What’s moving into the Alexander?

February 14, 2011

Dear Neighbors,

The sight of “hotel” furniture being delivered to the lobby of The Alexander—instead shelter furnishings—is a positive sign for our neighborhood.
The building’s tenants, aided by SRO Law Project stuck to their guns. They held out against terrible pressure.
Your calls and emails were heard, and you should be satisfied that your efforts struck a blow for neighborhood stability.
Mayor Hosni Mubloomberg learned that many of his senior administration officials live in the neighb and are just as concerned as we are about public safety for themselves and their families.
I’d like to now tell you the fight is over.  It’s not.
This is merely a lull. As Churchill once wrote, “It is the end of the beginning.”
We must now use our resolve as a neighborhood to end the building-by-building, whack-a-mole approach and finally ensure a safe and stable community.
The state law that created this crisis has not even taken effect yet.  May 1st is D-Day.  Our housing stock is such that dozens of buildings in the area, some of which you or your loved ones pass every day could become a problem property.  Even The Alexander remains vulnerable.  Two properties on the 300 block of West 95th Street serve as both homeless shelters and rooms of tourists.  Others may follow, if not as shelters, then subsidized facilities for very similar populations—like the proposed St. Louis, which we are fighting in court (since 2006!!).
Our best weapon is the community consensus that has been forged and articulated during this fight.
Until Assembly Member Rosenthal introduces or supports legislation that delays the implementation of the anti-hotel law, we will not have earned that peaceful night’s sleep.  Rosenthal co-sponsored and championed a law that required that short-stay hotels install an extra staircase.  After 100 years, the buildings are now unsafe if they are non-union hotels.  But the union hotels with the same issue, like the Sherry-Netherland and the Hudson Hotel are safe.  The building is safe if it’s used by permanent SRO tenants and homeless shelters.  Backpacking Belgians do require that extra measure of protection. Not!
The Rosenthal law does not protect the neighborhood against the City using hotels for shelters–it created the current situation.  It does not provide in any way for the affordable housing that she promised.
Her latest gambit is a bill that would prevent the City from using hotels as shelters.  It is well-intended, but will the Mayor allow it to pass?
Linda Rosenthal must be called and told that an extension on implementing the hotel law is needed.  The neighborhood needs a comprehensive plan for “affordable housing” forworking taxpayersnot more special needs populations.  The hotels, which are comprised of tiny rooms with one bathroom down the hall for every six rooms must be part of the solution, and their economics should be considered. A stop-gap measure that does not say what can be done with the buildings, and that may take years to pass is useless!
So let’s earn that quiet night’s sleep, neighbors.
Let’s staff the phones. Call often.  Send emails.  Nothing changes until we change the law!!
Keep up the pressure!  
Let’s take back our neighborhood from the current ruling class of politicians. Thank them for the efforts, but remind them that they represent us, and we have a lot of work ahead.
–Aaron Biller
Tell Linda and her staff you want her to introduce a measure delaying implementation of the new state law closing neighborhood budget hotels.  We need a plan for these buildings.  Ask for a “time-out” for a year or two to allow the owners, neighborhood leaders and elected officials to plan a safe future.
Tell Scott you want him to put his weight behind delaying implementation of the new state budget hotel law.  Our community has way more than its fair share of facilities, and the only guard against the inappropriate use of buildings for shelters and the only hope for affordable housing is to create a plan for the buildings, a plan for our neighborhood,then implement the law.  Not the other way around!!
Tell Gale you oppose the Alexander shelter.  You want affordable housing, but make it very clear that you mean housing for the WORKING poor and moderate income taxpayers, not the special needs populations she aggressively foists on the neighborhood in exchange for political favors from Mayor Bloomberg et al.
The Claremont Stables have closed, now it’s time to stop horse-trading away our quality of life and street safety for special interest goodies.  (We have a list, BTW).
And don’t forget to support us in the legal fight against the St. Louis, 319 West 94thStreet. Send checks to N90s (new address):
Mary Jemail
Neighborhood In The Nineties Legal Fund
250 West 94th Street
New York, NY 10025
******
About Neighborhood In The Nineties, Inc: Founded by a group of neighbors in 1971, N90s and its predecessor organizations—the West Nineties Neighborhood Coalition and the West 94th Street Broadway-Riverside Association—has worked closely with SRO tenants, co-op and condo owners, retail merchants and property owners to promote a safe and beautiful West Side neighborhood.  For example, during the 1990s, our group sponsored a professional neighborhood patrol to greatly reduce drug dealing and street crime and restore public safety. We have also been an effective advocate for promoting Fair Share.  Our 2007 survey of supportive housing sites has been quoted in The New York Times and other media.

