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I'm the Queen of the Click...Brooklynite taking over the world from her computer. MCSE, Martha Stewart Wanna Be.























December 27, 2013

Goodbye Marty Markowitz – Fuggedaboutit!

The era of Marty Markowitz will come to an end at the end of this year. Many will miss him, but we are glad to see him go.marty markowitz brooklyn selllout

Marty Markowitz recently spoke at an event with students from my school. When they came back, some told me about their visit.  I told them that Mr. Markowitz is an amazing speaker and that I admired the way he delivered a speech. It’s true he has excellent communication skills and his love of Brooklyn could rouse a room. Although I am able to see Markowitz’s good traits, we’e believe that his integrity was questionable.

Why are many Brooklynites like me ready to see him go?

A little over ten years ago,  New York City issued us a letter of eminent domain for our Downtown Brooklyn property.  I e-mailed Markowitz for help. The very next day (a Sunday), he called me on the phone because he tell that an e-mail response would not do. The Brooklyn Borough President talked on the phone with me for about a half an hour and although he didn’t have a solution, his communication was immediate. Markowitz’s communication is much better than most politicians today (ex.My experience with Marty Golden). When the Downtown Brooklyn Development began, Markowitz was not a home owner. He didn’t become a home owner until 2009 and I can’t help but wonder if he would have responded differently if he was  a home owner at the time. You see, the land the city had marked to put Barclay Center belonged to Brooklynites, who invested their money in Brooklyn years before.  Imagine being told one day out of the blue that you had to sell your home and move because a stadium for a losing team like the Nets was going to be built. Yeah that didn’t sit too well with the home owners. We spoke with Markowitz’s head of planning, Jon Benguiat.  Benguiat was a Staten Island resident and thought it was great that our building was going to be bought. Benguiat didn’t understand that not everyone wanted to sell their property……infact, very few people wanted to sell. In America people don’t realize that the government can be force you to sell your -property under eminent domain. At the time, most politicians wouldn’t answer phone calls or e-mails because they knew they were voting in favor of the new stadium.  Leticia James was the only politician that consistently stood with the home owners. 

If you look up the word politician in the dictionary, you would see a picture of  Markowitz.  He was a man who advocated for Brooklyn, but advocated for Marty as well. The media often caught Markowitz in some not so favorable situations. Ten years ago, he placed Dolly Williams in charge of the Atlantic Yards Project. Williams already had other connections to the project and this made it hard for Brooklynites to be heard. Many unwillingly had to sell their homes to the city.  We considered Markowitz a Brooklyn sellout because he advocated for the project, rather than the long-time property owners. Although Markowitz always talks about the success of the Atlantic Yard, he forgets to mention the cost of people’s freedom. These people lost their homes – yes, they were paid for their homes, but they were unwillingly forced to sell and move out of the homes they knew on Markowitz’s watch.  I don’t think Markowitz ever realized the time and the stress felt over the uncertainty of the government taking your property. Even more disheartening was seeing all the subsidies and city money that Ratner was given for this project. Ratner was never interested in being part of Brooklyn – just in monetizing the area (in the Fall of 2013 Ratner sold 70% of the Atlantic Yards to the Shanghai-based developer Greenland Group).   In a recent interview Markowitz said he knew he had haters. When he lost sight of the people who elected him, he earned those haters. Markowitz also believes that everyone is enjoying Barclay Center – I think most who were involved in the Downtown takeover, like us stay away from Barclay Center.

The media always had  a field day with Markowitz stories. There was the $6000 spent on chocolate, the Murakami placemats story and the trips for Markowitz and his wife. Other stories also come to mind, but I will say that in later years, the stories  died down a bit.  Markowitz funded many large  school projects that other local politicians didn’t. He sent children to camp and he funded amazing summer projects as well. I think he will always be remembered for his vibrant speeches and enthusiasm. Interesting fact of the day: Markowitz and Mayor Bloomberg share he same birthday – February 14th (different years of course). Both leave office at the end of December and all we want to do is…….in Markowitz’s famous words: Fuggedaboutit   (them)! 

Hugs,
marlene

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