Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hell No, We Won't Go!

At The Courtesy, Only The Signs Have Changed

It all comes down to the December 11th vote of the Hempstead Town Board. [10:30 AM, Meeting Pavilion, 1 Washington Street, Hempstead.]

If the Town Board votes in favor of the Urban Renewal Plan (we'll call it the Murray Mistake, for lack of a better term), the Courtesy will close, ah, um, NEVER!

If the Town Board votes NO on the Urban Renewal Plan -- as civic groups and community organizations have been demanding -- and instead gives the nod to private developer, Trammell-Crow, the Courtesy will not only be closed within months, it will be razed to the ground and turned into a residential development we can all be proud of.

Let's make sure that what happens in Hempstead Town is in the best interests of the people in West Hempstead town.

Come out to the Town Board meeting on Tuesday, December 11th -- the same day the Town Board plans to vote itself, and Supervisor Murray, hefty pay raises -- and tell them, "Urban Renewal Plan NO ~ YES To Trammell-Crow!"

Can't make it to the December 11th Town Board meeting?

E-mail Kate Murray at and Councilman Ed Ambrosino at

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Welcome To Kate Murray's Hempstead Town!

Blight On Every Corner; A No-Tell Hotel In Every Community

Elmont's Parkway Inn As The New Courtesy?

From Newsday:

Elmont man nabbed after hotel room struggle with cops

A man carrying a loaded handgun tried to evade the police by climbing through an Elmont motel bathroom window, but after a struggle he was arrested Tuesday night on drug and weapons charges, Nassau police said.

The 11:40 p.m. arrest came after police officers noticed a suspicious car in the Parkway Motor Inn lot at 35 Plainfield Ave. in Elmont.

As the officers walked toward the car the driver, David Stanford, 27, of Elmont got out and ran into a motel room, the police said.

When Stanford climbed out the room's bathroom window, Fifth Precinct Police Officers Frank Diconza and Richard Muller were waiting for him.

Stanford fought with the officers when they tried to arrest him, but he was eventually handcuffed and taken into custody. During the struggle, Officer Diconza broke a bone in one of his hands, and he was taken to Winthrop-University Hospital where he was treated and released.

The officers found that Stanford was carrying a loaded 9-mm handgun and several small bags of marijuana, police said.

He was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, second-degree assault, resisting arrest, criminal mischief and marijuana possession.

Stanford, of 39 Fallon Ave., was scheduled for arraignment Wednesday at First District Court in Hempstead.

Copyright © 2007, Newsday Inc.
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IMPORTANT REMINDER: Town of Hempstead Public Hearing on Tuesday, December 11 at 10:30 AM [Meeting Pavilion, 1 Washington Street, Hempstead].

Tell the Town Board to just say NO to the Urban Renewal Plan!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

No Mandate For Murray, Says West Hempstead Civic Prez

Norton Negates Murray's Misguided Muzzling Of Community's Will

The Needs of the Many...

After reading your article "Incumbents Win on Election Day," I am totally dismayed at Supervisor Kate Murray's statement saying that "I hope that those few residents that are perhaps skeptical about our plan will come into the fold and get excited as I am about our urban renewal plan."

Virtually every West Hempstead organization has come out to support the Trammell Crow Residential apartment complex and the 65 units per acre and oppose the Urban Renewal Plan. Among those organizations are: West Hempstead Board of Education, WH Education Association (teachers union), WH Chamber of Commerce, Cathedral Gardens Civic Association, WH Soccer Chiefs, WH Lions Club, WH Kiwanis Club, WH Historical Society, WH Community Scholarship Fund and the WH Civic Association. In addition, over 2400 letters and signed petitions have been delivered to Supervisor Murray, all in opposition to the Urban Renewal Plan and in support of the sale of the Courtesy to Trammell Crow and allowing 65 units per acre. In a community the size of West Hempstead, this certainly constitutes a vast majority of residents.

How then can Ms. Murray say only a few are skeptical?

