Shelter opponents protest mayor’s town hall
by Benjamin Fang
Feb 26, 2020 | 1125 views | 0 0 comments | 92 92 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In the wake of the opening of the Cooper Rapid Rehousing Center at 78-16 Cooper Avenue, opponents of the Glendale shelter took their frustration directly to the mayor.

Last Wednesday, members of the Glendale-Middle Village Coalition protested outside JHS 190 Russell Sage in Forest Hills, where Mayor Bill de Blasio hosted a town hall meeting.

Among those protesting was coalition leader Mike Papa, who was collecting signatures for a petition to “remove and prosecute” the mayor for “crimes against the people of the city.”

“We took the opportunity to see the mayor face to face,” Papa said. “We’re here to let him know he’s not getting away with it.”

Among the “crimes” Papa described were closing Rikers Island and other city jails, opening homeless shelters that he said act as “halfway houses,” and signing high-priced contracts for developers to build those facilities.

Other topics that he wants de Blasio to be investigated for include the ThriveNYC program and the deal that sold the Rivington House on the Lower East Side.

“We’re going to take this to the U.S. Attorney’s office and try to get him investigated and prosecuted for it,” Papa said.

The mayor was booed and heckled by the crowd at the town hall in Forest Hills, which focused on topics like bail reform, the new borough-based jail in Kew Gardens, protected bike lanes on Queens Boulevard and the district school desegregation plan.

De Blasio defended the Glendale shelter as a way to put a roof over the heads of “working people.”

He acknowledged that people don’t want homeless shelters in their neighborhood, but blasted any notions that there were backroom “deals.”

Papa, who has been a vocal opponent of the Glendale shelter, made his goal clear.

“We want to get rid of de Blasio,” he said.
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