JOKING ASIDE, this UVAS DE RABIA. ( Grapes of Wrath) is more of a tragedy only it's The New Reality! The First CITY is ACTUALLY commandeering delapidated real estate to fix up and rent for big bucks! What starts in NEW YORK goes everywhere. Other cities will surely follow! Activism on this issue is required immediately to nip this trend in the bud. The gov has become a MOTIVATED SLUMLORD "FIXER UPPER" and a half a mil EVICTIONS in NYC alone are imminent --yielding BILLION$ in ingress's for Gov Slumlords from city lands being RENTED AT TOP DOLLAR. A half million poor people live in these projects. WHERE CAN THEY GO? They've been POORPURGED!
Here is the BIZARRE HEADLINE I saw TODAY. "Former Lehman Brothers banker to head New York City’s Housing Authority" By Sandy English http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/may2009/nych-m26.shtml To see it with pictures, live links you just click on that, but then you won't get my sidebars! 26 May 2009 . New York City's billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has appointed a fellow Wall Street veteran, former Lehman Brothers top executive John B. Rhea, to head the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), the largest administrator of public housing in the United States. I call it the "BLOOMBERG AGENDA" like a Ludlum Novel. See it online: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/may2009/nych-m26.shtml Wall Street banker John Rhea, a young man, age 43, managed strategy and budget for the failed Lehmans investment bank. After it collapsed in September, he continued to work for its new owners at Barclays. Previously, he had worked for JP Morgan Chase “where he completed more than $50 billion worth of transactions overseeing corporate finance as well as mergers and acquisitions,” according to the New York Times.
Among Rhea’s biggest deals was a merger involving the Reynolds tobacco company and a manufacturer of smokeless tobacco products. He has no experience whatsoever in managing housing, public or otherwise. Rhea served on Barak Obama’s Presidential Campaign, working as a “bundler,” gathering more than $500,000, primarily from Wall Street. (Individuals working in Securities and Investments gave more than $8 million to the Obama campaign.) Since 2002, Rhea has contributed to the campaign war chest of New York’s Charles Schumer, the senator most closely tied to Wall St., and to the Illinois congressional campaign of fellow investment-banker-tuned-politician Rahm Emmanuel, now the White House Chief of Staff.
Rhea will head an agency that owns 340 developments
containing nearly 178,000 apartments in the city’s five boroughs
that house about 408,000 people. It also administers the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program or Section 8 rent
subsidy for another 95,000 people in privately owned apartments across the city. Between the two programs, it is
responsible for housing about 8 percent of the city’s population. On average, the yearly income for a family renting a
public housing apartment is $22,728.
The social chasm separating Rhea from the working-class
residents of public housing was revealed by a remark he made
after Bloomberg announced his appointment to the job last week. According to the New York Times, he joked, “Well,
obviously I’m not taking the job for the pay.” i.e nearly 190 thousand bucks. To him that's LOW
His new position includes a $189,700 a year
salary, nearly nine times the income of the average family living in
York City public housing. But undoubtedly this represents a huge pay cut compared to multimillion-dollar compensation
packages that went to Lehman Brothers top executives before the 150-year-old banking firm collapsed, bringing much
of the world economy down with it.
People living in public housing are some of
the few remaining working-class and middle-class New Yorkers who pay
anything approaching an affordable rent, although given the unemployment and poverty affecting increasing numbers of
workers, even in public housing “affordable” is relative term.
In return for a rent that is less than the
nearly unaffordable sums that most ordinary New Yorkers pay, NYCHA
residents get decaying and dangerous infrastructure, shoddy services, and the insecurity created by the threat of
This is because the NYCHA is starved for funds.
With an annual budget of more than $3.4 billion, the NYCHA ran an
operating deficit of $177 million for the 2009 fiscal year. In past years, the deficits have been similar. Fuel costs have
skyrocketed in the last five years, and much of the $390 million in federal stimulus funds will go to making units in the
system more energy-efficient. Almost none will defray the deficits.
The NYCHA has attempted to balance its budget
by raising rents, shutting community centers, and asking residents to
pay for services, such as laundry, that were formerly free or provided for a nominal fee. Layoffs have stalled repairs and
routine maintenance. The Times noted recently, “Morale among Housing Authority workers remains low, as the agency
has eliminated hundreds of jobs to deal with its operating budget deficit.”
Notoriously, breakdowns of many of the 3,335
elevators run by the authority are everyday occurrences. In the 22
buildings of East Harlem’s Wagner Houses, there were an astounding 2,132 reported breakdowns in the 2007 and
2008 fiscal years. Often elevators are so unreliable and so dangerous that many residents must walk—or prefer to walk
for their own safety—several flights of stairs rather than use them.
In October, an 11-day-old infant died while
being rushed to the hospital when an elevator stalled in the Van Dyke
Houses in Brooklyn. Police were forced to pry open the doors. In August, five-year-old Jacob Neuman died after he fell
10 stories as he attempted to escape a stalled elevator at the Taylor Street-Wythe Avenue apartments in Brooklyn.
As the Times later observed: “That elevator
was 21 years old and had failed 8 of 11 inspections since February 2004.
The technical problems that led to the accident—electrical malfunctions that caused the elevator to lose power and
allowed the door to open—were tied to faulty maintenance, according to elevator experts and an accident report by the
city’s Department of Buildings.”
In March, the newspaper did a study based on
records it obtained from the NYCHA through the Freedom of
Information Act that showed that more than 300 people reported being injured by elevators in public housing since
2001, 170 of whom sought medical treatment of some sort.
