesse Hamilton, and you should be, vote for Zellnor. If you're sick and tired of Alicia Boyd, then I've got a very solid lead for you.
Alicia raises money through MTOPP, which she says is a non-profit, though it's actually using her other non-profit New Directions In Healing as its shell, accepting tax-deductible donations. And in case you were unaware, it's illegal to electioneer using your 501c3.
Alicia is fronting, literally, and I suspect she has other secrets to hide, since she recently and mysteriously paid off her mortgage despite having no job and lots of time to hold the community hostage and most important, to Keep Empire Blvd Shitty for all.
Don't forget to vote on Sept 13 for either Zellnor, or, below, feel free to stick with the Captain and Tennille. Or better yet, watch my favorite C&T video, with a winning message to boot for these troubled political times.
A lot, a lot, a lot to unpack here.
And yet both Ms. Boyd and Senator Hamilton make truly relevant points on a whole host of issues, which makes their dirty tactics so much more perplexing. Were she able to handle a bit of civil dialogue, were he able to simply stand behind his own actions without race-baiting, we might even get to the meat of the matter.
Suddenly, softly, in the dusk of a hot hot day, we get a new email from the MTOPP club (Militant Tantrumming Obstructionist Political Party) playing the Love Card. The email's header is "Love Over Hate" and so we read on to learn exactly how love might once again save the day against all that is dark and foreboding.
Psyche. It's not about love at all. It actually IS about hate. But read on. She actually claims that the hate group "the Progressive Left" has a problem with Hamilton because of his blackness. When in fact, no one had a problem with any of his able senatorness, til he denied his party power in Albany and allowed a couple of shysters from Jerktown run the show for awhile. And while he claims he received threats from the Liberal Left, the fact is he received the sort of threats that all politicians get, from a few unstable crazies. I mean theQ gets threats, and I'm not even making laws for everyone. Though that would be pretty cool, and the first one would be to declare the Age of the Wrap over. Stop making wraps. No one likes them, and they don't even save you calories. They're just shitty burritos.
When are people going to realize that crazy emails and twitter rants and facebook posts are not to be taken as more than trolling? The lone black state legislator from Vermont felt compelled to drop out of the race because of...a twitter flurry. That makes me so sad. But also, people, come on! Now's not the time to let an Asshole On Twitter get us down, is it? I can't hear you...IS IT??
Were Hamilton's opponent a white gentrifier, rather than a black guy from the neighborhood named Zellnor, maybe you could stomach his and her take on "identity politics." But it's just lame, and patronizing, and manages to talk down to both his supporters and detractors alike. Yes, voters can think for themselves Jesse. Even when they think it's time for a change. Which, it is. Vote Sept 13. Yes, that's a Thursday. Ridiculous.
|Head to the early morning J'Ouvert and you might be greeted by a Blue Devil.|
Ah hell. The best explanation is to go for yourself. Where it used to start around 2 am, the City's efforts to curb Labor Day violence (often not directly related to J'Ouvert, it must be stated and restated), now you can get up at the easy hour of 5:30, bike or walk (don't drive!) up to Grand Army Plaza, enter the fray or, conversely, wait for it take a left at Empire Blvd. Show up around 8am and you should get a good splash of blissful insanity. There is nothing, NOTHING, like it.
The first terrific video on the event below:
Wow. Did you see the latest DC Palace Intrigue? It don't get much intrigue-ier. Senior Officials inside the White House calling out the President as immoral? Or amoral? Both? Like as in...you know what that is, right? Sociopath. We already know he's a narcissist, and probably borderline personality. And a pathological liar. Why aren't we out in the streets? If ever there were a time the world needed moral leadership... What's that got to do with a meeting about Franklin avenue rezonings? Nothing. Just blogging. Back to the local beat...
Here was the Tuesday meeting at BP Adams' Borough Hall, where-at yours truly gave a tearful testimony to the need for affordable housing, as in rent-stabilized apartments less than $1,000, because working people really can't afford to live here any more. But the Q's voice was drowned out by the activists who claim the Garden will become a dust bowl due to the rezoning of a couple of plots (40 Franklin for one) to make way for hundreds of new apartments. Hundreds of which they'll build anyway, but through the City's Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program, we would give them a few extra stories and we get a boatload of affordable units. AND the market rate units are stabilized too. A few years ago such a bonanza would have sailed through. Not now, thanks to scare-pictures like this one:
Yep. Shorter than Ebbets. Shorter than Tivoli. Not postcard-worthy, but hardly a catastrophe of epic proportions.
