8 NOVEMBER 7, 2019 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
‘This thing stinks to high heaven’
Glendale homeless shelter opposition veers into conspiracy territory at latest rally
The Glendale Middle Village Coalition and City Councilman Robert Holden rallied and marched on Saturday against a proposed homeless shelter for
up to 200 men in Glendale. Photos: Max Parrott/QNS
BY MAX PARROTT
As the Department of Homeless
Services moves forward with its
contract to build a shelter at 78-16
Cooper Ave. in Glendale, local elected
offi cials joined the Glendale Middle
Village Coalition (GMVC) for a protest
Saturday outside the proposed site to
remind the city that the fi ght against
the plan is far from over.
Hundreds of protesters, equipped
with signs that depicted the mayor as
an evil emperor and “shelter industrialist,”
fi lled both sides of Cooper
Avenue at the underpass between
74th and 79th Streets on Nov. 2 to the
near-constant sound of cars honking
The rally’s ringleaders, Councilman
Robert Holden and GMVC advocate
Mike Papa, began by continuing
to push for a special needs school
at the site rather than the proposed
shelter for 200 homeless men. But as
the event wore on, the two speakers,
along with conservative gadfl y Curtis
Sliwa, escalated their criticism of the
mayor’s handling of the project into a
Papa charged the mayor with
misleading residents about the site
and engaging in corrupt dealings in
securing the contract. Sliwa claimed
the mayor was acting out of contempt
and disdain for the residents of Maspeth,
Glendale and Middle Village.
Holden’s staff er, Charlie Vavruska,
shouted accusations that Schools
Chancellor Richard Carranza is racist
against white people.
“There’s going to be a lawsuit.
There’s going to be maybe several
lawsuits. This thing stinks to high
heaven,” Holden told QNS. “There
needs to be an investigation. We’re
contacting the feds on this. It’s actually
bigger. I don’t trust the city
Department of Investigation.”
Holden and Papa went a step further
to claim that de Blasio misled
the public by waiting until August
to give notice about their plans for
the shelter, while the property’s
owner, Michael Wilner, commenced
construction on the site in the summer
of 2018 to ready it for opening.
Holden has said he was lied to by the
DHS when they told him a year ago
they were no longer considering the
site as a homeless shelter, which was
fi rst proposed back in 2013.
Papa also suggested that the city is
lying about its data on the district’s
According to the DHS, 249 individuals
from Community District 5 are in
shelters across the city, but there is
currently no traditional shelter space
in the entire district.
“We have traditional family values.
This neighborhood does in fact, as Mr.
de Blasio suggested, take care of its
own… We did not produce 250 single
homeless men,” said Papa.
Holden was joined by state Senator
Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman
Mike Miller at the rally in indicating
that they support an investigation
into the matter.
In their speeches, Addabbo and
Miller both reserved their criticism
for de Blasio’s policies.
Addabbo proposed cluster sites
as the solution to the homelessness
crisis — a form of housing de Blasio’s
homeless plan aims to eliminate. Both
lawmakers suggested that the root of
the homeless problem is aff ordable
housing, which the neighborhood
needs more of.
Following speeches, the rally then
turned into a march up Cooper Avenue
eastbound toward The Shops at
Atlas Park, though such a procession
was not part of the original plan.
The event came less than a week
before the city’s scheduled public
hearing on the DHS contact at 9:30
a.m. Thursday, Nov. 7.
Asked what would come next,
Holden suggested that this is the fi rst
of many more rallies to come.
“Next time we’re going to shut down
Cooper Avenue,” he said.
Guardian Angels founder and
conservative talk show host Curtis
Sliwa charged that Mayor Bill de
Blasio was acting out of contempt
and disdain for the residents of
Maspeth, Glendale and Middle