Marty's Brooklyn CB6 Purge & Real Community Board Reform

Why can't anyone in the community who wants to join a community board be welcome?

Why can't community boards be more like the NYPD's community councils? Have an attendance requirement (show up in three consecutive meetings, or some other such method), and you can join the board. No ass-kissing of the borough president should be required. We're talking about an unpaid, time-consuming, largely thankless and advisory position, after all.

Why can't the entire community board consist of "public members"? And by the way, did you ever try to go to a community board website and search on how you can join as a public member? Hard to find that stuff, huh?

We revisit these questions in the wake of Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz's purge of at least five longtime members of Community Board 6. These are people who had the temerity to vote against the Atlantic Yards project.

Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion did a similar purge of Bronx Community Board 4, involving members who had rejected the new Yankee Stadium proposal.

Again, these are unpaid positions. We're talking about getting people involved in the community, giving them a voice, and requiring them to sit through hours of some deathly dull stuff. This is how the grassroots democracy is supposed to work?

It's time for a change.


Project’s Foes Shown Door in Brooklyn
Published: May 23, 2007

The letter arrived in Marilyn Oliva’s mailbox yesterday from the Brooklyn borough president, Marty Markowitz. It thanked her for her dedication to the community as a member of Community Board 6, but informed her that her services were no longer needed.

Ms. Oliva was disappointed. She was also not alone. Though community board members’ terms are usually renewed routinely, Mr. Markowitz on Monday replaced at least five longtime members who had sought reappointment to Community Board 6, which covers the brownstone neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens.

The five members had one thing in common: they voted yes last year on a resolution denouncing Atlantic Yards, the $4 billion development project that Mr. Markowitz has spent three years and much of his political capital extolling.

Mr. Markowitz refused to comment on the reasons for his move, but there certainly seemed to be something about Community Board 6 that displeased him.

While he did renew the appointments of some Board 6 members who voted against Atlantic Yards, he replaced a greater percentage of Board 6 than of any other community board in the borough.


But Celia Cacace, who has been on the board since the early 1980s — long before Mr. Markowitz was elected — said that he took her aside at a community event a few months ago to criticize her and her colleagues.

“He said, ‘I’m going to get rid of everybody on the board that voted for this,’ ” according to Ms. Cacace, 71, whose term expires next year. “He says, ‘Remember, you are my appointee.’ Every time I tried to say something he totally lambasted me.”

Mr. Markowitz would not comment on the discussion.


Four of the nine members who were removed had been placed on the board by City Councilmen Bill de Blasio, who supports the project, and David Yassky, who favors some redevelopment on the site.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Breaking: Community Board 6 Atlantic Yards Purge Claims Nine The expected purge of Community Board 6 by Borough President Marty Markowitz has taken place. City Council Members David Yassky and Bill de Blasio also did not reappoint members. The CB6 members have reportedly been purged in retribution for their opposition to the Atlantic Yards development, although other reasons are likely to be offered for the dismissals. GL has received a list of members that have non been reappointed as part of what could be called The Atlantic Yards Saturday Night Massacre. Mr. Markowitz removed five CB 6 members. Council Member Yassky removed three CB6 members and Council Member de Blasio removed one.These are the members that have been purged (BP means they were appointed and removed by Mr. Markowitz, 39 means CM de Blasio and 33 means CM Yassky): Jerry Armer (BP), Angela Beni (BP), Pauline Blake (33), Bill Blum (BP), Al Cabbad (33), Barbara Longobardi (BP), Madelaine Murphy (39), Marilyn Oliva (BP), Theresa Ricks (33).

The Brownstone 9: Markowitz Purges Community Board 6
by Matthew Schuerman Published: May 22, 2007

Nine members of Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 have not been reappointed to another two-year term after the board took several votes opposing the Atlantic Yards project.

“I’m rather disappointed. I think that it could have been handled better and I think that I will continue to work for my community and the greater good of the community through the Community Board,” said one of the deposed members, Jerry Armer, who had served on the board for more than 20 years and was chairman at the time the votes were taken. “What we were doing was giving the community a voice and reflecting the community.”

Community boards are made up of 50 people, half of whom are appointed each year, so the blood-letting was not as great as some had expected or feared. The borough president—in this case, Marty Markowitz, a big fan of Atlantic Yards—makes the appointments, although half of them are recommended by local City Council members in the district. Community Board 6 encompasses most of Brownstone Brooklyn.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Markowitz would not explain the appointments, or lack thereof, so it was a little hard to ascertain just what was the motivation, or even if all the displaced members had voted against Atlantic Yards. She said that a statement would be coming out shortly. But last week, Councilman Bill de Blasio defended his right not to recommend members who voted against Atlantic Yards, saying that it was a vote against affordable housing, which is one of his core beliefs.

One of Mr. de Blasio’s members, Madelaine Murphy, was not reappointed, according to a list obtained from the district office, which received it today. Nor were three other members who had been recommended by Councilman David Yassky, another supporter of the project: Pauline Blake, Al Cabbad and Theresa Ricks. Mr. Markowitz failed to reappoint Mr. Armer and four others whom he had both recommended and appointed previously: Angela Beni, Bill Blum, Barbara Longobardi and Marilyn Oliva.

Marty, Don't Destroy

The Albany Project, Marty Markowitz Jumps Shark, Will Purge Brooklyn CB6

[Markowitz's] full court press for Ratnerville has certainly strained my inclination to give him the benefit of the doubt, but a recent story in the New York Observer may prove to be the straw that broke the camel's back in that regard. It appears that Marty is going to purge Community Board 6 of all who have opposed the Ratnerville development later this week. Marty is apparently fed up with those members who have the temerity to think that a huge, eminent domain driven displacement of scores of local residents and businesses in CB6 might not be in the best interest of those the members are supposed to represent. It's a heavy handed, undemocratic move and one that is beneath the dignity of the Marty I used to know.

OnNYTurf, Markowitz to Purge Community Board 6 over Atlantic Yards Votes

This is another example of how some Community Boards have no legitimacy beyond the officials that appoints them. I feel for the about to be removed Board Members of Brooklyn CB6 who spoke their mind and spoke on behalf of the community and are now facing removal by a vindictive Marty Markowitz. Shame!

Author Phil DePaolo uses the Bronx as an example of how a Borough President broke a Community Board:

We have already seen this ugly scenario unfold in The Bronx where Adolfo Carrion refused to reappoint Community Board members whose terms were expiring last June when Bronx CB4 rejected the Yankee Stadium Proposal. Out of the 19 members whose terms were up, only five were allowed to stay. Since then, Bronx Community Board 4 has had a hard time conducting any business. The board hasn't been able to get enough members together to even hold a vote. There are people who haven't returned since they voted to change the board in June. The people who attended regularly.

Posted by lumi at May 22, 2007 8:26 AM