VIDEO : NYCHA activists poured ‘blood’ on the Hudson Yards drone on the 4th of July

The U.S. Military budget and the filibuster currently prevent the U.S. Congress from passing progressive legislation, like H.R.235/S.598/S.679, which would provide emergency funding for the backlog capital repairs to the Nation’s public housing stock.

Before the Macy’s fireworks display took center-stage in New York City’s East River, public housing activists made their own display at a monument that they alleged glorified endless wars at Hudson Yards.

The activists poured “blood” on the pole that props up an installation of a drone on the High Line Park adjoining Hudson Yards in Manhattan. A banner drop took place concurrently with the “drone attack.”

NYCHA Is Not For Sale : 4th of July Protest and Banner Drop at the Hudson Yards Drone

On 18 April 2021, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) promised to support amending H.R.235 so that it would provide $80 billion to fund the backlog of capital repairs to public housing, of which approx. $40 billion would be earmarked for the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA.  Furthermore, NYCHA residents were promised that H.R.235 would be put into the Infrastructure Bill being shaped by President Joseph Biden (D) and would provide job opportunities to public housing residents. But H.R.235 was not included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that was negotiated with G.O.P. Senators.

  • President Biden must ask the U.S. Congress to fund the backlog of capital repairs in the Nation’s public housing stock by cutting the cost from the bloated U.S. Military budget.  We must create the long, overdue peace dividend that can be invested in domestic programs, beginning with ending the era of the racist divestment of public housing.
  • If President Biden cannot support cutting $80 billion from the U.S. Military budget, then President Biden must forgo elusive bipartisan support.  Bipartisanship was never going to be possible with Republic Party obstructionism that relies on using the filibuster to block passage of progressive legislation.  Once the filibuster has been eliminated, then the Democrats in the U.S. Senate can pass S.598/S.679 (the companion bills to H.R.235), so that the U.S. House can vote to pass H.R.235.

Protest to demand a cut the U.S. Military budget or to end the filibuster in order to fully-fund public housing

THE NYCHA IS NOT FOR SALE COALITION CALLS ON THE WHITE HOUSE TO SUPPORT H.R. 235, A BILL TO FULLY-FUND PUBLIC HOUSING, EVEN IF IT MEANS CUTTING AT LEAST SOME OF THE U.S. MILITARY BUDGET AND/OR ENDING THE FILIBUSTER.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT : Edwin DeJesus, info@edwinfornyc.com, (917) 804-7087

NEW YORK, NY (July 4) — The NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition declares that it is time for U.S. citizens to declare independence from the U.S. military-industrial complex and the filibuster that currently prevent the U.S. Congress from passing progressive legislation, like H.R.235/S.598/S.679, which would provide emergency funding for the backlog capital repairs to the Nation’s public housing stock.

To support our demands, NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition members today staged a direct-action protest to focus public attention on the need to fund the backlog of capital repairs to public housing.

VIDEO 1 : Banner Drop [Twitter]

VIDEO 2 : Drone Attack [Twitter]

At the protest today, public housing activists participated in a banner drop and in renouncing the glorification of U.S. Military spending at the cost of funding habitable housing for NYCHA residents, who include U.S. veterans, civil servants, retirees, public school children, and many others.

On 18 April 2021, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) promised to support amending H.R.235 so that it would provide $80 billion to fund the backlog of capital repairs to public housing, of which approx. $40 billion would be earmarked for the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA.  Furthermore, NYCHA residents were promised that H.R.235 would be put into the Infrastructure Bill being shaped by President Joseph Biden (D) and would provide job opportunities to public housing residents.

But H.R.235 was not included in the bipartisan Infrastructure Bill that was negotiated with G.O.P. Senators.

There is an urgency to funding public housing, because neoliberals, such as Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City), seek to sell-out public housing with schemes, like the Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD ; Permanent Affordability Commitment Together, or PACT ; infill development ; the sale of air rights ; and/or the Blueprint — plans that seek to permanently end Section 9 public housing by disposing of public housing assets.

