Friday, May 9, 2008

A Hotel Only A Mother Could Love. . .

. . .Or Town Supervisor Kate Murray

Mother's Day gift idea: Shut Hempstead's seedy Courtesy Hotel
Friday, May 9th 2008, 4:00 AM

The Courtesy Hotel in West Hempstead will be the site of a protest on Mothers' Day

Before heading to Mother's Day brunches Sunday, outraged moms said they will rally against an alleged hot-sheet hotel they say makes West Hempstead unsafe for kids.
For the second year in a row, scores of carnation-wearing mothers plan to lash out at Hempstead Town officials who broke promises to close the Courtesy Hotel, which locals have blasted for being a haven for drug addicts and prostitutes.
"We want to recapture what had been a very vibrant part of our town, where you sent your children without any supervision," said rally leader Rosalie Norton, 73, who has three adult children.
The moms support a deal the hotel's owners inked in 2006 to sell the land to a developer as long as the town changed the zoning to accommodate a high-density apartment complex.
But the town instead opted for a controversial urban-renewal plan for the area in January, stalling the closure of the hotel.
Norton's daughter, Susan DeFilippis, 46, said she always warns her teenage sons, Mike and Mark, not to walk past the Courtesy because "they run the risk of being mugged."
Others said they didn't mind sacrificing part of their Mother's Day to attend the half-hour protest - as long as it gets results.
"It's better than sleeping in and getting breakfast in bed," said Barbara Ejnes, 43, who said she worries about her son, Jake, 13, and daughter, Kelly, 14, riding their bikes past the hotel.
At last year's Mother's Day protest, Town Supervisor Kate Murray vowed to help close the hotel by the end of 2007 - a broken pledge that angered this year's attending moms. Murray won't go to this year's rally, town spokesman Mike Deery said.
But Deery said the supervisor "did expect and hope" the Courtesy would have been demolished by now, and still wants the seedy inn to be shuttered soon.
"We're working as hard as possible to end the hotel's reign of terror," Murray said in a statement.
The Courtesy's demise can't come quickly enough for Karen Crowley, 37, of West Hempstead, who has a 6-year-old son and 2-1/2-year-old daughter - and another child on the way.
"The Courtesy Hotel limits the potential of West Hempstead," Crowley said. "As hard as we fight and as long as we scream, nobody seems to be responding."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Will This Become An Annual Event?

2nd "Mother's Day Rally" Planned At Courtesy (Continental Breakfast Not Included)
from 10:45 AM to 11:15 AM

at the parking field across from the Courtesy Hotel
Hempstead Avenue, east of Woodfield Road
West Hempstead
Yet another Mother's Day, another year, another opportunity for Kate Murray & Kompany to hang that MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner from the facade of the Courtesy Hotel.
Will our community be "celebrating" Mother's Day across from the Courtesy in 2009, 2010, or beyond?
Only Kate Murray knows, and she's not telling anyone!
Send an e-mail to Kate at and tell her you want the Courtesy sold to Trammel-Crow and closed NOW.
West Hempstead has waited long enough!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Kate Can You Hear Me?

Civic Prez Keeps Pressure On Kate


To Supervisor Murray

(The following is a letter written by West Hempstead Civic Association President Rosalie Norton to Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray in regard to the Courtesy Hotel. It is being printed at the author's request.)

It has been three months since the adoption of the Urban Renewal Plan for West Hempstead. The following information is important for you to know. It brings to your attention the number of police calls and arrests, which have been made at the Courtesy and at the Capri Motel. It clearly shows the real and present dangers the Courtesy, as well as the Capri Motel, are to the residents of West Hempstead and all of the communities surrounding the area. To better grasp the extent of the problems, I am providing a report for each month since the year 2008 began.

Please share the following police activity information with the Hempstead Town Board members.

