Five longtime members of Brooklyn’s Community Board 6 were replaced by Borough President Marty Markowitz, as today’s Times reported, and there was a pattern: All were active opponents of Atlantic Yards. It was a purge, it seemed, and even stranger one conducted by a man usually viewed by the press — us included — as a kind of lovable, pizza-eating panda in a captain’s hat. The five members’ terms were up, and Markowitz certainly has the power to replace them, but it’s typically not done, and the move seems surprisingly Machiavellian for a man best known for his boosterish enthusiasm for cheesecake. So we called CB6 member Jeff Strabone, another Yards critic whose own term isn’t up until next year — and here the plot thickened. Per Strabone, Atlantic Yards was not the real cause of Marty’s house-cleaning. Nope, Markowitz is looking a step ahead.
“The next big land-use item on the agenda is the Gowanus rezoning,” Strabone explained, “and the Borough Hall’s eyes are there.” It’s only natural that many of the same CB6 elders who bristled at Ratner would make hay of the Gowanus plan as well. “With Atlantic Yards, there were pros and cons,” Strabone said. “With Gowanus, there’s gonna be a cacophony of opinions. So, from [Marty’s] perspective, it’s a perfect time to put some new, more cooperative, more predictable members on the board.” Okay. Remind us to never patronize the beep again.