Fellow protestor with Alexis Smallwood (213346)
Credit: Contributed

Dear Councilman Donovan Richards Jr., Senator James Sanders Jr., Congressman Gregory Meeks and Assemblywoman Michele Titus,

I’ve been praying to the ancestors for guidance, understanding and tolerance for you and the other government officials. I am very angry and disappointed in Congressmen Gregory Meeks, Senator James Sanders Jr., Assemblywoman Michele Titus and you, Councilman Donovan Richards Jr.

For the past 10 years, I have watched Far Rockaway be abandoned and abused physically, psychologically and spiritually. Donovan, you have been on the Economic Development Committee, Environmental Protection Committee, Land Use Committee, Public Housing Committee, Recovery and Resiliency Committee and Transportation Committee. You’ve been on the Council’s budget negotiation team and mayoral appointee to the tax lien. At the end of the day, I still don’t see where any of these laws or amendments have affected Far Rockaway in a positive way.

These amendments, I believe, are just a way to give over the people’s land to private developers, such as Ron Molis of L&M Development Inc., and Steve Bluestone from Bluestone development. I am angry that Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation continues to get government funding, while stealing from summer youth workers and business owners. The organization continues to start projects and stop them. What happened with $91 million dollars to help open up new businesses? Who was Peninsula Hospital sold to? Is it going to be housing or a multicultural center? When are we going to get a real STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) school? Why won’t you let Destination Rockaway be built behind the York City Housing Authority Hammel Houses in Far Rockaway? Is it that you and your wife are going to build three schools, and that’s why HPD wouldn’t give us the land? You have let us down in Far Rockaway.

We only have one hospital out here and you’re going to bring 450 bodies out here. How do you sleep at night? What happened to the money that Anthony Wiener earmarked for docks? We don’t have decent transportation when it comes to the MTA. Governor Cuomo and the city don’t want to open the vacant rails on the Lefferts Boulevard line. You need to rethink building more housing out here in Far Rockaway. We need to revitalize the housing that we already have! We need to revitalize NYHCA by rebuilding the Housing Authority here in New York City. Stop building shelters, jails and luxury condos.

I am third generation fighting for housing, education and economic development, and it’s 2016. If you want to be in the history books, you need to support a community land trust and worker-owned cooperatives, and build a state of the art hospital and a STEM school. You also need to work on the tax lien that has left our community in desperate need of property and infrastructure, which is why a lot of us can’t start businesses.

Councilman Donovan Richard Jr., these are my Far Rockaway Blues.

Best Wishes,

Alexis Smallwood

Rockaway Wildlife,