The Q is damn sick and tired of these arguments, fraught with notions of how adding a few stories will lead to MORE gentrification. Jesus, like it ain't on hyper-drive already. Like we don't actually need more apartments in decent neighborhoods. Like the plan isn't already for HUNDREDS of new market rate apartments Not stabilized.
Of course no one but me and a guy from a Haitian civic org came out in support, so I might as well sneak back behind Blogger where most fear-mongering activists would prefer I stay.
Or as one guy said to me - "your opinions aren't wanted here."
That's where we're at folks. Discourse is not wanted around here, whether in Congress or at Borough Hall.
From Curbed, architect Alexandra Lange argues:
Brooklyn needs new housing on major arteries near transit. Brooklyn needs new schools. Subsidized apartments cannot all be located in remote locations. And New York is in the midst of a major economic boom, the likes of which haven’t been seen in 70 years. Those who can should share the wealth.
It's great that NYC has Historic Districts - like Lefferts Manor, Greenwich Village, Boerum Hill. But that means new housing has to happen elsewhere. And when you grow, there's nowhere in this city to grow but up.
As Hurricane Florence crashes the beaches of North Cackalacky, a tropical political storm hit locally, as Jesse Hamilton lost to insurgent Zellnor Myrie for State Senate. Even IDC founder Jeffrey Klein lost his Dem Party line. Congrats Zell - wishing you well in November.
Seems Ms. Alicia Boyd of MTOPP was none to happy with this piece in Politico, knocking her tactics fighting for Jesse and against Zell. In fact, she was so mad she had lawyer pen a cease and retract note to the Q for calling out her misuse of her non-profit "New Directions For Healing." Who knows who's been giving her money...she doesn't follow basic rules for 501c3's, like not electioneering, or having a functioning Board of Trustees and filing annual reports. So how does she respond? By threatening to sue a lowly blogger (moi) for calling out her corruption. I suspect I haven't heard the last of her calling me out as a racist, publishing untrue stories about my ties to developers (whom, I wonder?) - essentially for disagreeing with her politically. Very Trumpian if you ask me.
In the end does any of it matter? The neighborhood continues its swift though roundabout march towards wholesale change, despite the rhetoric. A great example this:
|146 Linden Blvd|
A sterling example of what's becoming to skinny lots as a result of NOT engaging in neighborwide rezoning to protect inner blocks. Whatever. I'll just start calling these Boyd Buildings.
|This is what it was. Coming to your block if it hasn't already.|
I guess some folks haven't heard of the 1st Amendment. The one that allows criticism of public figures - particularly those using non-profit donations to electioneer and smear political opponents. She's sending all manner of emails to her minions and having her lawyer send me threatening letters. Why? Because I criticize her tactics, which of late have become more and more shrill and destructive to political discourse. But I need to be clear, to myself, and to her and her lawyer who clearly read the blog:
I don't for a minute dispute that Ms. Boyd has a right to express herself, no matter how loud, obnoxious, mean-spirited or nasty. In many ways, I've hoped to shed light on a strange corner of the NYC Universe, where one single-minded individual with chutzpah and anger can make a HUGE difference on the course of a neighborhood's liveability. There are still people willing to put themselves on the Community Board in good faith - they too will likely become disheartened that it has become nearly impossible to share opposing views with civility. As a result, City Officials are loathe to deal with us. In one case, staffers at an agency actually picked straws to determine who would HAVE to show up at our door.
How does this play out in the day-to-day quality of life here? Just look around. Public spaces are being neglected. Trash collection is haphazard. Relations with police become fractured. Transportation issues like speeding cars and bike lanes are ignored, not to mention traffic problems and intersection safety. Schools? Public Trans? It used to be you could pick up a phone and a problem would be addressed, if not immediately by Boyd's first victim District Manager Pearl Miles, but at least the message would get to the agency for which it's intended.