NYCHA buildings are often plagued by some of
the worst social consequences of poverty, including drug abuse and
violence. New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate and Public Policy published a study in November that
demonstrated that children who live in public housing fared poorly in school, even compared to “students at the same
school who shared similar demographics, like race, gender and poverty status.” Children who lived in NYCHA
developments scored worse on standardized tests and had a lower rate of school attendance.
None of these are the problems that Rhea has
been appointed to solve. For the wealthy elite, of which he is a member,
there is an entirely different problem: how to release a vast amount of publicly owned housing stock onto the rental
This has been a longstanding concern for the
ruling establishment in New York City. Writing earlier this month in Forbes,
the director of the right-wing Manhattan Institute’s Center for Rethinking Development, Julia Vitullo-Martin, proposed
that New York City imitate British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s semi-privatization of public housing in the 1980s.
At that time, British public Council flats
were opened to private management and purchase, enriching a whole layer
realtors. Vitullo-Martin is forced to admit that one of the byproducts of this profit-taking was a “reduction in the supply
of publicly owned housing stock.”
New York, she suggests, should open up its
housing system “to choice, competition and flexible responses.” In a
comment published on the Manhattan Institute’s web site in November, Vitullo-Martin crowed with delight over the fact
that the NYCHA had, for the first time in its 75-year history, allowed market-rate housing to be built by a private realtor
on its land in Manhattan, displacing “a cheerless playground and basketball court.”
Vitullo-Martin is not an accidental figure.
She is connected to the city’s political establishment at the highest levels,
serving under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as Assistant Commissioner for Planning and Development with the NYC
Department of Parks and Recreation.
A WSWS reporting team recently spoke to residents
of the Walt Whitman Houses in Brooklyn, home to more than
4,000 people, as they returned from work or sat outside on a warm evening. Residents told us that they are well aware
of not only the city’s neglect of their homes, but also the fact that they live on real estate that New York’s super-wealthy
developers hope to exploit.
We spoke to two sisters, Missy and Donna, who
have lived in the Whitman Houses all their lives. Missy, a public-school
social worker, said of Rhea’s appointment: “If he has no experience in public housing, he should not be running the
authority. NYCHA is a diverse, multi-ethnic community. We need someone who has grown up here, or who has family
here, who knows our struggles here. If you’re living in the White House, you don’t know what it is to live like we do.
“The only thing that is changing around here
is the rent. You have people paying $1,300, $1,400. You’ve still got to
with broken urinals. Sometimes you have to dodge bullets. This man simply does not have the empirical evidence to
understand our lives.”
Donna added, “He has no business down here. We need someone who has come from here.”
Missy said, “If you’re middle-class, you might
as well move. We don’t have a voice. They’re not taking into
consideration our needs. It’s Robin Hood in reverse: they make sure that they’re robbing from the poor and giving to the
Another resident, Robert D. Duren, told us
that most of the people in the development were working class. “The
conditions for the working class are getting worse,” he said.
When asked about the impact of the economic
crisis on Whitman residents, Robert said, “A lot more people are
struggling to make ends meet, while the MTA is hiking up fares. You already have people going to churches and soup
kitchens for meals. People that are working are collecting food stamps.
“Bloomberg’s trying to give money to the rich.
He’s got money. He’s trying to price us right out. They’re going to raise
the rent, but where’s all that money that Obama is sending out [in stimulus funding for public housing]?”
Robert noted that multimillionaire developer
Bruce Ratner’s project to develop a sports arena complex in the
neighborhood would evict people from their homes.
“They’re building a big stadium to move the
[professional basketball team] Nets to, with new condos all over downtown
Brooklyn—look around. They want us gone. If you could look at all the contracts and the plans, you’d see that the
developers have blueprints of all the housing in the area, including the developments, and they have this property divided
up among themselves. The public doesn’t know what’s going on.
“This is going to be Starrett City all over
again,” he said, referring to the large, private housing development for
people in Brooklyn that was recently sold, and whose residents face massive rent increases.
His friend Lajuna added bitterly, “They’re
already selling out. They’re getting rid of our apartments to make way
condos. And still no one can get Section 8. They’re already painting over apartments and are going to raise the rent by
$700 or $800 a month. For two years this building has been empty.”
Another resident passing by overheard her and
brought us for a closer look at the apartments under renovation, to which
Lajuna was referring. She told us that they were going to be rented for substantially more than most people in the
development could afford.
The super-rich have looted the public treasury
of trillions of dollars in the last few months. Now this financial oligarchy
has placed one of it own, John B. Rhea—a major fundraiser for Barak Obama and an experienced hand at financial
criminality—as the manager of billions of dollars’ worth of public housing stock—and the homes of tens of thousands of
New York’s working poor.
Be certain of this. The poor are going to be invited the hell out of here.
Every precious foot of living space will go for top dollar to yuppies.
This really horrific RECESSION trend will be, "evict the poor, fix up the real estate and get top dollar for it from doctors, lawyers and bankers.' HARD TIMES make for HARD PEOPLE and HARD SOLUTIONS. This always happens in a recession. It's typical LIFEBOAT THEORY i.e. "I'm allright Jack, screw you." In this case, THE CITY (read 'RICH') WANT THE POOR out of the picture. MASS EVICTIONS are SCHEDULED IN NEW YORK CITY projects/ SLUMS! MOBUTU DID IT IN ZAIRE, they do it in INDIA, NIGERIA, NAMIBIA, GOLD TOOTH DICTATORS raze the slums. And currently they're razing the slums and projects of Atlanta, with 15,000 families evicted. THE USA is ECONOMIZING and some might say budgeting on the backs of the poor.<=== BACK TO THE SURVIVAL INDEX and http://home.earthlink.net/~loveguru/survivedepres.htm* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *<=== BACK TO THE FRUGAL TIPS and CHEAPO LIFESTYLE WEBPAGE
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