Supervisor Murray constantly keeps saying there are 10 acres designated for redevelopment? This is misleading because 10 acres cannot be used for development. The Urban Renewal Plan clearly states that the full 10 acres cannot be utilized. Yet our supervisor continues to make reference to developing 10 acres in press releases and in quotes to the press.

There are many reasons why so many are opposed to the Urban Renewal Plan for West Hempstead. First and foremost, there isn't any clear plan. In addition, it effectively kills the private sale of the Courtesy to Trammell Crow Residential as well as the Rockefeller Group's planned senior citizen townhouses on the AVF Carting property; it also creates a situation where National Wholesale Liquidators would be in violation of existing town code resulting in reducing its value and threatening the existence of this business which pays over $1.2 million in taxes.

The owners of the four pieces of property within the plan have all said they would oppose the taking of their property under eminent domain. This will result in years of litigation costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and will result in the Courtesy remaining open for years if not possibly forever. What is downplayed by the town is the requirement under eminent domain to find a location to enable the owner of the Courtesy to relocate his business. In which community does the town intend to relocate the Courtesy?

Yes, Supervisor Murray was returned to office. But, that shouldn't be translated into having received a mandate from West Hempstead to continue to charge full steam ahead with an ill conceived plan for our community. Our politicians would better serve us if they remove their rose colored glasses, walk among us and take a realistic look at the mess the Urban Renewal Plan for West Hempstead creates.

Rosalie Norton
President, West Hempstead Civic Association

(Note: There is a copy of the Urban Renewal Plan and the Environmental Impact Study in the West Hempstead Public Library)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Town's Delay; Activists' Dismay; Courtesy To Stay?

Town Hearing on Urban Renewal Plan Now On For December 11th. Maybe.

They've rescheduled (again) the public hearing on the Town's Urban Renewal Plan. On again, off again, this time for Tuesday, December 11, 2007 (in case you were wondering which year) at 10:30 AM (when most of us are at work or otherwise unavailable).

Should we tell you to come out to the Bennett Meeting Pavilion behind Town Hall (1 Washington Street, Hempstead), as we've done -- and done, and done -- in the past, only to have you sent away, disappointed?

Or do we dare to not ask you to show up (again) and be heard (again), lest the "hearing" (but who's listening?) go forward without opposition, Murray having her "mandate" to give the thumbs up to a plan that will further delay the closure of the Courtesy (perhaps for years), and forever change (for the worse, we fear) the landscape of West Hempstead's eastern gateway?

Well, mark your calendars accordingly, and be prepared to stand and resist Murray's mauling of our community's plans to revitalize and re-energize a vital part of our hamlet that has been blighted by the Courtesy, and neglected by the Town.

Watch your local newspapers, for e-mails from the West Hempstead Civic Association, and this blog, for the latest on the never-ending saga of the Courtesy Hotel.

And do send an e-mail to the powers-that-be (or pretend to be) at Town Hall -- even if you have done so before -- demanding that the Courtesy be closed and demolished, with the sale of the property to private developer, Trammell-Crow, green-lighted by Hempstead Town.

Hey, it's your community. If you don't fight for it, who will?

Town stalls owners' try to unload seedy hotel
Wednesday, November 14th 2007, 4:00 AM

A seedy West Hempstead hotel seems to have more lives than a cat - even though everyone, including its owners, wants it closed.

A crucial town hearing that many hoped would nail the coffin shut on the Courtesy Hotel on Hempstead Ave. has been postponed until Dec. 11, dragging out an already protracted saga.

The town board may decide that day to delay its vote on the Courtesy's fate until January, and its decision could lead to an extended legal battle.

"The Courtesy should have been closed by the end of the year," said Rosalie Norton, president of the West Hempstead Civic Association. "There's no way of understanding the reluctance to move forward."

The delays are tied to a feud between the town board and the Courtesy's owners, brothers Bruce and Richard Zwelsky.

