Lincoln Block Association

Assemblywoman Richardson and Plant members

Assemblywoman Richardson and Plant members

LCBA and PLANT

At the Lincoln Civic Block Association meeting on April 18, I felt that several points I had made in an article I published in April called “The Castle and the Open City” were confirmed. In that article I had noticed that interest in the block association was declining; attendance had gone down over the first four month of 2019: January – 50, February – 25, March – 20, and at the most recent meeting there were just 15. I had said the reason for this was that the Association had not held democratic elections to fill five positions; rather Ken Marable, the President, had filled these positions by appointment and that two groups had formed, one primarily interested in the building at 284 New York Avenue, which group I called the Castle, and another wanting to have a variety of programs serving the neighborhood, which group I had called the Open City. As interest in the Association has waned, those wanting to have programs have turned elsewhere. The Litter Pick up Program I am running in the area now has 14 people who have contributed $1100 and there are still five pledges yet to be fulfilled. Nineteen residents not only want this service but are willing to pay for it. LCBA has thus far offered nothing even though I encouraged Marable to consider a token payment. Now NAIA has won in the Participatory Budgeting contest in Laurie Cumbo's 35th District. We came in third with 1633 votes with lots of support from people in the Lincoln Place area. So now another improvement has occurred which was not sponsored by the LCBA. Four trees in the proposal will be planted in the Lincoln Place area, two on New York Avenue and two on Brooklyn Avenue.

And now another group has come forward. A leaflet from PLANT (Preserving Lincoln's Abundant Natural Treasures) has appeared. Created by Althea Joseph and Perri Edwards, PLANT tells its neighbors on Lincoln Place between Nostrand and New York Avenues that this new organization will be competing in the Greenest Block in Brooklyn contest run by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. PLANT is not part of the LCBA. Last year Althea and Perri competed and came in second, and to celebrate held a party called Sip and Celebrate. A recent survey conducted by Ashley Jaffe found the Sip and Celebrate party to be the event that the most people like. At the meeting Marable proposed that LCBA compete in the contest on New York Avenue between St. Johns and Lincoln Place. There are already many people who plant flowers and shrubs on this block and there is a tree with a beautiful array of stones and ground cover around it. It will be interesting to see how the competition within the six blocks of the LCBA comes out.

It had occurred to me that my article last month might lead to productive debate. I was disappointed. One gentleman at the meeting objected that I had given budget figures that had been presented publicly in the last meeting. He called the figures “private.” I took him to mean they belonged to the Castle not to the whole membership to use to come to a better understanding of the LCBA's finances. He seemed to be saying the figures are “ours” and by ours he was referring to people who thought like him. Then he went on to say that the LCBA is “ours” and if people don't like it, they can leave. This of course is just what is happening. Then he demanded to know why PLANT is running its own program. I don't know how many people share his outlook, but I am afraid that in condemning my article and PLANT, he was ironically confirming all my main points.

One last point. I think Marable is becoming a bit distracted. At the last meeting, he forgot to cover an item on the agenda – a report on the By-Laws Committee. At the recent meeting he omitted the reading of the minutes at the beginning. I had to leave at the end of an hour, so it is possible he remembered after I left. I would suppose Marable has a lot on his mind.

– John DeWind