Saturday, November 17, 2007

ROB HOLLANDER "TENANT ACTIVIST": WHOSE SIDE IS THIS GUY ON?

UP FRONT News
Publisher: Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham

"The paper that can't be bought and can't be sold."

Nov. 12, 2007

As I recall, I first met Rob Hollander a couple of years ago at a meeting of Manhattan Com-munity Board 3. CB3 is one of the major battlegrounds of the Lower East Side, Noho, East Village community struggle to preserve what is left of the working class character of those neighborhoods against rampant gentrification, over-development and bar proliferation. Indeed, although I now live in the also developer-threatened community of Stapleton, Staten Island, I have strong ties to the Lower East Side and other Lower Manhattan communities.
I lived for 16 years in a loft in Tribeca and most of those years I spent fighting one of the below-the-radar kings of development and gentrification, the very politically connected loftlord Thomas Berger, aka "The Greed Merchant of Tribeca." Berger used violence and the tactic of keeping me heatless and waterless for 5 1/2 years at 190A Duane Street, to empty out the buildiing. He also used his ties to Ed Koch and to corrupt so-called tenant advocates Chuck ("Ol' Loophole") Delaney and Mike ("The Knife") McKee, at my expense to cash in on the gold real estate gold mine that is Robert De Niro's Tribeca. Berger is to be watched closely by anyone involved in community preservation because he is the founder and pre- sumably still president of the politically very potent Association of Commercial Property Owners (ACPO), the loft wing of the real estate lobby. Berger probably still has a photo- graph of Geronimo in his office at 73 Warren Street in Tribeca because he compares land- lords to native Americans as endangered people. He is a sworn enemy of any kind of rent protection for tenants. Berger, like so many other who lives not by bread alone but by greed alone, parades in his home community of Forest Hills, Queens as a devout Orthodox Jew.

The fact is, as I had to make clear one Friday evening at Sabbath services at his synagogue on 108th Street in Forest Hills a few blocks from his home, that during business hours Thomas Berger treats a number of The Ten Commandments like toilet paper. His neighbors have already received some home deliveries of UP FRONT News.

Thomas Berger, with the aid of a corrupt "liberal" and reportedly gender-biased judge named Marilyn Shafer, was able to evict me in 1993 for having allowed someone to play a flute and an "Up Front Muse" poetry reading at my home. My late lawyer, Jacob J. Good-man, stunned by Shafer's throwing the U.S. Constitution out the window and her consistent coddling of another tenant named Alice Wexler who openly collaborated with Berger, later told me that Shafer took her lesbianism to another level in that she "hated men." I later learned from some other lawyers that Shafer did not like male witnesses who testified forcefully and truthfully.

And so I am rather sensitive to tenants rights and strongly support the efforts Lower East Side people like musician-activist Rebecca Moore, the founder of the Ludlow-Orchard Com-munity Organization (LOCO) and Monte Schapiro of the Shaoul Tenants Organizing Project (STOP) Tenants Organization at 515 East 5th Street to save their homes and their community.
On a number of occasions I testified in support of Ms. Moore and other activists such as Susan Howard at CB3 meetings, where over-development and proliferation are major issues.
I did not meet Mr. Schapiro until he spoke earlier this year at a rally in support of the "owner-occupancy"-eviction-threatened tenants at 47 East 3rd St. Mr. Schapiro and many others there remember me well because, when the fraudulent tenant rights "advocate" McKee spoke, he had to deal with some very honest heckling from me.

McKee, reportedly connected with a right-wing think tank known as the Manhattan Institute,
has for decades been spouting anti-landlord rhetoric while splitting the tenant movement and helping to murder true tenant protection legislation. McKee, in collaboration with the real estate lobby, is responsible for the recurrent defeat of the Flynn-Dearie Rent Protection Act which, had it been enacted into law, would have required landlords to submit their books for inspection and auditing in order to get rent increases. One of the axioms of life in New York is that landlords cook their books.

McKee also worked closely with the fifth columnist Chuck Delaney, the self-proclaimed leader of the Lower Manhattan Loft Tenants (LMLT) to delay and weaken loft tenant protec-tion. That is why once working class neighborhoods like Tribeca are now pretty much bas-tions of the very rich.

Present at most of the CB3 events was Rob Hollander, the founder of what he calls the Lower East Siders for Responsible Development. Mr. Hollander rarely testified but would frequently generate position papers and announcements, all at least rhetorically very pro-community and anti-over development, over the internet.

I am among those who feel strongly that, as long as people like Mike McKee and his allies such as Julie Miles ("Housing Here and Now") pretty much rule the tenants movement, usu-ally collaborating with developer-friendly politicians like in particular City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, tenants will be losing the gentrification/over-development/proliferation wars. Mr. Hollander was one of the people who expressed agreement with me that a new tenants' organization is needed. Among those who, separately, expressed a similar view, has been Monte Schapiro.