Take the lakes that form at intersections after rains. DEP is in charge, but what neighborhoods get the first attention? Not ours, and not because the district is largely black - it's because no one is advocating on our behalf. The committee chairs have been in constant flux - how could they not be with 5 Board chairs and 3 DMs in 5 years? If CB9 were its own City, we'd be bankrupt and run by the State by now.
So now Boyd's on the warpath again, with the Q as her primary target. Personally I don't give a shit - I can take it. But lately she's started demanding that her minions email my colleagues AT WORK to tell them what an ANTI-WOMAN RACIST I am. As a civil-rights loving feminist, these are hard words to hear. But they're protected by the Constitution, and there it is.
The fact is I don't hate blacks and women. I strongly dislike ONE black woman. But I also strongly dislike one white man, and he happens to be my President. So Boyd, Trump. Trump, Boyd. You get the idea..
Friends, don't fall for and of it. She and other vicious community activists (Imani of E4F I'm looking at you) want you to question your right to be here, to be involved in the neighborhood and to express your opinion, no matter how progressive or forward-thinking or (god forbid) yuppie it may be. It is racist to want blacks to suffer, to languish, to not have access to the same opportunities as whites. But it is NOT racist to want your neighborhood to be better, as long as you're not actively thwarting the needs of others. We get better when we debate ideas on their merits, and listen to all voices. We improve our communities when we decide TOGETHER and with as much input as possible. Then we use whatever political capital we can muster to express those needs to elected officials, and the media if necessary. A well-run Community Board can help that process - Boyd wants to shut it down and remove all members who run afoul of her personal vision, which is very much NIMBY, about as NIMBY as you can get in fact. (She loves to tell folks how I coined the phrase Not In My Black Yard as a post title to describe how she wants to dictate zoning based on her belief that black folks don't want it. Of course, she takes it out of context, and robs it of the crass wit. Oh well.
The question the Q must answer is...validate her nonsense by addressing it publicly? I won't deny that it's a bummer to get called an anti-woman racist. Those are kinda the worst things you can call a white dude these days, so I know why she's doing it. She knows I've seen through her shit, and now wants to inflict maximum damage. The personal bait I won't take; I know what's in my heart. My Struggle, indeed!
But today she sent out an email asking her followers to email MY COWORKERS demanding that I be held accountable. Wait..my job? What the hell does that have to do with my personal political life? Next to nothing, I'd say. Ah yes. She's looking to inflict more damage! Maybe get me fired? Now THAT would be grounds for a lawsuit! Monetary damages...maybe retirement isn't as far off as I thought!
I mean look at this shit below - k-r-a-z-y k-a-t. In the actual email she rips off work logos, prints emails of coworkers and practically begs them to reprimand me. As if they're my parents, and I deserve a spanking. It would be pathetic, if it weren't so damn...dare I say, cruel? Truly if anyone deserved a countersuit, this would be the lady. And so...I'm retaining counsel. But I'm never going to take back musings in the past that are clearly my opinions only - taken out of context her to paint a picture of a monster. Because that's the heart of the 1st Amendment, and while the President thinks otherwise, I have a tremendous appreciation for what it's done for the Republic generally.
Now I ask you...would YOU put up with something like the below sent to hundreds of your neighbors? I'll tell you something that might surprise you. I'm fine with it all - she can say whatever she wants - but I'm not fine when she draws in perfectly unsuspecting and uninvolved people from outside the neighborhood with whom I work every day. This is harassment - they don't deserve it.
So Boyd, if you're reading - attack me as you will, but leave my work friends and colleagues alone. It's one step over a line you really shouldn't cross. And if you hadn't noticed, there is one person to whom all of your statements purporting anti-woman racism reflect - you. My feelings aren't general at all. I simply don't like you, your organization, or your litigious ways. Any other reading of my blog is FALSE, and therefore qualifies as exactly the sort of defamation you accuse me of.
And check it out! She's STILL using her non-profit to raise money for MTOPP. Like I said, chutzpah.
The Q weepingly watched as workmen wheeled away one window and brick after another, as three beautiful old wood frame Victorians came down across the street. Years ago. The crappy fencing and empty lot remind me daily how rotten it is to live on a street with unfinished business.
