With great perseverance, the Buddhist World Peace and Health Organization continues their mission of health and peace in the City of Amsterdam.

[pur-suh-veer-uhns]  noun
1. A steady persistence, course of action, purpose, state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
2. Theology . continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.

The happiness and peace you see in the faces of the members of the WPHO is a reflection of their inner beauty. Despite rejection by some members of our community, religious property exemptions taken away by Amsterdam City Assessor Calvin Cline, $6,485 in fines from the City of Amsterdam and repeated burglaries and vandalism of their properties, they continue forward. With the main group continuing their mission in San Francisco and Hong Kong, a core group steadfastly moves from property to property, securing, cleaning and renovating buildings.

I want to introduce you to some of these dedicated people that have become my neighbors and friends.

Regina Law and Juliana Leong

Regina Law, Angus, Joshua Rosenstein and Mo Ming Che

The rectory building of the Goddess of Mercy Temple on Grove Street (seen in this August 2011 photo) was boarded up because of several previous burglaries, one I documented here.

The group decided it would be beneficial to move some of their members in this rectory building. To prepare for the move, they have been performing daily renovations. Boarding up a building may help prevent theft but it also sends a signal to would be thieves that the building is unoccupied.

On Wednesday, March 28, 2012, at about 1:40pm Angus and Juliana were working on renovations in the rectory while the rest of the group worked elsewhere.  Suddenly they heard the sound of breaking glass on the second floor. Juliana ran up to the third floor and called the Amsterdam Police. She knew dialing directly would get them there sooner than calling 911.  Angus not realizing what had happened responded to the second floor bedroom where she heard the noise and was confronted by two male burglars who she described as dark-skinned but not black, thin and tall with dark hair.  She estimated the intruders at around 16-18 years old. Upon seeing Angus, the burglars fled back through the second floor window,where they gained access to the building by climbing on a trash can and scampering over the walkway roof and throwing a paint can through the window glass. The storm window slammed shut as the second male exited. Angus noticed a third similar looking male on the sidewalk outside the window.

I noticed two police cars respond to Grove Street as well as the rest of the WPHO work crew. I went over to the rectory building to photo document the incident. The following photo shows the second floor storm window with clear handprints on the outside. The burglars slid the storm window up before breaking the inner locked window.

The next photo shows the second floor bedroom where the burglars entered the building.

Amsterdam Police Officers took statements from the two WPHO members while two Amsterdam Detectives collected forensic evidence.

This incident was particularly disturbing because it happened near my home in broad daylight, yet it was not reported in the local media. The public needs to be aware of the increasing incidents of burglary in the City of Amsterdam.

Two weeks ago the WPHO property at 10 Leonard Street was burglarized once again.  A hole cut in an outside fence and a rope used, allowing  access to the second floor where burglars entered by breaking a window, taking machinery and scrap metal.

Both properties were once again boarded up, secured and padlocked. While the constant repairs may temporarily delay rehabilitation efforts, it does not deter the WPHO mission.

Through all of this adversity the WPHO members remain cautiously optimistic, using training in meditation to find that calming spiritual center that allows them the consciousness of being.

Categories: Amsterdam, Human Rights, Law, Media, Photography, Politics, WPHO | Tags: , , , , , ,

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11 thoughts on “Perseverance

  1. I thank you for keeping me updated as to what goes on here in Amsterdam and with the WPHO! I feel sorry for these people and really hope that they DON’T give up on Amsterdam because they just can’t judge ALL of Amsterdam by a few THUGS running around! I don’t believe that they are being singled out by no means-just people wanting to get into these empty places and tear up and take out what they can to cash in!! It is really ashame that Amsterdam has gotten so bad but it is just not here anymore! Too bad the WPHO couldn’t have guard dogs in their bigger properties! 😉

  2. diane

    This is a great article to keep everyone updated. I think you will find though that the police reports are in two times a week, and it will just get put in this week. I do not see this as any particular oversight.

    Keep up your good works.


