Friday, February 1, 2013

A broken promise

Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro

BRONX, NEW YORK, February 1- The other shoe is falling! The Mayor is continuing his assault on Wakefield. 

Praxis is already building its 70-unit building to support AIDs victims and drug addicts on White Plains Road. On Bronx Boulevard, Project Renewal has begun construction on the Balfour building for 100 homeless men now Mayor Bloomberg has waved his nasty wand so construction will soon begin to turn the Muller Army Reserve Center at 555 Nereid Avenue into a shelter for 200 single homeless men.
"No! No! No!" Borough President Diaz had said about the Muller ARC over and again. He would not let that happen without taking the City to Court. He has every reason to do so. From its inception, the Mayor bent the federal guidelines for acquiring the Muller ARC. Then in an entirely illegal move he claimed that the three person group mandated to decide whether or not the Muller ARC would become a homeless shelter had voted to do so. One of the three people in the group (Local Redevelopment Authority) was Borough President Diaz. He claims there was never a meeting and there was never a vote. We are sure he would never vote for a homeless shelter that would negatively impact on two great neighborhoods: Wakefield and Woodlawn.
Even so and sadly, no matter his good intentions, the BP is muting his promise. He never told us that he would take the city to court only if he could find an attorney who would do it Pro Bono. So far, it seems there is no attorney in the community or the Bronx who is willing…
We thought that in making the promise, the BP had the resources. One would think that he has a legal department and/or the necessary finances. It would not pain the borough to do in the something for Wakefield. Neither the Bronx, nor Wakefield's elected officials have done anything for it for at least 50 years. Doing nothing now, will be far more, costly in the future.
To aggravate the situation, two weeks ago, the Chair of CB 12 (in which Wakefield is located) disseminated the idea that the residents of Wakefield should donate money to hire a lawyer! What an obnoxious and, well, stupid idea especially since he is himself an attorney. Surely, he can do this pro bono, for Wakefield and for the Borough President. How wonderful that would be. The people of Wakefield should not have to buy what their elected officials should do. The people of Wakefield already pay them.
All of this is not to be construed as a diatribe against the homeless. Being without a home can occur much more easily than at first considered. Surely shelter must be given to those who have none, but the host community should have a say on location. It is their treasure and their families that will be affected. The way it is done now is a form of taxation without representation.
There are five boroughs. One would expect them to each have an equal share of homeless. That would be 20% each. But that is not the case. The Bronx has 33%.
On Monday, January 28, 2013, the City will send out people to count those who have no shelter on our streets, subways, wherever. This is done every year. While it is not an accurate count, it is a reasonable approximation. Last year (2012) the count in the Bronx was 169. We doubt it will be more than that this year.
Why do we need room for 380 homeless individuals? Where are they coming from?

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