Pack the Court on Monday morning as Fight For NYCHA makes one last effort to stop RAD/PACT !

It appears that Mayor Bill de Blasio should have put RAD/PACT conversions through the ULURP Process. But he didn’t !

Because protests have not worked, the last few members of Fight For NYCHA have sued Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City), the City of New York, NYCHA CEO Greg Russ, and NYCHA to stop the RAD/PACT privatisation of public housing !

It’s been almost three years since Fight For NYCHA was formed. In that time, the activism to save public housing in New York City has been beset by division, sectarian politics, ego, obfuscation, and subversion. We had AOC refuse to stand-up to Mayor de Blasio’s use of RAD/PACT and the Blueprint to sell-out NYCHA. We had other Electeds approve of the sell-out of public housing, and they never faced any consequence for having participated in the sell-out of public housing. We had socialists and other sectarian groups promote the use of Section 8 vouchers to the disadvantage of public housing residents, which was shameful and a form of betrayal, because that was certainly no way to show class solidarity. Rather than confront Mayor de Blasio, some activists formed YouTube talk shows to promote themselves. Other groups, like Movement School, sought to use NYCHA activism as a cover for membership drives that was entirely divorced from a commitment to an outcome to saving Section 9 public housing. We also endured selfish political candidates, seeking to use NYCHA issues for their political campaigns, only to turn their backs once their campaigns floundered. Other political candidates, like Marni Halasa, used NYCHA activism for press clips ; it didn’t matter that she was leading/misleading residents in the wrong direction. All that mattered were her media mentions.

The lawsuit we filed was largely based on the lawsuit filed by Beep Gale Bewer (D-Manhattan) to stop the infill development at Holmes Tower, which she won after Mayor de Blasio backtracked from the unlawful plans for the real estate development in the Upper East Side.

We had no choice but to file this lawsuit after activism to mobilise public housing residents failed in New York City due to many “community groups” and nonprofit orgs running interference for Mayor de Blasio and other corrupt Electeds. Remember how one nonprofit hosted Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) at a Black church in Brooklyn after it came to be known he supported the sell-out of public housing in Chelsea. Even after we exposed the truth of how some Socialist Democrats were collaborating with Mayor de Blasio in his scheme to end all Section 9 public housing, it came to a shock to many that it took direct action in the face of the DSA to put a halt to the Blueprint.

The lawsuit, filed as an Article 78 Petition, revealed that Mayor de Blasio’s implementation of RAD/PACT was illegal, since the way that Mayor de Blasio is rolling-out RAD/PACT conversions violate the City Charter and the New York State Public Housing Law. The City Charter and the Public Housing Law require large-scale projects, like RAD/PACT conversions, to be put through the ULURP Process. But Mayor de Blasio, NYCHA, CEO Russ, and the City of New York did not follow the laws. In respect of the RAD/PACT conversion of Fulton Houses and Elliott-Chelsea, the lawsuit made a showing that the de Blasio administration admitted that they decided to act outside of the ULURP Process.

As time passed, we knew that litigation, like this, would be our last resort, if social movement building failed in the face of sectarian opposition. We ask for support, as we make it clear that all other groups must set aside self-interest and self-promotion for the common good of all. And that means seeing to it that Section 9 public housing is saved from privatisation. This must be made a priority, at long last.

Pack the Court !

Date : Monday, Nov. 15

Time : 9:30 am

Place : Supreme Court, New York County, 60 Centre St., Room 130

Update

Updated 12 Nov 2021 13:55 The Defendants have filed motions to dismiss our Article 78 petition. We need to work together to put a stop to RAD/PACT once and for all !

Source Documents

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.

Do let’s be clear : Bill de Blasio is determined to wreck NYCHA before he leaves office. We can’t let him !

Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing a June 10 vote by the New York State Legislature to approve the Blueprint, so he can go into Court on the Baez case on June 14 and declare that most of Section 9 is doomed to end. We can’t let him !

We have received information that Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) is pressuring Albany Legislators to vote to approve the dangerous Blueprint for NYCHA. Under the Blueprint, all public housing apartments (that wouldn’t already perish under RAD/PACT) would be converted to Section 8 housing and placed into a new State Authority that will have no political accountability. It will become another MTA — a rudderless Agency that both the Governor and the Mayor disown, even though both of them secretly angle in smoke-filled backrooms to control the MTA’s valuable procurement and construction contracts. That’s what the new Blueprint entity is going to be like.