I was again reminded of this fact when I saw the plans for NY Ave, down near The Junction, to tear this puppy down for a 22-apt six story building. I suspect it's too late for a community led zoning discussion down there, but who knows, maybe there's a will to fight this sort of thing.
More on YIMBY.
I know, I know. Where to begin? Head down to DC? Try to get stuck in an elevator with Lindsay Graham so you can knee him in the groin? Actually as he was mouthing off last week I realized just how much he looks like the Cowardly Lion. Really quite striking.
With one bitter political day following another, it's hard to know where to plug in to save the Republic. One thing's for sure though. The Republicans made a deal with the devil (the Southern Strategy) and not surprisingly it came back to haunt the country. To win elections they wooed racists and evangelicals, feeding them the red meat they weren't getting from Washington post-Kennedy-MLK-Johnson. And now the "basket of deplorables" has thoroughly emerged as the dominant force in the never-should-be-called-again Party of Lincoln. More like the Party of Pat Buchanan. Actually Pat and Putin made quite a team in 2016...
From the Q's not-terribly-deep well of wisdom, he offers you a simple, local way to make a big difference. You and I have done our best to break the stranglehold of the Kings County Machine by giving bumbling Mathieu Eugene a run for his money - twice; bolstering the powerhouse truth-teller Diana Richardson past the machine candidate; nearly toppling the hapless Yvette Clarke in a primary, and putting Zell Myrie in a great spot to take the State Senate seat from the shameless turncoat and machine-vestige Jesse Hamilton. Someone asked me recently if this blog was political. What?? Not on your life!!!! Would never, could never, should never! Hey, at least I'm not hiding behind some bogus non-profit...
Here's the two words you need to know if you don't already: MAX ROSE. Mnemonic: Max like "Mad Max" and Rose for, say, "Rose McGowan," the loose-lipped champion and sometimes-distraction of the #MeToo moment. (Actually, you can use McGowan if you want, but I'm going to use my bass player friend Rose, or better yet, Rose Stone, keyboardist and the sister of Sly from the Family Stone.)
Max has a pretty good shot at turning Red Staten (Red Satan? Hmmm) to Blue Satin. Staten. Whatever. You get the idea.
Either Max Rose has the best of consultants or the surest of political instincts, because he is running the kind of positive non-Trump-centric campaign that Dems need in order to win back the bicameral. That's right. NON-Trump-centric. Why? Because everyone who already hates Trump already hates Trump and is likely motivated to vote - the trick is getting them to the polls.
This time out, you can run as lefty as you want as long as you run FOR something, whether health care or immigration reform or economic justice. To win in conservative districts, you can actually take all the positions from the left that you want - but if there's a position that's a tough sell in your district, for GOD'S SAKES don't lead with it!
Because we may have come a long way in this country, but white people have WAY farther to go. And right now even the not-racists are defensive and scared, and that's a recipe for dictatorship. Ever noticed that dictators often emerge when they feel their minority hold on power is crumbling? Bingo. That's how we got here, and in my opinion, it's better to talk about this stuff from a place of strength. Say, Obama in the White House, or Dems in control of at least ONE house of congress.
This is Max. He needs your support. He needs people to help get out the vote and phone bank. And he even has a sliver of South Brooklyn!! C'mon now. Let's get Max in the congress - it's a huge turnaround to change even ONE seat from Red to Blue.
And while I've got you, take a look at the BRILLIANT piece for Andrew Gillum who might actually become governor of the (among others) the rednecks in north Florida. And his new TV Ad is PERFECT. I'm gonna give you both below. So...Don't lose hope friends. You're about to see something this country hasn't seen since...well, 2008!! Go be a part of it.
I apologize to the Black Community, its residents, leaders and especially Alica Boyd for the comments and behavior I have exhibited via this blog.
I recant my statements about New Directions In Healing and Movement to Protect the People (MTOPP) regarding electioneering. I have no firm evidence to make those statements. I also do not have evidence that she no longer has a mortgage on her home.
I will not be moving forward writing about Flatbush, Crown Heights, Ditmas Park and Prospect Lefferts Gardens, either in my own name or any other alias. This includes making comments on other platforms, social media, etc either in my name or any alias.
I will shut down the Q at Parkside permanently.
I will leave this post up for two days with the comments section shut down.