Stop the Alexander Shelter! Attend CB7 Tues @ 6:30

January 31, 2011
Dear Neighbors,

Let’s KEEP UP THE  PRESSURE
We have to SHOW UP and STAND TOGETHER AS NEIGHBORS Tomorrow (T U E S D A Y) at:
RODEPH SHALOM
7 West 83rd Street (near CPW)
6:30 PM
 
Our beautiful neighborhood is in crisis. 
A contract can be signed any day now for The Alexander to become a crowded 200-bed shelter filled with homeless who can’t live in other shelters—they’ve been kicked out. 
The fact is that the social burden has already been placed on our community in numbers unrivaled by all but a few other communities.
The City views our neighborhood as an easy target, political patsies.
What Should WE do? 1. Get on the phone
START with City Council Member Gale Brewer.
SWAMP HER OFFICE WITH CALLS: 212.788.6975  
Gale founded the Task Force that took on the hotels in the name of affordable housing (a worthy, but unattainable goal).  Although the bill was passed in Albany, it is her responsibility as our representative to take steps to stop the flooding of this district with more special needs populations.
Ask Gale Brewer to use all her resources, do all that is in her power N O W !!!:
·         Issue a City Council Resolution, hold Hearings, have a News Conference demanding an end to No-Bid Contracts that waste our taxpayer dollars while doing nothing to provide real housing for the homeless
·         Issue a City Council Resolution and hold Hearings on the issuance of no-bid contracts by the Mayor’s Office and City Agencies.  There should be a Moratorium on rich contracts to buildings owners for housing special needs/homeless populations immediately.  The City needs a long-term plan to house the homeless in appropriate facilities throughout the City NOW!!
·         Request that she show up at the Community Board meeting Tuesday.
 
Call or write Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal,
…she’s in Albany right now at: 1+518.455.5802
Or contact NY Office 212.873.6368 •  ask for Jonathan
Tell Linda that this community is already being hurt by the oversaturation of facilities.  It is time that Linda Rosenthal, as co-SPONSOR of this community-devastating law Request the NY Legislature declare a “time-out” now! 
I have attended meetings with legislators and their aides.  The excuse is: “we never expected this law to pass.”
Rosenthal’s people also claim they “didn’t write the bill.” Bloomberg’s attorneys did.  So she co-sponsored it, but won’t take ownership?  This is Unacceptable!
How does a legislator sponsor a law, but not understand the consequences?  Our neighborhood is feeling the pain. The Alexander and a dozen or more shelters and special needs facilities cannot be allowed to open.  
We need a time-out, not a law plunging us back into the “old days” when walking the street was an unpleasant adventure. Affordable housing is a great social cause.  But who is paying the bill?  The bankrupt City? Or the bankrupt State? 
Call on Linda to step up NOW, and STOP THE MADNESS.  Let’s take the time to study the best use for these properties rather than wreck a neighborhood overnight due to the new law’s unintended consequences.
 
2. SHOW UP AT COMMUNITY BD 7
       at  6:30 PM Tuesday    
 We need to keep the pressure on the electeds. The Alexander, can, and must be stopped.  We stopped The Apple, and just as we did back in 1992 with 310 West 95th, a facility similar to the St. Louis.
The St. Louis FAIR SHARE lawsuit needs your support.
SEND DONATIONS to:
Neighborhood In The Nineties Legal Defense Fund
Ms. Barbara Wallitt
752 West End Avenue #23B
New York, NY 10025
“You don’t, in the middle of the night, give a contract, no matter how costly that contract is, for nine and 10 years, and then have people wake up to find out they now have to assume additional social responsibility,”
 –Congressman Charlie Rangel at the press conference.
–Aaron Biller
President
Neighborhood In The Nineties, Inc.