Cut the U.S. Military budget or end the filibuster

NOW, THEREFORE, in order to fully-fund the long-overdue capital repairs to NYCHA, the NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition hereby demands that the White House must communicate that : (a). the House pass H.R.235 as a stand-alone bill — just like it has done with a large surface transporation bill (H.R.3684) that is infrastructure-related, and (b). the Senate pass the companion bill with funding set at $80 billion, as promised by Senate Majority Leader Schumer. Fully-f unding public housing is possible under two frameworks :

  • FRAMEWORK #1.  President Biden must ask the U.S. Congress to fund the backlog of capital repairs in the Nation’s public housing stock by cutting the cost from the bloated U.S. Military budget.  For too long, the Federal Government has never questioned U.S. Military spending (https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/raytheon-gets-2-billion-us-air-force-contract-long-range-weapon-2021-07-01/), and that has always come at the cost of making long, overdue investments in infrastructure, including to public housing.  Furthermore, if the U.S. Congress must take up passage of H.R.235/S.598/S.679 solely by budget reconciliation, then the funds for public housing can come from making budget realocations from the U.S. Military.  The NYCHA Is Not For Sale coalition stands with our allies in jointly demanding an end to the endless wars.  We seek to stop Washington from arming, funding, bombing, and deploying troops and drones in wars and armed conflict around the world.  We must create the long, overdue peace dividend that can be invested in domestic programs, beginning with ending the era of the racist divestment of public housing.  Indeed, the Government expanded NYCHA to provide housing to veterans returning from World War II (https://www.nytimes.com/1946/06/02/archives/study-shows-families-of-veterans-occupy-a-large-part-of-the-public.html?searchResultPosition=2).  Our Nation owes veterans, their families, and all public housing residents safe, sanitary, and habitable public housing.  We must collectively seek to promote peace around the World, and this means we must end the use of all foreign aid that presently supports the commission of war crimes and human rights violations.  A peacetime economy can support a new commitment to racial, legal, and social justice.
  • FRAMEWORK #2.  If President Biden cannot support cutting $80 billion from the U.S. Military budget, then President Biden must forgo elusive bipartisan support.  Bipartisanship was never going to be possible with Republic Party obstructionism that relies on using the filibuster to block passage of progressive legislation.  Many have called the filibuster a vestige of slavery and of Jim Crow laws that have for too long permitted a powerful minority to distort the democratic functions of Government.  President Biden must abandon GOP compromise that is premised on avoiding the filibuster by pressuring the U.S. Senate to end the filibuster completely.  Republicans could not block passage of H.R.235/S.598/S.679 and other progressive legislation, including voting rights protections, without relying on the filibuster.  The time to do away with the filibuster is now.  Once the filibuster has been eliminated, then the Democrats in the U.S. Senate can pass S.598/S.679 (the companion bills to H.R.235), so that the U.S. House can vote to pass H.R.235.  Majority Leader Schumer’s promise to NYCHA residents would end the era of the racist divestment of public housing, and we need to do everything possible to help him keep his word.

NYCHA faces an emergency.  For years, Mayor de Blasio has promoted several schemes to end Section 9 public housing or to privatise public housing.  We don’t need to end the New Deal promise of public housing, because we have options to fund the backlog of capital repairs by either cutting from the U.S. Military Budget or ending the filibuster.  The time to act is now.

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?

Sen. Schumer teams up with U.S. Rep. Velázquez to renew the New Deal promise of public housing

At a press conference Sunday, Majority Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez proposed to more than double President Biden’s funding of public housing.

“For too long, public housing has been neglected, left to get worse, and we’re not going to stand for it anymore,” Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said during a press conference, announcing a more than doubling of proposed infrastructure spending directed towards the Nation’s public housing stock. The remarks, according to a report broadcast by the WCBS 880 AM Radio station, included a promise that, of the newly proposed funding that was estimated to be in excess of $80 billion, at least half of that would be earmarked for New York — “enough to eliminate the estimated repair backlog for the New York City Housing Authority.”

Fight For NYCHA was on-hand for the press conference. In prepared remarks published by Fight For NYCHA, the group recognised Sen. Schumer and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07).  “Fight For NYCHA are very grateful to Leader Schumer for bringing us together to acknowledge the important role that public housing plays in our society. We must save Section 9 housing as it exists,” adding that, “As we embark on a new progressive era, Leader Schumer and Rep. Velázquez are showing leadership by renewing the New Deal promise of public housing.” Special thanks were given to Fight For NYCHA’s lawyers, Michael Sussman and Thomas Hillgardner. Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was thanked for launching the Federal investigation into the physical condition standards of NYCHA, which renewed urgency to repair public housing. Finally, U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III was thanked for the years he has spent overseeing NYCHA, attempting to keep the troubled public housing authority honest with its residents.

