March, 2014

Introductions of Executive Board officers and their roles.

Frank Esquilin, President:

Who we are and what we are going to do in the community with a focus on getting the community more involved. Stressed the need for everyone in the community to involve.

Paul Carson, Vice President:

Spoke about organizing a job fair with local merchants. Still thinking about how it would work, but he has gotten favorable responses from Asia Dog, Monatgue BBQ and the Beer Garden, opening at 1000 Dean Street.

Spoke about his role as a land use consultant and ideas about how to get developers to come to CHCA first instead of the Community Board.

Josh Thompson, Secretary:

Spoke about being responsible for CHCA communication via the website and social media in addition to taking meeting minutes. This includes keeping people up to date on CB8 and Police Precinct 77 happenings.

Joanna Crispe, Treasurer:

Spoke about her role as treasurer. She plans on providing a full treasurer’s report at the next meeting since she has been out of town and is still trying wrap her head around the finances. She will also be responsible for maintaining the membership base. The current tally, as of the last meeting when payments were received, is 24. She explained that the new Board has decided to start fresh and count only those who paid at the last meeting when elections took place.

Constance Nugent-Miller, Project Manager:

Announced her position as Project Manager. This will involve organizing committees and finding appropriate chairs, which were formed through the Town Halls that were held in 2013.

She announced the four committees that CHCA currently has, beginning with Community Outreach, led by her and Lisha Bai. Political Engagement will be led by Justin Rogers-Cooper. Youth Engagement will be led by Sue, who helped organize the Halloween party last year. She will also partner with Judy to organize a Tree Giveaway in May. Go Green is another committee, but does not currently have a chair.

She also spoke about getting t-shirts made for Crow Hill to make her more identifiable in the street and also for the use of possible fundraising. She spoke about the book club, which she has been running. Next meeting is April 5th and the Calibar Imports. She also spoke about organizing a Women’s Group and children’s reading series down the road. Go Green is another committee, but the chair is vacant presently. She ended by acknowledging our seniors and disabled who have given so much to the community and deserve a program or event in their honor.

Ayelet Prizant and Marcus Allison, the new bloggers for the Crow Hill website.

Short Term Goals of the new Board:

  • Get each member to give us one hour per month.
  • Remove illegally placed clothe donation boxes, which will require help from the community to call 311 and then email with your reference #. This will give us more weight when we call.
  • Neighborhood yard sale to prevent people from putting stuff out that gets left on the street. It will also help neighbors meet each other.
  • CHCA Scholars Program, for which information can be found on the CHCA website.
  • Summer jobs for youth in the community is another goal
  • Reactivation of the Franklin Avenue Merchants.
  • Provide a forum for people to advertise on our website.

Long Term Goal:

  • Get the MTA to install an elevator at the Franklin Avenue subway stop.

New Segments for General Meetings:

  • Have long-term residents speak about the history of the neighborhood to give some perspective and history of the neighborhood. This week’s speaker was Ken Cook, who spoke about his time on Vanderbilt Ave where he ran a program sponsored by the Public Developments Program, which provided funding for merchants to improve their property. Although the funding ran out, he was still able to recognize a positive change in people’s attitude. He spoke about how different it was between Eastern Parkway and Bergen and between Bergen and Atlantic. He spoke about how impressed he is with Franklin Avenue’s development over the last ten years and encourage people to cherish it’s new found beauty work to maintain it. He also noted how much the membership of CHCA has grown (it used to only be about a handful of people) and he is really encouraged by what it has become. He also spoke about the importance of block watching.
  • “Did You Know?”, which will be led by Mike Fagan, who will provide fun facts and information about things happening in the community that may not be widely-known. Mike could not be in attendance this month, so Frank did it himself. He talked about the Dept. of Transportation’s plans of putting a bike lane on Franklin Avenue and encouraged people to keep their eye out for upcoming meetings. Second, there is a new program by the MTA giving real time information on bus locations. Paul noted you can find it online under BusTime and Josh mentioned there is also a smart phone app that costs $2.99.


Kisi Motley, the Brooklyn Borough Director of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Department

Spoke about the Mayor’s full day universal pre-k for every 4 year old in the city, which Ayelet Prizant has written about for the CHCA blog.

