“Hell No We Wont Go,” was the chant heard across the East River Waterfront where dozens of Williamsburg residents, community leaders, elected officials and city wide house activists rallied on May 22nd, on the 8th anniversary of Mayor Bloomberg’s 2005 rezoning. Angry residents feel like the Mayor has been incompetent because he has not lived up to the promise made almost a decade ago to build affordable housing. The Bloomberg administration agreed to build 3,548 affordable housing units in areas of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. However, only 842, which only 23% of them have been built after the rezoning, and within that total, 19 affordable housing out of the 1345 apartments have been built on city owned land in the area. As a result, thousands of residents who have lived in Williamsburg for decades, have been forced to move out of the Green point and Williamsburg areas because of the rising cost of living.
Councilmember Diana Reyna’s heartfelt declaration made her tear up as called the support of Latino families and minority groups, “These broken promises have resulted in a 22% decrease of the Latino population in Greenpoint and Williamsburg. This is unacceptable on behalf of the Mayor who must take immediate steps to reverse this horrible situation. He has a benign neglect approach on the working class and low-income residents. This has been a struggle. We must not divide, we must conquer! We must not separate the struggles but unite them!”
Councilman Stephen Levin of Brooklyn says, “These people in the crowd have build this community fro generation to generation with their own blood, sweat and tears. You earned the right to stay in this community. You guys have an ally in the City Council, I’m proud to represent you, this community is not going anywhere. Families can not continue to be priced out of their homes.”
Evelyn Cruz, a speaker for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez says that the Mayor has an elite approach to the new developments. She says that his administration illegally evicted families and decreased the number of rent stabilized apartments. Cruz says the Mayor is, “culturally insensitive and bias.”
Debbie Mejia, leader of the Southside United Organization, took the megaphone and addresses not the public but the community who stood behind her. In Spanish, she chanted “Pueblo unido hamas esta vencido!”
Mejia says, “We stand here today, 8 years later fighting to get what our Mayor has promised. We our fighting as a coalition against displacement so that every family, every minority, every senior citizen can be heard. Either we are faithful to each other or we break it all off.”
Richard Mazur, of the North Brooklyn Development Corporation said they voted against the rezoning plan because it was not what they wanted. He hopes that no more years go wasted on false promises.
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development spokesman said the city still intends to deliver the pledged apartments.