So long Flatbush.
tim "the Q" thomas
The Q would like to formally apologize to Alicia Boyd and MTOPP and any black leaders who have taken offense for any of my gadfly ramblings. I have a big mouth. I like wordplay. And despite fighting with Ms. Boyd in public, I've continued to remark both on the blog and privately that she is an extraordinarily ambitious and effective activist. I thought we were engaged in political debate, but she believes I have attacked the black community as a whole, which she says she represents. She made it clear that by attacking her I'm attacking African-Americans generally. And so...
This will be my last post.
I moved onto a block of nearly 2,000 people when just 3 were white, besides me and my wife. Now the street is lousy with whitey. The subways, the 8 coffee shops (can you believe there were basically none for my first half dozen years?), the restaurants and upscale businesses, thankfully many of which are black-owned. So guess what, I'm part of the "problem." I could be counted among the very first gentrifiers of (yuck I hate the name) PLG, outside the coveted Lefferts Manor, where the single-family covenant and house tours have attracted some whites to stay or buy even after red-lining and block-busting.
And as I've been reminded a lot recently - nobody wants to hear what a paunchy middle aged white guy has to say about race anyway. Or anything, really. It's time for us to shut up and listen. Obama had just been elected when I started this thing, and I felt optimistic, that it was time to talk turkey, get real, lip up a bit, get smacked down, the whole nine. Times have changed. The country has become a hell-hole of hate, resentment and out-liberal or out-conservative each other. It's gross. I don't need to add to the putrid olio.
Oct 5 (4 days ago)
Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall at your own funeral? This week, the Q had a miniature version of the experience, when he shut down the blog as a result of having a metaphorical gun placed to his temple. It's been quite a whirl, whiplash and wrecking ball. But then something was said that was so untrue, so offensive, and so hurtful that I simply couldn't let it stand. So here I am to tell you all, once and for all:
I GREW UP IN IOWA, DAMMIT. NOT IDAHO. NOT OHIO. IOWA. As in The Music Man and corn and shit. I've lived in Brooklyn since 1988, but good golly Miss Molly get my damn homestate right.
The whole point of this blog is to tell y'all what happened, so here's what happened, and at the bottom of this post you'll find the emails sent by Ms. Alicia Boyd, MTOPP founder and the sole board member of her non-profit New Directions In Healing that accepts tax deductible donations that help fund MTOPP's activities including intense and deceitful electioneering. That's the truth, I'm sticking by it, plenty of evidence. I don't mean to say she should be dragged off in handcuffs; it's not really that serious an offense for a small operation anyway. Don't believe me? This is on her website, I don't need a Deep Throat thanks:
Listen, I know I've said plenty of negative things about MTOPP over the years. Why? Because I've watched her destroy people and somehow get away with it. Ask yourself - why on earth does the community put up with it? She basically runs CB9 meetings by push, heckle and shove. Has any of it benefited the community? Have landlords dropped to their knees and begged for forgiveness for their greedy ways? Has the City rushed to aid in the form of much-needed public housing? Have developers been thwarted from building thousands of units of market rate housing? Has Empire Blvd stopped being shitty? Have houses stopped being torn down, or have ugly skinny apartment buildings stopped appearing mid-block? Have people stopped being pestered to sell their homes at below-market prices in cash? Have developers given in, given up and moved along? Hell no. It's only accelerated. I've taken to calling those mid-block eyesores Boyd Buildings.
In this blogger's opinion (and they're ALL just opinions) MTOPP has inhibited dialogue and created a level of fear and distrust that is completely destructive. People I care for have been hurt. And that is something up with which I cannot put. I've posted more than 2,400 times to this silly site, and I'll admit in my haste for a punchline I've stuck my keyboard in my mouth a time or ten. But I'll be damned if I'm gonna shut down now that I have my legal strategy in place, and since dozens of you have sent kind words of encouragement, and even Steve Witt at Kings County Politics gave me a moving eulogy. Quite honestly I was eating a momo in Jackson Heights when I read it, and I shed a tear right into my white sauce. Thx Steve. The white sauce actually wasn't salty enough.
It's humbling to think that when I started this blog Obama was in the White House and #BLM was but a simmering glimmer. Most of my writing is silly, but sometimes I kvetch about corruption and racism, and I always try to be honest with where I'm at, learning, making mistakes, making jokes in poor taste, and in fairness, apologizing when I get it wrong.
