Monday, June 23, 2008

TESTIFY AGAINST EMINENT DOMAIN ABUSE TONIGHT


My name is Jerry Antonacci and I am the President of Crown Container, a family owned and operated business in Willets Point, Queens. I am fighting the City of New York to keep the land where my father started this business in 1958. I am one of over 250 land and business owners fighting to keep Mayor Bloomberg from using Eminent Domain to take our land and kill our American dreams.

For the past 25 years, my neighbors and I in Willets Point have called and written and pleaded with the City of New York to provide us with basic infrastructure including repairs to streets and storm sewers, installation of sanitary sewers, and street lights. We were given assurances that the NYC DOT and NYC DEP would fix the problems. They never did.

We knew that if the City provided our businesses with the basic services we are entitled to as taxpayers – the area would be cleaned up. And in 1991, The New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC) conducted a study of Willets Point revealed which exactly that: if basic services were provided, the area would be revitalized on its own. The 1991 study made no mention of the need to relocate businesses in order to "clean up" the area.

We met with the EDC to discuss the "contamination" they claim cannot be cleaned up unless we leave. This is a myth that has been perpetuated by the Mayor and EDC. Months ago, the EDC and their consultant admitted to us that they did not find widespread contamination and that what they found was localized and could be remediated without removing the existing businesses.

And now, I sit in the Queens Community Board 7 meetings where they talk about the redevelopment plan and listen to the City say that Willets Point is blighted and needs to be torn down. Willets Point has been purposely neglected and that's why it looks blighted.

The EDC announced last week that after four years, they reached deals with two of the 260 businesses in Willets Point and claim to be negotiating with all businesses. But for most of the businesses in Willets Point – there are no deals to be made because there is nowhere for us to go. I operate a waste transfer station and I can't operate my business without special permits from the City and the State. I have yet to receive a written guarantee that I will receive those permits prior to relocating. If I don't get those – I'm out of business. What kind of negotiation is that?

Sitting at the Community Board meeting last week, I thought of my father and how he fought in Germany protecting other people's land. Now here I am fighting my City & country for the land my Dad worked hard for to keep his American dream alive. My father died two years ago just as the city started its fifth attempt in 25 years to take our land.

What's happening at Willets Point is wrong and un-American. I love Willets Point and want to stay where I am. I did nothing wrong but try to survive the neglect of the City for over 25 years. I feel like I was shot in the head by a doctor and now he wants to be the one to rehabilitate me.

If the City uses Eminent Domain to take away my land – it can happen to anyone. Please attend the final Willets Point meeting before Community Board 7 votes on Monday June 23rd at 7pm. The full Community Board vote on the plan is June 30th at 7pm. The location is: 33-23 Union Street, Flushing.

Jerry Antonacci
President, Crown Container
126-46 34th Avenue
Flushing, NY 11368
www.wpira.com

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jerry:
I really wish you lots of luck. Too bad we can't use eminent domain to take bloomberg's multi-million dollar home in Manhattan.
See how he likes it. What a pig.

Taxpayer said...

Combine a crooked interpretation of eminent domain (by judges) with crooked politicians and more crooked judges, with greedy developers hiding in the wings, and what have you got?

NO MORE PROPERTY RIGHTS! THEY'RE GONE!!!

WANT THEM BACK? DUMP THE CROOKS!

baysideburgerman said...

jerry , keep strong & don't give up. you boys can beat these mogambi type pols. i'll be there to support you tonite

willets point boys said...

From an article in the NY Times
By CONSTANCE L. HAYS
Published: June 2, 1996


"The local community board, Board 7, says that although there is a steady hue and cry from Willets Point, nothing seems to improve. "It's been a problem for at least the last 15 years," said Regina Colletta, the district manager. "They're paying taxes but they don't have streets to speak of. All of them are flooded very badly. There's no sewer system to speak of." She was called recently about a section of a side street that reportedly had been closed off by someone to use for auto repair. She drove over to look at it, she said, became overwhelmed by water lapping at the sides of her car and left without ever finding the street in question.

".......As for getting some infrastructure improvements anytime soon, it's improbable, Ms. Colletta said. A 1993 report estimated the cost of putting in streets, curbs and a sewer system at $25 million to $35 million, she said. "
My comment: How much will it cost now? If Claire Schulman opted to remediate the area in 1993-4, It would be a moot point now. She failed as Borough President then, and she now has the temerity to sweep her inaction aside and displace thousands by promoting a project that will cost the City of New York over 100 times the 1993 estimate.

Now THAT is government at it's finest! She should be indicted for malfeasance.

Anonymous said...

What a great video!

Broadcast it on Dateline or something. You Willets Point boys need more exposure and more people will join your fight.
I've talked to a lot of people who don't even know about your situation. You need to educate more people and get these stupid politicians to scream a little louder for you.
Lots of luck.

We Light Up Queens said...