Police calls during the month of January 2008 at the Courtesy:
• 17 calls for service
• 8 arrests (drugs, prostitution, weapons, robbery)
•18 case reports
• 2 field interviews

Police calls during the month of February 2008 at the Courtesy Hotel:
• 21 calls for service
• 4 arrests
• 4 case reports
• 2 field investigations

Police calls during the month of March 2008 at the Courtesy Hotel:
• 8 calls for service
• 2 arrests
• 6 case reports

Police calls during the month of January 2008 at the Capri:
• 8 calls for service
• 1 arrest
• 3 case reports
• 1 field interview

Police calls during the month of February 2008 at the Capri:
• 4 calls for service
• 2 arrests
• 2 case reports
• 0 field investigations

Police calls during the month of March 2008 at the Capri:
• 4 arrests
• 3 case reports
• 0 field investigations

Since the beginning of 2008, in just three months, the total between the two hotels:
• 58 calls for service
• 21 arrests
• 36 case reports
• 5 field reports

How much longer do we have to wait to have the Courtesy sold and closed? The Capri is no better and can't be overlooked. Is this what West Hempstead deserves? Would you want this in your community? Unfortunately, it is my community and only we feel the pain.

Rosalie Norton
President, West Hempstead Civic Association
- - -
Meanwhile, the "STAY ALL NIGHT" rate of $49.77 + tax (arrive after Midnight) is still in effect, and this includes FREE Continental Breakfast!

Clearly, the BEST bargain in West Hempstead.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Civic Presidents, Past And Present, Blast Murray, Town Board

Courtesy Saga Far From Over, Community's Crusade For Closure Continues

The voices of the West Hempstead community may have fallen upon deaf ears as the Hempstead Town Board adopted the much maligned Urban Renewal Plan, but clearly, the voices of community will not be silenced.

For the latest on the Courtesy hotel, and other matters of community concern, check in regularly with the West Hempstead Civic Association.

Read on, as Seth Bykofsky, past president of the WHCA, and Rosalie Norton, the organization's current chief executive, lament the Town's verdict, and vow to fight on for the benefit of our West Hempstead.

Kudos, and our sincere thanks, to these courageous stalwarts of community!
- - -
From The Three Village Times:

We Shall Not Stand Idly By

The longstanding sentiment in the West Hempstead community has been to permit the forces of private enterprise and the marketplace to prevail, while keeping the intervention of government at a minimum.

At the same time, the Long Island Index released a study that revealed a majority of Long Islanders in favor of increased housing density in and around "downtown" business districts, as well as the creation of additional rental units, thus easing the affordable housing crunch.

Unfortunately, the voices of reason, smart-growth advocates, and community collectively fell upon deaf ears at Hempstead Town Hall, as members of the Town Board, blindly following the lead of Supervisor Kate Murray as she meanders down that road of suburban blight, voted to adopt the ill-conceived and community-opposed Urban Renewal Plan.

In so doing, the town nixed the Trammell-Crow proposal to build upscale rental apartments on the Courtesy Hotel site, citing its objection to density, and rebuffed the pleas of a community to boldly move forward, not only with the revitalization of its eastern gateway, but with a smart growth initiative that could well serve as a model for the new - and sustainable - suburbia.

In taking a staunch and unyielding position, contrary to both the conventional wisdom on fashioning livable suburbs, and to the will of the community they were elected to serve, Kate Murray and the Hempstead Town Board stood modern precepts of suburban revitalization on head, and negated the very hallmark of representative government - a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The latest skirmish before the Town Board may have dealt a blow to our hamlet's, if not the township's, efforts to rebuild and rejuvenate, but as anyone who has been joined in this battle to take back our town (now going on 13 long years) will tell you, we, as a community, and as the guardians of this hamlet's tomorrows, shall not stand idly by as Kate Murray and company hold hostage our town's future.

The fight will go on, in the trenches along the avenue, at Town Hall, and in the press, for we dare not surrender to those who would usurp local control and undermine the wishes of the governed, under the guise of telling us what is best for our own community.

Seth D. Bykofsky

(The writer is the former president of the West Hempstead Civic Association.)
- - -
Town Ignores Residents' Wishes

The Town of Hempstead voted on Jan. 22, 2008 to adopt an Urban Renewal Plan for West Hempstead which promotes sprawl, prohibits needed density, doesn't provide the greatest tax benefits, embraces the status quo, and deprives our community of promises made to facilitate the closing of the Courtesy Hotel as quickly as possible.

The town board has completely ignored thousands of West Hempstead residents, our religious leaders, and the members of the West Hempstead Civic Association who opposed the town's Urban Renewal Plan for West Hempstead. Six out of the seven members on the town board chose to adopt a plan, which is flawed and provides little relief from the most important problems facing our community, which are, the Courtesy Hotel, lack of housing for our young people, seniors looking to downsize, revitalization of our business area, and some relief from our high taxes.

