Hello, Dolly!

A knowledgeable tipster submitted this gem to UncivilServants, the web-based watchdog for government parking abuse in New York City. The yellow Porsche Carrera, above, was spotted parked in front of a fire hydrant on the east side of Seventh Avenue, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, between Sterling Place and St. John’s Place at about 7:30 pm on Sunday, July 29. On the dashboard, a Dept. of City Planning placard ensures that the windshield of this little beauty is unlikely ever to have a parking ticket placed upon it. A Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association card sits atop the parking placard for good measure.

We can’t possibly know who was driving it at the time but the Porsche, the tipster says, belongs to City Planning Commissioner Dolly Williams.

Parking in front of fire hydrants, it turns out, is a rather minor item on this uncivil servant’s rap sheet.

Though she is Brooklyn’s one and only representative on the New York City Planning Commission, Williams has been barred from participating in Kings County’s most important recent land use processes. After the Brooklyn Paper outed Williams’ $1 million investment in Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner’s Nets basketball team in August 2004, Williams was forced to recuse herself from any official role in the project. Then in February of this year, Williams was removed from the Gowanus Canal rezoning process after the Brooklyn Paper pointed out that she owns land within the area that was to be rezoned. With Dolly Williams on the Planning Commission, Brooklyn has no voice in these important projects.

The Brooklyn Paper reports on the most recent incident:

Questions about a possible conflict of interest emerged after the planning commissioner told acquaintances that she "absolutely" supports the residential redevelopment of the Canal zone. Insiders were quick to point out that Williams’s company, A. Williams Construction, is based on Third Avenue near Sackett Street – an area that will be prime real-estate someday.

"She was working the room," said one person who attended the Community Board 6 meeting where Williams "was telling everyone that the area would have to be rezoned. She let everyone believe that was speaking as a commissioner, not a property owner who would make millions of dollars if she could build condos on her land."

Williams was appointed to the City Planning Commission by Brooklyn Borough President and likely Mayoral candidate Marty Markowitz. Of course, Brooklyn Paper has also reported that Dolly is one of Marty’s big campaign contributors. She gave the $4,950 maximum.

As the sign says on the BQE, "Welcome to Brooklyn: Like No Other Place in the World!"

  • nobody

    The owner of this vehicle has $206.11 in overdue parking tickets, according to the Dept of Finance. They were for parking in a commercial meter zone and parking in a bus stop.

  • psycholist

    Dolly needs a spanking.

  • Steve

    I like how she has the PBA card out as well to bribe the cops in case they aren’t cowed by the Agency Business placard. Dolly’s a belt-and-suspenders gal!

  • common man

    Give Dolly a break. She is just the kind of poor motorist that Brodsky and Weprin are standing up for.

  • Speechless.

  • snooper

    in any case – NO permits allow parking at hydrants. Too bad FDNY did not run a leaky hose through her car after smashing the windows.

  • MrManhattan

    Too bad that there isn’t a system where you could dial a phone number, like 311 for instance, to have the City Government come and enforce the law.

    Wouldn’t that be a cool thing to have ??

  • ezezez

    The concept of Public Officer on our Tax dollars payroll is goind extremely too low, and I am sure that something, from the few good Public Officres left, should come out

    If not, we are in the deepest backward and dangerous time that we will ever be able to afford – robbers barrons are back in drove, eventually, and this case it’s just a tiny tip of a monstruous iceberg –

  • william

    I hope to God this woman is hounded out of office.
    I’m willing to bet that if you sniff around Dan Doctoroff and his family’s business deals you will find some real gems!

  • Eric

    If I had spotted her hydrant-obstructing, placard-abusing, citizen-endangering parking job, I would’ve called the 78th Precinct and demanded they ticket and tow the car. There’s no excuse for blocking a hydrant, right?

  • flp
  • m

    I’m all for outing public officials when they do bad things, but yeesh, can some of you tone down the insults please?

