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May 2nd, 2006, 07:56 PM
If you sent me an email at HehmanMemorialFund@hotmail.com, please check your email for an urgent message. We need to discuss the contents of that message ASAP.

May 2nd, 2006, 08:17 PM
People will always find something to be pissed off about, and when something like what happened to JB occurs, you can bet that both sides will become polarized. This doesn't have to be political, and it shouldn't be. We know where our hearts are at on this and shouldn't be intimidated by those who are seeking to derail our efforts.

May 2nd, 2006, 08:27 PM
I thought the scope of the project was maintenance to the existing landscaping and hopefully installing a plaque? Is naming even an option without $250,000?

May 2nd, 2006, 08:32 PM
I'm really sorry my posts were excerpted and used against the project.

May 2nd, 2006, 08:37 PM
Whatever misunderstanding arose due to the passions that were felt / exhibited following JB's death seemingly has been dealt with.

There have been no further negative PR / postings regarding our project.

Let's remember that we've found a beautfiul place to help to Memorialize JB's spirit.

The NYRP Endowment in JB's name is first and foremost an educational fund with the aim of serving the community where JB's life ended -- a community that JB cared deeply for.

I truly believe that the focus of our community's effort should be on what positive steps can be taken to try to insure that no one else need suffer an early and pointless death such as befell JB. If others cannot see the purity and beauty of that then there is little that can be done to open their eyes.

May 2nd, 2006, 08:40 PM
And -- PLEASE -- let's not fuel their fire by tossing posts in their direction ...

At least not unit AFTER the Planting Day on May 13th.

May 2nd, 2006, 09:22 PM
What's this all about?

May 2nd, 2006, 09:26 PM
Yes, what´s this all about? Brooklyn, could you send me a PM explaining this? Thanks.

May 2nd, 2006, 10:00 PM
Yes, what´s this all about? Brooklyn, could you send me a PM explaining this? Thanks.
Me, too.

May 2nd, 2006, 10:33 PM
Brian / Susan-

This was forwarded to me by a friend trying to get info on contributing the JB Hehman project.


I did not know it existed or that there was such opposition to this project. Chris Schott of the Village Voice told me a concern had been raised at a CB11 meeting, but I never imagined that this existed. Yet, another step in my education in activism.

I wish someone at NYRP had been upfront with us about the depth of this problem and allowed us to participate more fully in how our online community investing in this project would respond. I'm running around thinking we are doing something positive and constructive and this, unbeknownst to me, has been the backdrop I've played against. I have no doubt that you made decisions and did everything you could to facilitate our project, but, as the de facto leader, I personally feel foolish and humiliated. The quotes are taken totally out of context and our community, one that is one of the most ardent advocates for the lesser served communities has been unfairly tainted. And, my name is on it all. I acted willingly, but my actions would have been much different had I known these specific things were being stated and posted.

I was very proud of this project and what we have accomplished to date as well as our intent for the outcome. I am extremely sorry to have placed NYRP in this position and I am ashamed to go back to WiredNewYork and report what has transpired. Our forums are first and foremost about a willingness to tell the truth and stand by and defend our convictions. I need to bring this project bck to the WiredNewYork community for a vote. I believe I have, in my enthusiasm, led us astray.

A copy of my letter to CB 11 has been sent to EastHarlem.com, a letter of explanation that actually preceded the letter from Ms. Ortiz to Council Member Viverito by one day and a letter that should have made our intentions clear in the face of these accusations. A copy of this email has been sent to WiredNewYork supporters of this project.

I don't know what I can or will do, but I will be there on the 13th.


May 2nd, 2006, 10:50 PM
I have very strong feelings about this issue based on the meeting and conversations with NYRP. I feel we were betrayed, lied to and manipulated. I'm not going to list my complaints, but will share them with anyone who wishes to PM me on the issue.

I think it is just my frustration, but I also initially felt that perhaps others knew about this and it was why no one was responding to our emails and requests for input on the project. Maybe, and most likely, I am wrong, but who would want to post anything under an eye waiting to pounce.

My personal feeling and suggestion is that we execute our day of service on the 13th of May as planned and with the same enthusiasm. I also suggest we consider donating the entire JB Hehman Memorial Fund, under the auspices of NYRP, to Ms. Marina Ortiz and her cohorts with the stipulaton that they do something creative and public in her neighborhood - the exact neighborhood where JB died - to benefit the THAT community.

