Lower East Side Group’s March on City Hall Gets Some Mainstream Attention

Tempers Flare at Chinatown Working Group

As summer 2010 draws to a close, new doubts are swirling around an unprecedented community planning initiative in Chinatown.  Hot tempers and an atmosphere of mistrust have consumed the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) in the past week — threatening to derail months of intensive work by more than 50 neighborhood organizations.

As we have reported, eight members of the CWG wrote an “open letter” to Michael Bloomberg April 13th protesting the city’s insistence on controlling the selection of a planning consultant to help prepare a comprehensive community plan.  The co-chairs of the Chinatown Working Group responded with their own statement, refuting many of the claims in the letter and saying the concerns about city interference were “premature.”  Hard feelings from the dispute then spilled over into a Thursday meeting, leading to an angry outburst and a dramatic confrontation among supposedly liked-minded advocates of affordable housing.