We won !

Hours after our Protest Against the NYCHA Blueprint, the Blueprint sponsors withdrew the Bills from consideration this Legislative Session.

Sometime last night, State Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Manhattan and Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) released a joint statement, announcing that the controversial NYCHA Blueprint scheme would not be advancing this Legislative Session.

“After consultation with public housing residents, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and other stakeholders on proposed legislation (S6999A/A7805) that would create the New York City Public Housing Preservation Trust — a new public agency intended to enable NYCHA to seek higher levels of federal funding to renovate and manage up to 25,000 apartments — we have decided that further conversation, outreach, and negotiation are necessary before advancing legislation on this topic,” adding that, “For this reason, we will hold the bill in committee for the remainder of the current legislative session, which ends next week. We thank everyone who provided input and expressed their concerns about the proposal, and we look forward to continuing to discuss how best to meet the needs of public housing residents in the months ahead.”

The about-face came about hours after a protest by the new NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition that unmasked duplicity by many self-styled “progressive” politicians.

The Blueprint scheme has been an attempt by the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) to bring about the wholesale end of Section 9 housing in public housing developments not already destined for RAD/PACT conversion. According to information received by Fight For NYCHA, Mayor de Blasio had been twisting the arms of Albany Legislators to force a vote on or before June 10, just days before NYCHA owed a report-back to the U.S. District Court Judge administering the Baez class action lawsuit against NYCHA.

In pleadings filed in Manhattan Federal Court, the co-counsel for the Baez plaintiffs had argued that NYCHA was seeking to transition all public housing apartments to Section 8 as a backdoor way to abandon their core obligations to public housing residents. The U.S. District Court Judge has ruled that NYCHA can create a lower-tier, separate but unequal class of rights for Section 8 residents.

Protest Against NYCHA Blueprint Turns Savage, as DSA Members Manhandle a Green Party Candidate, Engage In Ad Hominem Online Attacks to Obfuscate Their Corrupt Support for the Blueprint Sell-Out of Public Housing

A protest to save public housing devolves into chaos, as DSA leaders are exposed for supporting the Blueprint sell-out of NYCHA, leading to a rift amongst the political left in New York.

A new coalition of public housing activists, NYCHA Is Not For Sale, held a protest against the corrupt, neoliberal plan by Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) to bring about the wholesale end to Section 9 public housing. The plan, known as the Blueprint, would create an unaccountable, nebulous State Authority that would rewrite the apartment leases of every public housing tenant, who isn’t already destined for another corrupt, neoliberal scheme — the RAD/PACT conversions that have been the subject of legal controversies.

The protest against the Blueprint turned chaotic when members of the New York City Democratic Socialists — loyalists to the mayor’s political supporters — interrupted the public housing rally with a competing demonstration.

NYCHA Is Not 4 Sale – Protest Against Blueprint – 2 June 2021

A mature, responsible call for political unity was disrupted by the NYC-DSA.

The public housing rally began with plain clothes NYPD officers wearing no badges, names, badge numbers, or body cameras, harassing the public housing activists about their protest signs. Shortly there after, public housing residents and various political candidates denounced Mayor de Blasio’s privatisation schemes for the New York City Housing Authority and called on political unity in support of Federal funding legislation that would pay for the backlog of capital repairs that have been the cause of pain and suffering for public housing residents.

NYCHA tenant association presidents Rev. Carmen Hernandez and Melanie Aucello and NYCHA tenant activist and City Council candidate Lilithe Lozano each repudiated the political betrayal that allowed NYCHA to become nearly uninhabitable. In turn, City Council candidates Lena Melendez and Edwin DeJesus spoke of the moral reasons to fully-fund NYCHA without having to resort to privatisation schemes. And Lindsey Boylan, a candidate for Manhattan borough president, made a compelling call for Democratic Party unity to support H.R. 235, draft legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives sponsored by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) that would fully-fund NYCHA. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) has expressed support for H.R. 235.

A foreshadowing of trouble was observed when Public Advocate Jumaane Williams cast aspersions on the Schumer-Velázquez Federal aid package for NYCHA. Chaos ensued after the NYC-DSA attempted to undermine the public housing protest.

“You can’t shoehorn a working class movement into a corporate party.”

The public housing protest took place outside the eastern security gate to New York City Hall, which is across the street from the office building at 250 Broadway, which, in turn, houses the executive headquarters for NYCHA. Several New York State Legislators also maintain offices in the same building.