I'm very angry, but not so angry as to lose focus of why we are doing this. Let's fulfill our commitment to Maggie's Garden with NYRP. But I would like to discuss doing exactly what Ms. Ortiz suggests and work with her, an East Harlem community activist, by donating this fund to her "efforts." It is the last thing she will expect and the one thing that will exemplify exactly what our intention was from the start.

May 2nd, 2006, 10:52 PM
It should be noted that the meeting that BR & I had with NYRP took place on April 20 -- the same day the letter mentioned on the website is dated and 3 days before the date of the linked post (April 23).

There apparently have been NO follow-up posts on that forum.

At this stage of the game I don't see how it serves us or JB's memory to resurrect what appears to be a less-than lively subject over at that forum.

So: IMO if we can all refrain from sending posts in reply to that forum that's the best way to go. Why create a discussion where none exists?

I think that's the course that best serves our effort to Memorialize JB.

May 2nd, 2006, 10:59 PM
I also suggest we consider donating the entire JB Hehman Memorial Fund, under the auspices of NYRP, to Ms. Marina Ortiz and her cohorts with the stipulaton that they do something creative and public in her neighborhood - the exact neighborhood where JB died - to benefit the THAT community.
Please tell me you're joking?

IMHO this suggestion is not a good idea.

First: NYRP isn't going to get into that pissing match.

Second: we shouldn't fall into the game of politicizing JB's Memory. We agreed not to do that from the beginning.

Let's focus on JB's memorial. No one is reading or talking about that other website -- except us.

May 3rd, 2006, 12:10 AM
Ms Ortiz has got it wrong. Chances are, whatever you do, she'll take it wrong.

May 3rd, 2006, 01:04 AM
Why were those posts offensive to her? I only see one that might be. Was she taking them as racist?

May 3rd, 2006, 08:14 AM
Why were those posts offensive to her? I only see one that might be. Was she taking them as racist?
Some people look for racism wherever they go. They live in a garden of race. Of course that makes them also...

May 3rd, 2006, 10:22 AM
What a sad commentary.

May 3rd, 2006, 10:23 AM
Why were those posts offensive to her? I only see one that might be. Was she taking them as racist?

Does a duck swim?

I think you would have to hear her reading them to know what her point was. We are reading it from the perspective of knowing the posters that put them up there, not from her warzone.

And I also looked and found almost no posts on ANYTHING for the past few weeks, so I do not know how prevalent this feeling is or what is really going on.

Someone is fighting about something and we ended up stepping into the line of fire. I think all of us should just keep focused on what we are doing, and not on all of their problems.

May 3rd, 2006, 11:15 AM
I wholeheartedly agree with Ninja --

Let's focus on the last push to raise $$ for JB's Memorial.

And drumming up as many volunteers as possible for the Planting Day on May 13.

Then we can go have a beer or something and talk about what a crazy place NYC is.

May 3rd, 2006, 12:38 PM
Try a Google search of "Marina Ortiz" with quotation marks, please.

May 3rd, 2006, 12:55 PM
I'll save you the details of all the coincidences that have occurred since last evening to regain my faith in what we are doing. It is just way too eerie and profound to be believable. So, onto the believable realities....

I had a long conversation with Brian Sahd, Director of Community Development at NYRP. He is reaching out to his connections in East Harlem and is going to address this directly. I want to ensure that Marina Ortiz doesn't bring the war in her mind to our event on May 13th. We are also going to bring some pressure to have that website include my April 19th letter to CB11 (see below) - which is very clear about our intent. The problem is that, when Googling our project, WiredNewYork is the first site that is listed and her post and that website is second. Our donations were flat for a week and that may be one reason. Also, Brian is going to try to set up a meeting between me and CB10 leaders (where our project is taking place) to discuss the project to gain and insure their support. He is also working with the 149th Street Block Association to ensure participation as well as the local NYC Councilmember.

I know for some this might seem an overreaction on my part. There is a lot of time and energy being expended on this project and perhaps I've invested myself more emotionally than might be healthy. But, there is a very clear intent and purpose to this project and that woman, regardless of the events coloring her life up until now, has it wrong and has the ability through that post to affect support and contributions to what we are doing. I felt very defeated yesterday, but I'm pissed and fighting back today. I am going to work with Brian to bring every pressure we can to have that site posting addressed and, at very least, have our CB11 letter (below) posted as well.