The information we have received is that the Albany vote for the Blueprint is schedule on or about June 10. The Mayor is pushing for such an early date, because he’s deliberately trying to convert all public housing tenants from from Section 9 housing to Section 8, because U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III has ruled in the Baez case that the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA, can treat Section 8 residents with substandard care. That’s what the mayor wants — he wants to create a “separate and unequal treatment” for Section 8 residents, so that public housing becomes more “attractive” to private sector landlords-investors. NYCHA owes Judge Pauley a status report on June 14, and the mayor wants nothing more than to go into Court and tell Judge Pauley that most of Section 9 is doomed to end.

This is a scam, and we have to call it all out — including the various politicians, who are enabling Mayor de Blasio — a corrupt, lame duck mayor left unindicted by the Manhattan Federal prosecutors’ office — to wreck all of public housing before he leaves office.

The same State Legislators, who whisper in each others’ ears that, “RAD has to happen,” want to negotiate to accept the Blueprint. We can’t let them !

Several self-styled “progressive” New York State Legislators from Brooklyn plan to vote as a bloc, and they have expressed interest in negotiating with NYCHA to accept the Blueprint. This is a trap, and the fact that these Legislators are using the pretexte of “negotiating” for an acceptable deal is indication that they plan to sell you out. Are you going to let them ?

From the beginning of the formation of Fight For NYCHA, several Legislators have privately expressed hesitancy about confronting Mayor de Blasio in a public rebuke of his RAD/PACT and Blueprint sell-out of NYCHA. Most prominently, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Justice Democrats-NY 14) infamously said though her staff that they were not interested in using Mayor de Blasio as a “punching bag” in order to push back on the RAD/PACT sell-out of NYCHA. Later, it was revealed that trade unions helped her negotiate her astroturf bill for NYCHA. Whenever large real estate development projects are proposed by the corrupt real estate industry that are opposed by community residents, unscrupulous politicians rely on the support of trades unions as political cover to override the will of community residents. Under this analysis, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is “union-washing” the RAD/PACT sell-out of NYCHA. It’s no different than when real estate developers overtake Community Board hearings with men in yellow jackets and hardhats and run roughshod over long-term residents during ULURP hearings.

Some of AOC’s State Legislature counterparts are doing something similar, but no less dangerous and undemocratic.

The mayor is pushing a rezoning of Gowanus, the sell-out of Governor’s Island, and the NoHo/SoHo rezoning to cash-out with the real estate industry before he mounts a clown-car campaign for New York Governor’s mansion. The outsized egos of many opportunist community group leaders, who are fighting their respective battles, prevent a coming together for the good of the City. Under this scenario of self-will run riot, the City — and public housing — doesn’t stand a chance to stand-up to Mayor de Blasio’s corrupt enablers in the New York State or the Municipal legislatures.

Since the other community groups selfishly won’t do it, we will be planning a protest that will welcome everybody.

Stay tuned.

NYCHA is due back in court on June 14 on the Baez case to update the Judge about the future of public housing, and it looks grim.

The Class-action Plaintiffs and NYCHA agreed to ask the Judge for an extension of time until June 14 to report-back to the Court.

Co-Counsel for the Plaintiffs and the Defendant in the Baez class-action case against NYCHA notified Judge William Pauley III that the parties would need until June 14 to provide the Court with a joint report about how they planned to proceed following a bombshell Court ruling, finding that NYCHA would be allowed by the Federal Court to create a separate and unequal class of tenants’ rights for Section 8 residents in NYCHA public housing, when compared with Section 9 residents.

The move comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) tries everything in his power to wreck public housing in his last, lame-duck year in office. Even though Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) has teamed up with U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) to fully-fund the backlog of capital repairs to the entire Nation’s public housing stock, Mayor de Blasio acts like he’s trying to help his political donors profit from the sell-out of the New York City Housing Authority.

Judge Pauley ruled that NYCHA can exclude RAD/PACT residents from protections offered by the Revised Consent Decree in the Baez class action mold case

SDNY Judge William Pauley III ruled that the de Blasio administration can deny Baez case mold “protections” to NYCHA RAD PACT public housing residents receiving Section 8 Tenant Protection Vouchers

In a long, overdue ruling, U.S. District Court Jude William Pauley III issued an opinion, claiming that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) could exclude residents of New York City Housing Authority from receiving the benefits of the Revised Consent Decree in the Baez class action mold abatement case. The decree would have conferred benefits to mold abatement, like the removal of excess moisture, plumbing repairs, and roof fan replacements. As a consequence of the Court’s opinion, those benefits would be denied to public housing residents transferred to the private sector under the mayor’s privatisation schemes. The ruling represented an immediate win for Mayor de Blasio, who has long sought to end the New Deal promise of public housing by privatising City real property and by abandoning all obligations to public housing residents. Judge Pauley’s ruling provided that, should the parties fail to propose a new Consent Decree, they should be prepared to litigate the issue in Court.