Is Eminent Domain wrong when misused? absolutely. I don't really follow the whole "un-american" theme that has been going on. America is a capitalist society and Willets Point is worth a nice chunk of change. I'm not speaking with out the background to talk about the American dream as I am a second generation immigrant and I know a lot about coming from nothing. I think it is unfortunate and wrong on many issues concerning Willets Point, but can this be considered un-american? Just as un-american as the displacement of entire neighborhoods to build the Cross Bronx Expressway. If you look back on the history of New York, this is nothing new. Lastely I'd like to make clear that I am not in favor of this abuse of E.D. but if some sort of progress comes out of this mess it wont be an entire loss.

Queens Crapper said...

"If you look back on the history of New York, this is nothing new."

Eminent domain in the past was always used for public works projects. Now we have the government taking property from one private entity and handing it over to another. The businesses don't have a choice to not leave. That's called theft.

Taxpayer said...

"Just as un-american as the displacement of entire neighborhoods to build the Cross Bronx Expressway."

The PUBLIC owns and uses the Cross Bronx Expressway.

PRIVATE, FOR-PROFIT BUSINESSES will own Willets Point.

PRIVATE to PUBLIC: Sad, but OK.
PRIVATE to PRIVATE: evil. Especially when the power of our tax dollars and enforcement is controlling the transfer.

If a PRIVATE entity wants Willets Point, let them make an offer and then negotiate - without government muscle.

Here's a test question: Once the government confiscates the Willets Point property, will the public be the owner? Will the public be allowed free use of all facilities in the new Willets Point? If not, why are OUR government officials involved in the confiscation? How does the PUBLIC benefit from the seizure?

Is the PUBLIC given free access to stadiums built with OUR tax dollars? Or, is some PRIVATE business profiting from the confiscation of OUR money?

You think that this will happen only to someone else? Someone whose property is ugly? Wait until your neighborhood is BLIGHTED with graffiti, crime, or flood damage.

Then, they will take your home.

And you will not be helped, because you never helped prevent the confiscation when you had the opportunity.

The opportunity is NOW!

Dump the politicians who want the abuse of eminent domain as a mechanism to hand your property to a fellow criminal.

Anonymous said...

Jerry:

Why not get Reggie Colletta and others who was there, at the time (early 90's), to speak at the CB#7 meeting? I'm sure there have been numerous meetings, with numerous attendees, regarding Willets Point over the years. Get them to account for Shulman's inaction.

Joe said...

Hmmmmm I bet the air conditioner "fails" when the room fills up and they cancel the meeting.

This is what happens in North Hempstead does when they have too many angry people or not enough votes to pass something. They then adjourn it to the first 2 weeks in August when most people are away on vacation.

.....Mark my words!
N Hempstead NYC's Bloomberg and all the other bastards that be need to be hung or sent back to Israel.

Problem is these people base there life on endeavors and $$ making not moral conduct!!
"Let a neighborhood crumble like the NYS pavillion so everbody leaves then rebuild it our way, for our "Friends"

Robert Moses thought like this when he wiped out ALL of the Bronx, half of Queens and Long Island in the last century with illegel use of Eminent Domain .

What is this turd from Boston doing running NYC ? Does a New Yorker run Boston or an Irishman run England ?
NYC would be better off with Sharpton as Mayor at this point !!

-Joe

Anonymous said...

NYC would be better off with Sharpton as Mayor at this point !! how true as sad as it is

Anonymous said...

This place should go. Most likely they have dumped years of waste into the soils and are contaminating Queens for future generations. Ther really is no room for this in on of the most populous areas of the country. Tear it all down, clean it up and return it to the community.

Joe said...

You go pay $600 for Alternator or Wheel hub made in Mexico !!

NYC needs a place to fix our cars, if they WP away most the father and son repair shops will close. rather then be at the mercy of the Dealers and Autobarn.

I been there its dirty but not that contaminated, 1-3 inches deep in select spots. The city has shown not ONE REPORT !!

Those cars have to be fully are drained of all fluids before meeting the torch.
Besides who the fu*k is this Mayor and his penis posse to sitting around with hands in each other laps to dicktating how people need to live ?

Id rather live in one of them steel toolsheads on the point rather a brick bomb shelter filled with Stuffies, Yuppie sh*t's and Starbucks anyday !!

This is all about greed not pollution or the standard "rotten timbers"
I hope bricks go flying!

Some of the "Boy Scouts" down there on the point need to have a good talk with certain people in a back room.

(Being that back room politics is all this Mayor understand...I'm not advocating violence or beatings)


-Joe

annoyed in flushing said...

Anonymous said...
This place should go
are you kidding ? not the way the city has set this up for 30 years with mr wilpon & billionaireburg& old bag shulman neglectthem then rob them ? come on where are you morals? oh i know your a city employee. vote it down!!!!

We Light Up Queens said...

