Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Bushites continue to give New York the finger

As if they hadn't already caused enough offence to the people of New York, the Bush regime continues to put the boot in.

The New York Times reports:

The Bush administration is replacing the nation's three-decade-old financing system for public housing with a new formula that will redistribute billions of dollars, chiefly from New York and other big, urban areas in the Northeast and Midwest to small, rural places in the South.

The plans represent one of the most far-reaching changes in housing policy in decades, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development is still working out many of the details. But already, housing authorities in the Northeast, including New York City, Baltimore and upstate New York, are talking about the need to lay off security guards, close day care programs or charge tenants for snow removal, air-conditioning and other services...

Jimmy Breslin illustrates what this policy means to New York's poorest:

...And he [Giuliani speaking at the RNC] did not dare go near mentioning the long, grim campaign of Clara Rivera and so many others in the Brooklyn neighborhoods. The enemy is the landlord. His weapon, the eviction notice. And now, the Republican administration's new federal housing laws which send the money from Brooklyn to Texas and Florida.

Yesterday, children, seven of them, came out of the dark rooms in their hot Bushwick apartment and padded into the neat clean kitchen where the mother, Clara Rivera, stood at the stove. The youngest, Manuel Rivera, one year and seven months, hugged her. The husband was still over in New Jersey, where he works as a gardener for $250 a week.

They are an interesting family to study. They could be evicted shortly. Their best move then would be to move into public housing. However, the Republican administration has just changed the funding for housing in New York, sending the money to where the Republicans feel it does the most good for America — Texas and Florida.

Public housing would be hurt so much that there could be no room for the Riveras. The Riveras would be left with no place to go. They are not alone. All over the neighborhoods of Brooklyn once thought of as dangerous and dilapidated, there now is a real estate wildfire.

The landlords in Bushwick have taken these six-family houses, that are rent stablilized, and cut one apartment out, giving them a five-family house that no longer is regulated. They then can slap paint around the halls and double the rent and if the tenants can't pay, then throw them out.

On the Rivera's kitchen wall was a chart for a junior high school study of North Korea. There were headings for religion, food, language. Simultaneously, it was a day when lessons on their own city were conducted from a place they never see, Manhattan. There, on the first night of the great Republican convention, a former mayor, Koch, and the present mayor, Bloomberg, told their city about how George W. Bush swooped into New York right after the World Trade Center attack, or as soon as he could see his way clear, and saved this whole city.

Then Giuliani came on with a worldwide view. He seemed to be painting a vision of Bush crossing the Rhine. He never mentioned housing. Which was sensible. The Republicans seated in the Garden had just found another way to smack the poor around by taking the roofs off them. And it didn't hurt them. They couldn't see the dark rooms of Bushwick, so how could it stab them?

Bushwick could see the Republicans, in their great gaudy meeting hall, but only as faces on a screen. Not one of these faces told them that Republicans have this new rule that is going to throw Bushwick people onto the street.

Among them, and dangerously close right now, is Clara Rivera and her brood."How much is the rent?"

she was asked."Six hundred and forty six."

"A different landlord every year," the mother said in Spanish to John Powis, retired as a Catholic pastor and now spending his days with tenants in peril.

The present landlord has offered them $3,000 if they will move out of the apartment, so he can fix it and charge anything he can get, from $1,200 up.

Where do the Riveras go with their $3,000?"They'll be in a shelter," John Powis said.

Clara Rivera said she and her husband would be at a meeting on Wednesday night to discuss with others the $3,000 offer. "Don't lose this apartment," Powis told her. "We'll talk about how to do it."

But $3,000 to a woman in a kitchen with seven kids looking at her is a fortune of money and the thought of it robs the ability to see anything past it.

They worry all over the neighborhood. On Harman Street, on Stockholm and on Stanhope, women sat on the stoops in the heat and talked about being chased out of their houses. One house had no lights or heat. They had a thick wire running up the stairs from some source. Rosa Lopez, 27, sat on the stoop and said the owner had abandoned the place seven years ago and now sudddenly somebody wanted to take it over and she said, "Pay nothing to nobody."

Antonio Martinez stood in the doorway and showed the hole in the corner of the entranceway. It went down tol the basement. "It's a little weak," he said of the floor under him.

And last night, with children in Bushwick packed into beds, Giuliani was in Madison Square Garden telling the world about all that his Republicans had done for his city.

They have done quite a lot, they have tens of thousands in fear of losing the roof over their heads.

This is of course, only the most recent slap in the face the Bush regime have administered to their hosts, the people of New York. For more examples see The 10 Ways Bush Screwed New York



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