Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Why Queens is being inundated with shelters

Hey all, this info came to me late last night. As you can see from the City's own chart above, Acacia Network, the "social service" organization that is responsible for the poorly run Verve Hotel in LIC and which is planning to open a shelter at the Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth, has so many problems and violations at its other shelters that the city is closing them down. "C" means closed and "P" means pending closure. So where to put all the homeless that Manhattan, Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx are responsible for? Why QUEENS, of course! That's the fair thing to do after all. Burden overtaxed working and middle class homeowners so that a charity with a long history of coming up short for both the city and its clients can continue to enrich themselves.

There is no huge increase in numbers of homeless, just fewer sites to place them. You'll notice the line highlighted in green is about an adult couples shelter that has 39 rooms. The city is claiming that if the Maspeth community can come up with an alternate site containing 35 rooms, then the Holiday Inn site will be tabled. Is this why? They need to replace a closed Manhattan shelter for adult couples?

An industrious fellow on the Maspeth 11378 Facebook page also did some digging and came up with a lot of information about this so called "charity" known as Acacia Network.
I suppose the Queens papers could have uncovered this, if they weren't so busy defending Liz Crowley and Marge Markey.

And the response from City Hall?

Jimmy unhappy with homeless shelter in his district

From Sunnyside Post:

The Quality Inn, located at 53-05 Queens Boulevard, is being used as a temporary homeless shelter. In the past two months, families have arrived without the DHS informing elected officials, Community Board 2 or the public at large.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said he was never formally notified of the administration’s decision to move homeless families into the hotel. It was only when he heard from a constituent that he uncovered that it was being used as a temporary shelter for the homeless.

“The administration’s handling of this has been outrageous and has been botched from the start,” Van Bramer said. “I have been livid with the administration in the way the have tried to sneak this in. It is not the way the these things should be done.”

He said the de Blasio administration didn’t tell anyone that the temporary shelter was in operation. He said that de Blasio is ultimately responsible for this.

“Whether he is making the call or not, the buck stops with the mayor and that is what the big job means,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer said he has no plans to protest outside the Quality Inn. “There are young mothers and children who are going through tough times. We do have to show empathy.”

Well then prepare for more, Jimbo!

$100M needed for huge streetcar depots

From Crains:

Missing from maps of a proposed streetcar route along the Brooklyn-Queens waterfront is where the de Blasio administration would locate the transit line's maintenance yard, which would likely be one or more facilities totaling several acres. The yard or yards would be needed to store and service the 47-car fleet.

The Brooklyn Queens Connector is a 16-mile streetcar line that would run from Astoria, Queens, to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Currently, the de Blasio administration is conducting a wide-ranging study that will include recommendations on the streetcar's ideal route, along with how large the maintenance yard or yards would be and where they could be located.

Here in New York, Friends of the Brooklyn Queens Connector, a nonprofit that has promoted plans for a streetcar that were eventually adopted by the de Blasio administration, has suggested building two maintenance facilities at a total cost of $100 million. The group believes the yard or yards would require less than five acres.

Protest at former 5 Pointz site

From the Observer:

Building and Construction Trades Council President Gary LaBarbera and Queens Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, along with several hundred union workers, blasted a developer—whom LaBarbera called a “piece of shit”—who they say broke a promise to use union workers at its Long Island City construction site.

According to Van Bramer, Jerry Wolkoff, co-owner of G&M Realty agreed to several community givebacks during the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure process, including a commitment to build and staff the site, the 5Pointz warehouse at 45-46 Davis St. with 100 percent union labor. In exchange the city granted G&M the ability to build 400 additional units—but Van Bramer says Wolkoff has since backtracked on the agreement.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

De Blasio press release indicates shelter shuffle is a huge scam

The de Blasio administration has announced the imminent opening of 4 new shelters this month in Maspeth, Woodside, Bed-Stuy and Ozone Park.

Yet on August 10th, he announced the following:

So do we need to "plan capacity" or should we pat de Bozo on his head for his deft handling of the homeless crisis?

