Blame Jay Schneiderman. For the anger, tears, frustration and provocations that almost erupted in violence at the Liberty Gardens public hearing [“Liberty Gardens Affordable Housing Hearing Draws Crowd,” 27east.com, October 26].
Convened for the public to comment on the draft environmental impact statement, both Councilwoman Cyndi McNamara’s careful analysis of its flaws and the document itself were quickly overtaken by the circus orchestrated by Ralph Fasano, with Schneiderman’s complicity.
The opponents of this multifamily development who hoped to address its inappropriateness and environmental impacts had to scour the actual document, prepared for the developer in usual fashion by the ubiquitous Nelson Pope Voorhis, and were met by veterans bused in by Mr. Fasano from his other encampments to testify to his saving their lives with his housing and, simultaneously, to face down any opposition with accusations of insufficient patriotism, indifference to suffering, and heartless selfishness.
This was underscored by town support-cohorts berating anyone who dare object “to these veterans” with a fact or two as latte-elitists more concerned with a few minutes’ inconvenience in traffic than life-and-death issues, as well as the usual half-truths and insults on cue from Michael Daly.
But, from this orchestrated mayhem, finally, whom this housing project will actually house came to light.
Just as “the unfortunate language” in the NPV contract revealed that they were being paid to follow the town’s directive to disparage any opposition by a contemptuous cry of NIMBYism (but call it “community outreach”), so did Mr. Fasano, by cynically overplaying his hand, reveal who Liberty Gardens is really for (but insistently call it “local, workforce housing”).
Concern Housing, which the well-paid Mr. Fasano represents, gets major funding from the State Office of Mental Health, and states almost verbatim its legal obligation to “provide affordable housing with supportive services and treatment programs operated to meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of persons with … disabilities, veterans, homeless and low-income families.” Only Fasano deletes “with psychiatric disabilities,” just as he deleted “Independent Living” from the original name of his organization. No surprise from a huckster who uses veterans as sales props.
If Mr. Schneiderman wanted, in addition to the money his eye is always trained on, a facility for veterans from all over the state, the disabled, psychiatrically disabled and homeless built on County Road 39, it was his duty to present that transparently and truthfully to the public and solicit our input. Instead, salivating over density, he and the developer disingenuously misrepresented it as a solution to a “crisis” for the “local workforce” and to “ameliorate traffic.”
That was a lie purposefully perpetrated and confusion followed with a misinformed public getting an undeserved bad rap. He has dishonored the public and the office he holds.
One fine body…