Letter: CB11 did the right thing with its handling of White Plains Road shelter proposal

white plains road shelter
On Friday, March 18, the city announced it was not moving forward with its plan to construct a 200-bed shelter at the corner of White Plains Road and Bronxdale Avenue.
Photo Adrian Childress

To the Editor,

On Feb. 3, when Bronx Community Board 11 held its in-person public hearing on the 2028 White Plains Road single, adult male-only homeless shelter, members of the public complained about the timing of the hearing; they complained about a lack of notification. In other words, the community was upset that they weren’t notified about the shelter immediately after CB11 was in October 2021.

When CB11 Chairman Albert D’Angelo told the angry crowd of 120 members of the public, “You think this would have made anymore difference if we met in October?” one gentleman, who was against the shelter, immediately responded: “Yes, with petitions being signed.”

Petitions mean nothing to an administration unwilling to listen. In the fall of 2002, for example, I — along with thousands of others — signed a petition called “No attack Iraq.” Then, in February 2003, millions of people around the world combined in the largest example of collective action in history to protest against the impending U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Did it matter? As an active member of the Army National Guard, I found myself in the unenviable position of celebrating my birthday by crossing over the Kuwaiti border in the turret of a U.S. military Humvee at dusk into what would become a 14-month-long deployment to an unforgiving land. All because of intransigent leadership.

Toward the end of CB11’s February 2022 public hearing, Mr. D’Angelo said, “The reason we made the decision [to delay a meeting and thereby notification regarding the White Plains Road homeless shelter] — and I told you this earlier — […] is we felt that the new mayor coming into office would be more amenable to stopping the shelter. We knew that the former mayor would not have done it. […] If this thing dies, then you’re going to turn around and say, ‘Okay, you guys made the right decision,’ right?”

“No, we won’t,” said a woman who was against the shelter.

OK, she may not say CB11 made the right decision now that the city has pulled the plug on White Plains Road, but based on my experience with the George W. Bush administration (and de Blasio’s), I know that CB11 did the right thing. This is not to deny the determined efforts of countless individuals and CB11’s elected officials — most notably the borough president, Assemblymember Nathalia Fernandez, Councilmember Oswald Feliz, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and present and past City Council members of the 13th District.

Jeremy Warneke,

Community Board 11 district manager

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