2013-05-03 / Editorial/Opinion

WAVE Letter To HUD

The following is an excerpt from a letter sent to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan after the City did such a poor job notifying the people of Rockaway about the public comment period which is part of the Community Development Block Grant process:

THE WAVE Newspaper
April 24, 2013

Shaun Donovan
Secretary of HUD

Dear Mr. Donovan:

Please consider the following before approving New York City’s application for Community Development Block Grant.

New York City DID NOT properly afford citizens the opportunity to comment on its plan. The only newspaper in Rockaway and the only community board in Rockaway – New York’s most impacted area -- were not made aware of the public comment period and only came to know it by chance – not by any action on the city’s part.

Going forward, The City cannot be trusted to engage in proper outreach as it states it will.

From HUD:

***Before the grantee (the City) adopts the Action Plan…The manner of publication MUST include prominent posting on the grantee's official Web site and must afford citizens…and interested parties a reasonable opportunity to examine the plan or amendment's contents. Grantees are also encouraged to notify affected citizens through electronic mailings, press releases, statements by public officials, media advertisements, public service announcements, and/or contacts with neighborhood organizations.***

Not only did the City fail to post it obviously – it was not clearly found on nyc.gov but on an obscure webpage, there was very little other outreach. They say they “took extensive measures to ensure participation by all segments.” This strikes us as untrue.

Rockaway was not heard, Mr. Secretary. We hope you’re listening.

Perhaps the City does not know that many people don’t use social media and instead rely on newspapers and civic meetings. The City DID NOT NOTIFY Rockaway’s ONLY newspaper and DID NOT NOTIFY Community Board 14 about this Plan or of the opportunity for the public to comment.

Their outreach was awful and if they pledge to do the same going forward we are guaranteed a rigged outcome.

The Wave looks forward to your response and will publish it – so the people of Rockaway can find out what the Secretary of HUD has to say about this.

Thank you for your prompt response.

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