NEW YORK (Jan. 31)
The Queens Jewish Community Council declared over the weekend that Instead of “honest efforts” in the matter of the controversial low-income housing project, “all we see are the distortions, misstatements and half-truths deliberately phrased by the city administration to confuse the issues and deceive the public.”
Dr. Alvin Lashinsky, president of the QJCC, said that “Private postures by the city administration had led us to believe that the city genuinely desired conciliation in Forest Hills,” but that “Instead of negotiating honestly (Housing Authority chairman) Simeon Golar continues his foolish publicity proposals about screening committees.”
One of such citizens’ screening committees is headed by Orthodox Rabbi Herschel Solnica of the Young Israel of the Rockaways. Following public demands, Golar had, according to Rabbi Solnica, agreed to let the committee screen applicants for the 712-unit low-income housing project in the Arverne-Edgemere area of the Rockaways.
There has been some discussion to let a citizens’ committee also screen applicants for the 840-family project in Queens, situated in a middle income, white, largely Jewish area. The Housing Authority, however, retains final word on each applicant.
Referring to the Queens project, Dr. Lashinsky stated: “For groups or individuals who are not part of the government to scrutinize case histories of families who apply for apartments is an open invasion of privacy. Indeed, the very legality of such screening committees is doubtful. And even if the first round of tenants is screened, the Housing Authority has the right to use all the apartments, even those that were assigned to the elderly, on an emergency basis, and could assign the entire project to welfare recipients without the community having any recourse, even in court.”
Voicing disappointment at “the city’s apparent unwillingness to negotiate or even carry on a meaningful and progressive dialogue,” Dr. Lashinsky said the QJCC was planning “to again increase our protest activities.”