Out of sight, members of the NYC-DSA had gathered in City Hall Park for a demonstration for public control of electricity companies. Once the NYC-DSA activists emerged from the park, they acted to block traffic on Broadway between the public housing protest location and the entrance to 250 Broadway, at which point the public housing protest moved into the street.

Not long after, Mr. DeJesus used a megaphone to denounce State Sens. Julia Salazar (DSA-Brooklyn) and Jabari Brisport (DSA-Brooklyn) over their duplicity. In response, NYC-DSA members placed their hands on Mr. DeJesus, pushed him back, and attempted to take his megaphone. Some members of NYCHA Is Not For Sale rushed to use their bodies to block NYC-DSA members from escalating their physical assault. Members of NYCHA Is Not For Sale have questioned the moral clarity of NYC-DSA to claim their espousal for public power when they have allowed Mayor de Blasio to move forward with the privatisation of public housing.

Online, Sen. Salazar downplayed the acts of assault and tore into the criticism by engaging in ad hominem attacks on members of NYCHA Is Not For Sale, at one point making a scurrilous and libelous attack against the entire NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition by calling them “grifters,” thereby telegraphing to NYC-DSA members that she would destroy the reputations of socialists, who fractured the myth that the NYC-DSA was a political monolith that was expected to serve its leaders. In recent years, politicians, who have exploited the language of social movements for power or personal enrichment, have faced political losses, such as former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-03) and former U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY 14). The political repercussions have also ensnared 2021 political candidates, like Dianne Morales.

According to activists, Mayor de Blasio is urging a vote on the Blueprint on or before June 10, so he can bring about a wholesale end to Section 9 housing before a critical June 14 hearing in the Baez Federal class action case against NYCHA. New York has long exhibited signs of political boss systems from Albany to New York City Hall — and now, apparently, to the NYC-DSA.

NYCHA Blueprint: An End to Public Housing in NYC?

#SDNY close the door on #NYCHA activists seeking last-resort help to stop unlawful #RAD conversions

The U.S. Attorney’s Office oversees the NYCHA Settlement Agreement that was supposed to save NYCHA — not sell it out.

Security guards at the U.S. Attorney’s Office turned away NYCHA activists who had showed up at their doorstep on Wednesday, denying them a requested meeting with Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. The activists included Melanie Aucello, the president of the resident association of the NYCHA public housing apartment building at 344 East 28th Street in Manhattan.

Residents at NYCHA apartment buildings have been being pressured into signing leases with private sector landlords under a neoliberal Federal scheme known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD, that has been shown to lead to evictions and other civil rights violations. At one Kips Bay apartment building, where Ms. Aucello lives, the lease signings have been taking place without translated documents for some residents, who only speak foreign languages, and the residents have been denied the benefit of a full review of lease documents by their counsel, Manhattan Legal Services.

Speaking of RAD conversions, Ms. Aucello said, “We demand a moratorium.”

The exchange between the activists and security guards for the U.S. Attorney’s Office became heated at times. “Please don’t turn us away,” Ms. Aucello said. A member of Fight For NYCHA added, “We’ve been turned away and ignored by the Mayor, by Gale Brewer, by everybody. Even AOC threw us under the bus.”

One security guard provided blank complaint forms to Ms. Aucello. Ultimately, the security guards closed their door to the activists.

Is Acting U.S. Attorney Strauss a cold-hearted functionary ?

On Tuesday, the activists were interviewed by WBAI about a protest that took place at the Kips Bay apartment building on Monday. The Kips Bay apartment building is one of 16 apartment complexes that faces almost imminent RAD conversion. In total, Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) plans to put 60,000 public housing apartments into the RAD scheme, dealing a severe blow to the future of Section 9 public housing. So far, many so-called “progressive” groups have refused to express any criticism of Mayor de Blasio’s dangerous bid to end public housing as we know it.

Bill de Blasio agrees to meeting with Fight For NYCHA, Fulton tenants, and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez

de Blasio agrees to meet with Fight For NYCHA

Bill de Blasio was confronted with two options to fully-fund NYCHA : (i). The People’s Budget, and (ii). the Public Housing Emergency Response Act (H.R.4546)

At Mayor Bill de Blasio’s disastrous NYCHA town hall in Chelsea on Thursday, 19 déc 2019, the Mayor was confronted with two options to fully-fund NYCHA : (i) the People’s Budget that proposes new taxes on the rich to fund new Government policy on housing, justice, and dignity for all New Yorkers, and (ii). U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez’s bill, the Public Housing Emergency Response Act (H.R.4546).

