The following letters to the editor were published in the Norwood News December 7-20, 2017 edition
Shelter Needs More Checks and Balances
The title of the article from the Nov. 9-22 issue (“Fordham Shelter Housing Site Here to Stay”) written by Reggie Francois gives the impression that FHOC [Fordham Hill Owners Corporation] and the neighborhood were defeated when in fact FHOC played a vital role in mobilizing our community so that our voices could be heard. It was written recklessly and in an insensitive tone, where fear was invoked in the commentary. Francois mentioned many of the local legislators present but left out Councilmember Fernando Cabrera and wrongfully referenced “FHOC Community Engagement Committee” as “FHOC community engagement community.” The accurate committee name and background information from the chairperson was provided, but key details were omitted.
Many people from the neighborhood, including FHOC residents, attended the town hall meeting because they were unaware of the 233 Landing Road Development. Adaline Walker-Santiago, chairperson of Community Board 7, was not given a fair opportunity to speak despite the facilitator State Senator Gustavo Rivera, whom we just learned officially supported the 200- male shelter in the neighborhood, receiving advanced notice that she wanted to speak.
DHS and BRC had no intention of engaging the community until FHOC became active with the 233 Landing Road Development. DHS and BRC did not even meet with FHOC Board of Directors until a meeting was requested by Cabrera whom we sought to get more answers from regarding the shelter of 200 plus males being placed in our community. In fact, Cabrera was pressured into hosting the meeting at the last minute, but rightfully declined because it was not his meeting to present.
DHS representatives throughout the process have been elusive and unprofessional. DHS representative Lori Boozer referred to FHOC VP Rachel Bradshaw as “crazy and a flat-out liar” in an email when she held her accountable for not following up regarding meeting requests with DHS Commissioner Steven Banks. Many questions were left unanswered, brushed to the side and answered with false statements.
How can a specific question about Meghan’s Law be swept under the rug of obscurity by stating that their colleagues have looked into all of the laws necessary to be in compliance? How could the city place such a large shelter with a male demographic in a neighborhood and not even think they deserve the right of knowing about it and how the shelter will be operated? We have seen so many city shelters fail our communities. All FHOC wants to do is protect our residents and the community as a whole. All our neighbors want to do is live in a neighborhood that has a fair opportunity to thrive and flourish under the funding of our tax dollars! Even minority residents deserve to stand up for their community and quality of life.
Chad Y. Royer
FHOC Community Engagement Committee
Learning About Shelter Homeless
I appreciated the article reporting on unsheltered homeless people – the street homeless – living in Fordham and Norwood. It was a brief glimpse into a life that most of us know little about. I think it’s worth noting however, that the street homeless make up a relatively small portion of the people we know to be homeless in NYC. While some people who end up homeless suffer from addiction and/or mental illness, the main reason people are homeless is something we can all identify with, the skyrocketing cost of housing — and that can affect all sorts of people.
People who live in the street or in parks, or in hidden places, are notoriously difficult to count. But every year, as mandated by law, the City organizes a count of people living in the streets. In 2017, they counted almost 4000 people. As your article notes, many of these people do not want to sleep in a shelter.
Equal Time for Mayoral Candidates
With 99 percent of the vote counted, the results show that Reform Party candidate Sal Albanese (2 percent, 22,891 votes), Green Party candidate Akeem Browder (1 percent, 15,763 votes) and Independent Michael Tolkin (1 percent, 10,762 votes) all finished ahead of Independent Bo Dietl (1 percent, 10,592 votes). Yet your editorial in the Oct. 26-Nov. 8 edition on the mayor’s race (“Who Will You Hire?”) mentions Dietl and shows a picture of him while not mentioning Albanese, Browder or Tolkin.
Your editorial deals only with the candidates allowed in the general election debate. This was based on the results of a poll taken by Marist College. They did not include Albanese in their poll, claiming they did not know he was still running.
Quinnipiac polls in 2009 showed Mayor Michael Bloomberg winning a third term in a landslide. In the poll that counted, on Election Day, Bloomberg received 50.7 percent (585,466 votes while Democratic and Working
Families candidate Bill Thompson received 46.3 percent, or 534,869 votes). When Marist’s polls are used to choose participants, I have to question the legitimacy of the debates.
The Norwood News should give more coverage to “minor” candidates in the future. People should consider looking beyond the candidates pushed by the media. When a candidate as honest and good as Albanese
is running, people who claim they want honest politicians should vote for him. And the 78 percent of eligible people who didn’t vote at all won’t change anything.