Terrible messages were sent by the town to the residents of West Hempstead and to other unincorporated communities - don't give us the benefit of your ideas, knowledge and thoughts for what is best for your community, because we won't listen and we will do what we want whether you like it or not. What a sad commentary on representative government and a perfect example of poor government.

If the town thought they could bully the residents of West Hempstead into becoming submissive lambs or silence our voices, they are very much mistaken. They have only succeeded in provoking us into taking more action and making us more determined to be treated fairly and with dignity. The West Hempstead community is not going to be silenced or discouraged.

Can we influence the town board to do what our residents want? I don't know. What I do know is that we will make sure that the entire Town of Hempstead will know that what is happening in West Hempstead could happen in their community. We want to alert everyone that if the town continues on its path to obstruct the private sale of the Courtesy Hotel, every unincorporated community in the Town of Hempstead had better beware.

The Courtesy Hotel and all its problems can come to your community or one near you, and this could happen with the town's help. Under the Urban Renewal Plan adopted by the town, they are obligated to help the owners of the Courtesy find a different location within the town. Will the town or perhaps the owners choose your community?

Something else happened on Jan 22, 2008. The town board broke its promises to the residents of West Hempstead. One promise was made in May of 2007 that they would close the Courtesy by the end of 2007. The other was made back in 2005 when they told the attorney for the Courtesy Hotel that they would gladly work with any reputable developer to facilitate a private sale. As the old saying goes, "Promises are made to be broken and a promise is only as good as the person making it."

Many have likened the plight of the residents of West Hempstead to watching a match between people and the government, between right and wrong. Government won this round, but at the expense of losing the faith and confidence of the people. When good people continue to stand up for what is right they expose the shortcomings of a government, which tramples on the basic premise of our constitution. Government should rule by the people, for the people and of the people. It would do well for the town board to remember that arrogance always comes before a fall and to totally disregard the West Hempstead community is wrong, unconscionable and could become their Achilles Heel.

Rosalie Norton
President, West Hempstead Civic Association

Thursday, January 24, 2008

A Community Denied!

Town Board Snubs West Hempstead; Adopts Urban Renewal Plan Over Community Opposition
Hempstead town board move blocks sale of hotel


Dozens of West Hempstead residents left yesterday's town board meeting shocked and angry at a decision they say will delay for years the closing of the drug- and crime-ridden Courtesy Hotel.

"When will this end?" civic leader Rosalie Norton asked the board, to thunderous applause from the audience. "This board has subverted what is supposed to be a democracy. The plan is not in the community's best interest."

Town board members voted to adopt an urban renewal plan that would see the redevelopment of 10 acres, including the 2.7-acre Courtesy, after it takes the hotel and adjacent properties through condemnation. The plan includes part of a parking lot across the street owned by National Wholesale Liquidators.

By agreeing to pursue the more time-consuming urban renewal plan, the board essentially blocked a private sale between the hotel owner and a developer that could have shut down the hotel quicker.

Town officials said they considered residents' concerns in reaching its decision.

"We believe this is a more cohesive plan to beautify and revitalize 10 acres as opposed to just focusing on 2.7 acres," said Town Supervisor Kate Murray, a member of the board.

The owners of both the hotel and parking lot have already indicated they would sue the town to block the condemnation. The hotel owners say they have a contract with Texas-based Trammell Crow Residential to buy the hotel for $11 million to $13 million and build a four-story, 176-rental unit complex with underground parking. That would require zoning of 65 units per acre.

Town officials say that proposal is too dense. Their plan seeks 45 units per acre zoning.

Norton said that more than 2,100 residents have signed petitions urging the town board to accept Trammell Crow's plan.

A Trammel Crow representative said they were disappointed with the decision."Our proposal has consistently been the fastest way to rid the community of the woes associated with the Courtesy," said Maria Rigopoulos.

Copyright © 2008, Newsday Inc.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It All Comes Down To A Vote


The Town of Hempstead at their Town Board meeting on January 22, 2008 has on the decision calendar: The Urban Renewal Plan for West Hempstead -- a vote will be taken to determine if they will Adopt the plan.

If adopted, it will be ignoring thousands of West Hempstead residents.

The meeting will be held in the Bennett Pavilion, 1 Washington St., Hempstead, and starts at 10:30 AM. PLEASE TRY TO ATTEND....



Rosalie Norton
West Hempstead Civic Association