  • steve

    M- #10 contains the only personal insult–“degenerate.”. The rest of us attacked her conduct. And in my book, this is blameworthy conduct, quite different from Mayor Bloomberg taking an SUV to the express stop. You can’t see it in the pic above, but the fine print at the bottom of those “Agency Business” placards state that certain types of misuse qualify for punishment as a felony. I do believe there is some kind of restriction on felons in elected office, not sure if it applies to appointees . . .

  • Gargamel Tralfaz

    All politicans should be thinking about this, what if there was a fire on this block and the fire dept. couldn’t properly or quickly access this hydrant? I mean look at the Minnesota Bridge collapse and how the finger pointing has begun…

    It is really a shame and sad that people are so selfish like this woman. One of these days tragedy is gonna happen, and it is good to have people on Uncivil Servants chronicling this.

  • Great quality reporting not seen in other places. Thanks for putting the pieces together on this one Streetsblog.

  • pa

    why shouldn’t we get personal? why not? i got personal before and streetsblog was lame enough to take by comment off. i’ll say it again. dolly is a low-life. marty markowitz is one too for associating with the likes of her. we should get personal and take these things personal because they are taking advantage of us and the system which they are destroying.
    come on people. you think being nice is going to help things get better. i worked for the city and i knew people who had connections and got hired and were very selfish and took advantage of their situation and it made me sick. these people should know that if they get caught they will be humiliated.

  • momos

    This is a disgrace. Parking your yellow Porsche in front of a fire hydrant, than consciously putting up your PBA placard to ward off the cops and walking away smug in your knowledge that your city parking permit virtually guarantees that you’re above the law… this is the height of arrogance.

  • Steve

    pa, I have no problem “getting personal,” but name-calling usually just undermines credibility.

    I’ve been pushing a highly personal campaign against the parking abuses of retired DPR Deputy Commissioner Alan Moss, who leaves his two Connecticut-plated personal vehicles 24/7 in the middle of Central Park:


    I’m not sure who’s worse: him, for abandoning his car for weeks in the middle of the park, or DPR, for issuing him the permits to do so.

    Therese Braddick, the ED of the Historic Housing Trust gets a permit too, but at least she seems to be using it for commuting rather than long-term storage:


    Let’s see if these folks are using their revoked permits after August 15.

  • Brooklyn

    She obviously got her job for her worthy assets and her deep . . . knowledge of city planning.

  • A failed constituent

    As #6 wrote, eve with the plaque, parking i/f/o a hydrant in illegal.

    What is wrong with her? Even abusers of the system just use it mostly in ‘no parking/standing’ situations.

  • Sproule Love

    I have no problem with getting personal about public officials deplorable behavior. One question: Why doesn’t Uncivil Servant show license plates like SB did here?

    I think we’re all learning that there are a lot of moving parts to these issues…parking reform, congestion pricing, buildings allowing bike parking, so not much is going to change until the system changes. Take a look at the link to the Grist post in Today’s Headlines for more discussion on this.

    Individual choices may not make much of a difference, but I do enjoy seeing people like Dolly called out. Nice work, Aaron.

  • goetz

    i wonder what she had to do for that placard??

  • snooper

    Here’s the DOT permit link – see ePermits:

  • ConnecticutBouy

    Would it not be “personal” if several young children died because this miscreant decided she is exempt from civilized behavior, not responsible for the wellbeing of the community and exempt from the law.

    And again, Yellow ??


    I say kick her butt back to Virginia !!!

  • Joan

    Funny, I noticed the car (parked at the same hydrant as of this evening) and recognized it as one which near-sideswiped me on my bike. When I pointed out to its driver (yup, it was Dolly), that cyclists have the same right to use lane space as other vehicles, she responded with a mild profanity. At the time, of course, I had no idea I was dealing with such a serious and dedicated public servant.

  • Psynick

    “Would it not be “personal” if several young children died because this miscreant decided she is exempt from civilized behavior, not responsible for the wellbeing of the community and exempt from the law.”

