Vote! (Again!)

I voted on my way to work this morning. If you’re a registered voter in Brooklyn’s 40th City Council District, please vote today for your next City Councilperson.

Una-Gene made their first appearance in my neighborhood this morning. Both Mathieu Eugene and Una Clarke were on the sidewalk of P.S. 139, my polling place, in Beverley Square West.


Eugene looked scared. He seemed genuinely baffled as to why people in my neighborhood were angry with him for wasting our votes and hundreds of thousands of dollars by refusing to prove he was eligible to take the seat for which he was elected and calling for a second special election. Like Senator Charles Palatine in the film Taxi Driver, throughout both campaigns Eugene has vapidly parroted the words “the people.” He should not be so surprised that not all “the people” are grateful to him for mentioning us.

Not to mention the questions surrounding funding for his community organization. Or the validity of calling himself a “Doctor,” clearly something he learned from Yvette Clarke.

Of course, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place if Yvette Clarke hadn’t thought she could do more damage make more money as a U.S. Congresswoman.

They can’t respond to a written questionnaire. They can’t show up at a local candidate’s forum; even Sharpe – whom Eugene had removed from the ballot at the time but was just last week reinstated by a judge – showed up for that.

But they can show up to intimidate voters hobnob with their fellow wizards at the steps of the polling place. That’s where Una and her cronies were this morning: on the sidewalk in front of the entrance to the polls. I’ll post the photographic evidence when I get home late tonight.

They seem to believe that residency laws don’t apply to them. Maybe electioneering laws don’t apply to them, either.

Or maybe the only reason they showed up this morning is to create yet another election crisis to manipulate in their favor. Electioneering and voter intimidation at the polls … might that be enough to invalidate the election altogether, or at least the results from a polling place where votes are likely to go largely against them?

Masters of Chaos they are, Thing One and Thing Two.


Related posts:

Breaking News, Brooklyn: Eugene and Schiffman sole candidates for 40th District

[Updated 2007.04.12 10:00: Added excerpts from and link to article from Hard Beat News.]
[Updated 2007.04.11 22:20: Added link to Board of Elections official Candidates List.]

April 11

In a tantalizingly brief notice, The Politicker observed less than two hours ago:

Mathieu Eugene and Harry Schiffman are the only candidates on the ballot for the April 24 special election in Brooklyn, a Board of Elections spokeswoman told me.

More later when I learn more.

April 12

This morning, HardBeatNews – “Daily Carribean Diaspora News” – carries the story:

The new election was set to be contested by [Mathieu] Eugene, [Harry] Schiffman, Jamaican Wellington Sharpe and two other Haitian candidates, Gina Faustin and Darly Brutus. But Eugene and his side challenged the candidates based on residency, voter registration and eligibility.

While Eugene did not contest the BOE clerk’s report, which placed Schiffman, the lone Jewish candidate on the ballot, he challenged each of Sharpe’s 1,727 signatures. This led to strong objections from Sharpe’s lawyers and testy arguments between the representatives.

Although some commissioners expressed concern that registered voters on Sharpe’s petition were being discounted, the clerk’s report on to Sharpe’s petition was amended from 812 valid signatures to 832, omitting over one hundred of Sharpe’s signatures which his campaign submitted as valid, causing him to fall short of the 1,002 needed to be on the ballot.

This outraged Sharpe representatives who vehemently argued that under the law every signature of registered voters who reside in the District is valid. Rickford Burke, Sharpe’s campaign manager, argued to Commissioners that once the Board has determined that a petition signer is registered to vote in the District, whether they signed the address at which they are registered or another addressed in the District, the signature is valid according to case law. This argument was supported by Steve Richmond, Counsel to the Commission as well as some Commissioners, leading to confusion among the Commission.

The Commission subsequently rejected the clerk’s report. But after realizing that this action automatically placed Sharpe on the ballot, the Commission reversed itself and allowed the clerk’s report as amended to stand, throwing the matter to the Supreme Court for resolution.

Their wording of this last paragraph is interesting. They imply that the Commission ignored their legal Counsel and reversed their decision in order to deny Sharpe a place on the ballot.