But I have never, ever made statements attacking the black community, or against women, or pro-developers or pro-gentrification or any of the other garbage Boyd is attempting to "destroy me" (her words) with. I have criticized SPECIFIC people for SPECIFIC actions, and those people come in every hue and flavor. Look, we here in Central Brooklyn are blessed with tons of black civic leaders. But guess what - they're not all good leaders, the right leaders, or even particularly honorable. Most are, sure. And I've never, ever once suggested that they be replaced with whites. I consider that the worst assumption of the gentrifier - the colonial notion that what the natives need is outside governance. That somehow there wasn't ALREADY A GENTRY HERE. The white savior notion is repellent and odious and all sorts of good SAT words meaning awful. And hell there's a whole new generation of Caribbean and African American leaders ready to take the helm. They need our support and respect. But folks, not MTOPP and frankly a couple of their sister orgs, who've decided terrorism against their own neighbors is a legitimate way to win an argument.
I love people. And I've tried very hard, sometimes successfully and other times less so, to let that show. It would appear that I was woefully naive, thinking that holding black and white public figures to the same standard was somehow progressive, even needed. And so I wrote headlines that I thought were hilarious and that got to the crux of the matter - ones that I have since apologized for and removed. I've been harsh about community leaders who talk out of both sides of their mouths. But I've also taken "white assumptions" to task when they don't pass the smell test. In other words, I'm trying to figure shit out, and do so with transparency and integrity.
So buy me some time I apologized to get her to call off a potentially career-damaging protest. She didn't like the first one, and called with more threats, and I know that no matter what I do the blackmailer will always ratchet up the terms. And so I was literally forced to post that I would never again comment in any way shape or form about the neighborhoods of Flatbush, Crown Heights or Lefferts Gardens. But this ain't Frontline, baby. I also once posted that the Park Slope eatery al di la was opening its newest outpost where the McDonalds currently resides across from my beloved Q at Parkside. I've signed nothing, and wouldn't. I support Ms. Boyd's first amendment rights more than she will ever know. But I fully expect mine to be respected as well.
There is something so Trumpian about her behavior, that I fear the President has rubbed off on our society to such a degree we may never recover. Imagine - tens of millions of kids are growing up thinking that bullying, demagoguery and tribalism are effective means of getting precisely what you want. And in Boyd's case, she's managed to smear and/or sue Pearl Miles, Jacob Goldstein, Carmen Martinez, Dwayne Nicholson, Demetrius Lawrence, Eric Adams, Laurie Cumbo, Ben Edwards, Michael Liburd, Warren Berke, Winston von Engle, Laura Imperiale, Musa Moore, Zellnor Myrie, PLGNAP and anyone who's dared to speak to an opposing viewpoint. To all of you, even though I've disagreed with some of you from time to time, I thought of you a lot this past week. You might have said to yourself "man, I really don't need this shit" and I hear you. Because man, I really don't need this shit.
That's right parents. You don't have to leave the neighborhood for a pleasant, safe and spooky candy grab. Just head up (or down or sideways) to the Manor. It works like a de facto tax on parts of the Historic District - at least those Brownstones that choose to participate. Some of your neighbors hand out more than 1000 pieces of candy in a couple hours. (This trickster prefers Kit Kats and $100,000 bars - in case you want to get on the Q's good side.) If you do the whole route you go from Flatbush at Rutland zig-zagging all the way to the 71st Precinct on Empire. But you can just join anywhere, and there's a good chance you'll run into neighbors and your kids' friends.
Bar none, this is my favorite night in the neighborhood. All my Sesame Street fantasies come alive, and my werewolf mask really IS terrifying.
There is something deeply reassuring about the annually re-purposed flyer from Vinnie Martinos (below). Yes, despite all the nasty rhetoric, the Cop the Cat and the Pirate really can all get along, living side by side in peace and harmony and cavities. See you on the route.
Twas inevitable. The jewel of the neighborhood - The Brooklyn Botanic Garden - has inspired a steady stream of speculators, and many of the massive buildings in the pipeline will rise in the next couple years. The Q thinks it's worth noting what 12 stories actually looks like. The streetscape and skyline won't radically change, but it's safe to say that the shops, culture and density will feel very, very different. Wondering too what this means for the nearby schools...
