Sunday, February 15, 2009

Marty's "Best of Brooklyn" fig leaf

From Borough President Marty Markowitz's prepared State of the Borough remarks last Thursday:
As we do every year--in partnership with the non-profit "Best of Brooklyn"--my office sent 350 kids from public housing to "sleep-away camp"

They meet new friends, sleep under the stars, gain the self-esteem and personal responsibility they can only get from this sort of safe, organized setting.

We call it "Camp Brooklyn"

(Parents--who get a nice break--call it heaven)

(Emphases added)

The fig leaf

Well, it wasn't inaccurate to say "the non-profit 'Best of Brooklyn'" but it would have been more accurate for him to say "my non-profit 'Best of Brooklyn'."

Here's how it was described on the ticket (above) for Markowitz's annual Chinese New Year Banquet;
Best of Brooklyn, Inc., is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization for which Borough President Markowitz serves as honorary chair. Its mission is to enhance and enrich the lives of all Brooklynites, in particular our children.

The partnership is pretty tight. Best of Brooklyn does some excellent things. At the same time, it also serves as a vehicle for Markowitz to draw support from corporate donors (like Forest City Ratner) far beyond that which they could give to his campaigns.

The big banquet

I attended the dinner this year and can report it's quite an experience: as the menu indicates, a plethora of platters is delivered to the table. There are nice tchotchkes as parting gifts. The speechifying by Markowitz and guests is endurable. (The Pacificana restaurant is so large that, for attendees not with a clear view of the podium get to see the ceremonies on a screen.)

And it's only 50 bucks--thanks, in part, to corporate donations. As the menu indicates, there are numerous sponsors, notably hospitals and banks, not the big developers that have such sway in Brooklyn. A good number of notable neighborhood folk--Community Board members, etc.--appear, but not necessarily the borough's big shots. Here's coverage from the Brooklyn Eagle.

Transparency

The web site for the charity (right) is apparently "coming soon."


Legal center?

Another part of Markowitz's speech last Thursday deserved an asterix. He stated:
We know Morton's is getting business from our legal community--
And with one of the world's largest law firms -- Weil, Gotshal -- now at MetroTech -- Brooklyn is closer to another dream of mine -- "branding" Downtown Brooklyn as a "law center"


Well, maybe a back-office law center, as the text further indicated.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges didn't move its lawyers to Brooklyn, just staff groups like Information Systems, Finance and Operations.

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