Current Political Situation
Political Update as of July 29, 2015:
As we all know the Big Ugly was passed
Where there were basically no difference in the rent laws except...
1. The cap for an apartment to become deregulated rose from 2500 to 2700
2. if a tenant is below the threshold rent and only takes one year renewal leases, The tenant will never cross the rent threshold to destabilized, as long as MCI’s are not included in his/her lease. See explanation below.
Voting Record of Our Local Representatives!
Assemblywoman Diana Richardson and Senator Hamilton voted against The Big Ugly. Thank You! Assembly Walter Mosely was missing in Action and didn’t vote at all (I guess he must think it wasn’t important enough for him to attend and cast his vote!)
Borough President Eric Adams
In June Eric Adams was the opening speaker for the Real Estate Summit at BAM where over 600 Foreign and Domestic Investors came to buy Brooklyn.
During his speech, which the host cut, he talked about how our communities were riddled with crime and crack addicts and the gentrification that has happened in Williamsburg and Fort Green has turned these communities into pots of gold!!! He was reported to have said, “This is the Empire City, So Let’s Build an Empire!!!” (however, this phase was cut out by the host)
We know this investment strategy in our communities is what is spurring gentrification like wildfire, encouraging landlords to engage in all types of harassment of tenants as they see the opportunities to reap money from apartments, that are both protected and unprotected.
Clearly he is supporting Gentrification but to hold onto his image representative of the people
he has devised a way to project this image. Eric Adams has been hosting a series of Town Hall meetings to hear our stories and to provide assistance to us.
Below are his answers to gentrification.
1. Take out individual harassment cases against landlords!
2. Get attorneys like Normal Siegel to start litigation against landlords.
3. Criminalize harrassement.
4. Invite the rich gentrifiers who are coming into the community to Block Parties and Street fairs,
5. Buy back the very properties that have been sold! (This is our representatives new stratergy!)
6. Build 2 to 3 story affordable units!
7. Stop those storage units from going up on the Avenues, by rezoning to allow residential on commercial streets!
8. Neighborhoods change so get use to it!!
1. Taking a few landlords to court for harassment is like a drop in the bucket, especially since most of the apartments in Brooklyn have no rent protection!
2. Norman Siegel will never file a civil lawsuit (because he is a civil rights lawyer not a housing lawyer), he is only there to support Eric Adams image, nothing else. You will see no lawsuit coming from him!!! However, you just might see a political appointment somewhere!!!
3. How many times is he going to run this strategy, it didn't work five years ago, when he tried to pass it at the Senate level and it won't work now! The law isn't going to take civil matters and make them criminal!
Sometimes the answers isn't just lock them up! That’s the problem with having a cop for a politician! And no we didn't elect him, because he had no opponent! If no one had shown up at the polls he would have gotten in. His loyalties lie with the people who eliminated his opponents.....Not the People!
4. Getting the rich to participate in block parties is going to convince them that living with the poor and moderate income folks is okay or stop our affordable stores from being priced out etc...??? Really!!! Who thought of that one!!!
5. Now that the buildings are outside our price range, we should buy them back!!!
6. Who in the hell is building 2 to 3 story affordable units in Brooklyn!!! No one!!!
7. As if we can’t see that those storage unit are just holding spaces for rezoning. Look what happen to the storage units at the base of Brooklyn near the Bridges. They are all gone, replaced by 30+ story luxury housing!
8. It is one thing for a community to change because of the natural flow of change, it is completely different when it is driven by public policy in the form of “create affordable housing”, massive rezoning and of course invest, invest, invest to make money for a select few!