Select bus machines are without power

From DNA Info:

Fare payment machines at a Jamaica stop for the Q44 Select Bus have had no power for the past two months, frustrating straphangers who have since had to pay for their ride at the next stop, commuters said.

The machines at the Archer Avenue/153rd Street stop, in front of the Queens County Family Court, went offline on June 19, according to the MTA.

Straphangers using Select Bus Service lines have to insert their MetroCards into machines, which then issue their receipts to allow them to board at any door in order to avoid long lines at the front of the bus.

But passengers who get on the bus at the courthouse, have to get off at the next stop on Archer Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard and pay for their ride there, which can take a couple of minutes depending on the number of passengers, straphangers said.

It was not clear when the machines will be fixed.

Avoid being a burglary victim

From NBC:

In an unprecedented crime prevention project, the I-Team sent surveys to more than 500 people serving time for burglary or for breaking and entering in New York and New Jersey prisons. The survey included questions about how they picked their targets, broke into homes, and how potential victims could stop them. Fifty-seven convicts responded.

Toby has some interesting campaign donors

From the Observer:

Queens State Senator Toby Stavisky—the ranking member of the Committee on Higher Education—has raked in tens of thousands of dollars in donations from for-profit colleges, one of tied to a bribery scandal that took down an assemblyman from her home borough in 2009.

Stavisky has taken more than $23,000 in contributions from Forest Hills’ Plaza College, its owners and its affiliates since 2002—$18,500 of it since federal agents arrested the late Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio on corruption charges related to the school in 2008. One of the affiliates that gave to Stavisky, Collegiate Management Associates—which U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara labeled a “shell company”—served as a conduit for Plaza College provost Charles Callahan III to funnel $170,350 in bribes to Seminerio in exchange for legislation favorable to the for-profit institution.

Bharara’s criminal complaint against Seminerio also alleged the assemblyman unsuccessfully sought to get Callahan III appointed to the state Board of Regents, which controls New York’s public schools, and assisted him in navigating various agencies.

Collegiate Management Associates gave Stavisky $1,000 in August 2014. She took another grand from the college itself that October, $1,000 again in 2015, and reported taking the same amount from the school in her filings last month.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Part of secret Maspeth shelter meeting caught on video

Well, well, well. We finally have a look inside the "secret" meeting that was held August 3rd at the Maspeth Library to "inform" elected officials about the conversion of the local Holiday Inn Express into a 110-room homeless shelter for adult couples without children.

In this video you will note:

  • The first person heard speaking is Vincent Arcuri, Chairman of Queens CB5. He mentions that the next CB5 meeting is not until September 14th and they need more time to inform the public and study the issue. The city knew this and planned this entire thing for when CB5 was in recess and most board members are on vacation. It's an old trick.

  • Marge Markey and Joe Addabbo stay silent (Addabbo actually left the room).

  • Lincoln Restler and cohort stating that they have to "plan capacity" (because there is no immediate need but they will be producing more homeless to enrich de Blasio's friends in the homeless warehousing industry). Arcuri points out that they are not "planning capacity" if they are moving people in the day it converts.

  • Note that Lincoln Restler planned a meeting at a library knowing full well that there was a children's program scheduled and that they would have to cut it short.

  • "This was intended to be a briefing for the elected officials" so he brought them a dozen donuts from Greenpoint. Why not hold it at the CB office one of the electeds' offices?

  • Liz Crowley saying "as the council member that represents both Glendale and Maspeth, I feel that you are pitting one part of my district against another and I think that's unfair" - indicating that she is fully aware that a swap is being made.

  • No one at the table questioning why 35 rooms would be an acceptable alternative to a 110-unit shelter. Instead they are going to idiotically knock themselves out looking for sites they can mention as alternatives so that the district will end up with an influx of 290 homeless people instead of 220.

  • Liz Crowley demanding that no 60-day clock start and instead of answering her, the city reps get up and walk out.

  • Someone yells out "So is the clock ticking?" and there's no answer.

Friends in Maspeth, with this type of representation, you are royally screwed.