She didn’t have much to say, and the crowd didn’t care to listen to her.
During the public hearing hosted by Community Board 5 (CB 5) on Wednesday, Aug. 31, regarding the proposal to turn the Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth into a homeless shelter for adult families, Assemblywoman Margaret Markey left the Knockdown Center without saying very much.
When she was introduced, she was met with boos from the angry audience. “Why are you booing me, why?” she asked.
The residents of Maspeth were booing her because they felt she hadn’t made enough of an effort to show her support for the community.
Markey was noticeably absent from the community’s first meeting about the shelter held on Aug. 11 at Martin Luther High School, while other local elected officials were on hand, including Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, state Senator Joseph Addabbo and Markey’s opponent in the Sept. 13 Democratic primary, Brian Barnwell.
A representative from Markey’s office said that she was en route to that meeting when a family emergency came up and she had to handle it at that moment. She did have three staff members at the meeting, however.
As the assemblywoman tried to speak out against the shelter at the Aug. 31 meeting, she was drowned out by even more jeers.
“I oppose it,” she said. “I have not given any money to it. You’re being manipulated.”
As the boos continued, Markey ended her speech saying, “Thank you, goodbye.” That prompted more jeering from the already annoyed audience.
Over the last month, Markey has released statements and flyers expressing her opposition to the shelter, but that has not been enough for the community. Many wondered where she was — and where Addabbo and Crowley were — during a five-mile march throughout Maspeth on Aug. 27 protesting the shelter, as well as nightly rallies outside of the Holiday Inn Express where the shelter is planned to open.
However, Markey joined on the lawsuit filed earlier this week against the mayor’s administration for attempting to place homeless people into hotel rooms without proper cooking facilities — which is illegal.
“Marge Markey attended the public hearing of Community Board 5 to testify about her opposition to the Maspeth shelter proposal and the process the de Blasio administration is using to shove it down the throat of the community,” a representative from the assemblywoman’s office said. “Like everyone else who is working on turning back this challenge, she clearly understands the concerns of the community and has gone on public record several times to state her opposition in addition to acting as an elected official to oppose it.”
Although Markey’s turn at the microphone was brief, she submitted official written testimony to CB 5 outlining her opposition to the shelter plan.