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Bobby Butler of Indaculture fame made, what is in my opinion, the greatest observation in the Beach 101st Street shelter debate. He expressed bewilderment as to how a developer could convert a warehouse on Beach 101st Street into a homeless shelter in less six months. His bewilderment was born out of the fact that it has taken the Harbor Light almost six years to rebuild and get permits.

The mere fact that two projects take such disproportionate amounts of time to navigate the city’s Department of Buildings’ massive bureaucracy is glaring. One can only surmise that there are injustices at play in the Harbor Light permit to hinder their progress or injustices at play in the Beach 101st planned shelter to fast-track their progress.

Sure, we can stamp our feet on the ground and yell at the Mayor and say we don’t won’t allow it. Sorry folks, that is an absolute waste of time!

The New York City Charter is set up in a way that there are very few checks and balances on the Mayor’s office. The Mayor of NYC is essentially the King of NY. King or not, there are, although few, checks and balances within city government. Thankfully, some of the checks and balances are held by electeds with subpoena power and some with audit power.  And of course, there are TERM LIMITS. Thank God for term limits!

Fortunately for us, there are processes that need to happen before this homeless shelter is signed off on. As of the writing of this contribution, The Comptroller of the City of NY has not given his ok for this shelter to proceed.

We must encourage Comptroller Scott Stringer to resist signing off on the shelter on Beach 101st Street. We must encourage Stringer because of the questionable ability for the developers to open a shelter in Rockaway in less than six months. We must encourage Stringer to audit the developer and its dealings with the NYC Department of Buildings and Department of Homeless Services.

We must encourage Comptroller Stringer because he will more than likely be a candidate to be the next Mayor of NYC. You can encourage him by calling 212-669-3916 or email: action@comptroller.nyc.gov

We must encourage Stringer because we in Rockaway will remember the man who signed or did not sign the check to allow this developer take in millions of tax payers dollars from the hard-working people of Rockaway so that the City can place human beings in a warehouse.

Speaking elections.  Yes, Scott Stringer will most likely be a candidate for Mayor in a few years, but more importantly, one of our own is running to be a true check and balance on the Mayor and the entire City Council.  In a few days on Tuesday, February 26, Eric Ulrich is running for Public Advocate and I know I will be voting for Eric.

I think he will be our best chance to halt the assault on our community from the Mayor’s office and the powers that be. No matter who you vote for it is imperative that we all get out and vote to show that we care about our community and we do vote.

Remember, if you give up your right to decide, you give up your right to complain.

Let’s do this!

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