Live From The 94th Precinct Community Council Meeting

Don’t let the above image of our Community Council hard at work fool you: it was a particularly informative and eventful evening at Greenpoint’s very own Church of the Ascension.

First, the minutes from last month’s meeting were read. Then we got down to business.

Part I: The Correspondence Secretary maked announcements, a new date and location for forthcoming Community Council meetings (as of September) is announced and Pat McDonald of Outreach Speaks

1. The Correspondence Secretary Speaks:

  • As of May 23, 2011 smoking will not be allowed in Parks Department facilities. A $50.00 fine will be levied for offenders.
  • People whose properties are afflicted by graffiti can call 311 to have it removed.
  • An admonishment against crimes of opportunity is made.
  • The program of the month is a summer camp for youths between 10 and 16 years of age. The purpose is to foster better relations between youths and our Finest.

2. The head Mistress of the Community Council makes a couple of announcements:

  • As of September the Community Council meetings will be conducted the third Tuesday of every month in the rear room of the Church of the Ascension accessible via Java Street.
  • The rally to protest the 200 bed homeless assessment center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard will come to pass May 22nd at 2:30 p.m.

3. Pat McDonald speaks from Greenpoint’s very own Outreach Program (which is located at 960 Manhattan Avenue) speaks.

  • This facility works with substance abusers of all ages (including teenagers) and has English, Polish and Spanish speaking counselors.
  • A domestic violence program (which is sorely needed) is in the works.
  • Outreach also offers 12 Step Programs.

Part 2: Lincoln Restler Speaks

  • Mr. Restler gives props to the 94th for addressing issues arising in north Greenpoint especially pertaining to drug traffic.
  • Mr. Restler mentions the (now) kiboshed moratorium on liquor licenses but notes that a more aggressive response is needed to problematic establishments.
  • An audience member inquires Mr. Restler as to the status of the Brooklyn Night Bazaar. (It isn’t happening.)

Part 3: D.I. Hurson Gives the Low-down

  • D.I. Hurson give props to the Narcotics Division and citizens for helping to crack down on drug activity.
  • He mentions a seizure of crack cocaine on Metropolitan Avenue.
  • D. I. Hurson addresses what the 94th can do in regards to problematic bars.
    • To this end they will be having a sit-down with the Department of Consumer Affairs so as to better understand the laws which govern our local watering holes.
    • D. I. Hurson gives a reminder about the MARCH Program. (Look it up, folks!)
    • Bedford Avenue is specifically mentioned. D.I. Hurson states he was at North 7 Street and Bedford Avenue May 15th 2:00 a.m. He liked it to “Times Square”. He noted that the bulk of citations issued in this area are for open containers and public urination.
  • We’re up with Park Slope with being down with crime!
  • But he notes a woman was rather violently robbed after exiting Kellogg Diner.
  • Car break-ins: eight arrests in four weeks.
  • A gent who opted for drug rehabilitation (versus 1 1/2 years jail time) opted to escape and was apprehended.
  • Then of course the subject of the OSA’s East River State Parks concerts* arose:
    • This year police officers will be on hand to ensure prompt egress from said concerts.
    • The port-o-lets will (hopefully) be relocated closer to the entrance of East River State Park so merrymakers will not relieve themselves on neighboring properties’ stoops, foliage, etc.

Part 4: The Q & A session begins!

  • A lady from Noble and Lorimer Street mentions a number of unlicensed cars being present on her block. “This car is not stolen, do not tow it… mind your own business”. (priceless)
  • A woman in the audience brings up the matter of Skinheads and gangs inciting violence (because her son was beaten prior to this meeting). Not cool.
  • A Kent Street resident mentions the (recurring) homeless problem.
  • D. I. Hurson reiterates that people should call the police.
  • Ms. McDonald adds her two cents.
  • Rami Metal (of Steve Levin’ office) speaks.
    • He states that Mr. Levin has been meeting with various city agencies about this issue.
    • Not all seemingly homeless people are, in fact, homeless.
    • Mr. Metal notes that the issue Mr. Levin has with the proposed homeless intake center at 400 McGuinness Boulevard is it will not help these individuals. They are largely Polish-speaking, have roots in Greenpoint and care not to leave here.
    • All discussions with the DHS (Department of Homeless Services) has proven to be fruitless.
    • Ms. McDonald notes that one such individual did receive shelter at a 360 house because was willing to stop drinking.
    • Mr. Metal notes a number of the people in question are undocumented and as such do not qualify for assistance. To this end Levin’s office has reached out to the Polish Consulate.
    • The stalwart 94th Community Council attendee (of whom I am a big fan), Phyllis, kicks things up a notch by proposing work camps be used to employ our local homeless/inebriates and giving props to Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
    • Both Mr. Metal and D.I. Hurson concur that F.D.R. was an excellent president.

Part 5: Steve Levin Speaks

  • Another attendee wants to know if there is a way our inebriates can be mandated to stop drinking (in order to get housing and work).
  • Councilman Levin points out that these men are not breaking the law and as such a program is not feasible.
  • Mr. Levin counters that community-based resources need to be employed for Greenpoint’s homeless/inebriates. Most of whom are Polish-speaking. He also notes the only homeless shelter which provides a Polish-speaking employee is located in East New York.
  • Mr. Levin talks about “Common Ground”. A homeless outreach program which has identified 40-45 “chronic public inebriates” in the Garden Spot.
  • Once again: while seeming to be homeless, a number of the aforementioned folks are not. They have family here; it is their drinking that leads them to the streets.
  • Mr. Levin notes that two homeless men died in Greenpoint last winter and presses that the Department of Homeless Services look at community-based options for helping the homeless.
  • Mr. Levin notes that the proposed assessment center for 400 McGuinness Boulevard will not help Greenpoint’s homeless/unhoused.
  • The Greenpoint Hotel, a SRO, and the neighboring 3/4 quarter house is discussed (This is interesting, folks. Do give it a listen!).
  • An attendee states that there are too many homeless shelters and the solution is work (and thus the discussion of work camps is resumed).
  • This chap asserts they should be given a plane ticket and sent back to where they came from. Mr. Levin replied this is not plausible. However, he did add when family members can be found in Poland, he is reaching out to them.
  • Phyllis reiterates the need for work camps.
  • This discussion drags on and Pat McDonald tries to steer the discussion into more productive territory.

Part 6: The Conclusion (READ: more talk of work camps)

  • Pat McDonald continues.
  • Phyllis restates, once again, the need for work camps and points out how it helped her brother (who later fought the Nazis in Italy) and that this came to pass in the Great Depression (which was before Mr. Levin was born).
  • Ms. McDonald tries to rebut.
  • Levin notes local efforts being made with St. Anthony’s Church and the Greenpoint Reformed Church.
  • Mr. Levin segues to the subject of the two hate crimes which came to pass earlier this year , notes that this seems to be part of a larger trend and implores folks that if they see something to contact the police.

And with that, gentle readers, this meeting came to a merciful end.

Miss Heather

Photo Credits: The “Clean and Sober” chaps in pink shirts come courtesy of Markuson’s Blog.

*Whose finances can be perused here.


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