This reportage is marred, to my eye, by tagging it with the God-baiting headline “Could Brooklyn’s 40th District Drama End With A Jewish Councilman?“. In a previous article on this issue, they refer to him as “Jewish-born Brooklyn resident, Harry Schiffman.” (They don’t specify the geographic boundaries of “Jewia”.) This morning’s article is also accompanied by the most unflattering photo of candidate Schiffman I’ve seen yet; he looks like someone just woke him up from a long train ride.


Related posts:

News, Brooklyn: Eugene challenged on grounds he refused seat

While of little interest to those outside Brooklyn’s 40th City Council District, the serial comedo-drama (drami-comedy?) that is our super-special election takes another twist. I heard about this last night at our neighborhood association meeting. It’s been reported in several venues this morning:

The Wellington Sharpe campaign has filed a Request for Judicial Intervention ( RJI ) in the Brooklyn Supreme Court to invalidate Mathieu Eugene’s Nominating Petition. There will be a hearing on the matter on April 12. Sharpe is a candidate in the April 24 th City Council 40th District Special Election.

The Sharpe campaign in a statement insisted that “The 40th District seat became vacant as a result of Eugene’s declination of the office and his refusal to execute his Oath.”
Residency and Eligibility in the 40th, Room Eight

It would be morally satisfying to see Eugene go down in this way. But NYC election politics has nothing to do with justice, and my cynicism for politics is surpassed only by Eugene’s.

The section of law cited in the Request reads, in part:

Every office shall be vacant upon the happening of one of the following events before the expiration of the term thereof:
… His refusal or neglect to file his official oath or undertaking, if one is required, before or within thirty days after the commencement of the term of office for which he is chosen.

Eugene himself, the putative winner of the first special election, requested the second special election just so he wouldn’t have to prove he lived in the district he was elected to represent at the time he was elected. But again, a decision on this Request will probably hinge on the timing of Eugene’s “refusal,” which came after the Board of Elections certified his win, but before he was sworn in. Of course, he refused to be sworn in, because that would have required proof of residence.

Got it?

Sharpe is another carpet-bagger. He also didn’t live in the district when he began campaigning for the first special election. By apparently moving in before the date of the first previous special election, he seems to demonstrate at least some basic competencies Eugene lacks: the ability to read a calendar, and to know what day it is.

Petition challenges will also be heard by a judge this Thursday. Hopefully, that evening we’ll know who we can vote for in two weeks on April 24. Again.

Related posts:

Where’s Eugene?

This is 40-46 Argyle Road, also known as Argyle Court. Mathieu Eugene, who is forcing a second special election upon the residents of Brooklyn’s 40th City Council District, claims to live in this building.
Argyle Court, 40-46 Argyle Road

Here in Brooklyn’s politically-beleaguered 40th City Council District, we are gearing up for yet another special election. Today, Friday March 23, was the deadline for candidates to accept or decline their nominations for the April 24 election.

After I voted the morning of the first special election on February 20th, I wrote:

The voting sheet looked very odd, with just one row at the top of the sheet, and not enough room to list all 11 candidates! Turnout was extremely light. The winner of this election is likely to do so by a handful of votes. Every vote counts, unlike some elections [g].

How could I have been so naive. Every vote was wasted.

For those of you, such as my more distant readers, just tuning in, the story so far:

  • Brooklyn’s 40th City Council District seat was vacated when Yvette Clarke, was elected to Congress last fall.
  • To fill the seat, a special election was held, with 12 candidates running (11 on the ballot, and one write-in).
  • Questions arose about where the winner of that election, Mathieu Eugene, lived, and when he lived there. Elected officials must live in the district they represent.
  • An investigation began. Eugene, after refusing to provide proof of residency, called for a second special election.

This is not the half of it. The best analysis of this farce I’ve read continues to be written by Rock Hackshaw (isn’t that just the best name?!) on Room Eight, a New York political bloghaus.

Some statistics:

  • Active voters registered in the 40th District as of October 30, 2006: 65,640
  • Total votes recorded in the February 20 election: 6,166
  • Voter turnout: 9.39%

The election results:

Name #Votes %Votes %Voters
Mathieu Eugene 2,076 33.67% 3.16%
Jennifer N. James 942 15.28% 1.44%
Wellington Sharpe 728 11.81% 1.11%
Harry L. Schiffman 490 7.95% 0.75%
Jesse Hamilton 463 7.51% 0.71%
Mohammad A. Razvi 432 7.01% 0.66%
Joel G. Toney 365 5.92% 0.56%
Leithland R. Tulloch 298 4.83% 0.45%
Zenobia McNally 276 4.48% 0.42%
Karlene A. Gordon 72 1.17% 0.11%
Gerry Hopkins 23 0.37% 0.04%
Malcom Davis 1 0.02% 0.00%
Total 6,166 100.00% 9.39%

Lest anyone believe that the winner of the first race walked away with any kind of a mandate from “the people”, let me repeat:

Only 3.16% of the voters in the 40th District voted for the winner of this race.

