Sunday, April 20, 2008

Where are you Councilman DeBlasio???We are looking for you.

April 18, 2008

Dear Councilman DeBlasio,

It was with both pleasure and disappointment that we read of the account of your meeting with some bloggers last Monday.

Although we were very pleased to see that you suggested a moratorium on the demolition in Atlantic Yards--- an acknowledgement that you see a temporary halt in situations that are getting out of control as an acceptable, even necessary remedy…..

…….. we were very disappointed to read that although you admit that you are concerned about construction safety in Carroll Gardens and the Gowanus, you stopped short of making any suggestions of moratorium or any other plans to insure our safety in those areas. You also omitted any mention of the age, fragility and inadequacy of our existing infrastructure.

So, where are you, Councilman?

There are one hundred and twenty (120) different construction projects listed on the CB6 site as of today. We have experienced more stop work orders on construction projects than anyone cares to count. Talk to any DOB employee, and they will tell you that stop work orders are only issued when there is a danger to public safety. What does it say when a city agency only issues an order to stop working because it represents a threat, and then allows the work to continue in a slightly different fashion anyway? Is it the threat or the order to stop that is not genuine?

Where are you, Councilman?

We have experienced questionable asbestos handling practices. What does it say when an agency financed by citizens’ tax dollars, or a private enterprise for that matter show so little regard for the residents of the city that supports them or the neighborhood where they stand to earn some big bucks? Is it that those pesky asbestos handling regulations are just too difficult to follow? Or, is it that in this neighborhood, it is fine to do whatever you want----as long as you are a developer?

Where are you, Councilman?

We have unfortunately learned that the communication between city agencies, like the DOB and the New York City Transit Authority is practically non-existent. Even when there are procedures in place to insure that when their paths cross and construction is done along our transportation lifeline, our subway tunnel; there is a curious lack of interest, even reluctance, on both of their parts to follow what seem like relatively simple safety precautions. What does it say about those administrations responsible for the safety of millions of people, tens of thousands of which reside in your district, who can’t seem to follow or define their own safety guidelines and rules?

Where are you, Councilman?

We have an open sewer running through our midsection, contaminated with a variety of diseases and pollutants that could keep scientists busy for generations, and property bordering on it that is, if not identically infected, certainly, equally tainted, a symbiotic, cross-contaminated, environmental dynamic unique to lucky us. What is our big plan? Let’s throw some of the dirt away, put some magic shields in strategic places, throw some fresh new dirt on top and put thousands of housing units on it.

And don’t worry about the open sewer, because we are going to take some of the current rain run off from the two buildings that are standing there and take that completely out of the equation. We won’t worry about whether or not this remediation will be effective or successful, because we just can’t afford to wait to see if it really works. It is much more important to get those congested multi-layers of housing on that land RIGHT NOW. And as for the sewer, aka, the Gowanus Canal? Well, we’ll just make believe that those thousands of units of housing will not have toilets, showers, dishwashers, laundry rooms, bathtubs or garbage disposals and instead of preparing for the worst rainfall conditions, so we can be comfortable with the drainage plans we put in place, we’ll just pretend that there will be less precipitation than what we have been experiencing for the last several years. Therefore, there will be no additional basements or streets flooded and the canal will get clean. See? There is no longer a problem with those CSO’s. Wasn’t that simple?

Where are you, Councilman?

Our schools are crowded. There are kids crammed into trailers. But, developers who deliberately ratio their dwelling units in their apartment houses into mainly studio, one and two bedroom units, knowing that those sized units will not be considered as having an impact on the school population, are welcomed with open arms, big smiles and applause for “working with the community”. Which part of what they did represented working with us? They are impacting all of our lives. The term, “as of right”, surely cannot apply exclusively to only those who stand to achieve financial gain………..

Where are you, Councilman?

Water needs, power needs, lack of green space, filthy air, dirty streets, overcrowded trains, denser living conditions, traffic signs ignored, insufficient parking, manufacturing and mom and pops being lost, few, if any athletic programs for our children and nothing for our teens….the stress on our neighborhood continues to mount, with no relief, no remedy in sight, in fact, clear indication of more and more to come---

Where are you, Councilman?

When you invited the bloggers to your tea, Councilman, did you prepare somewhat for their advent? Did you plan to have some refreshments, provide a clean place to sit and chat……or, did you tell people to come and figure all the rest would magically work out somehow AFTER they arrived? We sincerely doubt it. Planning was done for this event, was it not?

We have a great deal of work to do here before we invite even one more person to come. If not moratorium, surely some type of mechanism must be put into place to allow us some breathing, planning and preparation room. Surely, in light of the recent terrible construction accidents combined with the revelations of the Department of Building’s inadequacies, this is a proposal that makes sense. No one expects you to do these things alone. You have, among your constituents, wonderfully creative, intelligent and generous people who love their community and are willing to help. We are the many. We are already here. You need to acknowledge the needs of the many. You need to decidedly choose us over the few.

Where are you, Councilman? We are looking for you.

The Carroll Gardens Coalition for Respectful Development (CORD)


With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........