Fight For NYCHA have reached out to the office of U.S. Rep. Velázquez to schedule a meeting with Mayor de Blasio.

Read the People’s Budget

Protest outside AOC Woodside town hall

Demand AOC support NYCHA funding this year !

Join us to demand that AOC issue a statement calling for the full-funding of the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, in the next budget cycle. Her green “New Deal” bill for public housing may take years to pass, if it ever comes up for a vote, leaving NYCHA residents vulnerable to heat outages and privatisation now under way.

Date : Saturday, 14 Dec. 2019
Time : 3:30 pm
Place : I.S. 125Q, 46-02 47th Ave, Woodside, Queens
RSVP : Demand AOC support NYCHA funding this year ! [Facebook]

AOC angry by plans that take 30-40 years to save NYCHA, but her green “New Deal” plan takes 10 years to be fully-funded

Without $3 billion in immediate funding, up to 90% of NYCHA tenants are predicted to experience heating outages this winter.

Admittedly, it is noble for U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14) to focus on climate change. But she, like French President Emmanuel Macron, bypassed industry and the military in order to extract climate justice outcomes by causing suffering amongst average people.

U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is blind to how her plan makes NYCHA residents wait for basic, but emergency, repairs, like upgrades to heating systems. In a secret video of a remarks she gave to an event, where her campaign bussed NYCHA residents up to the Bronx, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez attacked plans that took 30-40 years to fully-fund capital repairs at NYCHA. But her own plan takes 10 years to fully-fund its plan.

In all those years, NYCHA tenants can expect to go without basic necessities. For example, without emergency upgrades in heating, NYCHA tenants face another winter where up to 90 per cent. of residents will experience heat outages, according to predictions separately made by Fight For NYCHA and the Legal Aid Society.

AOC’s Green New Deal for Public Housing makes NYCHA tenants wait years for heat

AOC threw NYCHA tenants under the bus. The Movement School is implicated. Now comes the Movement School, claiming they can organise NYCHA.

The failure to introduce a Federal budget resolution requesting $32 billion for NYCHA represents both a lack of moral clarity, and a policy failure.

During her campaign for Congress, and after her election, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14) portrayed herself as the antidote to corporate Democrats, who had gone tone-deaf to the suffering of average people. For decades, New Yorkers had been enduring horrifying Government policies set by neoliberalism and austerity. By running for office with help from the Democratic Socialists of America, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez invoked her subscription to socialist ideology as a primary qualification for public office. Her campaign win was credited to Justice Democrats, a new political committee. Veterans of her campaign reportedly formed an outreach and get-out-the-vote arm of Justice Democrats, known as Movement School. That outreach arm is now engaged in dishonestly organising public housing tenants after U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez turned down a request in March to sponsor a budget resolution to fully-fund the local public housing authority.

Early in 2019, members of Fight For NYCHA approached U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office with an opportunity for her to show leadership on the need to fully-fund the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, as the local public housing authority is known. Members of Fight For NYCHA had e-mail exchanges and several calls with staff, as well as in-office meeting with staff and with U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez herself. At first, Fight For NYCHA was requesting that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sponsor a budget resolution for the 2019-2020 Federal Budget in the full amount of NYCHA’s capital budget deficit, estimated to be $32 billion. Members of Fight For NYCHA described the Government’s divestment and neglect of public housing, and members of Fight For NYCHA noted that, as a result, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) was proposing to privatise public housing. Despite the dangerous conditions facing public housing tenants, the office of U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez turned down the funding request. After that request was turned down, members of Fight For NYCHA requested that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez sponsor a budget resolution for only half the amount, and Fight For NYCHA members said that they would organise NYCHA tenants and request the remainder of the funding from City and State Governments. But that second request was also turned down.

On top of feeling betrayed by AOC, as the U.S. Representative is known, members of Fight For NYCHA sensed that AOC’s own political apparatus was going to take advantage of public housing tenants, who had been left unfunded by the socialist political superstar. The telephone discussions about the funding requests took place with Randy Abreu, an AOC Congressional staffer, who was a co-founder of Movement School. What members of Fight For NYCHA found troubling was that, on two occasions, Abreu said that, in the wake of U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez turning down the funding requests, Movement School would organise NYCHA public housing tenants. After AOC consulted with her staff on the budget resolution request, and after they made a decision to turn down the budget resolution request, Movement School was going to use the decision of their own making (the refusal to sponsor a budget resolution to fully-fund NYCHA) as a pretext to do outreach and recruiting for Justice Democrats.