    Fortunately, that’s really not a risk. FDNY SOP is to smash in the windows and run the hose through the car. Those big axes they carry are very versatile. No excess loss of life, and some quick poetic justice to boot.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Psynick, that takes time, and in some cases, seconds matter.

  • ddartley

    Hey, boo streetsblog for taking that comment down! Till today I’ve always been very impressed with the editorial restraint in the comments section–I think I’ve observed a policy of letting people risk hanging themselves, rather than intervening and protecting everyone’s tender sensibilities, and I think that policy is smart.

    If I’m thinking of the right comment (hard to tell when you remove them), the worst thing said was “degenerate,” and it seemed to me to be part of a mere joke, at that! (Something about Porsches and colors, right?)

    Seemed pretty harmless to me. The story itself really is good journalism, like Glenn says in #15. But it’s always been very clear that the comments in the comment section are mostly not the comments of Streetsblog itself! “Credibility?” Who cares about the credibility of us non-contributing commenters? Let us just say whatever stupid stuff we want (I say draw the line elsewhere, e.g., threats, etc.). The conversation has stayed pretty intelligent over the first year! But for it to stay that way, I say you have to LET IT run the risk of descending into low-brow nastiness!

    Again, though, great job with the story.

  • galvo

    i think the fdny should practice fire hose hook up procedures with that car parked there.

  • pete

    Wrong #4, This is absolutely not who Weprin and Brodsky are standing up for. THis is who Bloomberg is standing up for.
    Reduce traffic so all the one of priviledge can get around faster – city placard holders and limo riders and taxis. That is why Bloomberg should crack down on all these permits, and taxis and limo riders should be charged also. Otherwise, it is just the commuter from underserved/distant ‘hoods he is targeting.

  • pa

    two of my comments were already deleted and they weren’t THAT bad. but streetsblog was cool enough to email me with an explanation which i appreciate but disagree with. i responded thusly…
    why censor comments? if people are outraged and they express themselves in a certain way and of course it’s usually emotionally charged – then why stop them? this concept of keeping things at a “high level” seems fake and pretentious to me. this is an open public forum and i like the idea of knowing EXACTLY what people REALLY think.

  • Eric

    While I don’t know the nature of the comments (except for the nappy-headed thing, which is at the least potentially offensive) nor SB’s explantion for why they were removed, I do know that there are blogs that I just won’t read because the comments sections quickly degenerate into incredible crudeness. The blogosphere and its releative anonymity seems to encourage some really crass behavior; people would never (I like to think) say the things to another person that they would readily post in a comments section.

  • pa

    well eric,

    my first comment said something about what low-lives i think dolly and marty markowitz are. i think i used a couple of other words which weren’t really bad slang – i didn’t use four letter word for example. then i wrote another post repsonding to #18’s comment and that was deleted as well. here it is…
    (might get deleted again but for the sake of discussion – lets see what happens)
    “hey #18,
    isn’t alan moss retired? i used to work for parks. this would make it even
    name calling doesn’t undermine anyone’s credibilty for me. maybe it does for
    you because you’re uptight and you feel you’re being “a better person” or
    if someone wants to speak out and express and name call that’s fine. it gets
    the point accross, it gets people’s attention, and it’s satisfying. i’m sure
    you’ve done it too. and this is a comment section on a blog. i’m not making
    a state of the union speech.”

    streetsblog then wrote this;

    I delete all ad hominem remarks towards other commenters and most things
    with profanity too. Sblog is somewhat tolerant of ad hominem stuff towards
    public officials but only if it’s making a good point or argument.

    Please keep the discussion at a high level. ”

    again i appreciate their point of view and love their blog but i don’t think i went too far. the worst thing i did was call another blogger “uptight”. is that so bad?

  • Dave

    By the way, was there any reaction from any officials regarding this car? I mean this made into the NYTimes blog as well. Also, any idea how long the car was there? I mean, it’s not there any more is it?

