CB-9 Member Responds to Anti-Semitic Letter

Alicia Boyd, founder of the Movement to Protect the People (MTOPP), an organization dedicated to fighting rezoning and development in Crown Heights, sent an e-mail to all members of Community Board-9 that contained some inflammatory language against Jews and white people, and which seemed to justify the Crown Heights riots of 1991. One recipient of the e-mail, board-member Yaacov Behrman, took it upon himself to respond.

The original e-mail:

When I was a little girl growing up in Brooklyn The greatest hero to come out of Brooklyn was Shirley Chisholm The first Black Female Congresswoman! I remember being disappointed that she wasn’t a raving beauty But I could remember the pride that I felt that she was from Brooklyn My hometown, my borough, the biggest concentration of Black People In the United States, what a hero!

When I grew up I realized that she also possessed something Better than beauty, she processed integrity, commitment And a desire to truly represent her community. Her famous motto was “UnBrought and UnBossed!”

As it is always known, The dark comes after the light – The reign of Former Assemblyman Clarence Norman came into being.

For two decades he destroyed Shirley Chisholm legacy With his own, of corruption and thievery. He was known for his extreme loyalty to his people closed to him And absolute in difference to his own people’s struggles.

He watched as the Community Board 9 was completely controlled By a hand full of Jewish and White males from Prospect Lefferts Garden While the Black community was completely ignored and disempowered. The Crown Heights Riots depicted these serious inequalities  but very little was done, beside a few token jobs and money Given to youth programs etc…

During Clarence Legacy Brooklyn because known as the most corrupt borough in NYC, With his faithful allies standing beside him.  One being Carman Martinez who was also caught doing illegal stuff But was given a pardon for her testimony against him, which placed him in handcuffs, his lawyer’s license revoked,  and   9 counts of corruption convictions, mostly for selling out the Judicial system, where anyone wanting to become a Supreme Court Justice, or Civil Court Judge In Brooklyn, could just buy it from Clarence.

Then on September 23, 2014, all of the corruption at the community level was about to be exposed. That was the day in which the community residents came out in full force To the Community Board 9 to stop a rezoning, which would cause the Black community to be seriously displaced and the neighborhood gentrified as it has been happening in all communities of color in NYC.

This request actually targeted only the Black Community and again left the Jewish Community safe, outside its borders!

Again the community residents could see the inequalities, the racial profiling, the disempowerment of the people contained right within the borders of the rezoning request.

The newly appointed members of the board were a part of that new movement, For they had been told they were being placed on the board to stop this Old regime from continuing to dis-empower the people. The aim was to remove Pearl Miles from her position, To change the way in which CB9 operated and to get a Black Executive Board in, who would empower the people.

So this new group of CB9 members all voted to listen to the people And rescind the letter, all except one person, Michael Liburd The question one asked was what did Michael Liburd know that the rest of the members Didn’t, but I will get back to that one.

Then a year of hell began as each member of the board was approached And was convinced that… Only the Black side of the park, needed rezoning, not the Jewish. They were convinced that this was a protective move. That City Planning was actually coming to protect our homes From all of the development happening in our community.

And yet nothing they had seen so far in the history of City Planning Every showed that a Black Community came out ahead when a rezoning happened.

In Fact everything was showing the opposite. Williamsburg, Harlem, Downtown Brooklyn. These were all examples of communities’ once affordable, livable communities Now completely out of reach for people of color, and where the original people Were violently removed from their homes and businesses.

They were however told that City Planning only wanted Empire Blvd And just by giving up those three blocks, countless of other blocks Would be protected.

Of course none of this was put in writing. These were just whispered statements, with no guarantees Just going on blind faith and honesty which hadn’t been displayed as even existing.

In a move to stop any type of education or the voices of the people Community residents were time and time again prevented from speaking From joining committees.

Community board members were told lies about what they could and couldn’t do And kept completely in the dark. Some were brought with favors or promises, others threaten and some just removed At the end of the term, whereas others were promoted depending upon Their commitment to a rezoning.

In the mist of all this, there was Carmen Martinez known loyalist and apart of Clarence Norman Regime, having just lost her $140,000 year old job in June 2014, Due to the Conflict of Interest Board filing charges against her For stealing 14 years of Time from the Comptroller’s Office from 2000-2014.

This is also the same time that she was working directly for Clarence Norman, So we can see how she might have been using that stolen time, Despite the records making the claim she did it in support of non-profits, namely my Block association, which she didn’t officially join as an officer until 2011-2012.

She was illegally placed on the Board in June 2014 along with Michael Liburd But she dared not vote against the people on September 23, 2014,  because at that point, she knew she couldn’t go directly against her block, who were the ones pushing for this rescinding of the resolution the hardest.

But from that day forward her side did a serious campaign  of discrediting the opposition, telling the board members that City Planning actually Was trying to help and not harm this community. and laying the ground work to eventually Remove Pearl Miles and place Carmen Martinez in her position,

Because Carmen now found herself completely unemployable by any other governmental agencies Because of the all of the baggage that she was carrying; her affiliation with Clarence Norman, and her known tarnish record of theft of 14 years!

