Wakefield Area News
By Mary V. Lauro
BRONX, NEW YORK, February 14-While we wait for the other shoe to drop, we remind you that the League will be meeting on Thursday evening at 7:30 p.m. at Redeemer Lutheran Church's Undercroft. Redeemer is located at Barnes and Boyd Avenues. The guest speaker will be Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz. Everyone is welcome. Invite your neighbors. Our meetings are fun. There is an intermission with refreshments. Please make a note. A reminder will not be mailed.
Now which shoe are we talking about? Well, last Thursday, February 7, New York City Comptroller, John C. Liu “rejected a 21 year, $91 million contract for a homeless shelter in the Bronx amid questions concerning the legitimacy of the required approval process represented to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development ("HUD") in seeking approval for the project. Comptroller Liu's office was unable to verify whether the City properly followed Federal regulations in the disposition of the former Muller Army Reserve Center ("the Center"), located at 555 Nereid Avenue in the Wakefield section of the Bronx. The City wants to use the site, as a shelter for 200 homeless men."
Comptroller Liu's decision answered a lot of prayers since he is addressing the very points about which our Borough president threatened to take the Mayor to court. In any case, we were delighted to have our problem scrutinized by someone outside the Bloomberg cabal.
Sure enough, the very next day, a member of that cabal, Linda Gibbs, a Deputy Mayor and one of the individuals who decided the Center should be a homeless shelter was screaming like a stuck pig that Liu was politically motivated for rejecting the contract and that he had done this to "advance his political ambitions." More importantly, the Mayor's office seems to think that Liu does not have the authority to stop the contract unless there are no funds or corruption can be proven.
That's what we would like to see! Corruption proven. And the corruption we have in mind is the fakery of pretending that the citizens of Wakefield did not vehemently protest the turning of the Center into a shelter for the homeless.
This canard can best be found in a 26 page letter written by New York City Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond to Mayor Bloomberg last December. In it he repeats much of the distortions and inaccuracies present in the studies his Department had already made but he also lists the several meetings, especially the one in June 2011 that included Wakefield and Woodlawn residents. The purpose of listing them was to credit the Mayoral process with including the community in its decision. But, at no time did Mr. Diamond indicate that the community was 100 percent opposed to turning the Center into a Shelter for the Homeless.
Further, Mr. Diamond lists more than once that the community's wanted to use the Center for commercial purposes. He mentions only fleetingly that the community wanted to move the National Guard into the Center.
We think such distortion is corrupt
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