The Zwelskys want to shutter the hotel, allegedly a hangout for prostitutes, and agreed last year to sell the land to apartment complex developer Trammell Crow Residential.

But the town government is seeking to prevent the sale. The Dec. 11 hearing centers on a plan that would condemn the Courtesy land and sell the property to a developer.

"It's more playing games and it's more delay," said Thomas Levin, a lawyer representing the Zwelsky brothers.

If the board votes to condemn the land - instead of letting the Zwelskys sell it to Trammell Crow - Levin said he expects to wage a legal battle, which some believe could drag on for months, if not years.

Levin said he couldn't predict when the hotel would close, given the town board's sluggish pace.
The hearing yesterday was canceled because two of seven town board members were absent, and the board needs a super-majority - a majority plus one - to approve the plan, said town spokesman Mike Deery.

Marshall Myers, the civic association's vice president, wondered whether the board delayed the vote in the hope that fewer residents would show up to protest.

"Once Thanksgiving hits, people's brains go into holiday mode," Myers said. "They don't want to hear it if it's anything besides being with family and shopping for Christmas."

© Copyright 2007 All rights reserved.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Murray Calls Victory A "Mandate," Then Adjourns Courtesy Hearing Without Date

West Hempsteaders Give Murray Their Okay, 60% to 40%; Murray Gives WHers The Finger

Oh, she gloated, all right.

As reported in the Three Village Times, Kate Murray sees her victory in Tuesday's election as a mandate for her misguided plans, and a rebuff to "the few" who have dared to criticize the error of her ways.

Of course, West Hempstead residents didn't help their cause, those who voted in numbers so small one could hear a pin drop at the polling place, giving Murray the thumbs up with 60% of the local vote.

Talk about none so blind, or so moved by a pretty smile and a whole mess of self-serving, taxpayer paid literature delivered to the mailbox.

"I'm certainly very grateful to our town residents' mandate. It's very humbling to see the overwhelming numbers that came in for all of us. I'm just delighted that I get a chance to serve the residents for another two years because this is a great job and I've loved every minute of it," the town supervisor said.

Murray also won in the West Hempstead region where she has been criticized for failing to close the controversial Courtesy Hotel. However, an urban renewal plan for the area is in the works.

"Clearly a vast majority thinks we're heading in the right direction and I'm excited about that," she said. "I hope that those few residents that are perhaps skeptical about our plan will come into the fold and get excited as I am about our urban renewal plan because I really think at the end of the day, developing not only the Courtesy site at 2.7 acres but doing those 10 acres in a cohesive fashion will really be the best solution for the West Hempstead community."

Murray then promptly went on to cancel the further hearing on the Town's highly-criticized Urban Renewal Plan, as scheduled for November 13th, setting no new date as the fate of the Courtesy, and a community's future, hangs precariously in the balance.

Ah, we have seen the enemy, and he is us. And Kate. But mainly us...

To badly paraphrase, those who would forsake representative government for a half-baked plan that stands revitalization on its head deserve the half-baked plan.

The rest of us -- even those who stayed at home on Election Day (shame on every one of you) -- deserve better!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

'Round-n-'Round We Go, Where We Stop, Only Kate Murray Knows

From Best Laid Plans To Worst, Town Balks While Community Squawks

The latest from the West Hempstead Civic Association:

Important Meeting of the Hempstead Town Board: Public Hearing on the Future of the Courtesy Hotel

Tuesday, November 13, 2007 at 10:30 a.m.
Bennett Pavillion, 1 Washington St. Hempstead


The West Hempstead Civic Association is urging all residents to attend this very important meeting. Call 733-0879 for further information.
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Send a Letter to the Town of Hempstead to Close the Courtesy Hotel

The WHCA has developed a letter to send to Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Edward Ambrosino urging them to expedite Trammel Crow's application for zoning variances which will allow them to buy the property and close the Courtesy for good by the end of the year.

Please fill out the form and let our elected officials know that we want action taken now.
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