Earlier this year, following several communications exchanges, Hollander told me about a new group. The group called itself the Union of New York Tenants (UNYTE), a name originally proposed by Mr. Schapiro. The first meeting, which took place in the garden in the back of St. Mark's-in-the-Bowery Church, drew about 20 people. Out of that developed a smaller group ("the core group") consisting of, at most meetings, Mr. Hollander, Mr. Schapiro, Eze- kiel Finkelstein, Mark Hatalak and myself, and some others who assisted in computer-relat- ed work for UNYTE.

Our major effort, conducted with considerable difficulty in part because of recurring, seem- ingly procedural arguments, pretty much all of then involving Hollander, was to circulate a UNYTE organizing petition-sign-up campaign last last May's large tenants demonstration at Stuyvesant Town.

Over the coming weeks as the core group focused on further organizing and planning open- to-the-public UNYTE meetings, one core group participant, declaring that he could no longer work with Hollander, left. Mr. Schapiro had similar complaints but, in part because of my urgings, remained as part of the core group.

On August 15 UNYTE had a public meeting. Mr. Hollander had taken the responsibility of locating a venue. For very sound political reasons - all involving some very negative political activities at St. Mark's Church involving a group calling itself "9/11 Truth" with serious ex-tremist links (e.g. to Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr./Lenora Fulani), as well as a pattern of ha-rassments there with the resultant law enforcement interest in goings on at that church - I opposed having any UNYTE meetings at St. Mark's. I suggested the Orensanz Foundation. It took some prodding from me before Hollander made the arrangements.

About 30 people, including a reporter from The Villager (which newspaper I had contacted about UNYTE), showed up. It was at the end of the meeting that Hollander really began to politically expose himself. We set up a couple of committees. Rob was the Coordinator of the Venue Committee. I became the Coordinator of the Outreach Committee. The ex- panded core group became the Program Committee.

As the meeting wound up, I gathered the sign-up sheets to make certain that all signers had made legible entries. The meeting wound up late and there was no photocopier avail-able. I took the sign-up sheets and advised Mr. Hollander, Schapiro, Finkelstein, and Hata- lak that I would in the next day or two type up the sheets and e-mail copies to everyone who attended the meeting.

Hollander became very angry and demanded that I give him the sheets. In an argument that was concluded in front of the Odessa Restaurant some blocks away, I continued to refuse. Mr. Hatalak convinced Hollander to allow me to keep the sheets and that, at future meet-ings, he would come with the necessary equipment to permit instant copy-making.

I did as promised and everyone got e-mailed copies within two days.
The next meeting was scheduled for September 27. Presumably by coincidence, a meeting of the quite large and veteran tenants rights organization New York Metropolitan Council on Housing ("Met Council") was also scheduled for that evening at Judson Memorial Church. Although most of those responding to Hollander's request for scheduling suggestions sug- gested rescheduling, Hollander delayed until the last minute before agreeing. The whole thing became academic because on September 27 most Lower Manhattan political and community activities were trumped by what turned out to be a massive Barack Obama rally in Washington Square (which I attended as a member of the media).

The next meeting was scheduled for October 15 at the 6th Street Community Center. As the Coordinator of the Outreach Committee, I got some assistance from Mr. Schapiro. Indeed I had written to the director of the affordable housing-oriented activist group, Jews for Racial And Economic Justice (JFREJ) and they had agreed to have a representative at the September 27 meeting.

Hollander, who had expressed little interest in working with the Outreach Committee, pro- ceeded on his own to contact several organizations on his own. My view as the Coordina- tor of the Outreach Committee, was that, unlike outreach directed towards individuals (.e.g. friends, neighbors), outreach towards organizations needs to be coordinated. Rob consist- ently ignored my polite requests that he at least give me the specific contact information of those he reached out to.

One of those groups is the very controversial Harlem Tenants Council. The HTC, led by Nellie Bailey (an associate of the racist Fulani, who is herself an ideologue of LaRouche) is the spawning of the now deceased Columbia Tenants Union. The LaRouche-linked (La- Rouche lived in the 1960's and 1970's on the Upper West Side and was involved in ultra-lelft and ultra-right violence there) CTU was the creation of Bruce Bailey. Bailey one day was founded chopped into pieces in the trunk of a car. As far as I am aware, the murder remains unsolved. People who stray from the LaRouche network of political cults (some in tenants rights, some in welfare rights and some in the peace movement) have a way of recurrently winding up dead. Bruce Bailey's widow is HTC leader Nellie Bailey. Ms. Bailey, who has hassled me at meetings of the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah-supporting Interna- tional Action Center, is a magnet for Jew haters such as the increasingly notorious HTC-er Brenda Stokely.