Big fight has been to push people to call their elected officials in Albany to support their plan. The Assembly included the Mayor’s plan with the “soy latte” tax in their budget proposal while the state Senate included $540 million for five years, which is “essentially the Mayor’s plan without the tax”, which is fine with them. She handed out a one page pamphlet with more info. as well as a phone number with which they can reach their elected officials. Asked people who support it to thank them for supporting it, but to also remind them that we are paying attention. The vote on the state budget is taking place on March 27th. She then took questions.

Ms. Bernadine mentioned that this plan does not mandate universal pre-k and asked if the Mayor will push for it. Ms. Motley could not speak to that, but mentioned that community-based organizations will be instrumental in providing space with around 600 already submitting applications. These spaces will also provide certified teachers who will be supervised by the Dept. of Education.

A member asked about how charter schools will be handled, to which Ms. Motley said “we are going to what is best for the kids”. She also mentioned how they will not be doing some of the things that the previous administration had done. She gave examples like putting elementary school students in the same building as high school students, displacing special needs kids, letting large construction projects go forward that hinder the schools’s ability to function.

A clipboard was then passed around for people to provide their emails to stay informed about the progress of the Mayor’s plan.

Laurie Cumbo, City Councilwoman

Only been in office for 2.5 months, so right now she is just trying to listen and gather information.

Announced that Friday, March 21st was the deadline for submitting requests for discretionary funding from the City Council.

In the midst of making appointments to the Community Board.

Budgetary concerns are a priority right now for the City Council.

Newly elected members of the Brooklyn delegation: Carlos Menchaca and Darlene Meely. They will be setting out the guidelines for how they’re going to take funding requests for Brooklyn-wide delegation items.

Suggested we design comprehensive plan with neighboring organizations and Community Boards in order to bring together all the different things that organizations within the community are working on.

Spoke about her goal as a member of the Youth Services Committee, along with City Councilman Matthew Eugene, to provide every applicant that is qualified should be given a summer job. This is important because the summer is when youths are more susceptible to criminal activity since they have nothing to occupy their time. Also wants to make sure that arts is an integral component, given her background in the arts.

Qualified applicants must be between 14 and 24 and undergo a medical examination, among other things. Can’t realistically get all 140,00 of those students a job, with such obstacles as municipal labor contracts, but hopes to at least double the numbers.

Sue asked about having schools be open during the summer and for longer hours to provide kids with more places to go. This was one of the topics that came out during the Town Hall Meetings. Ms. Cumbo is still trying navigate the waters to get a sense of how to accomplish that.

A member asked about Participatory Budgeting (PB). Ms. Cumbo said new members can’t do it, so she is hoping to roll it out for next year. She explained the basic premise of PB, which is that each City Council district gets $1 million for projects that the community gets to vote on. She wants to make sure she has the staff to handle that, but she is fully in favor of PB.

A member asked about the Bedford-Union Armory. Ms. Cumbo stressed that it will get done by the end of this term. She used this as an example of why a comprehensive plan is necessary.

Jesse Hamilton, former legal attorney to former State Senator Eric Adams and President of Lincoln Civic Block Association (LCBA):

Talked about being in the third phase of landmarking that LCBA is working on. He also noted that, despite the 20th State Senate seat being vacant, they have kept the office open. He also mentioned his involvement with the New Academy in East New York in which there is four core teachers teaching 60 students over the course of five years. This, they believe is a successful model because it gives the students continuity, as oppose to having five new teachers every year.

Ede Fox, CB8 Chair of the Environmental and Sanitation Committee:

Spoke about her role as the CB8 Chair of the Environmental and Sanitation Committee, which holds its meetings at CNR on the third Tuesday every month at 7pm. Repeated the message about calling 311 when one has an issue.

A member mentioned a broken water pipe at the corner of Classon and Park Place, which he called 311 about, but has not seen anything happen with. Ede urged him to reach out to her committee and encourage other people to call 311.

*Going forward, we ask that for those that want to speak at our meetings, please give us a heads up, so we can post it on our agenda and people can come prepared to ask questions.

Petition to Help Get Sasha Pierre-Louis Promoted to Detective.

This will be an online petition for a police officer who has been serving the community for 16 years as a Community Affairs office and has had a hard time getting promoted to detective. A petition will be put on our website to get Commissioner Bratton to make that promotion.

Frank motioned to close the meeting, which was seconded by a member at 8:50pm.