Note: The following letter, reprinted with the permission of the 29th Street Neighborhood Association, was sent on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 19, 2022, to NYC Mayor Eric Adams and elected officials named in the “cc” section at the end of the letter. On the same day, the Neighborhood Association sent the letter to all on their email list. “We are sharing it with all of you,” they wrote, “for the sake of transparency and accountability.”
Att: Honorable Eric Adams
Mayor of New York City
Dear Mr. Mayor,
We are appreciative of your time and extend to you a special thank you for all the effort you and your administration, undertake each day to address the many challenges our city currently faces.
It is also opportune to thank Mathew Sedacca, Georgia Worrell and Melissa Klein, the New York Post journalists who published “Coke dealers boldly peddle drugs on sidewalks of Broadway”, as well as Larry Celona and Tina Moore for aggressively reporting flaws and failures in the City’s practices of protecting its residents in their piece titled “Madman with 12 prior arrest chokes woman pushing baby carriage, shoves another lady to ground in NYC park”.
Each day my neighbors and local business witness horrific acts of lewdness, unprovoked aggression, drug use and general mayhem. It takes courage to broadcast truths. We are grateful our reality is being told.
THE SYSTEM IS BROKEN.
The Post highlights what we have been saying for a long time. When we speak-up, we are either dismissed by local elected officials, or are shamed for being uncaring. We care. We care a lot. We have been asking for proper care and services, for those in need, for the longest time. But these services and the rights of the individuals in need of service must not preclude the safety and quality of life of our communities.
The City Council, our local elected officials, the DA office and police precincts are all aware of our situation. They are well-versed on the hundreds of 911/311 calls made daily in our neighborhood. Our neighborhood is one of a number of communities adversely impacted by the thoughtless and misguided clustering of shelter and social service in immediate proximity to each other.
From our community’s lived experience, these shelters and services have brought narcotic activities and many crimes– the crimes associated with this behavior: prostitution, theft, robbery, assault to our corners. We’ve experienced a steady decay of safety. It also attracts a transient crowd looking to score drugs and further erodes the area. Businesses have closed and long time neighbors have moved. But 2 smoke shops have opened with 50 steps of each other within 100 steps of the 3 elementary schools, senior housing and girls’ dorms.
The impact of DA Bragg’s Day One Memo coupled with the states current bail reform laws intensifies the chaos. It has been used, abused, and stretched to fit the interests of small groups who scream the loudest. It is a fiasco with lasting implications. Repeat offenders continue to display their disdain for the law and commit crimes daily, because they know they will not be punished. Many have cycled through prisons multiple times, for violent offenses but are released and remain a threat to our communities.. They spill onto the streets during the day and their anger is palpable.
We are a great city- one filled with brilliant strategists who can and should be proposing new approaches to old problems.
Time for a new direction. In the process New York can achieve something great.. But in the interim, we must restore public safety. We must acknowledge the significance Enough business as usual and enough with city agencies such as DHS lecturing us on their challenges. Its condescending.
Let’s get to work and get those struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues into facilities actually able to address and adequately supervise their care. The current shelter system and social service net is woefully inadequate to care of this unstable segment, especially when they are clustered in hotels in residential neighborhoods. This doesn’t serve those in need and our communities are collateral damage.
Mayor Adams, we support your efforts to restore the public safety and quality of life that the prior administration so recklessly squandered. We are here to help.
Looking forward to your reply.
For the 1,336 members of the 29th Street Neighborhood Association,
Mario G. Messina
CC: Senator Liz Kruger
Senator Brad Hoylman
DA Alvin Brag
Borough President Mark Levine
Council Member Carlina Rivera
Council Member Erik Botcher
Council Member Keith Powers
Inspector Angel Figueroa
Inspector Robert O’Hare
CB6 Chair Kyle Athayde
CB5 Chair Vikki Barbero
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