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Queens Jewish Council Says Ready to Accept Compromise in Forest Hills Housing Dispute

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Dr. Alvin Lashinsky, past president of the Queens Jewish Community Council, said today the Council was willing to accept “a compromise that the community would accept” in the controversy over an 840-unit low-income housing project now under construction in the predominantly Jewish Forest Hills section of Queens. He said he viewed the Cuomo report, issued last month which suggested halving the number of apartments, as “a beginning in the quest for understanding and compromise” of the controversy but he also accused Mayor John V, Lindsay of “not acting in good faith” in the dispute.

Lashinsky said that the mayor has “absolutely refused” to meet with the Council. He also attacked Lindsay for the “acceleration of building” on the project. He claimed that construction on the site was now taking place day and night. “This is a ploy on the mayor’s part to get as much as possible done,” Lashinsky said. “People out here (in Queens) are beginning to say that there will be no compromise on the mayor’s part. They feel they’re being used as pawns.”

The compromise plan was submitted July 26 to Mayor Lindsay by Mario M. Cuomo, an attorney named by the mayor to investigate the disputed project and propose revisions which might be acceptable to both proponents and opponents of the currently scheduled 840-family apartments in three 24-story buildings.

Dr. Stanley Dacher, executive vice-president of the Council, called on the mayor “to realize that this project has become a symbol not only to the Jewish community but to the entire middle class, as to whether they have any future left in this city.” He concluded that the Cuomo report, “if followed to its logical conclusion, actually makes a very strong case for ‘no project at all,”‘ a situation which Lashinsky said the Council preferred. But Lashinsky maintained that the Council was ready to begin negotiations for a compromise, provided Mayor Lindsay would meet with its representatives.

Lashinsky said that the Council was willing to give Mayor Lindsay “reasonable time” to come to a decision in the controversy, but warned that “if the project goes up, I and others out here will see that this project is hung as an albatross around the mayor’s neck for his political life, which will be short.”

The first reunion of alumni of Young Judaea and of Junior Hadassah will be held in New York Aug. 20 at Hadassah’s national convention. Young Judaea, organized in 1909, is the oldest Zionist youth movement in the United States, stressing recreation and Jewish culture in a Zionist framework. Junior Hadassah, organized in 1920, concentrates on child care, especially Palestinian orphans.

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