Resident leaders, including Claudia Perez and Melanie Aucello, called for an end to the use of RAD/PACT to finance public housing authorities.

Last week, Judge Pauley III ruled that the de Blasio administration was permitted to erode the protections of public housing residents, who received tenant protection vouchers following their conversion to RAD/PACT private sector landlords. The ruling revealed that, contrary to what Mayor de Blasio had been promising, tenants’ rights were not protected after RAD/PACT conversion, and that the use of the term tenant protection vouchers amounted to a mere Orwellian name to bamboozle public housing residents into accepting a scheme that facilitated the privatisation of strategic public housing assets.

Notes

  • The photograph of the press conference was first published by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and was shared here under the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright laws.

EDITORIAL : We’re Not Getting the Truth About NYCHA

“So many untruths have been spread by NYCHA and the mayor.”

Melanie Aucello, the president of the resident association at a public housing apartment building in Kips Bay, Manhattan, has published an editorial about her experience with Rental Assistance Demonstration (“RAD”) and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (“PACT”).

It’s not a pretty picture.

RAD/PACT is a raw deal public housing residents can’t afford.

“Despite all the promises that RAD/PACT would be good for tenants, NYCHA forced on us new restrictive leases that had easier triggers for evictions and financial penalties for people with disabilities, such as higher electricity costs for charging wheelchairs.”

There are no guarantees with these public-private partnerships.

In her editorial, Ms. Aucello highlighted, amongst many issues, the fact that the media is not informing the public about the truth facing public housing residents. “Many in the press act as cheerleaders for RAD/PACT and another NYCHA plan known as the Blueprint,” Ms. Aucello wrote, adding that, “Combined, these plans will end public housing as we know it, and NYCHA has admitted in court that they plan to use these plans to abandon their obligations to residents.”

Recommended Reading

Andrew Yang is a Class Enemy : He’s a Liar Liar Privatizer !

Andrew Yang is a political enemy of the working class.

Andrew Yang is a class enemy of working families, retirees, and people earning low incomes. Like a true neocon big tech honcho, he’s focused on cutting welfare during a pandemic and the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. He proposes a miserly universal basic income (“UBI”) plan that won’t be enough to pay for Obamacare premiums and your rent. Meeting healthcare and housing needs during a pandemic is critical. What is worse, Andrew Yang has intentionally stayed silent as Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) wrecks NYCHA public housing with the privatisation schemes known as RAD/PACT and the Blueprint.

Yang has also remained mum about the evictions happening after RAD/PACT conversions. We believe that fully-funding capital repairs at NYCHA without resorting to privatization remains a good-faith effort at making a deposit on reparations owed to POC after centuries of slavery and discrimination. Why is Andrew Yang so quiet ?

If we keep quiet about how horrible Andrew Yang is, there’ll be nothing of NYCHA left after Mayor de Blasio finishes his last year in office. This is where Andrew Yang truly reveals himself to be a class enemy : He’s permitting the plundering of strategic public assets — our public housing stock. We can’t afford Andrew Yang as our next mayor !

Andrew Yang is a Liar Liar Privatizer ! He wants to do away with housing vouchers. NYCHA residents MUST organize to save public housing.

March to stop RAD/PACT/Blueprint conversions

NYCHA has admitted in Federal Court that they want to abandon their obligations to public housing residents after RAD/PACT/Blueprint conversions. This is unacceptable ! Please join our march to stop anymore privatisation of public housing.

We are planning a protest march to stop Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC) and NYCHA from abandoning their obligations to public housing residents after RAD/PACT/Blueprint conversion. It has been revealed in the Federal class-action Baez case that the de Blasio administration is using privatisation as an excuse to walk away from environmental protections and basic responsibilities they owe public housing residents. This is unacceptable ! Please join the social movement to save public housing and to fight for your civil rights ! We need your participation.

At our protest march, we will call-out politicians, who betrayed their campaign promises or continue the neglect.