First of all, I'm glad my comments ignited this topic some more. Also very good points with the private/public uses I've seen above.

My main problem is that Willet's Point as is, provides goods and services, regardless of its appearance and apparent "blight" it is still providing to the community as most of the area around it east of the flushing bridge is industrial areas.

I also side with the self-owned small business owners because they are being reaped while being dealt with injustice for close to if not more than half a century.

On the other hand would the community benefit from a cleaner more commercialized area? Yes and No depending on who you are what you do and what the final plans for WP become.

Is it right that people are going to be forced out? absolutely not, but could the overall final results positively impact Queens as a whole? Only time will tell.

Hopefully the ends justify the means in the end of this one.

We Light Up Queens said...

By the way I wish you guys luck in this battle. My regrets in not mentioning it earlier.

Mike In Brooklyn said...

You boys stay strong! I'm fighting these city hall ratbags too in Brooklyn. You guys have a shot at winning. Ive been folowing your fight in the news and there are a lot of us in Brooklyn who are rooting for our brothers in Queens.
Fight til the end. BloomPiggy wont be around 4ever.

Anonymous said...

Go guys...!!!!!
Fight that Sonafabitch and his crooked zionistic mob of fat swine to the end !!!!

Im so mad I think I'm going to up to!!!!

Anonymous said...

the govt has been doing what it wants, when it wants ..for generations..
its nothing new.
sure they can steal your land.
sure they can bomb and kill hundres of thousands of iraqis ..
no questions asked..
in the name of their "agenda".
is that fair?
is that ok?
NO.
stealing land.
bombing people..
none of it is right or fair..
but it happens ALL THE TIME.
thats the reality.

Taxpayer said...

"Ther really is no room for this in on of the most populous areas of the country. Tear it all down, clean it up and return it to the community."

"Clean it up and RETURN it to the COMMUNITY"????

How about: just clean it up and let the current owner/taxpayers keep their own property? These property owners already paid for the clean up for many decades. It was the COMMUNITY that cheated them out of ordinary services. Now, the COMMUNITY wants to use that cheating as an excuse to cheat them out of their property.

For what? What did these property owners/businesses do to deserve their property and businesses stolen for use by "friends of the mayor"?

They made a profit? They were capitalists? Is that a crime in Soviet New York?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if a lawsuit against the city was ever considered regarding the refusal of basic services.

Turn this whole thing around on them and drag it out in the courts.

I'm no lawyer but I mean they were paying their taxes all along. Isn't a lawsuit in order?

Anonymous said...

Ends justify the means....yes, similar to Penn Station being replaced with Madison Square Garden. How horrible would it be if we didn't have a place for the Knicks and Rangers to watch them suck?

Anonymous said...

If sewers were installed, the land value would increase and the chop shops would be gone. It would work itself out.

We Light Up Queens said...

Anonymous said...

If sewers were installed, the land value would increase and the chop shops would be gone. It would work itself out.

Very good point. However, we must not forget about the contamination that this area has. Whether its the current owners, private owners or public land, it needs to be cleaned up. A health concern which can not be negated.

http://www.toxicstargeting.com/toxicmaps/queens/flushing.htm

Anonymous said...

You are right. This place is a festering toxic dump. Once the place is evicted and they get to the soil you will find out the true exent of the damage being done there. I predict it will cost tens of millions to clean it all up.

No ones land is being stolen - in fact many owners have already lined up to sell to the city. I'm sure they were happy with the compensation, or else they would not have made a deal.

I love a cause as much as the next guy, but I can't get worked up about filty poluted chop shops getting kicked out and the area being revitalized. Anything is beter than what is there now.
Have to wonder who is fighting to keep this and why?

Anonymous said...

By that map, it doesn't appear to be any more polluted than any other manufacturing area in the city. Those areas aren't being taken with eminent domain. In fact, the government is assisting with cleanup in those areas so that industry can continue there. Sorry, you'll need more than "they need to clean up the land" to convince me that this is justified. Where are the reports showing how extensive the contamination is? The Willets Point people say they were told that it's just pockets. Show us the data and let us judge.

Anonymous said...

"I can't get worked up about filty poluted chop shops getting kicked out and the area being revitalized."

Filthy polluted chop shops are there because of the condition of the land. FIX IT and they will move on and the family business that have been thriving there for generations will stay and attract more industry which we need.

Anonymous said...

Wow the goverment has done a good job of convincing people that they aren't responsible for the "blight" they see at Willets Point. I feel like I am in the USSR pre-glasnost.

Joe said...

---USSR pre-glasnost

I know, its just horrible how all these people are being shafted.

See the 10 Planks (Kommunistischen Partei) by Karl Marx. I heard this on shortwave radio WBCQ some 10 years ago. (at the time Rudy G was pulling some sh*t with sidewalk pretzil venders on Stienway street) I thought it was a joke but its all coming true.

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7006/com-man.html