  • Dave

    By the way, was there any reaction from any officials regarding this car? I mean this made it into the NYTimes blog as well. Also, any idea how long the car was there? I mean, it’s not there any more is it?

  • ddartley

    Hmm. Yeah, maybe my “free speech now” remark is a little naive–streetsblog is the only blog I have the patience to read, so maybe I’ve been a little sheltered. Sucks, though, if censorship, and not the character of the audience, is what keeps civil blogs civil.

  • GJG

    heh…. glad to see a nice though off-topic discussion regarding deletion of comments. i fully agree with most of those criticizing the deletions …. i don’t think it is to difficult to draw and respect a clear line of what is TRULY offensive etc.

    i wrote a comment once a good few weeks ago criticizing TA for their inaction regarding many cycling infrastructure issues, and it was never posted. it included no slurs, foul language, offensive imagery,etc. it simply was a response to someone suggesting vehemently that TA is good at starting a ruckus to get things done. i pointed out that TA has been rather inactive about some issues and that to believe that TA “sh/c/would get it done” was rather laughable.


  • We don’t delete very many comments but our automated spam filter is pretty aggressive and it captures a lot of comments that it shouldn’t. I try to release the captured comments as often as I can but it’s hard to keep up. No one would delete a comment just because it criticizes TA or any other organization. One of the best ways to avoid getting caught in the spam filter is to use a real sounding name and email address and not post any links in your comment.

    Streetsblog is a tightly edited and moderated forum. We don’t purport to allow people to use our server to post whatever content they want. We reserve the right to delete whatever we want.

    One of our highest priorities in editing Streetsblog is to maintain a high level of policy-oriented discussion here in the comments section. I’ve seen some other blogs’ comments section really degenerate and that is something that we will work hard to avoid here.

    There is no set comments policy but, in general, comments may be edited or deleted if they contain ad hominem attacks, personal insults, crude profanity or if we feel that a commenter is dragging down the quality of discussion. We welcome commenters with alternative viewpoints, especially if these viewpoints are accompanied by smart, interesting, and generally fact-based arguments.

  • Eric

    Dave (#34),

    Dolly has her own driveway just a couple blocks from where she was breaking the law, so I’m sure the car has been moved, though as another poster pointed out, they saw the car obstructing the same hydrant at a different time (I believe sh’s the landlord of a property near where the fire hydrant is located).

    Anyway, I emailed Department of City Planning head Amanda Burden to complain. I’ll post the response when I receive it.

  • My two cents:

    On too many blogs, the basic content may be okay, but the comments section is out of control and not worth my time.

    On STREETSBLOG, the comments are often at least as interesting as the editorial. That reflects not only the caliber of the blog’s readership but also its editorial policies.

    I’m grateful to STREETSBLOG’s editors and contributors for keeping the discussions smart, substantive and reasonably respectful.

  • Dan
  • Eric

    Tsk, tsk, Dolly.

    If you’ve had a few too many, why not just catch a ride with your pal and patron, Marty Markowitz?

  • Eric

    Guess whose school-bus yellow Porsche convertible I had to cycle around last night as it obstructed most of the bike lane on Park Slope’s Fifth Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets? Go ahead, guess.

    Unfortunately, my cell phone does not have a camera, or I would have provided photographic evidence of Brooklyn’s esteemed City Planning commissioner, sitting behind the wheel and talking on her own cell phone. Given her recent vehicular trangressions, I was actually surprised that she was not driving in the bike lane while talking on her cell phone.

  • David T.

    Get a life! When will the truth come out. This woman is getting a raw deal. If anyone would investigate facts they would realize that this is a witch hunt. Stop being petty jealous pea brains.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Jealous, David? Just because you covet her Porsche, doesn’t mean everyone else does. If I had one, I’d drive it around for a week, then sell it and spend summers in the south of France until the money ran out.

    Now I do covet that brownstone…


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