    • I feel a burglary to an occupied residence in broad daylight deserves some immediate media attention. Thankfully no one was injured in this case.

  3. robert purtell

    I have met Regina and a few of the other WHPO members several times, they are real stand up people, I am proud to have met them. I wish the best for them and hope that they continue to persevere. I still do not feel confident that they are being targeted by the criminals, just that the opportunity is there because they have a large number of unoccupied buildings scattered throughout the community.
    Glad to see you have a continued relationship with the group, I hope now that the home in your neighborhood is being lived in that it stabilizes Grove street a little more.

    • I’m not trying to imply the WPHO is being targeted by burglars, just that they are being targeted by Amsterdam’s Municipal Bureaucrats like the City Assessor Calvin Cline and Code Enforcement who never have time to answer any of my complaints. Imagine fining them over $6,000. to clean up the same property the City never found time to clean up when they owned it for over 6 years.

      • robert purtell

        And I was not impying that you were with my comments, I think we are on the same page with this.

      • carol jordan

        As I drive throughout the city, I see many boarded up homes, and places that are prime targets for criminals. This is a part of life, and won’t change until people take pride in the properties that they own. The WPHO took on a monumental task, as did others when they bought property in Amsterdam, and they are doing the best they can, but the police and the press cannot be everywhere at all times.
        As time goes on, perhaps the pride that is shown by groups like the WPHO might cause more pride in the city, but right now all investors are fighting an uphill battle.
        There is a lot of good happening in Amsterdam, so it might be time to focus on the good, and give less press on the bad. It would be wonderful to see a story about all of the good things that have happened in the last year, @ how residents helped one another after the flood, how flowers are planted throughout the city, quietly, and without fanfare by individuals, and how local residents help one another in time of need.
        Focusing on the positive will allow a positive attitude to become the norm.
        Crime will always be around, and criminals and thugs will always be around, but they should not “rule”. This is what they want, and that is a bullish attitude.

        • Just focusing on the good and ignoring anything negative is a false concept. It doesn’t work for the Mayor either. You can paint as many murals as your heart desires, but it does not make crime go away. By ignoring or not reporting crime we accept that action as the norm and endorse it. We need to recognize it, report it and address it directly.

          If someone broke into your next door neighbors occupied home in the middle of the afternoon, wouldn’t you want to be told about it?

          As a community, must be aware of the criminal element in out neighborhoods and come up with a strategy to eradicate it. Neighborhood watch helps, but it is only effective if people are willing to participate. A gentleman spoke at last night’s Common Council meeting about the drugs and crime in his Ward. He suggested the Police start walking the streets on foot patrols instead of driving around in cars. He has a good idea. It helps citizens get to know the Police Officers and their presence in the neighborhood walking a beat helps deter crime.

  4. carol jordan

    I do agree that much needs to be done to eliminate criminals from the city. Foot patrols, or even bike patrols would be much more visible to those scumbags who watch for the big white cars, and scurry like roaches when they see the police.
    I know that crime is really evident everywhere, not just in the city. I hope you don’t think that I am one of those “let’s all be happy”, people who hides their head in the sand, not expecting people who are victimized to speak up, but when negativity if the rule, those who are bad rule the rest of us. They think it’s funny. My husband had the window of his car broken out in broad daylight on Trinity Street, while we were in service, so that the idiots could steal his GPS. So we have had bad things happen to us, too.
    What really might need to happen is that we ALL need to get involved in recognizing criminal activity, and stop allowing the criminals to be the ones who we fear. They are not able to breed their activity if they are not allowed to flourish.
    Neighborhood watches, Police foot or bike patrols, and basically just a giving the scum the knowledge that they are being watched will help, but training of the people who don’t want to be hurt, would really help more. That is why I suggested the Angels from NYC. They deal with crap like this all the time.

    • “I hope you don’t think that I am one of those “let’s all be happy”, people who hides their head in the sand,…”

      Carol, your previous comment was sounding a little along those lines, I’m glad you clarified your position. ; )

  5. carol jordan

    Amen. Keep on getting the word out. You’re doing a great job.

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