Does Movement School have to lie to NYCHA tenants before Movement School can gain their trust ?

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14) has turned her back on NYCHA.

Before negotiations began with the co-founder of Movement School, AOC’s senior counsel, Dan Riffle, announced that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez was co-sponsoring emergency funding for NYCHA that never materialised. Riffle next promised that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office would never support any plan that would “privatize NYCHA.” Since AOC would later refuse to denounce the mayor’s privatisation plan for NYCHA, she would betray her promise to oppose any privatisation of NYCHA.

These discussions took place in March. One month later, Mayor de Blasio announced a plan that would include the first-of-its-kind demolition of public housing and the scaling up of the use of a controversial programme known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD. Under RAD, the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development approves the transfer of management of public housing developments to private landlords. As Fight For NYCHA has argued, RAD leads to rent hikes, increased allegations of tenant harassment and discrimination, and higher eviction rates. With 90 per cent. of NYCHA tenants being people of colour, these changes to public housing policies would disproportionately affect people based on race. Under the disparate-impact rule of the Fair Housing Act, any housing policy that leads to a disparate-impact based on race is discriminatory and, as a consequence, unlawful. Despite this unlawfulness, nobody with Movement School, not even Abreu, who was a co-founder, saw anything wrong with the decision by U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office to refuse to sponsor a budget resolution for NYCHA funding, because their decision to keep NYCHA defunded left a fiscal vacuum seized by Mayor de Blasio as the reason to demolish and privatise public housing.

Months after declining to sponsor a NYCHA budget resolution in Congress, AOC refuses to denounce RAD.

Five months after public housing funding discussions broke down between Fight For NYCHA and U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s office, AOC spearheaded a Bronx townhall dedicated to NYCHA. AOC’s staff went through the motions of inviting Fight For NYCHA members, but members would only be tolerated as guests, and would not be given any dedicated speaking time. Under such conditions, members of Fight For NYCHA refused to attend, fearing that attendance would only be used to validate unknown policy positions.

True to those concerns, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez refused to address at her NYCHA townhall whether she supported Mayor de Blasio’s embrace of RAD to privatize NYCHA public housing, according to a tweet posted by a reporter for the New York Times.

U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal to denounce RAD was seen by many as an abdication of leadership, at best, or complicity with the privatisation of NYCHA public housing, at worst.

AOC’s refusal to provide crucial, early support to the idea that NYCHA needed to be fully-funded represented a betrayal of her socialist ideology. Because NYCHA public housing is social housing, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal to support the full-funding of social housing meant that the private sector would begin to transform both the rent paid by public housing tenants and the value of strategic public assets into sources of profit for certain participants of the real estate industry. It is not known if that was the transformation AOC sought to bring about whilst in office.

AOC uses her office to protect party leaders, not to fight for the people.

AOC and Movement School turn blind eyes to repeated press reports, alleging corruption of Mayor de Blasio’s housing policies, including the disposition of public housing assets.

Relentless press reports make showings that Mayor de Blasio’s housing policies have been allegedly encumbered by conflicts of interest, appearances of pay-to-play corruption, and favours to campaign donors. In response, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Movement School have remained mum. Their silence in the face of questionable changes in City housing policy and the possible disposition of public housing assets casts doubt on their judgment and intentions, particularly in respect of NYCHA’s future.

NYCHA tenants are living in uninhabitable conditions — with lead paint that is poisoning, and impeding the development of, children ; toxic mold and mildew ; broken elevators ; heat and hot water outages ; and other building or code violations — and the only solution is the provision of full-funding to make the capital repairs to public housing to restore humane living conditions to NYCHA tenants.

What is true that U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign overlapped with Movement School, and that one of her policy advisors in New York was a co-founder of Movement School, and that policy advisor relayed the decision not to support a budget resolution seeking to fully-fund NYCHA this Fiscal Year before announcing that Movement School would, in that vacuum, organise public housing tenants. It is clear that, in dealing with AOC, one is facing an intertwined campaign-Congressional office-outreach arm of Justice Democrats apparatus. How can NYCHA tenants trust this apparatus to organise public housing tenants in New York when, in their judgement, there was nothing wrong in throwing NYCHA tenants under the bus ?

When Movement School recruits NYCHA tenants as outreach for Justice Democratis, it is not known if Movement School admits to the truth about how it was involved in AOC’s decision to turn down the funding request for NYCHA, or if Movement School has to lie about its role.