Overview of Current Situation Dec. 3, 2014.
MTOPP is trying to stop the up zoning of the community, via a resolution that was passed on March 25 by CB9. We have attacked this resolution by organizing the people and now inside the courts. We understand that our power exists at the community level and once this resolution is in the hands of City Planning, we will be just advisory, so we are making sure the current resolution dies and a new one is created that has true community input and doesn’t put us in jeopardy of losing our homes and displacing the people!
The second issue we are addressing is the displacement of the people, thus we are organizing the people to fight back, with education, gaining control of the community board, fighting in the courts and putting pressure on our local politicians.
There is a plan to rezone the community in Crown Heights and Prospect Lefferts Garden. A public hearing was done to brainstorm what the community wanted on March 17, 2014 and Pearl Miles District Manager presented a summary of that discussion to Community Board 9 (CB9) and a resolution that was passed on March 25, 2014. This resolution contained technical language that would do the exact opposite of what the community wanted.
The language called for inclusionary zoning for affordable housing, changing commercial streets into residential to increase density and development along our transit corridors. The specific area being proposed is from Eastern Parkway to Clarkson Ave and from Washington/Flatbush/Ocean Ave to New York Ave.
CB9 presented this resolution to City Planning on April 17, 2014 and City Planning began sitting with CB9 and MTOPP and other local groups in June-August to iron out the parameters of what would be studied along with making promises of community benefits etc…
On August 4, 2014 the last known public meeting with City Planning a group of about 50 homeowners, tenants and MTOPP members told City Planning they didn’t want the up-zoning of Empire Blvd changed from a commercial to residential, because it had been told to us that we would be getting 20 story buildings up against our homes instead of the six that was being proposed at the City Planning meetings.
On Sept 23, 2015, the community came to the CB9 meeting and demanded that the resolution, Pearl Miles had created, be rescinded and the matter go to the CB9 ULURP committee to be done over again. A vote was taken and Pearl Miles reported the vote as the following: 16 yes, 9 no, 8 abstentions. The Chairperson failed to announce the results (if it had passed or not!) of the vote and thus the community walked away assuming the vote had passed to rescind the resolution. But 35 days later the minutes stated that it had failed.
It failed because in order for a resolution to pass it must have the majority! Thus when you add up the no and abstentions there was 16 yes to 17 nos and abstentions. Thus the resolution was reported as having failed.
On Nov. 18, 2014 Pearl Miles gave MTOPP through a FOIL request a copy of the voting record and found out that Pearl Miles lied and manipulated the vote, in that two community board members who had voted yes were absent on the voting record. This breaking of the law was uncovered by a video taken during the meeting, where you can clearly see and hear the community board members voting yes!
Thus making the true count on September 23, 18 yes, 17 no and abstention, making the resolution to rescind a success!
On March 25, CB9 passed the resolution to up zone the community without it going through the ULURP committees and no community support except for the one March 17th, 2014. Despite complaints from several members about it not having community support, not coming from a committee etc… it was passed.
On June 23, 2014 Borough President Eric Adams placed 18 new board members on CB9 compared to the average of 6 for all other boards in Bklyn and this new board replaced the old executive board 5 out of 6 members an 83% changed compared to .07% for all other Brooklyn Community Boards.
On August 4, the new Executive Board had a meeting with the community and City Planning and told the members of the community to “Be Quiet!” and that they will be heard later when the resolution was in City Planning hands during the ULRUP process.
On Sept 23, 2014. Chairperson of CB9 Executive Board, Dwayne Nicholson failed to report the results of the vote on Sept. 23 thus eliminating the opportunity for the members to challenge the votes’ accuracy. Despite a review of the votes after the assumption that the resolution had not passed, CB9 failed to report the discrepancy in the voting tally to the community or to note it in their minutes of the Sept 23, 2014.
On Oct. 28, 2014. The Executive Board placed the Community Meeting into facilities that could not accommodate the entire community and attempted to continue with a meeting, barring half the community. Instead of planning more appropriate accommodations they called in 30 police officers to intimidate and control the crowd. The Host of Medgar Evers College demanded that they cancel the meeting due to the protest of the people who were stuck outside.
On Nov. 4, 2014 The Executive Board again placed the rescheduled meeting into facilities that were inappropriate. First it was outside the CB9’s area, second the community was not allowed to video tape or record the sessions, distribute first amendment materials, walk around and talk, hold up signs etc.. Finally, despite having a community session on the agenda, they played games, stalled etc… until the time was up and left the meeting without giving the community an opportunity to speak! All of these acts violated the Open Meeting Law, City Charter and CB9 Bylaws.
Nov 12, 2014. The Executive Board had an executive meeting, without notifying the community, getting a vote to do this meeting from the community board in an open meeting, failed to produce an agenda, and had no minutes of this meeting, all in violation of the Open Meeting Law.
Nov 18, 2014. Again the Executive Board attempted to curtail community participation in its open session by limiting the time to only 30 minutes, and also refused the public the opportunity to question the elected officials that came to the Community Board.
CB9 is in violation of its own Bylaws by failing to hold the required 5 meetings for all it committees. Out of the 12 committees there is only one that is in compliance. For example, despite the overwhelming concern for housing and land-use (zoning) issues CB 9 had two meetings of the housing committee and 0 for the land-use (ULURP) committee, for the entire year of 2014, according to their website.
The Secretary of the Board has failed to accurately depict the happenings at the Community Board meetings.
These are behaviors that she has exhibited during the rezoning process.
On March 17 Pearl Miles stated to the community that she and others were going to be writing down all that we wanted and presented it to the Community Board to voted on and then submitting it to City Planning to begin a Study to rezone the community.
On March 25, 2014, Pearl Miles, the sole author of the resolution requesting the zoning study inserted highly technical language that did exactly what the community didn’t want! Tall sky risers, more density and secondary displacement!
The minutes of March 25, 2014 meeting did not contain the resolution, nor has it every been published to the community, violating the Open Meeting Law and City Charter.
She has repeated refused to response to Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request from members of the community, requiring the community to commence three lawsuits.
Pearl Miles after counting twice, is believed to have fraudulently reported the wrong count regarding the September 23, resolution to rescind her resolution that she presented to the board.
On September 23, 2014 in the Community Board meeting she yelled out to the community to Shut Up, Shut Up, Shut UP and she has not been reprimanded for her behavior.
Pearl Miles has refused to include the voting record of the members of the board as required by law in all the minutes.
She has failed to provide the minutes of the meeting within two weeks after the meetings.
August 2014 MTOPP has been working with local tenant groups and individuals by providing free legal assistance.
Nov, 2014 MTOPP is working with new larger groups to organize a collective representation of tenants dealing with one Landlord.
We are currently instructing all tenants who are in landlord/tenant court to make their court date for January 5, 2015 to collectively come together and present our case to one judge. During that time everyone who wishes to be represented needs to contact Alicia at (718) 703-3086 to organize for the court date.
We also want to use the CB9 meetings to help organize the tenants and to deal with the prevailing issues facing them such as harassment, MCI improvements, preferential leases, refusal to accept payments, buyouts, repairs etc...
For further information, you are welcome to review our court papers and other pieces of information available on our website.
If you would like to support our efforts please consider attending our fund-raising event and/or donating something to our auction.