The privatisation schemes, known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD, and Permanent Affordability Commitment Together, or PACT, transfer strategic public assets to private sector landlords, who siphon off rent monies formerly kept in the public sector of the U.S. economy that then get treated as profits kept by the private sector.

Former NYCHA Interim CEO and current 2021 Democratic Party mayoral primary candidate Kathryn Garcia described RAD/PACT to the New York City Congressional delegation in 2019 as offering public housing residents with “tenant protection vouchers,” according to a social media post of that time then. However, Judge Pauley’s ruling essentially admitted that residents of RAD/PACT-converted public housing developments will receive no protections under the Revised Consent Decree in the Baez class action mold abatement case. Members of Fight For NYCHA have accused former NYCHA Interim CEO Garcia, Mayor de Blasio, and current NYCHA CEO Greg Russ, and their enablers, such as Lucy Newman of the Legal Aid Society, of lying to residents when they claimed that residents’ rights would be “protected” under RAD/PACT.

Public housing residents face gross injustices as a consequence of RAD/PACT conversions. A core member of Fight For NYCHA published an editorial in the New York Daily News just last week, revealing many problems with Mayor de Blasio’s implementation of RAD/PACT. In motion practise, NYCHA admitted that they planned to end all obligations to public housing residents under their privatisation schemes. Next up would include residents of Fulton Houses and Elliott-Chelsea Houses, who surrendered to RAD/PACT conversion after resident leaders there splintered off from Fight For NYCHA and were recruited by unscrupulous political groups loyal to Mayor de Blasio.

In response to the onslaught of privatisation facing public housing in New York City, many politicians have continued to “green-wash” the dangers facing NYCHA public housing residents. Rather than focus on the economic and eviction risks from RAD/PACT conversions, politicians and their supporters, such as 2021 Democratic Party mayoral primary candidate Andrew Yang, have focused on making public housing apartment buildings more energy efficient or expanding composting facilities. This refocusing has deliberately obfuscated how Mayor de Blasio’s use of RAD/PACT put public housing residents in jeopardy of losing their housing. A significant number o the first residents to face RAD/PACT conversion at Ocean Bay Apartments in Far Rockaway, Queens, faced eviction.

The “green-washing” of NYCHA arguably began with U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (WFP-NY 14), who blamed global warming on NYCHA public housing residents, even though for decades they have not received adequate heat or hot water during winter months and suffer from routine electrical brown-outs and suspended elevator service.

On the same day as Judge Pauley revealed that NYCHA’s Tenant Protection Vouchers offer no tenant protections, the NYPD deployed a robot dog to a public housing development converted under RAD/PACT.

Even as Judge Pauley admitted in his latest ruling in the Baez class action mold case, that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s promise of providing “Tenant Protection Vouchers” offered RAD/PACT residents no actual protections, the NYPD responded to 344 East 28th Street, a public housing apartment building that was part of the 2020 RAD/PACT Manhattan Bundle, with military grade equipment, including its controversial dystopian “robot dog.”

Robot Dog NYC NYCHA 2021 Black Mirror Becoming Reality

The NYPD’s response to a reported domestic disturbance included the use of military grade equipment. Under the politics of neoliberalism in control of the Government, there’s money to militarise the police, but no money to fully-fund NYCHA.

Days after the president of the resident association at 344 East 28th Street published a daring editorial, denouncing Mayor de Blasio’s RAD/PACT privatisation scheme for NYCHA public housing, the NYPD deployed a controversial $75,000 robotic dog in response to a reported domestic disturbance. The NYPD response included the assembly of  officers from its Technical Assistance Response Unit, or TARU, which reportedly command drones and robotic equipment.

The politicians running the Government have rejected the “Defund the Police” social movement and have requested to boost U.S. military spending, but they have merely offered pennies on the dollar for the backlog of repairs crippling the Nation’s public housing stock.

After two years of activism, Fight For NYCHA have continued to pressure for full-funding of the estimated $32 billion in backlog capital repairs for NYCHA public housing, which would render any further RAD/PACT conversions as unnecessary. The value of the backlog of repairs facing NYCHA have never been the subject of a Federal audit by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) has offered legislation that would provide $70 billion to pay for backlog capital repairs to public housing nation-wide, yet President Joseph Biden (D) has only reportedly promised to include $40 billion in his infrastructure bill. Some politicians are now making public demands that the infrastructure bill must raise its public housing allocation to the amount of U.S. Rep. Velázquez’s bill.

Source Document

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.”

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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.

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