Sent Night of April 19th, 2006 - I received no response

Dear CB 11 Leaders-

I am writing to you on behalf of the WiredNewYork Forum Community. I was contacted by a reporter from the Village Voice who asked me to respond to comments made at last evening's meeting regarding our community project in the memory of J.B. Hehman. Please accept my sincerest apologies for not communicating with the Board as our project has been proposed and totally coordinated at this point by volunteers with a lack of understanding of the proper protocols. I believe my inexperience and naivete can be the surest cause of any misunderstanding.

First, I would like to share with you our press release:



NYU Urban Studies Student, J.B. Hehman, 20, was was hit by a car after apparently being attacked by a group of teens, all under the age of 16. He died three days later. A little over two hours before he was hit by that car he made his final post under the username "TLOZ Link5" at WiredNewYork.com forums. The WiredNewYork forum community has been stunned by this death and this virtual community has teamed with Bette Midler's New York Restoration Project to undertake a project that will transcend from the virtual world to the real world with the intent offering compassion, kindness and support to the community where this took place, while creating an endowment for environmental education in J.B. Hehman's name to create programs for upper Manhattan youth.

J.B. Hehman was a member of the WiredNewYork.com community and a prolific contributor to our forum with 3,320 posts since November 13, 2002. WiredNewYork is a community of 585 Active Members with thousands of guests joining us to discuss New York City architecture, real estate, culture, politics and issues impacting New Yorkers. J.B., was a gentle soul and a light-hearted guy and, in the mix of his almost daily posts, were words of wisdom, foresight and introspection that seem beyond his twenty years. Our members have never met, but we have harnessed the power of the Internet and electronic communication to develop an appropriate response and work anonymously together to bring this project to fruition. We do not believe a virtual community has initiated a project such as this in the past nor seen the response we have. Because of the virtual nature of our project, we have reached and received funding from states across the U.S. and the international community.

The WiredNewYork project is designed to invite and give all New Yorkers moved by this incident a positive and constructive way to channel their emotion, anger, mourning, grief, and sense that "something must be done." The project is twofold: (1) On May 13th between the hours of 10:00AM and 12:00 Noon, anonymous volunteers, members and friends of the WiredNewYork community will enter a New York Restoration Project (NYRP) community garden located at 149th Street and Broadway, known as Maggie's Garden. There we will conduct a day of service that will include pruning, planting perennial beds, weeding gardens and planting a tree - all in J.B. Hehman's memory. Should we assemble a group larger than the 30 needed in Maggie's garden, we will disperse into teams and undertake simultaneous projects in other NYRP community gardens in Harlem. (2) The second part of our project involves soliciting donations from our members and the community at large to reach our $10,000 goal to create the J.B. Hehman Endowment for Environmental Education. This endowment will be administered by New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, which has been instrumental in reclaiming and restoring parkland and open space in New York City's most underserved communities. NYRP environmental education programs are particularly aimed at getting minority and underserved youth to focus, gain knowledge and interest in earth sciences. Statistically, this is an area of education not typically pursued by minorities. This endowment can create programs in J.B. Hehman's name with the endowment operating in perpetuity. It would also be a fund to which individuals could contribute annually to grow the fund or to contribute to in honor or memory of a loved one.

J.B. Hehman once posted in our forum, "If you love the place you live, love it with the same passion that so many New Yorkers do, then you'll learn to tolerate its imperfections if it hasn't been ingrained in you already. Be to its virtues very kind, but be to its faults a little blind." It is in that spirit that we undertake this project.

We are honored to be working with NYRP and are moved to do so by the spirit that J.B. Hehman brought to our forum community and his fervent advocacy on behalf of our city and neighborhoods. For more information about this project and endowment fund, please contact Susan Madden, NYRP Director of Development, at 212-333-2552.
Susan Madden, New York Restoration Project, 212-333-2552, SMadden@NYRP.org


We asked the New York Restoration Project to help guide us through this process and help us create a project that could include all New Yorkers wishing to bring something. beautiful to the community in the spirit of peace, compassion, and kindness. We had only arrived at the idea of enhancing a garden space after discussions within our online community about what we could do in the face of this tragedy. We felt it is too easy to shout that somebody ought to do something or criticize why nobody is doing anything and, instead, decided we would simply "do something."

We had envisioned and continue to envision our project as a positive, reaffirming, and spirited way to show support for a community that J.B. Hehman ardently advocated for and to perhaps, in our own way, help make his vision a reality. On July 22, 2004, Mr. Hehman, posting under the username "TLOZ Link5," reacted to a proposed 20-story luxury residential development in Harlem by stating:

"I'm hoping for an impressive design, as well as that people in the neighborhood will get priority.