Alexander Hotel mtg and Fair Share Lawsuit

January 26, 2011

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you for showing up and demonstrating for the tartuffes of City Government that this neighborhood is not a point of least resistance, which appears to be the primary siting criteria for shelters and facilities by the Bloomberg Administration. In this mailing we have:
TV Coverage and video of last night’s meeting.  Many in attendance got their 15 seconds. Item 2 here really explains who is responsible:
1.   http://www.wpix.com/news/wpix-homeless-shelter-controversy,0,951343.story
2.   http://www.supremefiction.com/theidea/2011/01/department-of-homeless-services-runs-scared-from-cb7-protest.html
3.   http://www.dnainfo.com/20110126/upper-west-side/city-officials-skip-out-on-homeless-shelter-meeting
A list of elected officials to call and what to say:
Also, Write a check for our Fair Share lawsuit v. St. Louis, & Make a call or write to our wonderful electeds:
Call City Council Member Gale Brewer, tell her and her people you want Fair Share.  There are too many special needs buildings in our neighborhood.  We’ve done our share.  We want safe streets, not more addicts!
Demand a Council hearing into the buyouts of permanent Alexander tenants, which are leveraged with City taxpayer dollars.
 212.788.6975  Swamp the Legislative Office.  Demand Gale!
Call or write Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal,
212.873.6368 • rosenthall@assembly.state.ny.us
Ask Linda what she’s doing to close the loophole that allows Bloomberg to turn hotels into shelters.  Ask her who’s going to pay for the affordable housing she seeks.  If they can’t pay for “affordable” housing, why can’t they work with the hotel owners to create a dedicated affordable housing fund and let the hotels be? The owners are willing to contribute.  This is the only real revenue stream available to subsidize affordable housing.
If you like tourists, let Gale and Linda know.  Tourist revenue can be used in part to fund affordable housing initiatives.  It’s better than returning the neighborhood to the junkies!
Also call: DEPARTMENT OF HOMELESS SERVICES (D H S)
Office of the Commissioner SETH DIAMOND
33 Beaver Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10004
212-361-8000
Send an email to the Commissionerhttp://nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildhs.html
Press Office
212-361-7973
Press@dhs.nyc.gov 
Community Relations & Government Affairs Unit
212-361-7900
 
CONTROLLER JOHN LIU: Office of General Contracts
Geneith Turnbull,
Deputy Commissioner, Contracts and Procurement Admin.
212.669.3173  Oversees City Contracts like Samaritan Village-Alexander.  Speak to her assistant, Rick, if she’s not available.
Ask for her, and let her assistant know that the City is being ripped off by no-bid contracts like the $8M sweethearts deal arranged by DHS with Samaritan Village that enriches building owner Alexander Scharf and devastates our neighborhood. 
Tell them it’s time for the Controller to scrutinize a wasteful, phony contract procurement process.  You object to City taxpayer money being leveraged to force out longstanding members of our community from their permanent homes to make way for shelters. Ask them to stop The Alexander contract.  Without a Fair Share analysis (last done in 1995), there are additional means to not approve this contract which will damage our West Side neighborhood.
You may FAX a message to Mayor Bloomberg212.312.0700.  Tell him, in addition to the points above that his legacy as Mayor will be that he was responsible for killing the Upper West Side.
The situation is urgent as the hotel operators throughout our community are throwing their buildings at the City, begging for the types of populations we saw at The Apple shelter (2006-07), which we got closed, but is now on parade at the Camden, the Sans Souci and other buildings that take in HRA, HPD and DHS clients (all City agencies that claim no knowledge of the other’s placements).
We need to keep the pressure on the electeds. The Alexander, can, and must be stopped.  We stopped The Apple, and just as we did back in 1992 with 310 West 95th, a facility similar to the St. Louis.
Speaking of the St. Louis, this FAIR SHARE lawsuit needs your support. SEND DONATIONS to:
Neighborhood In The Nineties Legal Defense Fund
Ms. Barbara Wallitt
752 West End Avenue #23B
New York, NY 10025
–Aaron Biller
President
Neighborhood In The Nineties, Inc.
Neighborhood In The Nineties and its predecessor organizations date back to 1971.  We were founded to help SRO tenant clean up their own buildings and make our neighborhood a safer, better place to live.


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