February 24, 2018 Meeting Minutes

Present: Juan and Lesia from 270; Chelsea from 269; Norman, Nadine, Camille from 289; Victor from Ebbetts Field Apartments; Obden from Crown Street; and Nan Blackshear from the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office

Issues: Disaster preparedness, forced evictions, community beautification, post office, better neighborhood connection/mutual aid.

Old Businesses

Neighborhood communication board/ freestanding physical board

It is important for it to be offline so that folks with varying levels of connectivity can connect.

Near Rogers would be good. 

Victor has access to tools.

A question of how to prevent people putting advertisements there. We aren’t sure yet. 

Chelsea will run the bulletin board committee.

Post office conversation

Chelsea thinks we should have an actual action plan rather than just posting it on the Facebook. The issue of gentrification is highly contested there. 

Camille will work with Chelsea on this to connect with other people in the hood who want to support this effort. Our next ANEW meeting will be from 10-1pm in front of the post office (pending weather). More information to come.

New Business

Presentation by Nan Blackshear from Brooklyn Borough President’s Office

On the Post Office

Post office meeting is not open to the public.

BPD office would like us to send them our concerns about the post office.

mailboxes not properly labelled. Could they be freshened up?

On Anti-displacement efforts. 

How can we help people facing harassment/in danger of displacement because of their preferential rate agreements? Which groups should we be working with?

Crown Heights Tenants Union

Ebbetts Fields Tenants Association

Brooklyn Tenants and Neighbors

CAMBA

Brooklyn Borough President’s Office (718-802-3700 is the Borough President’s constituent assistance center; they help people to sustain and know their rights)

  • Ryan Lynch from (BK President Office) knows CB9 he is a liaison from CB9 / he attends the CB meetings

CB9/ULURP

Picture the Homeless located hundreds of thousands of empty units located throughout the city – what is Brooklyn doing about this? Also what are the possibilities for the community to get our own spaces?

We should ask Richard Bearak at BK Borough President’s Office about the possibility of community groups buying land. Some people have been talking about this. Groups need to have enough money, as they are just subject to market forces. 

Suggestions:

  • Look into Community Board Committees
  • The issues that come to community board have to go through committee
  • CB9 Land Use Committee meetings would give you a sense of what is coming in to the district
  • Sometimes you can speak on open session
  • We should get to know who our board members are. Can be helpful to get to know our district manager and staff.
  • Precinct council meetings not just about crime. Announcements are also made there.
  • We can join some committees as community members. We can help form those recommendations and vote on them. However, we cannot vote in the general meeting.

None of this sounds like direct democracy. The community board people are not directly accountable to the community. Some neighborhoods have been able to do community planning around pending development. What are our options there? 

  • We need to talk to our council people: Mathieu Eugene and Laurie Cumbo.
  • Suggestions: register as a civic association with Brooklyn Borough President’s office, CB9, Precinct Council, council person’s office, Hamilton, Richardson, and Clarke.
  • Discussion of participatory budgeting project. Cumbo has some effort on this . We should look into it.

What is the one thing people can do if they are in danger of displacement or dealing with any other issue? What should we or our neighbors do? 

call 311, BPD, or some elected official

(Nan departs)

Discussion of membership and conduct 
We had to remove some people from the mailing list, how do we want to handle participation moving forward?

Right now, Camille and Chelsea are clearly the organizers, so they will work on coordinating these kind of things. We also want to make sure we keep the focus on people who live in Empire who are interested in community self-determination. We will have to find polite ways to make sure people who don’t fall under that category refrain from taking up too much time/energy in our meetings.

Announcements

  • Wednesday, February 28, 2018 Medgar Evers College has a gathering for people to learn about the importance of participating in the US Census on Wednesday from 9-12pm via the DuBois-Bunche Center.
  • Sunday, March 4, 2018 – Potluck at Brooklyn Center for Sacred Activism (269 Empire) at 5pm
  • Wednesday, March 7, 2018 – Ebbetts Field Tenants Organization Meeting at 7pm (47 McKeever Place, Second Flr Ofc#2)  more details on Facebook or by calling (718) 757-2103 
  • March 15, 2018 Crown Heights Tenant Union at 7pm (727 Classon Ave btwn. Park & Prospect)
  • Saturday, March 24, 2018 – New York City Department of Emergency Preparedness Presentation at Brooklyn Center for Sacred Activism (269 Empire)
  • Colin from BSC is working on organizing Stoop Meditations at 269 Empire – information forthcoming
  • “Report gas leaks!” says Lesia, there was something going on in her building and she was able to get it resolved by calling 911

Meeting Closes