When Clowns Go Bad: Marty Markowitz Goes on a Rampage
I used to like Marty Markowitz. I remember greeting him as he crossed back over the Brooklyn Bridge in the NARAL march for Choice just before the Republican Convention. I liked his seeming combination of liberal politics and jovial, well, clownishness.
Only slowly did I begin to realize that behind that jovial exterior lurked a vindictive little shit that began emerging over the past couple of years. Markowitz is now showing that nasty, vindictive side as he fires members of Community Board 6 who failed to blindly support Markowitz's master, Bruce Ratner.
I have now heard this from three sources, so I can report on it. Not one source has yet agreed to be public. But collectively they tell me that Marty Markowitz has become a raging nut case, yelling at people in public and threatening people right and left. One person has, in all seriousness, called Marty's sanity into question. Markowitz seems to have snapped.
His most recent lashing out is at Community Board 6 (I know for certain) and possibly other Community Boards. Markowitz had appointed people in hopes that they would sign on to Bruce Ratner's project faithfully and blindly, much as Pataki was able to do with the much tamer Empire State Development Corporation. Ignore the fact that Ratner has filed no business plan and is expecting taxpayers to foot the bills for him, Ratner demanded and Markowitz wanted to deliver...but it didn't work that way. The Community Boards showed they actually had some scruples and some sense of serving...well, the COMMUNITY, not just millionaire developers who happened to be Pataki's law school crony.
Now I hear the letters have gone out. It is Revenge of the Clown as Markowitz fires anyone on the Community Boards (again, I know this for certain about Community Board 6 and possibly others) who has shown any spine in standing up for the community against Ratner.
I have been to Community Board 6. I wasn't expecting much, but I found that it was an impressive, serious body that really was trying to do a good job. I came away feeling pretty good about them and wishing I had the time to become more involved with them. They struck me as a bunch of smart, dedicated people. But Markowitz wants yes-men, not smart, dedicated people. So he is sweeping them aside, presumably in preparation for appointing a bunch of yes-men.
Rumors have been flying as to what office Markowitz will run for next. Mayor and Public Advocate are top of the list. But if he really plans to run for citywide office, isn't it rather stupid for him to make a huge bunch of enemies in the very Borough that would be the base of his support? Is he stupid as well as vindictive? I never thought he was that stupid, but perhaps I was wrong. Then again, a couple of people have commented that Markowitz should just give up the ruse and take a job with Ratner.
Last time I saw Marty was at the IND dinner. He worked the crowd just fine, I suppose. But he didn't seem the same to me as he used to. Perhaps once you know someone is privately an asshole, the public joviality isn't quite as funny anymore. I found him less like the cheerful buddy he used to seem and more like the family drunk who thinks he's funny but really is just a giant embarrassment to the whole family. Perhaps firing the Community Boards for doing their job is just a sign Marty has lost control of his rage. Things are not going to be pretty folks.