Date : Sun., March 21, 2021

Time : 12 Noon (start-time)

Place : 344 E. 28th St., Manhattan

Accessibility : We meet outside of the front doors at 344 East 28th Street, Manhattan. Get ready to make noise and plan to march about 30 blocks. If you need transportation, we will try to arrange limited car pools by taxi. We can only pay for taxi service from what we can raise through our Go Fund Me for supplies expense. Please make a donation to support this march.

Rain Day : If it rains, we hold our march the following day — on Monday, Mar. 22 at 12 noon.

Fight For NYCHA filed amicus curiae application in Baez class action mold case

Civil rights attorney Michael Sussman, applied to U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III to accept Fight For NYCHA as amicus curiae in the Baez class action mold case.

After Plaintiffs in the Baez class action mold abatement case learned that the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, planned on using the disposition of public housing under the controversial programmes as an excuse to abandon NYCHA’s obligations to provide habitable living conditions to residents, issues about the controversial conversion programmes, known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD, and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together, or PACT, came to the fore in the class action case.

However, the Parties to the case, as will as their counsel, were unable to answer many questions before U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III during Oral Arguments over a motion filed by the Baez Plaintiffs to compel the application of the Revised Consent Decree in that case on public housing developments that NYCHA had converted under RAD/PACT. The motion papers also referenced the RAD/PACT conversion of the Manhattan Bundle, which included the public housing development located at 344 East 28th Street in Kips Bay, Manhattan. Plaintiffs’ and Defendant’s counsel attempted to speak to issues of RAD/PACT conversion, but the source of Federal rental assistance was not a selection factor in the Court’s certification of the class of residents represented by Plaintiffs’ counsel. Some members of Fight For NYCHA resident at 344 East 28th Street, and they were in the best position to offer critical information for the Court, but their interests were not properly represented during the motion practise before the Court, particularly since at least one member of Fight For NYCHA was a third party beneficiary of the Revised Consent Decree in Baez, which Defendant NYCHA was attempting to deny residents of RAD/PACT-converted housing.

The lack of adequate counsel to properly represent the interests of public housing residents following RAD/PACT conversions placed public housing residents in jeopardy, and that required the intervention of members of Fight For NYCHA, who were solely able to answer the Court’s questions about RAD/PACT. As a result, civil rights attorney Michael Sussman sought leave from the Court to submit a letter, providing information, answering questions that were before the Court, and promising further assistance with the Court’s permission.

The Parties in Baez complied with the Scheduling Order set by the Court to complete the submission of motion papers, and Fight For NYCHA’s letter, informally referred to as an amicus curiae, was submitted to the Court. The Parties await a decision by Judge Pauley III on Plaintiffs’ motion.

The amicus curiae was also seen as a required move by members of Fight For NYCHA, since many other groups which purport to be “NYCHA preservation groups,” like Movement School, refuse to challenge the privatisation of public housing by Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC). That refusal has misled public housing residents into believing that Elected Officials are on their side. This disinformation has permitted politicians, like U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY 14), who permits organising for Movement School out of her office like a nonprofit political arm, to exploit public housing residents out of political expediency. The political deception has been made worse by the attempts of some unscrupulous groups, like Justice For All Coälition, to offer low-impact methods, such as petitions, as viable forms of activism to save public housing, despite the urgency revealed in the Baez case, where facts were submitted to the Court that the de Blasio administration was acting to end all Section 9 public housing “soon” with dire implications for public housing residents.

Featured Reading

NYCHA Mayoral Forum

NYCHA Mayoral Forum hosted by Fight For NYCHA (25 Jan 2021)

Despite our invitation reaching dozens of the 2021 mayoral candidates, only Aaron Foldenauer ; Isaac Wright, Jr. ; and Joycelyn Taylor appeared.

The mayoral forum was hosted by Melanie Aucello, president of the resident association of 344 East 28th Street, which has undergone RAD/PACT conversion. The forum was co-hosted by Louis Flores and Diane de Jesus. Aucello, Flores, and de Jesus are core members of the activist group, Fight For NYCHA.

NYCHA Mayoral Forum hosted by Fight For NYCHA (25 Jan 2021)

Reference Document

Fight For NYCHA are maintaining a public spreadsheet of the 2021 mayoral candidates’ positions in relation to NYCHA, RAD/PACT, the Blueprint, and other issues.