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?

Mayor Bill de Blasio can’t work alone to sell-out NYCHA before his term is up without the help of other Democrats. Here are some of them.

A mayor left unindicted following a wide-ranging, Federal corruption investigation finds it easy to attract collaborators in the disposition of strategic public assets, like NYCHA public housing using the Blueprint scheme, for example.

As revealed by Fight For NYCHA, Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) has been pressuring fellow Democrats to vote to approve the Blueprint scheme that will convert all non-RAD/PACT public housing apartments into a new entity that will effectively bring about the end of all Section 9 public housing in New York City.

A group of New York State legislators, which appears to include State Sen. Julia Salazar (D-Bushwick), State Sen. Jabari Brisport (D-Bed-Stuy), Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes (D-Red Hook), and notable DSA member Cea Weaver, negotiated over the minutiae of the legislation, giving the impression that they would vote to approve or support the Blueprint with minor conditions.

Under the Blueprint scheme, Mayor de Blasio would transfer all public housing apartments not meant for RAD/PACT to a new creature of Albany that would have no political accountability for bureaucratic failure.

U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III has ruled that public housing residents, who get converted to Section 8 vouchers, as contemplated by the Blueprint scheme, could legally receive separate but unequal rights. Under the Blueprint, for example, Section 8 residents would not receive any protections offered by the Revised Consent Decree in the Baez class action lawsuit.

The Parties to the Baez litigation owe Judge Pauley a status report by June 14. Before NYCHA must return to Court, Mayor de Blasio has been strong-arming his Albany co-conspirators to vote to approve the Blueprint on or by June 10, so that, once the Parties report-back to Judge Pauley, they can inform His Honour that Albany has approved the eventual end to Section 9 housing.

An end to Section 9 housing would be the death knell to the New Deal promise to public housing.

An estimated 600,000 individuals live in apartments owned and operated by NYCHA. Ending Section 9 housing would be the next step in the Government’s wholesale abandonment of its obligations to public housing residents, something that Conservatives have long sought.

Mayor de Blasio couldn’t be able to bring about an end to NYCHA’s New Deal promise without the help of the DSA wing of Albany Legislators and other collaborators. Corruption of this scale takes a lot of work and coördination. Not even Mayor de Blasio’s reported issues over how he appears to use Government approvals for real estate contracts in order to fundraise for his various political committees have proved to be a concern for his allies. Mayor de Blasio was left unindicted following the completion of a wide-ranging, Federal corruption investigation into his campaign finance activities.

The sell-out of NYCHA public housing by Mayor de Blasio and his allies in the DSA wing of the Democratic Party comes as Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) has proposed to improve H.R. 235 to fully-fund the backlog of capital repairs to the entire Nation’s public housing stock.

Certain participants in the real estate development industry are allegedly demanding that Mayor de Blasio and other Electeds advance the approval of major real estate development projects, including the disposition of strategic public assets, before the election of the next class of Municipal Legislators poses problems for the large-scale real estate developers.

Source Document

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.

Bill de Blasio’s Five Biggest Lies about RAD/PACT and Blueprint at NYCHA

Bill de Blasio is a Liar, Liar, Privatizer !

LIE # 1 : NYCHA has no money for repairs.

FACT : We don’t need RAD/PACT or the Blueprint. Sen. Charles Schumer supports H.R.235, a House bill that when updated would provide $80 billion this year to public housing nation-wide, of which $40 billion would pay for all the repairs at NYCHA. We don’t have to sell-out public housing !

LIE # 2 : Your rights are protected.

FACT : NYCHA isn’t telling you that they are deliberately moving everybody from Section 9 to Section 8 so that everybody gets weaker tenant rights. For example, you lose rights to mold repairs and protections under the Baez case after the judge approved lower-tier rights. The RAD/PACT Landlords profit this way.

LIE # 3 : You won’t get evicted, you’re safe.

FACT : At the very first RAD/PACT conversion, over 80 households were evicted. You have no access to the Federal Monitor, so nobody will investigate civil rights violations. The new Leases are rigged, you could end up paying for utilities and costs, and you are shown no mercy at Housing Court.

LIE # 4 : You still have tenant participation.

FACT : Tenant participation doesn’t mean anything, because you don’t have any say in the wording of the Leases, the House Rules, or the fines. The RAD/PACT Landlords are private sector landlords, and the last thing they want is tenants, who think they have a say in building management.

LIE # 5 : The new kitchen cabinets are worth it.

