Just when I thought Michael Bloomberg may have come to his senses about the Occupy movement, this bit of news appears:
This Friday morning Staten Island police representing the mayor’s office have threatened eviction action against the crucial Staten Island hub at 489 Midland Avenue, in the heavily hit Midland Beach area. Aiman Youssef, a 42-year-old Syrian-American Staten Islander whose house was destroyed in the hurricane, has been running a 24/7 community pop up hub outside his property at 489 Midland Avenue since the day after the storm. He and a coalition of neighbors, friends and community members are serving hot food and offering cleaning supplies, non-perishables, medical supplies, and clothing to the thousands of residents who are still without heat, power, or safe housing. This popular hub is well-run, well-staffed, and has a constant hum of discussion, support, and advice as well as donations and pick ups and volunteer dispatch through another pop-up group, volunteers who call themselves “The Yellow Team.”
At the standing-room only Town Hall meeting at Staten Island’s New Dorp High School last night, Youssef was the first to raise his voice in the question and answer period. The community’s expression of extreme need and frustration with the lack of official support made for a contentious environment where city government officials offered few solutions. At one point borough president James Molinaro asked the audience “You wanna shut your mouth?” due to their increasingly loud demands for community support and housing solutions.
We ask all New Yorkers and Sandy supporters worldwide to not heed Molinaro’s demand, but to speak out as Youssef did. Ask the mayor’s office to support, not evict, the well-run community support hubs giving crucial services to New Yorkers in need.
Unfortunately, the billionaire prick Bloomberg was not moved. Early this morning — and do you notice that whenever Bloomie wants to do something particularly pricktastic, he does it on the weekends when he figures less people will be paying attention? — they were evicted.
Here’s the NYT on the proceedings:
Now some are worried that the city may try to halt their organizing efforts. On Thursday and Friday, those people said, a city official told them that they would have to dismantle their operation.
According to Farid Kader, 29, a Staten Island resident and a volunteer, the official said that he worked for the mayor’s office.
“He told us, ‘we’re moving you out,’ ” Mr. Kader said. “He told us it was unsafe. That’s the word he used.”
After that, Mr. Kader said, the official ordered a Red Cross truck that was delivering supplies to the area to leave.
The City Hall press office did not immediately respond to a message from a reporter on Saturday.
The hub’s been partially reconstructed a few blocks away, but the fact that the volunteers were forced by Bloomberg to spend time and resources on moving and rebuilding the hub — time and resources that they now couldn’t spend on helping the residents of Staten Island rebuild their homes and lives — is sickening.
UPDATE: I forgot the most sickening part. Seems that even as the Staten Island Occupiers and their fellow volunteers were forced to move, Bloomberg set up a stealth visit/photo-op at another Occupy hub!
He didn’t stick around long — not when the people started pestering him on when the city was going to come out and help them with the growing public health crisis caused by all those cold, wet, rotting buildings. (Not to mention not having heat, electricity, or even working plumbing.)