Explanation (rent renewals): A tenant's rent is $2,650. Therefore, the rent is below the threshold that can high income deregulate an apartment and the landlord cannot even attempt a deregulation. The current authorized increase for a one year lease renewal is 0%. Therefore, when the tenant renews the lease, the tenant is still at $2,650 and no proceeding can be brought. However, imagine what happens a year from now and the Rent Guidelines Board okays a 3% increase for one year lease renewals. Now, the tenant's rent would go up to 2,650 x 1.03 = $2,729.50, apparently over the $2,700 threshold, but that is not correct. Because while the rent for that apartment would be $2,729.50, the threshold also took an increase automatically by the Rent Guidelines Board having authorized a 3% increase in rents. Thus, under this imagined scenario, 2,700 x 1.03 = $2,781, the new threshold for 2017 under this hypothetical example. Clearly, therefore, the $2,729.50 is still less than the $2,781 and so long as the tenant keeps taking one year lease renewals, this will always be the case. The apartment will never be decontrolled.
A History of Political Corruption
Before we can move forward we need to go back and find out how we got here. How did we get to be one of the most corrupt boroughs in Brooklyn, a ripe breeding ground, for developers to come in and buy up our land, and remove us out.
It is common knowledge that land use is controlled by Community Boards and City Council. In regards to community boards this is a highly politicalized position because the appointments are made from recommendations from City Council members and Borough Presidents. But the most powerful person is the Borough President because he makes all final decisions.
Here we sit on one of the most powerful voting blocks in Brooklyn and yet we have no say in our own community board, which is politically driven. How is that? Two reasons.
One is the corruption of our elected officials and the other Blind Loyalty to a party that has failed us and is still failing us.
There sits Clarence Norman former Assemblyman, a known felon with convictions of extortion,stealing, illegal contribution etc.. Yet when he comes into a room we clap for him as if he helped us. When in fact his legacy of corruption has created a climate ripe for developers to come
and take over our community. He was one of the most powerful men in Brooklyn, who did nothing to stop the disempowerment of the people in CB9. Just scratching the surface, MTOPP has found countless cases of illegal votes by the board, conflict of interest and criminal activities.
But this situation still exists. With the move of developers wanting to make this community upscale
there became a rush to get onto the board and take control to ensure that everyone in the political arena would get paid.
Take Carmen Martinez, Community Board member and Sterling St B&W Block Association President We already know that she was Clarence Norman’s campaign treasurer
and was given immunity for her testimony against him and that he gave her money from some of his illegal money transactions, but what you might not know is that while she was being illegally placed on community board 9 by Eric Adams, she was under investigation with the Conflict of Interest board, in regards to her $140,000 a year job with the Comptrollers for stealing time and resources for the last 14 years. She was forced to resign.
In the settlement documents, Carmen Martinez shields herself behind Sterling St B&W Block Association, which she conveniently became President of in 2011, as the reason for 14 years of stealing. We know this is untrue, because prior to 2011, she was not involved in the Block association. In fact it has been proposed that she purposely sought this position in preparation for the resolution and rezoning application being presented to CB9.
What better way to ensure that Eric Adam’s goal to up zone our community and sell it to foreign investors, than to head one of the main block associations that could potentially go against this rezoning application, because of the dire consequences done to the homes.
This was further supported by her request on March 16, 2015, to include 50/30/20 affordable housing
for residential development on Empire Blvd, when the B&W block association and 90% of the residents have opposed all residential development, because City Planning stated it would build 10 to 12 stories on Empire.
It was also noted that during the past year she has been soliciting new members on this community board to further the aims of Eric Adams and other corrupt politicians and she is currently working for Shirley Patterson campaign, which is completely supported by Developer’s money!
And did you also know that Eric Adams has refused to respond to FOIL requests to disclose the information about current and new board members, their jobs, prior experience and even if they live in the community.
Why? So that this continued corruption, conflict of interest and unsavory political system can continue, until our community is completely sold out, the deals are done, money exchanges hands and our community sold to foreign investors, as our local politicians begin the plan to relocate.
But this situation is also our fault. Our blind loyalty to a party that has produced politicians
who won’t even stand up and demand that we be heard! We complain that candidates come out only when they want the vote. And this is true. But what do we do, we vote the party line.