But first they needed Pearl Miles to do their dirty work. To continue her reign of disempowerment, so that a letter would be passed to give to the department of City Planning requesting to rezone the Black side of the Park and the Black side of CB9.

However, once that had been accomplish (but not very good) they threw Pearl Miles under the bus,  blamed the entire year on her and then proceeded to move forward.

New members were appointed onto the board and given specific instructions as to their reason why they were placed on the board and the “hunt” for a new District Manager began.

A Search committee was formed, without community residents being allowed to join, conditions of employment was all  decided behind closed doors, including that huge spread of money from  $59,000-$145,000 for the salary of the District Manager.

As Demetrius Lawrence did his famous “I’m Sorry” routine, every time he violated the law, and of course true to form, Carman Martinez submitted her application And is now conducting herself as if she is running CB9 already.

Despite having less than two years of experience on the board, she is now handling housing issues, landuse issues, landmarking issues and is now a voting member of the Executive board,

She was the main person, who has initiated, based upon her word, The overthrow of the Executive Board with voting Chair members, because she read in the Mayor’s Pamphlet and in the City Charter That Chairs are a part of the executive Board!

Of course the community residents will not be surprised That Carmen Martinez winds up a part of the final three applicants To be considered by Community Board 9, nor will we blink an eye when she is voted in as our District Manager

We are aware that a reign of corruption just doesn’t stop, Because the people demand for it to stop, Just as it just didn’t begin.

We understand that Shirley Chisholm left a powerful legacy And maybe at one point Clarence Norman had tried to follow in her footsteps but found them too big and powerful.

That corruption is a disease that eats at the soul and slowly like an addiction It happens so quietly that one doesn’t even know it until it is too late.

But all things change and change is on the horizon As Karen Fleming stated at the last Community Board meeting This community is now fully awake and we are not going back to sleep! Our Eyes are Wide Open!

We will not sit and watch another legacy of corruption take hold Of Community Board 9, we will not watch our family and friends and homes be destroyed because a few want to make millions off of the suffering of the many.

One thing history has taught us is that all corrupt regimes falter and die and Community Board 9 is no different.

Alicia,

www.mtopp.org

(718) 703-3086

Yaacov’s response:

Alicia,

Your email is deeply offensive, inflammatory and borderline anti-Semitic.

Yankel Rosenbaum was stabbed as a crowd shouted “Kill the Jew.”

He was the victim of a modern day progrom.

The Crown Heights riots have no place in a discussion regarding the housing crisis or the complexities surrounding CB9. To link the two is completely inappropriate, and you seem to be suggesting that murder and violence was justified.

My family has lived in Crown Heights since the 70s. My synagogue has been here since 1940. I grew up on Carroll Street.

We had, and we continue to have, good relationships with all our neighbors on the block.

I have great memories of our African-American neighbors coming to over to the house for gardening advice from my mom, and to discuss jazz with my father.

I learned that both our communities have gone through persecution and suffering over the years. We have that in common.

The housing crisis is an issue facing both our communities. Members of the Jewish community that have lived in Crown Heights for generations are moving away because they can’t afford to purchase a house or pay rent. The cost of apartment rentals has gone up 65%.

This is about economics not race. Your rhetoric is hateful, dangerous and divisive.

Yaacov

17 Comments

  • 1. Go Yaacov! wrote:

    Well said in a few well chosen words.
    Keep up the good work on behalf of our community!

  • 2. Oh Please..... wrote:

    The Blacks are having a field day that they can sell their houses that were bought for $200,000 for a WHOPPING MILLION! We’re all in the same boat NO ONE can afford such rent! Alicia is just a SICK anti-Semitic person that needs to see a professional! Most black people dont act like her! I have many nice black neighbors and we discuss how we are in the same boat.

  • 3. Anonymous wrote:

    If Jews see some blacks commitiing crimes, they will view that person as a shvartza and think of many blacks as low class shvartzas. When blacks see some Jews raising rents and taking over people’s living quarters, they will see that person as a Jewboy and view all Jews as oppressing Jewboys. When Jews see that the government is not helping solve crimes and when blacks feel that they are being underrepresented, it causes friction and disharmony. But blacks are also victims of crime and Jews are also victims of the housing crisis, so maybe they can pracefully dialogue together to strengthen the neighborhood.

    • 4. Milhouse wrote:

      How can you compare raising rents and buying houses to crimes? Not only do they have no business resenting all Jews for the actions of their landlord, they have no business resenting the landlord either, because he has done nothing wrong.

      This attitude that you have the right to live in someone else’s property forever, against his will and for less than he can get from someone else, is theft by another name. You’re essentially saying it’s not his property, it’s yours. If you own property you have EVERY RIGHT to sell or rent it for the highest price you can get.

      Worse than that, the attitude that it’s somehow wrong for white people to buy property on a block where black people live is unacceptable in any decent society. If you think a block should always have the same racial makeup, then what are you doing here? This was a Jewish neighborhood, so by your own lights all black people should move out immediately. If you think it was OK for black people to move in 40-50 years ago, then it must be OK for white people to move back in now. You can’t have it both ways, unless you’re willing to admit you’re a black supremacist.

