Saturday, November 20, 2010

Community Resistance to Columbia University's "Kravis Business School Building" Construction Project In West Harlem Continues: November 2010 Update

As the text of a recent email from the West Harlem-based Coalition to Preserve Community group of neighborhood activists indicates, community resistance to the Columbia University's 2010 landgrabbing and Kravis business school building/campus expansion project in West Harlem apparently still continues:

"CPC Meeting 11/22, Eminent Domain, evictions & rats & NO JOBS

The next cpc meeting will be this Monday, nov. 22, at 6:30pm at St. Mary’s church. (see flyer below for details).
Our next protest against Columbia’s deceit and eviction plan will be on Dec. 7, starting at 3:30pm – details to follow.
The Sprayregens and the Singhs are still fighting for their rights.
Columbia is after them, and after us. Join in and help us resist this elitist and racist gentrification process.
And the rats are already invading the buildings surrounding the construction site, dining inside garbage bags 8 at a time, and eating at car engine hoses for dessert.
For more info, see flyer below.
Also below is a letter cpc wrote to the chair of community board 9,larry english, asking for jobs information from columbia that we have been requesting for five years. Mr. English has suggested that a “partnership” with columbia is the way to go.
We cite columbia’s “partnership” at harlem hospital as a good reason to talk about the facts of the eviction plan and not soft soap The bleeding. So where are the jobs? So why not leave the last two property owners alone? So why have bio-hazard labs here?

United for an Open and Strong Community
POST OFFICE BOX 50 - Manhattanville Station
365 West 125th Street
NEW York City, New York 10027

Coalition to Preserve Community (CPC) meeting – Monday, November 22,
St. Mary’s Church, 521 West 126th St. (bet. Broadway and Amsterdam)
Do you need a job? We had about 2,000 jobs in Manhattanville before Columbia’s expansion began. The University promised 7,000 jobs.
Where are they?
Would you like to stay in your apartment? Will you loose it because of eminent domain, gentrification or the privatization of public housing? STAND UP FOR YOUR HOME!
*Columbia continues to deregulate apartments in the buildings it owns. Some 7,000 have been lost.
*3333 Broadway was taken off the Mitchell-Lama program.
Hundreds have already been displaced and more than a thousand are threatened with the loss of their subsidies.
*Public Housing is under attack as privatization becomes ever more real.
Join us (1) on Nov. 22 to discuss what’s happening and (2) on December 7th for a jobs protest against Columbia.

Hon. Larry English
Community Board 9 – Manhattan Nov. 15, 2010
Dear Mr. English:
Since 2004, Columbia University has emphasized the employment opportunities that will result from its proposed Manhattanville expansion for Harlem residents and others. The figure of 7,000 jobs has frequently been mentioned in public relations statements.

Ever since Columbia opened an employment center on Broadway and 124th
Street, not long after President Lee Bollinger made Columbia’s initial presentation at the Board, CB 9 members and community residents have requested basic information about the effectiveness of this center – that is, some hard quarterly numbers on who is getting the jobs that the center offers as well as job training that Bollinger suggested was in the cards. We have lost more than 2,000 jobs in the businesses and
in the area surrounding the expansion site since Columbia started its quest to re-zone West Harlem and end the employment development concepts we outlined in the CB 9 197A community plan.

Former Chair Jordi Reyes-Montblanc advised members of the Coalition to Preserve Community that he had tried for years to follow up on our requests for job statistics from this center. He said that he constantly got the run-around every time he raised the issue.

We were disheartened to read your statement in the Columbia Spectator that the entrepreneurial spirit in Harlem is lagging, and your suggestion that building a partnership with Columbia is the pragmatic way to proceed.

We intend to mount a campaign in early December to focus on Columbia’s job promises and we would like to know what the facts are. The employment center has been operating for years and they consistently refuse to disclose how many community residents were able to obtain jobs there, or any other basic statistical information about who has gotten a job as a result of coming to the center.

The Community Board itself has requested this information. The Coalition to Preserve
Community has requested this information. In the interests of honest community advocacy and cooperation, we are repeating our oft made request that the Board once again demand this information which should be a matter of public record and should be
made available forthwith.

Please let us know what the results are. Thank you.

Tom Kappner Tom DeMott Nellie Bailey Luis Tejada
For the Coalition to Preserve Community Action Committee
cc. Perkins"