Vote on Crown Heights Rezoning Incorrectly Recorded

Community Board 9’s district manager incorrectly recorded the results of a controversial vote on rezoning in the neighborhood, altering the board’s decision on the issue.

From DNAinfo by Rachel Holliday Smith :

District Manager Pearl Miles said a loud and chaotic meeting is to blame for at least four discrepancies between an official voting record and an audio recording from a September board meeting where the vote took place.

If the vote had been counted correctly, there would have been at least 18 people in favor of rescinding a resolution on rezoning in the neighborhood, outweighing the no votes and abstentions, instead of the official tally of 16 yes votes and 17 nos and abstentions, which kept the resolution intact.

Miles acknowledged she “made a mistake in the count,” but said the official tally couldn’t be corrected without board approval.

“Me listening to the [recording] after the fact doesn’t change anything,” she said. “The vote is the vote.”

Miles said she had been taking notes during CB9’s Sept. 23 board meeting when a local activist group, Movement to Protect the People, demanded CB9 vote to rescind a resolution the board had sent to the Department of City Planning to begin studying rezoning in the neighborhood. MTOPP said the original resolution had been written without consensus from residents.

The board agreed to take a vote on the issue, and MTOPP initially thought the board had decided to rescind the original resolution. But later, MTOPP was informed that the new resolution had not passed because of a procedural rule.

The result infuriated the group, which staged a protest outside CB9continued to protest at board meetings and filed a Freedom of Information Law request to obtain the documentation of the vote in the weeks after it took place.

Miles turned over those records to MTOPP’s leader Alicia Boyd last week, which show Miles’ handwritten tally of the vote. MTOPP posted the records to its website three days later.

In at least four instances, the official vote count differs from an audio recording made by DNAinfo New York of the meeting, including two “yes” votes by board members Unella Rhone-Perry and Kenya Sollas recorded by Miles as “absent.”

“I’m admitting that I made a mistake with Ms. Rohn-Perry and Ms. Sollas’ votes,” Miles said Monday of the discrepancies.

Rohn-Perry, who joined the board for the first time this year, said she was “perturbed” to find out that the vote’s result was a mistake and hopes the board will “make a decision and call another vote in light of this occurrence.”

“I’m not sure how the error occurred. It’s beyond me,” she said, adding that the vote “created a lot of issues that were totally unnecessary.”

In addition to the uncounted “yes” votes, Miles also wrote down a “no” vote for board member Chanina Sperlin, whose name was not called out by the board’s secretary and, therefore, never voted. Another board member, Rabbi Joseph Speilman, clearly voted against rescinding the resolution in the audio recording of the meeting, but Miles marked him down as “absent.”

Two votes by board members Rev. Phyllis Brown and Veta May Clarke are not audible on the audio recording, but whether their votes — recorded as a “no” and an abstention by the board, respectively — were correct would not lessen the majority supporting rescinding the resolution.

5 Comments

  • 1. Faarsholtana Board wrote:

    These cholera reshunta’s attempting to vote things their way YM”S

  • 2. yankel wrote:

    Who appointed Spielman and Sperlin to this board? The Crown Heights Jewish community voted them out. They do not represent us, they have no right to make any decisions on our behalf.
    How does one become a member of this board?

  • 3. concerned resident wrote:

    This is not the first time…
    A similar thing happened when the community board was asked to approve making a development for convicts and homeless people with psychiatric conditions. The project will change the face of the south east section of CH, as we will have these homeless psychopaths roaming our streets one block away from Bnos Menachem!!!
    The community should wake up before it’s too late.
    For more info. And to get involved you can contact jaysorid@aol.com

  • 4. Jay Sorid wrote:

    Here is something else to put on your Shabbos dinner plate. The district manager, Pearl Miles, also made a mistake in counting and understanding the votes on a controversial September 2013 vote allowing a non-for profit to build a 7 story building for seriously mentally ill individuals on a quiet 2 story residential street. (Maple Street).
    Community Board #9 incorrectly passed the vote even though the roll call was 15 Yes, 15 No, and 1 abstention. Additionally, like the above article, one of the votes was incorrectly recorded as a Yes meaning the vote should have been 14 Yes and 15 No. The head of the Housing Committee for this 14 million dollar tax payer funded building works as a construction company lobbyist during the daytime.
    This mental housing building will be next to two minority owned daycare centers taking care of minority children and there are several Jewish families on the block.
    Its time for the Yidden to strengthen their links, and follow the storm clouds that are forming.

    Jay Sorid
    jaysorid@aol.com
    516.695.7474

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