To the editor:
Your Feb. 7 editorial [“Neil Sloane/CB2 blows it bigtime”] and Deborah Kolben’s article [“Mum’s the word”] grossly mischaracterize the circumstances of my participation in the Community Board 2 vote on the Brooklyn development Plan.
In fact, both pieces are patently untrue. You owe your readers and me a front-page retraction and an accurate accounting of the events.
Contrary to your irresponsible assertion, I was present in the auditorium for the vote and Ms. Kolben was informed of this in writing. I was also fully prepared to vote and requested that I be permitted to do so after my name had been mistakenly omitted from the roll call. Ms. Blackshear, CB2’s secretary, informed Chairperson Shirley McRae publicly via the microphone of my request to vote. Ms. Kolben should have known these facts if she was in attendance and responsibly covering the proceeding.
You would have learned these facts had you made the most minimal inquiry with the board office.
Your baseless assertions are particularly galling since, as the mother of three young children, ages 5, 3 and four months, I went to great lengths to attend the meeting. Indeed, recognizing the importance of the vote, I even left home an ill child — something no mother relishes.
Your malicious and uninformed attack not only got the facts wrong, but my character as well. Rather than “duck” challenges, I have spent my entire professional life advocating for those most in need, regardless of the popularity of my position. As a legal services attorney, a counselor working with battered women, community organizer and children’s rights advocate, I am well accustomed to dealing head-on with adversarial and contentious matters. Further, I applaud the right of dissenters to have been present an admire peaceful protest. I fully anticipated the presence of many protestors at the meeting. They did not deter me from being present or from my duty to vote.
Your reporter had a duty to accurately report the events, which she failed to do. Regarding Ms. Kolben’s attempt to contact me only on my cell phone, her generic message merely stated that she was contacting all the members of the board for general comments on he vote. It did not seek any specific response to all the unfounded allegations she intended to assert. Given that I was neither in the hallway during the vote nor “intimidated” by the protestors, Ms. Kolben’s source was entirely unreliable.
I believe that your paper’s willingness to malign me without any factual accuracy not only severely undermines your credibility and that of your paper, but also trivializes the important matters at issue.
Again, I demand that you act responsibly and print a prominent retraction and correction.
— Rachel Foster, Community Board 2 member