FACT : You will live with unsafe construction, like dust from lead paint and holes in walls. Of course, repairs are long-overdue, but these cosmetic changes aren’t enough. You lose elevator access during construction, and you lose all supportive services, like job training, that NYCHA used to provide.

A recovery in New York City most certainly not for us

The call by Mayor Bill de Blasio to reopen the economy, now being rushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, promises a return to the discriminatory power dynamic and social hierarchy of the past.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) went on State media on Thursday morning to announce by authoritarian dictate that the economy will be fully reopened in New York City by July 1, 2021. “We are ready for stores to open, for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength,” the mayor said, according to the City-provided transcript of his on-air remarks.

A fully-reopened economy will mean that the Government can stop providing assistance to compensate people for the racial disparities that were revealed in glaring detail by the Coronavirus pandemic, namely, how the profit-driven healthcare system tolerates racial disparities in healthcare outcomes for people. It means that the free healthcare (the free Coronavirus testing and the free Coronavirus vaccines) will come to an end. It means that the emergency food banks that have been providing people with nutrition due to the rise in joblessness will come to an end. It means that the extensions of unemployment assistance will come to an end. It means that the emergency shelter being provided to people without homes will come to an end. There’s only one goal Mayor de Blasio has : “We’re going to keep driving down COVID through vaccinations.”

On the way to delivering these free vaccinations, Mayor de Blasio has conveniently forgotten about the lip service he paid to racial disparities that were exposed during his two terms in office. In March, the mayor announced the formation of a racial justice commission that was supposed to replace the racial justice commission he had announced last year and which was never formed. Damn the racial justice commission reports, at this point, the mayor just wants to reopen the economy. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) was made jealous enough to call for a reopening sooner than July 1.

There’s no thought to end the systemic racism in our society. Even with the healthcare disparities made clear during the Coronavirus pandemic, that didn’t stop Gov. Cuomo from cutting Medicaid, and it hasn’t stopped him from trying to close still yet more hospitals in Brooklyn or Queens. In terms of business, corporate retail giants, like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, saw online sales skyrocket as local, small businesses were forced to close due to the pandemic. The politicians are focused on returning us to an economy with even more disturbing economic inequalities, including higher rates of poverty.

This is one test that reveals how wedded Mayor de Blasio is to systemic racism : His non-stop scheme for RAD/PACT and Blueprint conversions of NYCHA public housing.

Even though Mayor de Blasio was left unindicted following a wide-ranging, Federal corruption investigation into his campaign finance activities and even though Gov. Cuomo faces another round of corruption investigations coupled with an independent counsel investigation into sexual harassment allegations that are, collectively, the subject of an impeachment inquiry, they are the ones making decisions affecting our lives.

Already, a group of New York City parents and teachers filed a lawsuit last December to stop compulsory Coronavirus testing over Fourth Amendment privacy rights, including concerns that DNA samples may wind up in a database without patients’ consent, according to a report published by Gothamist. And Saturday, dozens of municipal employees protested Mayor de Blasio’s demand that 80,000 City workers return to office work this week, according to a report published by the New York Daily News. The mayor’s obsession with reopening the economy flies in the face of the relentless Coronavirus pandemic, which, world-wide, has reached a new peak of deaths and cases, according to a CBS News report broadcast on Sunday.

Of particular concern to New York City Housing Authority residents is Mayor de Blasio’s non-stop push to continue the privatisation of strategic public housing assets. Despite no basis in law, the Government has countenanced Mayor de Blasio’s failure to hold public meetings about his scheme for the the RAD/PACT conversion of public housing. For example, on April 23, the de Blasio administration announced the issuance of a Request For Proposal for the RAD/PACT conversion of the Fulton Houses, Elliott Houses, and Chelsea Houses — the last hold-outs of affordable housing in the gentrified Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea.

Despite resident and community opposition, Mayor de Blasio acts like he cannot be stopped from disposing public assets — even when confronted with a very public effort by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) to fully-fund the backlog of capital repairs across the Nation’s entire public housing stock. U.S. Rep. Velázquez and Sen. Schumer are basically teaming up to promise to end the decades of racist divestment of public housing, but Mayor de Blasio is more concerned with making sure that the economic gears resume their grinding of people of colour and people living with low incomes.

The de Blasio administration suspects that human remains and cultural items belonging to Native American tribes may be buried underneath Williamsburg Houses, but that still didn’t stop him from moving forward with RAD/PACT, in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Whether you are dead or alive, Mayor de Blasio believes that the privatisation of our heritage must go on.