Or better yet, we vote according to promises that are being made instead of looking at what the person has done in the past! Some even say we will vote them in and then hold them accountable, but have we! Are your current politicians accountable to us! Is Eugene Mathieu, Laurie Cumbo?
But now there is chance to do something different to stop voting the party lines and vote completely out of the box! And we better take that chance to send a clear message to these political parties that if they don’t start representing us, they will not get into office.
Developers and Politicians are not all powerful, we are if we choose wisely, with open eyes
and in regards to what will be most beneficial to us.
This upcoming election (May 5, 2015) is our chance to send a clear Message to the political structure that corruption is no longer going to be tolerated. That our homes and community will not be sold off to benefit a few corrupt politicians and their associates.
But we will need to take this opportunity and come out in numbers, because I’m sure they are buying votes! Just to prove that they are all powerful, with developers money backing them!
There is some nasty, dark and dangerous flyers (they do look dangerous!) going out about Jeffrey Davis, regarding an incident that occurred about 10 years ago with Renee Collymore, former District Leader in Crown Heights.
Now let’s dig a little deeper into this. First and foremost, look at the amount of money that is flowing through our community in regards to this campaign. The community must have gotten over ten plus mailings from Shirley Patterson which are estimated to cost $4,000 each! Now there have been people knocking on doors and they cost money. It is estimated she might have already spent $150,000 on this race.
But it isn’t just the literature of Shirley, it is Senator Hamilton’s literature and Eric Adams’ literature that conveniently has Shirley Patterson’s picture on each of them. Of course I’m sure there is a law against elected officials supporting candidates with tax payers’ money, but when did the law ever stop our local representatives! That means on any given day at least 3 pieces
of mailings all in support of Shirley Patterson, have arrived in people's homes. That is $12,000 a day being spent!
But of course this is not enough, now the nasty literature has to come, just like it came during the Senate Race with Jessie Hamilton. Again compliments of the Democratic Club/Party, which is now working under the Independence party.
But what is even more blatant is that the person who asked for the order of protection on Davis
(there was no conviction, for she dropped the charges and even bailed him out!) ss Renee Collymore, former District Leader, who is now the Finance Campaign Manager of Shirley Patterson, where all this money (from developers) is going through her hands.
They knew of the dirt on Davis, because MTOPP knew about it, way back when he was supporting us against the up zoning of our community. They needed to use that very dirt, despite him having no money, he remains a threat to them, because he has no connections with any developers, the way Dianna Richardson has with the Working Family Party! And he has supported the community against the rezoning.
He’s the underdog and sometimes the underdog can win, especially, when the community is tired of the corruption and the sellouts of the current politicians.
So there was Reene Collimore, she had lost the election, still wanting to be into politics, why not give her a position in one of the most financially powerful races, let her see all the money that could possibly be at her disposal, when she wants to run again and then of course ask that she do everything that she can to help Shirley win even share her dirty laundry for all to see!
That is Dirty Politics along with a little corruption in Brooklyn. No wonder it has been noted that we are the most corrupt Borough in New York City!
The question remains, when will we stop it!
Feb. 2015 Council Woman Gets Gangster at Meeting!
At a ULURP committee on Feb 11, 2015, Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo came out and stated to the community that she was going to up zone the community with or without the community board and she will do it independently. When the residents in the community booed her, she responded that she didn't care if we booed her!
She even went so far as to state that she was willing to do "fist cuffs", which is a old term for fighting, with Alicia Boyd, who was yelling back her. She was making the claim that is was disrespectful to the community for residents to be booing and yelling (for she was booed when she came in) and she wanted to hear from everyone.
What she failed to state is that she has never once stood up and admonished CB9 for not allowing its residents the opportunity afforded all other community board and is required by law both in the City Charter and Community Board 9 Bylaws, the right to speak on any topic that they chose for three minutes.
Community Board 9 has continued to engage in not allowing residents this right in an attempt to silence the community and prevent residents from sharing information and gaining support etc...