111 Montgomery is but one of four big projects in this relatively quiet zone around the garden that are happening either as-of-right or with spot rezoning. Conclusion? Hemming and hawing have done little if nothing to slow or stop new building or gentrification. The only way to get the City's attention? Duh. Planning study. But it's probably too late to have much leverage, and there's almost zero political will. Meanwhile, these units will probably go like hot cakes. Garden, views, park, bars, transportation, Da Hot Pot - what more does a young professional need?
|New Rendering of 111 Montgomery|
The long agonizing saga of 60 Clarkson and slumlord Barry Hers just keeps getting agonizinger and agonizinger. The many once-homeless families who decided to fight eviction have been dealt a blow to their hope to stay and get a rent-stabilized lease. After years of thumbing his nose at housing law, the guy who runs a bogus non-profit called "We Always Care," jerks like Hers are one step closer to exiting rent-stabilization for good. Because a judge in his infinite wisdom and mercy has determined that homeless people don't really live in the apartments they've lived in for years.
Read the decision that effectively says homeless folks housed in cluster-site housing have no rights to stay in their apartment some after nearly a decade of residency.
Read about the legal issues from Gothamist
Read the Q's original blog post and start of his obsession with the obscene saga.
Read an ad from Nooklyn trying to get young professionals to rent here, find out its a dump, then move out allowing Hers to take advantage of the vacancy increase
Read about what Roger Hodgson, former lead singer of the classic-era Supertramp, has been up to lately, via his tremendously stylish website that places those social media icons front and center and uses wonderfully outdated fonts and design. Then listen to "The Logical Song" again and marvel at the days when LPs were actually made out of pure cocaine.
Then listen to "Take the Long Way Home," which is a bit of a metaphor for the plight of tens of thousands of New Yorkers struggling to get by.
The Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association (PLGNA, pronounced PLeGNA) is nearly 50 years old. The time for a serious renaissance is overdue. The leadership is strong, but they need bodies. People who love and live or work in the community, who feel understandably overwhelmed by local politics. The boundaries of PLGNA will be more porous than you've heard. Woodruff, Lenox, Parkside west of Ocean, Caton, Martense, whatevs - you're the one who decides you belong, and you're a member when you say you're a member.
Please come out on Monday night to find out more and get your name "on the list." And if you can't make it just email me and we'll hook you up on the listserv. We need Board members and we need point people for projects big and small. If you need a fiscal sponsor for your local plan, let 'em know. PLGNA can become a recognized leader again on issues from housing to advocacy to business improvement and sanitation, arts and open spaces and celebrations and organizing. Brenda Edwards is currently president, and I can think of no other longtime resident to usher in a new era. You'll meet the other board members Monday night, but one of those board members could and probably SHOULD be you. This is not the quasi-governmental CB9 or 71st precinct council. It's an independent 501c3 ready to be what we want it to be.
See you there.
|Wayne Fortune, Brooklyn Bloke|
For those of you too old or old-skool to think you care, a brush-up might be in order. "Lifestyle" is a bit of an all encompassing marketing concept, wherein the wearer/user/listener/viewer identifies strongly with the brand and its aspirational message, spiritual identification or world-view. Think you're above such silliness? If you ever considered yourself grunge, did you wear flannel and listen to Pearl Jam? Ever listen to a musical artist and think they perfectly embodied your outlook and sense of who you are? Ever wanted to look like someone whose style you dug? Ever worn a brand of shoes because you wouldn't be caught dead in another brand? And here's one for the liberal college educated parents out there - ever purchased or considered purchasing a Subaru Outback? Then you know what we're talking 'bout. Hell even political causes and candidates can be associated with your sense of identity. Bumper stickers, baby.
The Q loves the 'Blokes gear, though I'm more of Burlington Coat Factory man myself (we go by BCFM's so don't mess with us). Back at the shoppe, the pinball machines are a nice touch, and while BB is only here for a month, his brand will likely live on. Pick up a hoody or two for that special hard-to-please bloke on your list. And tell Wayne the Q sent you. I'm sure he'll offer you, I dunno, a shilling off or something.