In any event, my point with Rob Hollander was not that we should exclude HTC but that any decision along those lines had to be made by the Outreach Committee and possibly by the Program Committee. Hollander's response to my polite e-mails was silence.

The October 15 meeting was attended by about 10 people, including Mr. Schapiro, Mr. Fin- kelstein and myself. When I arrived a few minutes late, Hollander, without the slighest athorization from anyone in UNYTE, had set himself up as "facilitator." Mr. Schapiro and I, sitting next to each other, decided not to push the issue. Hollander's efforts to stifle me several times went nowhere because, as he and others well know, I take my First Amend-ment rights very seriously. He invited a surly guy who identified himself only as "Dibbs." When I made a critical comment about Mike McKee, Dibbs' reply was to hurl a couple of personal insults at me and then to storm out of the room.

And then, as the meeting wound up, Hollander took the sign-up sheets. He has ignored my repeated requests that he e-mail copies to everyone, including me. The irony of that maneuver by a guy who, several weeks before, had berated me for taking the signup sheet temporarilly for e-mail circiulation purpose, is apparent.

In my previous conversations with Hollander, particularly as regards his activities in other groups, such as the Lower East Side Association, he has quite consistently disparaged the work of people like Rebecca Moore and Susan Howard, who have been among those most vocal about in particular bar proliferation, which is in fact a political and economic corollary of gentrification and over-development.

Lyndon LaRouche, Lenora Fulani, "Dr." Fred Newman and their surrogates have been infiltrating "left" and progressive movements for decades. They are quite solidly embedded in the Green Party, "9/11 Truth". World Can't Wait, and via Mike McKee, in the tenants rights movement. For more on LaRouche, the best authority, aside from myself, is the respected investigative reporter Dennis King. His very unauthorized biography of LaRouche, titled "The New American Fascism", is on line at http://dennisking.org/newamericanfascism.htm There is lots about LaRouche and Fulani at http://www.dennisking.org/. There is lots about LaRouche/Fu-
lani and the Greens, et. al. at http://www.tomsupfrontnews.blogspot.com/.

LaRouche is a master of the strategy known as the Fifth Column. It involves the infiltration into the left by people camouflaging themselves as leftists. It is done by the persistent use of populist rhetoric, usually in an effort to out-left small "d" democratic progressives. It is aimed at splitting progressives, thereby immobilizing the left. That in fact enhances the conservative right. LaRouche/Fulani, et. al. implemented that strategy to near perfection as Fulani essentially took over the New York Green Party and, singing the siren song of "independent" or "third party" politics, engineered the misbegotten presidential candidacies of Ralph Nader, which, no matter how much Nader wants to remain in denial, have given us eight years of Cheney/Bush.

The creator of the Fifth Column strategy was none other than Adolf Hitler. Hitler, in his early campaigns, disguised himself as a "socialist" (or "National Socialist" as in "Nazi"). And, speaking of tenants rights, the Nazis collaborated with the Communists in organizing rent strikes among impoverished Berliners in the desperate years following Germany's defeat in World War I. There are photographs of swastika and hammer & sickle flags hanging side-by-side from slum windows. Hitler brought the Fifth Column strategy to the international stage in pre-Spanish Civil War Spain where he helped Francisco Franco win by infiltrating what was probably the world's most potent anarchist movement. (Interestingly while Franco was perfectly glad to have Hitler's and Mussolini's help as described - and via the Nazi-Fascist bombing of the village of Guernica depicted later by Pablo Picasso - Franco, a part Jew, despised Hitler and later refused Hitler's demand that Spain enter World War II as a part of the Axis.)

Lyndon LaRouche is in his 80's and has spent his entire life (including his years in federal penitentiaries after his conviction for credit card and mail in Boston in a front page-covered trial) plotting to become the dictator of America and thereby the world. He is a total megalo-maniac and worshiper of things German. He has declared that the only music worth preserving is German classical. He has characterized all other music as fit for elimination. He is a recognized authority on Beethoven. Since I was sort of raised on classical music, I certainly recognize the genius of a guy who could still compose symphonies when he was stone deaf. I also believe that if Beethoven had to listen to LaRouche's super intellectualized racist drivel, he would pray for deafness. In any event, a world without country music, among many other genres, is unacceptable to me.

Lyndon LaRouche, as a registered Democrat and parading behind the respectable image of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, has run for president on multiple occasions. His vote totals are negligible. He is generally referred to as an extremist and as a crackpot. Nonetheless Dennis King wisely considers him to be "the most dangerous man in America." He works mainly through surrogates. His people have been infiltrating tenants rights movements and stealing mailing lists and sign-up sheets for decades.
Rob Hollander is full of it.
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