- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Fate of Muller Center Goes Federal as Bronx Boro Prez and Mayor Lock Horns | Bronx News Networkbronx

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fate of Muller Center Goes Federal as Bronx Boro Prez and Mayor Lock Horns

In order to block the Bloomberg administration's plan to turn the Muller Army Reserve Center into a homeless shelter, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. once again decided to boycott a scheduled meeting of the three member authority that controls the Muller Center's fate.

The Muller Redevelopment Authority (LRA) -- made up of Diaz, Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Tokumbo Shobowale, the chief of staff for Deputy Mayor Robert Steel and managed by the city's quasi-governmental Economic Development Corporation -- needs all three members to vote on a recommendation for the vacant army reserve center. So, no Diaz, no vote. This is the second time, Diaz has missed an authority meeting in protest.

That means the Muller Center's fate will fall back into the hands of the Department of Defense and the federal government. It could become a test of who has more support in Congress: Bloomberg or Diaz.

"We have a lot of friends in Congress," said Diaz spokesman John DeSio, who pointed to Representative Eliot Engel's opposition to the mayor's homeless shelter plan. Engel represents the Wakefield area where the Muller Center sits. 

The deputy mayors have made it clear the mayor's office wants to make Muller a homeless shelter and have not been interested in negotiating the matter. "They aren't budging," DeSio said.

The mayor's office simply is not listening to the voices, or paying attention to the needs, of the community, DeSio said.

Those voices will be represented tomorrow, DeSio said, at a press conference on the steps of City Hall at 1 p.m. In addition to Diaz, he said Bronx elected officials, including Councilman Oliver Koppell, State Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz, as well as Community Board 12 Chairman Richard Gorman and activists with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition and other Wakefield residents will be on hand to let the mayor know they're united against the shelter plans.

Under BRAC guidelines, which the LRA must follow, the authority is required to consider using vacant military buildings like Muller as homeless shelters. But that only means homeless assistance should considered.  It doesn't mean it must become a homeless shelter.

Opponents of the shelter plan say the Wakefield area is already saturated with them.

Is it too early to say the Muller Center is this year's Kingsbridge Armory?


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