Related posts:

Related news stories:


  • Voter Enrollment Totals [PDF]
  • Statement and Return Report for Certification, Special Election City Council, 02/20/2007, Kings County, 40th Council District [PDF]
  • Calendar for Special Election for the Member of the New York City Council, 40th Council District, Borough of Brooklyn [PDF]


A reminder to all my neighbors in Brooklyn’s City Council District 40: Vote today in the special election to select our next City Council-person. Polls are open until 9pm tonight.

[The voter reminder postcard I received refers to this as the “SPECIAL ELECTION for the 40th Councilmanic District …”. I love that.]

I already voted this morning on my way to the subway. Our polling place is P.S. 139; the main entrance is 330 Rugby Road, just up the block from Courtelyou Road. The voting sheet looked very odd, with just one row at the top of the sheet, and not enough room to list all 11 candidates! Turnout was extremely light. The winner of this election is likely to do so by a handful of votes. Every vote counts, unlike some elections [g].

Previous posts:


Landscape and Politics in Brooklyn’s City Council District 40

Brooklyn City Council District 40Next week, on Tuesday, February 20, there will be a special election to replace Yvette Clarke as Brooklyn’s 40th District City Council Member. Clarke was elected to Congress in last year’s elections. The council member elected on February 20 will serve only until the end of 2007. A general election in November will elect the member to serve the remainder of Clarke’s unfinished term.

Last week I attended a Candidates’ Forum on Preservation and Development. The Historic Districts Council, a sponsor of the Forum, has issued a Preservation Voter Guide.

There are several landmarked historic districts within District 40, and hopefully another soon. Still, most of the Victorian Flatbush neighborhoods are at risk of being lost forever due to inappropriate zoning and development.

NYC asks us to imagine What kind of city we want to live in by 2030. What happens to this area in the next decade will determine not only what happens by 2030, but this century and beyond. The neighborhoods of Victorian Flatbush are not only worth preserving, it’s critical to the future of this area that we do so. It’s not just about pretty houses, or property values. It’s about open space and shade. It’s about the rates of asthma and respiratory disorders. It’s about moderating surface temperatures by preserving and managing the urban forest, reducing heating and cooling demands. It’s about how many people will die in the heat waves we will experience by the end of the century. It’s about the quality of life for the entire area, and whether or not it will be livable in the future.

This map shows the locations of schools and parks in City Council District 40. Schools are indicated with blue dots. The green labels identify the location of parks. Open space, including cemeteries, ball fields, and so on, are outlined in green. Prospect Park abuts District 40 on the northwest. The Parade Ground south of that is ballfields. Other than that, there is a near complete absence of parks within District 40.

Brooklyn City Council District 40: Schools and Parks

This map shows landcover classification in District 40. Dark green areas are trees and forest. Light green areas are grassland, fields and such. Everything else is classified “impervious”, ie: buildings, streets, sidewalks, pavement, etc.

Brooklyn City Council District 40: Classified Landcover

South of Prospect Park, note the interrupted band of dark green that extends to the south boundary of the District. These trees provide the only greenery and shelter in District 40. This area is the lungs of Flatbush.

Now we zoom in on my little neck of the woods, the Victorian Flatbush neighborhood of Beverly Square West. This map shows the outlines of buildings and the landcover classification. At this scale, it becomes clear that it is the trees on private property, not street trees, and certainly not parks or “open areas”, that provide most of the tree cover.

Beverly Square West: Buildings and Classified Landcover

And this is what it looks like from the ground. These two photos show the view from the same street corner on my block, as it looks in Spring and Fall.

Stratford Road, East side, looking South from the corner of Slocum Place

With no parks for blocks around, and few playgrounds, it’s no wonder that parents come to our streets to stroll their babies and walk their children. It’s the only green space within walking distance for many people.


