Not For Sale

Not For Sale
Protest at the Brooklyn Museum real estate jamboree

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bad start: The Sept meeting of Brooklyn CB9

Let's remember that the June meeting of CB9 (last of the fiscal year) ended with a barely veiled threat to bring the hammer down, NYPD-style, on anyone who dared raise their voice or otherwise disrupt a CB9 meeting come September. So what happened in September?

For starters, the new Executive Committee, under the direction of the perfectly clueless new Board chair, Demetrius Lawrence, held its first meeting in the backyard of CB9, in the dark, using flashlights. Lawrence's response to complaints from committee members about the dark and the mosquitoes was that the idea was to "deter community participation." No kidding! How dumb do you have to be to admit such a thing on camera?

Subsequently, the announced date and location of the full board meeting was abruptly changed, supposedly in deference to a Jewish holiday, as if the dates of Jewish holidays could not be known when the annual calendar was assembled. I refer Pearl Miles to the following website, with dates for all Jewish holidays through the year 2020: https://www.hebcal.com/holidays/. Juneteenth is June 19.

Because of the date and location change, attendance was sparse except for board members, representatives of elected officials, the up-for-election Diana Richardson, and several members of my block association, SLSNA, the Sullivan-Ludlam-Stoddard Neighborhood Association. We are paying attention.

Prominently displayed on the stage was a 3 minute digital "shot clock" for use in limiting the length of comments from the community. The By-Laws committee has ruled that no comment may exceed 3 minutes, none may yield their time to another, only 15 people may speak, and no comments will be heard until all other board business is concluded, which is to say, until after most people have had to go home to cook dinner, put the kids to bed, etc. It's safe to assume that the idea is to "deter community participation."

There was a presentation by the people behind Fresh Fanatic, a relatively new Whole Foods-type organic grocery store serving Clinton Hill and Ft. Greene. Fresh Fanatic will be installed on the ground floor of a residential building in progress on Lincoln Road between Ocean and Flatbush. Their presentation was purely informational because, according to Pearl Miles, the store was approved as part of the FRESH tax incentive, a gift to developers in the form of a few extra stories in exchange for giving over the ground floor to a supermarket in a deprived area. Interestingly, there are grocery stores on each end of this stretch of Lincoln Road, both of which will lose business to the newcomer. Crown Heights can hardly be described as a food desert. Perhaps the city is thinking ahead to a time when the giant Western Beef lot on Empire is turned over to luxury housing?