I'm all for revitalization, but I still hope that Harlem can be integrated while maintaining its history as a Black neighborhood; it would be a shame if families who have lived there for generations were to be priced out. It would be nice, however, if the boundaries between racially divided neighborhoods citywide could be a bit more blurred, in some cases penetrated in both directions."

It is in that spirit that we conceived of our project and within that stated vision, I, perhaps naively, attempted to drum up publicity and funding for our project. Although our forum, in its earliest discussions on this project questioned the funding threshhold needed for naming a park in J.B.'s memory. It has never been a stated mission of this project. The mission was to come into the community to show our support and through our actions let others know that what happened to J.B. in Harlem could happen to anyone in any neighborhood. We did not in anyway intend it to be a statement about Harlem or its residents or contribute to a divisive and unproductive discourse. We wanted to say, "This happened in New York City and as New Yorkers we intend to both put up, shut up and let our actions be our response." There are no politics involved nor comments on the incident or ongoing investigation. This is about community. As New Yorkers, we at WiredNewYork feel that Harlem is part of our town and we sincerely care about it history, present condition and future.

Our attempts at gaining coverage often involve me, as the only spokesperson for this project, having long conversations about our passionate resolve to "do good" and perform community service in J.B.'s name. I can only speak as passionately as I write this letter to you, with the hope that our message and mission is conveyed. I have no control over editing for space constraints, but we appreciate the publicity because it hopefully will help us fund the initiative. We sincerely wanted to perform this act entirely in anonymity, so that the only name associated with it would be J.B. "TLOZ Link5" Hehman. Yes, we would like to leave a plaque in the community with his name, but not as a morbid reminder of his tragic death, but, rather as a lasting reminder of his wonderful New York spirit and advocacy. Another post by J.B. made to our forum on March 20th, 2005 has become kind of a favorite for our members. In it he took on unfair criticism of New Yorkers. He stated:

"Cold? Unfeeling? Certainly not! Just because we live in apartments and brownstones as opposed to subdivisions or rural towns doesn't mean that we have no sense of community. I'm friendly with the people who live in my building, I know the owners of the restaurants and shops of the area. I live in as much of a neighborhood as does anyone else. Anyone who says otherwise needs to be hit over the head with a copy of The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Softcover, of course."

You can see he also had a sense of humor.

Our forum is an open forum where the issues facing New York are talked about, debated passionately, and we exercise courtesy in our communication regardless of opinion or response. It is an open forum. When I write to you about our members, I also invite you to visit our site and become members and say what you have to say about any subject that is affecting your neigborhood or the city. We are not members in the sense of some "exclusive club," we are rather a bunch of people who found a great little place on the Internet to discuss and maybe obsess on our favorite subject: New York, including Harlem and its other historic communities.

Please accept my apologies for any misunderstanding. We are responding to this tragedy from a place of compassion, peace, healing and kindness. This is meant to be a joyful event. We have donations coming in from across the U.S. and around the globe. We have a fundraising goal of $10,000. I can't say it is enough to solve every problem or meet every challenge, we had just hoped to create a small spot where we could remember J.B. the Urbanist and Great New Yorker.

We are just a group of people trying to do good and state by example how we believe people should react to adversity and challenges. It is a sad time, but we retain our hope for a future devoid of these tragedies - everywhere. I would love the opportunity to have a dialogue with all of you or a representative from your group. We thought our project and intention would have an added credibility within the community by partnering with New York Restoration Project, who seem to have created many lovely gardens in Harlem and northern Manhattan as well as the other boroughs. I hope you have a better understanding of our desires. I leave you with a final quote from J.B. "TLOZ Link5" Hehman. For me, the one that best sums up our overall attitude as a community:

"If you love the place you live, love it with the same passion that so many New Yorkers do, then you'll learn to tolerate its imperfections if it hasn't been ingrained in you already.

Be to its virtues very kind, but be to its faults a little blind."

Please forgive my inexperience. I most sincerely invite you to join us in whatever form this project takes.

May 3rd, 2006, 01:03 PM
BR, I think you're really overestimating Ms. Ortiz's reach and influence.

May 3rd, 2006, 07:31 PM
I'm also doubting my own.