  • 5. Off point wrote:

    The real issue seems to be opposition to rezoning, which should be a common cause.

    • 7. Milhouse wrote:

      It should be none of the city’s business what a person builds on his own property. Neighbors’ interests (hilchos shecheinim) can be secured by covenants, which are not subject to the poltiical process, and which the neighbors can waive if they like (i.e. if they’re paid enough). That’s how it is in Houston, and it works very well.

      The only reason zoning exists in the first place is because about 100 years ago a majority of the Supreme Court were confused enough to uphold it, but if you read the decision you see that they had no idea it would function as it does now. They thought its only use would be to keep factories away from residences.

  • 9. well said wrote:

    Great letter. Short, well-written and to the point. (as opposed to her letter, which is ridiculously long and rambly and borderline incoherent.)

  • 11. Yossel wrote:

    Brooklyn IS being overdeveloped! There is no parking or affordable housing this part of the borough! Cops are ticketing for everything they can get their greedy hands on! And, people who bought their house back in 1975 for $25,000 and who may be lower income, are now paying PROPERTY taxes on a $1 million dollar piece of property!

    The middle class needs to unite and take a stand against the city’s harrassment tactics against the people!

    • 12. Milhouse wrote:

      It’s called a free market. There is a higher demand and therefore the value goes up. That’s a good thing, but more importantly it’s a fundamental right of property ownership, and nobody has the moral right to interfere with it.

  • 13. Why is she still around? wrote:

    She must have a lot of powerful friends, because this vicious old witch deserves arrest for inciting hatred etc. Of course, imagine if a Jew changed the names & said exactly the same thing…. her letter should be publicized everywhere. She is an animal.

    • 14. Milhouse wrote:

      What country do you think you’re living in? This is the United States of America, where we have complete freedom of speech, which means even deranged bigots like this woman have the right to speak their (lack of) mind, and cannot be arrested for it. There is no such crime as “inciting hatred etc”.

      And yes, Jews are free to write the same things about black people. They shouldn’t, not for fear of arrest, but because רק עם חכם ונבון הגוי הגדול הזה. You are even free to display your ignorance as you have done, and nobody will arrest you for it, but you should be embarrassed.

  • 15. Jay Sorid wrote:

    Ms. Boyd’s email references CB 9’s request to City Planning for a zoning study last year of the western half of the district. The reason for doing only half of the district was that City Planning said they did not have the resources for the whole district and wanted to target the neighborhoods closest to the subways.

    Any implication that not requesting a study for the eastern half (east of NY Ave) of our district was an attempt to safeguard only the Jewish community ignores the fact that the Southeast part of our district is mostly African-American.

    In fact, the CHJCC stated last year that they did not want to be left out of the study since it was the CHJCC that initiated the study and asked for rezoning that would allow an incremental increase in zoning in all Jewish areas. In the end, only two small blocks by Crown and Carroll were included, hardly what the CHJCC had asked for.

    Ms. Boyd seems to acknowledge her misunderstanding on the issue on her website by stating “Once Rabbi Eli Cohen made his statement, members of MTOPP clapped and felt that the issue had been addressed and now we know who did it. It was not the Jewish community but City Planning creating a divide and conquer situation, to try to pit us against each other.” http://www.mtopp.org/official.html Clearly, Ms Boyd should go on to her own website before writing an email to CB 9 Board Members which said , “This request actually targeted only the Black Community and again left the Jewish Community safe, outside its borders!”

    Her allegations that minority neighborhoods are always upzoned are not correct. Both Canarsie and East Elmurst Queens were downzoned and both neighborhoods were largely African American.

    Her statement about the Crown Heights riots was that of an apologist. Today, the Black community and Jewish community face very similar issues of new housing, jobs, discrimination, displacement and upzoning.

    The Chairman of CB 9, Demetrius Lawrence, an African-American male has not placed Ms. Boyd on any committees at CB 9.

    After MTOPP endorsed District Leader Geoffrey Davis for Assemblyman, he went from about 3500 votes in the District Primary to about 300 plus votes in the Assembly election. MTOPP had claimed they were the largest voting block at the time.

    The black and Jewish communities have similar challenges and should not be distracted by a group of 15 women who just lost what would have been their best ally in their fight to save Empire Blvd from residential development.

    But before you cry for them, many of them own brownstones worth over 1.3 million dollars on Sterling Street and simply do not want any residential development in their backyards on Empire Blvd and will resort to the same scapegoating that politicians like Sharpton did back then, to win on their issues. Scapegoating didn’t work then and it won’t work now, and MTOPP’s endorsement of Geoffrey Davis and the election results that followed confirmed it for everyone.

  • 16. Poorly Written Letter, Inadequate Response wrote:

    The response does not address any of the points which may be gleaned from Ms Boyd’s ramble

  • 17. The fight should not be against Jews, it should be for lower taxes wrote:

    In Florida there is a homestead law which puts a cap on how high the Govt Appraiser can raise your valuation. This protects the long-time resident from being priced out. But alas, a NY democratic government will never approve a cap on taxes and Ms Boyd and her ilk will never promote a cause which goes against the liberal ideology of more government.

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