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HUD Official Lynne Patton Moves Into Queensbridge Houses, Plans on Giving Residents a ‘National Voice’ on Failed Amazon Deal

Metro Centric via Wikimedia

March 6, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez

Lynne Patton, who was appointed a regional administrator at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by President Trump in 2017, has moved into the Queensbridge Houses as part of an ongoing stay in NYCHA complexes around the boroughs, in a visit she said will also touch on the failed Amazon deal.

Patton moved into the Queensbridge Houses, the largest public housing development in the states, on March 4, and plans to stay there for one week. Her temporary stay at the houses follows week-long stays in NYCHA housing in Manhattan and the Bronx, part of scheduled visits to four public housing properties that began last month.

The HUD official said her goal in her temporary stays within the troubled complexes is to help speed needed repairs to the thousands of apartments in the system, and relay failures to a federal monitor now in place after an “agreement for fundamental reform” was reached between the city and the federal government in January.

The agreement resolved the litany of claims the government lodged against NYCHA last year, alleging that the agency had for years violated, and continues to violate, basic federal health and safety regulations for its residents. It also claimed that NYCHA repeatedly made false statements to HUD and the public regarding its lead paint compliance.

Lynne Patton, Region II administrator of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Twitter)

Patton said her visit to the Queensbridge Houses will also be a chance to “give the residents a national voice on what most of then deem to be a stolen opportunity with Amazon.”

Her statement comes after several NYCHA tenant leaders, including April Simpson, president of the tenant association for the Queensbridge Houses, released a scathing letter in the wake of Amazon’s canceled plans that accused “grandstanding politicians” of costing New York “25,000 good-paying jobs.”

Amazon’s planned corporate offices were set to be only blocks from the houses, in a deal that also saw some workforce provisions for residents at the complex.

“The city and state will now lose tens of billions of dollars in revenue that would have been invested in NYCHA, and the tenants we fight for every day,” the NYCHA leaders wrote on Feb. 14. “And New York has now missed a generational opportunity to cement its place as the tech hub of the future.”

The letter singled out State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, two central and vocal opponents of the project.

“They never asked what we, the people of NYCHA, actually wanted,” the leaders said about the Queens politicians. “They put their own political interests above their constituents and did not meet wit us or even listen to us. The grandstanding politicians will try and blame Amazon and anyone but themselves for this disaster. Nobody should believe them—they let us down.”

April Simpson, president of the Queensbridge Houses Tenants Association. (Photo: Nathaly Pesantez)

The four NYCHA tenant leaders represented the Ravenswood, Queensbridge, Astoria and Woodside Houses, and were also part of a 45-member community advisory committee set up for the project.

The group, along with several area leaders who vouched for the Amazon project, held a rally days before the company announced that it would pull out of its plans, where they looked to “set the record straight” on attitudes toward the project.

“We’re there now trying to shape what the benefit would look like for the community as a result of Amazon coming,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, co-founder of Urban Upbound, at the Feb. 11 rally. “I am very concerned that we get the best benefit we can possibly get.”

Taylor and other local leaders at the rally also denounced what they saw as steadfast, “blind” opposition to the project, and criticized outreach efforts by grassroots groups at the Queensbridge Houses days before, even accusing them of spreading misinformation on the project.

While the project has been off the table for weeks, Governor Andrew Cuomo has steadily been working to make the company reconsider and come back to New York as part of growing efforts to lure the company back.

But these efforts to reignite the plan have, too, been met with resistance from those that fought against the campus plans first announced in November.

An aerial view of Anable basin, where Amazon had planned on building new headquarters. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

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19 Comments

LIC DIRECT

Lynne Patton Oswald: Your comment is offensive, Are you saying people from the projects can’t learn? You are so wrong. Thousands, Hundred’s and hundred’s of people from LIC could have gotten these jobs.

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MRLIC

Amazon is closing 87 pop up stores. Some will be replaced with cashier-less stores. How can you unionize that or give many people jobs? Thank heaen they did not come.

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False Equivalency Spotter

Closing pop up stores has absolutely nothing to do with a HQ campus

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MRLIC

Maybe it doesn’t .However Amazon is apt to using cashier-less stores which means less jobs. Scamazon is anti-union and did not have to hire from within the neighborhood in the original agreement. The “BACKROOM” DEAL. Local people might get a minimum wage security and cleaning job but not a 150 k job.

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stan chaz

Beware of a Trojan-horse Trump stoogee like Lynn Patton trying to tell us what to do, while making excuses for the lack of adequate federal NYCHA funding.
She claims that NYYCHA residents were left out of the Amazon deal discussions. Hey, that’s the whole point of the opponents. EVERYONE was left out of this secret backroom deal that should have started with input from everyone involved.
Lynn Patton stood up there as a black prop in the Cohen congressional hearings — standing next to a congressman who ran on the slogan of sending Obama back to Kenya. She should be ashamed of herself.

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BR

Arlo,
Not only are you ignorant, you are a part of the problem, not a solution.
Check out Lynne Patton’s background and get back to me.
Sounds like you are a disciple of Jimmy Van Job Killer.

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Try Something That Works

When was the last time the buildings were in good shape? Turn them into HDFC housing & let the people who live there own and maintain them. It’s a program that has worked all over the city.

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Really?

If these ‘representatives’ and Rep. Maloney were legitimately interested in affecting the outcome, why did they wait three months after the announcement to speak up?

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C

they’d get the construction work and low paying janitorial or security jobs. Thinking everyone was getting $150,000 paychecks is a joke. The construction jobs wouldn’t be forever, they’d obviously end when the project was completed. And I highly doubt they’d pay more than the $15 minimum wage for cleaning toilets. Jeff Bezos didn’t get rich giving his money away.

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Latif QB

Gianaris and Bramer gave zero f*cks on what the NYCHA community leaders thought about Amazon.

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3 dems killed amazon deal

dont blame me I voted for TRUMP!!!!!

so whats on the 2020 platform for dems? socialism, legalizing pot, legalizing prostitution, reparations and running out companies thatcan bring you 27 billion in tax revenue.

Democrats really have no clue

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Anonymous

It’s a good idea to have a federal administration official spend time in nycha buildings& see/ hear issues from tenants perspective.

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Arlo

Lynne Patton is a straight-up prop, a clown with nothing to offer the NYCHA residents.

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April Homer Simpson

I went to NYCHA School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and I’m disappoin’ed that I ain’t gonna get one those $150 K tech jobs!

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Lynne Patton Oswald

Does she understand that nobody living in NYCHA building was going to get one of those “25,000 good-paying jobs.”? I could be wrong. Maybe some of the NYCHA tenants had Ivy engineering degrees? Nah.

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