May 4th, 2006, 12:50 AM
Marina Ortiz is just your run-of-mill racist, who objects to having anything in her precious East Harlem --- even a simple plaque under a tree! -- named after any Whitey. Fat chance finding any garden in the five boroughs that won't have some neighborhood fool mouthing off objections to the JB plaque. If the group is going to back off on its promises because of this person, then I would like my contribution back. I can redirect it to another charity more in keeping with JB's world view.

May 4th, 2006, 02:15 AM
Some people look for racism wherever they go. They live in a garden of race.
Um, yup. People who are on the receiving end of it see racism constantly. Ignoring racism is a privilege white people enjoy. Denying that is either naive or bigoted. It's a few too many decades too late to attack a person of color for raising race issues and I'm especially saddened to read it in this context.

I think suspicion of a group of ostensibly white people from outside of the neighborhood is an entirely understandable (if hasty - and I hope - ultimately incorrect) reaction. It's unfortunate that she focused on negative comments in the forum rather than the positive, and I hope that we can communicate some of tloz's thoughtful positivity to that community so they can appreciate why we want to have a memorial in their neighborhood.

It would be a shame for the principles that tloz so passionately articulated to be lost now because of petty squabbling or the bs of less thoughtful posters. We are outsiders. It's incumbent upon us to reach out to this community - and calling them racist (which doesn't even make any damned sense outside of a fox news channel bubble of suspended reality) does nothing to help.

Ortiz is articulating concern (which again, seems entirely understandable). Until she takes concrete action to stop our plans I see no reason to trash her.

May 4th, 2006, 02:53 AM
What? Don't give up to this one person Ortiz. I am Hispanic/latino (whatever I might be called) and there is nothing I found racist about any of our posts. She seems to be the racist. By denying the forumers (whom most I think are white) do something nice in Harlem in memory of our friend and to benefit the community. She is just wrong. I hope she reads my post and quote it in her forum or whatever. I say either she really tries to understand what we are trying to do or just ignore her.

May 4th, 2006, 08:09 AM
I, too, found nothing racist in the remarks quoted by Ms Ortiz and, in any event, that was the furthest thing from my mind at the time. We'd all just had a huge shock and emotions were raw. If human beings -- irrespective of who or what they are -- cannot (or will not) relate to and understand what can happen when others are angry and sad, then there's little point in our existence. Blatantly misinterpreting and misrepresenting grief and its consequences is not the act of a compassionate person, especially when the outcome is positive.

May 4th, 2006, 09:56 AM
I will go back to my original comment and say that we should NOT TAKE THIS WOMAN SERIOUSLY!

Leave it be. A fight is hard to start when you only have one person yelling. Once you get another to start yelling back then you get all the attension.

Oritz may be concerned about everything in her neighborhood and may have seen a lot of racism in her life, but that does not give her any more right to paint all actions by people who are not of what she would consider to be her circle as being alternatively motivated any more than it is right for a white man to see all of any other race in a certain way.

She does not represent Harlem in any real substantial way, as seen by the dozen or so posts to her board in the past few months and ANY attension we give her is more than she deserves for trying to paint hate over a selfless act of mourning and remembeance.

May 4th, 2006, 12:24 PM
I have remained mostly silent on this issue because my posts were some of the ones quoted and I was hesitant to fan any flames, but I want to make a few things clear.
First, I am a Latino, so Ms. Ortiz can just drop the racist crap right now. In fact, to her I may be scarier than a racist- someone from within her own cultural group that has the introspection and the nerve to say the things too painful for her to admit. There are problems in the community, and they aren't all coming from "The Man". If she didn't like my posts- TOUGH TOSTONES, mamita! I would be more than happy to discuss my inside observations on ghetto life, bad parenting, gentrification, and the misplaced chip on her shoulder ANYTIME.

May 4th, 2006, 01:10 PM
Settle down, you guys. The woman is crazy. Have you tried the Google search yet?

May 4th, 2006, 01:22 PM
Alright, alright. Let's just ignore her then.
It riled me up though, because I'm an activist myself and I've met people just like her, fighting battles of their own concoction. Actually, it's funny because I have personal experience with the same group of which she was a member. I discovered her connection after doing the google search you suggested. In my early days as an activist, I frequented some of their meetings and "dinners" out of curiosity but was quickly turned off by their rhetoric- oh, and the posters of Mao hanging around!

May 4th, 2006, 08:00 PM
Try a Google search of "Marina Ortiz" with quotation marks, please.
Illuminating ^