40th District Forum on Preservation and Development

[Updated 2007.02.13: Corrected list of candidates attending.]
[Updated 2007.02.09 with more photos.]
DSC_5375Tonight I attended the New York City Council 40th District Candidate Forum on Preservation and Development. Tonight’s Forum was sponsored by the Coalition of Concerned Preservation Voters in the 40th District, comprised of 11 community organizations and neighborhood associations, including that of Beverly Square West, where I live.

Nine of the ten confirmed candidates were present. In alphabetical order, they were:

  • Mathieu Eugene
  • Karlene Gordon
  • Gerry Hopkins (write-in candidate)
  • Jennifer James
  • Zenobia McNally
  • Moe Razvi
  • Harry Schiffman
  • Wellington Sharpe
  • Joel Toney
  • Leithland Tulloch

Jesse Hamilton was not present.

About 100 people attended the event. I was surprised by the turnout, especially since the wind-chill was in the single digits. I’ll post some more photos over the weekend.

Simeon Bankoff, Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council, kicks off the ForumSimeon Bankoff, Executive Director of the Historic Districts Council, kicks off the Forum.

The candidates make their opening statements.The candidates make their opening statements.

Ron Schweiger poses the first question from the audience to the candidates.Ron Schweiger, Brooklyn Borough Historian, poses the first question from the audience to the candidates.

The candidates respond.The candidates respond.

Waiting their turn.Waiting their turn.

Restating the questions.Restating the questions.


My Flickr photo set of the event

Tomorrow, Thursday, 2/8 7pm, Brooklyn 40th District Candidate’s Forum

I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, but I just want to remind my neighbors about this event tomorrow evening:

Tomorrow, Thursday, February 8, the Historic Districts Council and the Coalition of Concerned Preservation Voters in the 40th District are sponsoring a public forum with candidates for the City Council’s 40th District special election. As the District includes several historic districts in Flatbush, candidates will discuss important preservation and development concerns including questions of landmark designation, community plans, rezoning and building code enforcement within the district. The Coalition is made up of more than ten neighborhood organizations interested in preserving their communities.
Historic Districts Council

My neighborhood association in Beverly Square West is part of the Coalition. I will be there tomorrow night.

The following candidates have confirmed their participation: Mathieu Eugene, Karlene Gordon, Jesse Hamilton, Jennifer James, Zenobia McNally, Harry Schiffman, Wellington Sharpe, Joel Toney and Leithland Tulloch.

February 8, PS 217, Brooklyn: HDC Candidates’ Forum

[Updated 2007.01.22 with more information about the event.]

On Thursday, February 8, from 7-9pm, the Historic Districts Council will host a Candidates’ Forum on Preservation and Development at P.S 217, Col. David Marcus School, 1002 Newkirk Avenue, at the southeast corner of Newkirk Avenue and Coney Island Avenue.

The following details are from a flyer promoting the event.

Sponsored by the Coalition of Concerned Preservation Voters in the 40th District

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Public School 217
1100 Newkirk Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230

This forum is an opportunity for residents, business owners and community members to hear candidates present their perspectives on preservation and development concerns. All questions presented to the candidates will be focusing on these issues, including questions of landmark designation, community rezonings, and building codes within the district.

As of January 17, the following candidates have been invited to participate: Anthony Alexis, Victor Babb, Irshad Choudhry, Mathieu Eugene, Jesse Hamilton, Gerry Hopkins, Jennifer James, Zenobia McNally, Moe Razvi, Harry Schiffman, Wellington Sharpe, Joel Toney and Leithland Tulloch. As candidates are confirmed they will be listed on HDC’s website,

The Coalition of Concerned Preservation Voters in the 40th District is a group of eleven neighborhood and civic organizations that are interested in preserving the unique character of the community. The Coalition believes we must reach out to elected officials and candidates and begin a dialogue about preserving the neighborhoods’ cultural, architectural and historical heritage.

Members of the coalition are the Historic Districts Council, Beverly Square West Association, Caton Park Neighborhood Association, Ditmas Park Association, Ditmas Park West Neighborhood Association, Fiske Terrace Association, Flatbush Development Corporation, Lefferts Manor Association, Midwood Park Homeowners Association, Prospect Park South Association and West Midwood Community Association. This coalition is non-partisan and does not endorse a specific candidate for office.

For more information on this forum, please contact the Historic Districts Council
at 212-614-9107 or