The NY Daily News and NY Post seize on the same City Council member item today. Here's how the News tells it: "The neighborhood lunatic of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, is getting $5,000 of your tax dollars to teach classes in a City Councilwoman's office about the origin of words." And here's the Post: "Here's your tax dollars hard at work. A city councilwoman set aside $5,000 in next year's budget for a wacky Brooklyn man with a rap sheet to teach courses in etymology at her district office."
The "lunatic"/"wacky Brooklyn man" in question is Lynval Samuels, who also calls himself Dr. Bidi XiLi Bey. While City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy's $5,000 grant hasn't been approved yet (the mayor's office has to review all grants), she told the News, "He's educating people and showing love, peace. I thank God he's in the community, and I stand firmly with his program...I should have gave him more." The Post explains, "Samuels, 56, teaches classes on the origins of words inside the Democrat's Crown Heights office on Saturdays, which he prefers to call the QidaMaWi HaYeLe SeLaSe Supreme Regal Lodge." Here's a taste of his teachings:
MEdiCaL - SciEncE With EtymoLogy and ConNotation
1. The words we use, in speaking and writing, have two Semantic meanings:
1. the EtymoLogic (original and true) meanings;
2. the ConNotative (un-true) and (deceptive) meanings.
2. Logic is the Science for:
1. True (coRRect) ReaSoNiNg:
2. Un-True (in-correct) ReaSoNiNg.
Both tabloids have photos of Samuels; the News writes, "Samuels was easy to find on Friday, wearing an all-red outfit, mismatched shoes and a plate-sized emblem of late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I." And according to the Post, "The eccentric Samuels, who only accepts items passed from left-hand to left-hand, has a veritable shrine of Mealy's campaign posters plastered on his front door. On one of the signs, he crossed out the 'woman' in councilwoman and wrote 'lady' in black Sharpie." Samuels previously pleaded guilty to threatening and stalking Rep. Major Owens a few years ago, but Mealy said, "I did know that, and I believe that's personality. I never had a problem with him."
But one Crown Heights resident told the News, "I think it's a gimmick. There are a lot of hungry people out there. I'd rather see them be able to eat with that money."