Gloom and Loom at BBG

Gloom and Loom at BBG
Artist's rendering of proposed development along eastern perimeter of BBG

Monday, August 7, 2017


As a housing activist in Crown Heights, I read Richard Kahlenberg's piece in this week's New York Times Sunday Review very closely ("The Walls We Won't Tear Down")and I applaud him, and the Times, for shining a light on abusive housing policies rightly characterized as "exclusionary," the subject of a new book by Richard Rothstein, "The Color of Law." It's on my reading list.

Here in Crown Heights, though, and throughout the city of New York, low income neighborhoods are being taken from longtime residents of color and low income in the name of "Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning," an Orwellian response to the problem Mr. Kahlenburg describes.

MIH was rejected by over 90% of the community boards citywide because New Yorkers overwhelmingly understood the real intention behind the program, which is to displace current residents in favor of wealthier, white Americans OR to launder the filthy money of the world's thieving oligarchs.

The metrics of MIH are based on average median income calculations (AMI) that conveniently include wealthier districts outside the district targeted for luxury development.

While all the other neighborhoods facing Prospect Park, all white, were down-zoned during the Bloomberg administration in order to protect them from high-rise development, Crown Heights was repeatedly told that the Dept. of City Planning had too much on its plate to address its concerns. That lasted until the real estate market took off, when an attempt to up-zone the area in a matter of months was undertaken.

For three years, Black Crown Heights has succeeded in holding off the rezoning and the lying, the corruption, false and broken promises, targeting of activists that have accompanied the effort. Our fight is far from over, however. We have a Councilperson, Laurie Cumbo, who has sworn to "up zone [this] neighborhood myself if I have to." We intend to unseat her, despite the fact that she has more than $200K from Big Real Estate and another $100K from the hotel industry in her election coffers.

When does Inclusionary = Exclusionary? Under the current mayor's Affordable Housing plan.


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