It seems the common thread amongst our local representatives is to pass the buck, when it comes to protecting the tenants in our community. And to even openly side against us in helping to push us out of our communities!
Senator Hamilton and Assemblyman Mosely (at a meeting on Jan. 30 at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden) all talked about the majority being run by Republicans in the Senate and how Upstate is dictating what happens in NYC. Now all of this is true, but it isn’t the Whole Truth!
It is New York City politics; Real Estate and Development that are running Upstate and dictating what is happening here? How, through money and corruption!
Lets use Silver for example, he got caught providing opportunities for NYC developers to make money in NYC and one main developer is Glenwood Management.
Now lets follow the money trail.$$$$$$
$$$$$$$......Glenwood Management gave money to “Jobs for New York”
Jobs for New York has already been found to be a LLC front for the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) http://www.commoncause.org/states/new-york/issues/money-in-politics/moreland-commission/REBNY-Moreland-Monday-Release-PDF-Version.pdf
$$$$$$$$$......Jobs for New York gave Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo over $230,000 to her campaign
Lauri Cumbo is supporting the up zoning of our Community, especially development along the transit corridors, which HUD has found to cause displacement of low and moderate income families!
Thus as you can see, it is not only Upstate that is being influenced by NYC politics but even at the City Level. Of course now the question has to arise, who are Senator Jessie Hamilton’s contributors? Find the contributors and you will find out why Jessie Hamilton is still insisting
that he is going to renew the 421a tax break in our community!
Yes I know he stated now he will only support it if has an “affordable component to it” Yes, and we have seen how successful those have been in decreasing our existing affordable housing stock! Very Successful!
But he isn’t going to introduce the 421a tax break to Park Slope, or to Prospect Heights, just in the most populated and most affordable community within his district!
And what is their cry, "Stop picking on us"! Our response? Start Protecting Us!
Note: This was written based upon a scheduled meeting with the community and Eric Adams on rezoning on August 15, 2014. Representative who supported Eric Adams: Jessie Hamilton, District Representative, candidate for State Senator. Representatives opposed to Residential on Empire Blvd.: Geoffy Davis, candidate for District Representative and Rubin Dorancy, candidate for State Senator.
We are one of the strongest voting blocks in Brooklyn, yet where are our representatives, in this struggle to save our homes, our neighborhood, from the Developers? Well watch them tonight (meeting with Eric Adams on August 15). See who comes out and who will not be there! See who wants us to compromise; get residential on the application, get us to the environmental study stage - get us into the hands of the developers. All under the pretense of more affordable housing, jobs for our youth, employment opportunities, economic growth for the community, community benefits etc..
As if they haven’t seen the results of all these promises made and never kept. As if they haven’t seen Atlantic Yards community agreements wiped out, as the world was watching! Affordable units being completed 10 – 20 years from now! Affordable being people making 100,000 or better. As if they don’t see the rising rents in our community - people being displaced now!
And what about those 14+ Luxury developments, currently here, via tax benefits. Why aren’t they getting all these benefits, from these developers??
People who came to the City Planning meeting on August 4, got a letter with a job offering from 626 Flatbush Ave Developers in conjunction with Community Board 9; a non-union small paying 14 month old job that you have to have certification for. Are they kidding? That is what your representatives are pushing for. A temporary job without a home!
Now also watch the ones who say they are standing behind You. Saying no to residential! Pay attention, make your notes and make sure you vote at the voting booth for representatives that are not in the hands of the developers, the ones that will fight, Out In The Open for your homes, your community, your way of life!
Don’t put back into office anyone who isn’t, speaking for you. Our representatives have forgotten that they are suppose to represent us! Not the developers and we are now going to take back that power and use it.
So pay attention today, because election time is real close and there are a few who want to be elected and a few who want to be re-elected. Let’s start exercising our power! Because tonight we will see the developers exercising theirs, through payoffs, bribes and corruption!
No Residential On Empire Blvd.!
Contextualize Empire Blvd.!
Preserve Affordable Housing!
No More Luxury development!