No Vaccine Passports until public housing is fully-funded by passage of H.R. 235

We are not going to go along with the reopening of the economy, only to return to the racial disparities that got us here.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) are only interested in reopening the economy before the end of the Coronavirus pandemic so that they can please their Big Business donors. Not only is this dangerous, because new variants of the Coronavirus are unleashing death and suffering in India. We’re not going along with that, especially since they have are doing nothing to end the racial disparities that brought the New York City Housing Authority to the brink of Federal receivership and, thus, to the dangerous push for privatisation. We’re not going back to the era of racist divestment as a pretexte for selling-out strategic public assets !

Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo ignored science and placed our lives in jeopardy at the start of the pandemic, and we’re not about to let them again place our lives — and our housing — in jeopardy in order to manufacture a false end to the pandemic.

Until public housing is fully-funded and a moratorium is placed on all RAD/PACT conversions, we will not participate in any Government scheme that reopens the economy until all racial and economic disparities come to an end at NYCHA.

In order to begin to address the racism that public housing residents, accountability and reform must be brought to the New York Police Department. This means that NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea must resign for deploying the dystopian Robot Dog to public housing. It’s not enough that the military contract for the Robot Dog with Boston Dynamics was cancelled early. There must be accountability for racist over-policing at NYCHA. To ensure structural reform at the NYPD, there must be a pattern and practise civil rights investigation of the troubled police department.

And most importantly, the Public Housing Emergency Response Act (H.R. 235) must be passed and signed into law, which will fund all backlog capital repairs for public housing authorities. Passage of this bill will end the era of racist divestment of public housing. With sponsorship by U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) and support by Leader Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), this bill represents a renewal of the New Deal promise of public housing. This is a structural reform that is long over-due. And this is progressivism at perhaps its highest ideal.

We are not going back to the systemic racism and racial disparities of the de Blasio and Cuomo administrations without structural reforms. We are not participating in any economy that leads to our own exploitation and discrimination.

With a proposed plan on the table to fully-fund public housing, U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez says no to RAD/PACT at NYCHA

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez has announced her opposition to RAD/PACT conversions at NYCHA public housing.

“If we get this money, there’s no reason for RAD.”

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY 07) announced at last week’s press conference her emphatic opposition to RAD/PACT conversions by NYCHA, now that a firm proposal for a plan to fully-fund public housing has the support of Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY).

When asked by OccupyRadio.net journalist Michael McCabe if the new proposal to provide at least $80 billion in the Senate version of the infrastructure bill first proposed by President Joe Biden (D) could stop further RAD/PACT conversions at NYCHA, U.S. Rep. Velázquez was ardent in her opposition to the use of private sector landlords to manage public housing.

“Well, the reason NYCHA has come up with RAD is because of the lack of resources and investment from the Federal Government. If we get this money, there’s no reason for RAD,” U.S. Rep. Velázquez said, adding that, “NYCHA or any Agency or City Government should not be in the business of selling public assets.”

U.S. Rep. Velázquez’s leadership on funding public housing has inspired Leader Schumer to champion the issue. But Mayor Bill de Blasio and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez continue to support RAD/PACT.

Leader Schumer’s support to fully-fund public housing came to the fore after U.S. Rep. Velázquez sponsored Public Housing Emergency Response Act (H.R. 235), draft legislation to provide Federal funding for the backlog of capital repairs to public housing.

In spite of the emerging reality that the capital repairs will soon be fully-funded, Mayor Bill de Blasio (WFP-New York City) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DSA-NY 14) continue to support RAD/PACT.

On Friday, the de Blasio administration issued a Request For Proposal for the RAD/PACT conversion of the last three public housing developments in the gentrified Manhattan neighborhood of Chelsea, namely, Fulton Houses, Elliott Houses, and Chelsea Houses. That the de Blasio administration continues with RAD/PACT conversions represents a promise of continued systemic racism, because private sector landlords stand to weaken tenants’ rights under the privatisation scheme.

For her part, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez renewed her call to use the discredited “tenant protection vouchers” in her controversial “green” New Deal for public housing plan. Her plan, which was rolled-out one day after Leader Schumer’s historical press conference in Harlem, stands to rival Leader Schumer’s plan. U.S. District Court Judge William Pauley III has ruled that NYCHA can legally weaken tenants’ rights under the so-called tenant protection vouchers. It’s not yet known how the non-stop political challenges by U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez will be received by the Biden administration. Already, U.S. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s supporters have announced plans to primary one of President Biden’s most steadfast allies in Manhattan, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY 12).

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