Brian Pearson is a leader of VOCAL New York's Civil Rights Union, working to end bias policing and mass incarceration. VOCAL is a statewide grassroots membership organization building power among low-income people affected by HIV/AIDS, the drug war and mass incarceration, along with the organizations that serve us, to create healthy and just communities. We accomplish this through community organizing, leadership development, public education, direct services, participatory research and direct action. He became a member of VOCAL's campaign to restore the right for people on parole, like himself, to vote in New York. Brian is a leader on a campaign to create "green" or resilient jobs for people w criminal records.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has made affordable housing a priority of his administration but to live up to the progressive ideals of his campaign, he needs to make real affordability the focus of his housing agenda and the future of our city.
This past Monday, New York City officials approved Extell Development's plans for a 'poor door' for its affordable-housing tenants. This form of income segregation caused the outraged of elected officials, community organizations and housing and tenant advocates like Real Affordability for All.
Twitter users did not wait long to express their consternations.
Some took the opportunity to talk about New York's class structure:
Affordable housing is one of the most -- if not the most -- important issues in New York City. For far too long, low- and moderate-income families have been squeezed out, or left out, of most of the new developments built or proposed across the five boroughs.
This is the latest installment of CuomoWatch - NYCC's blog covering Andrew Cuomo's corporate-backed agenda which is wreaking havoc on public education, low wage workers, immigrants, and homeowners and tenants through the state. Unfortunately, we'll be posting frequently - The Governor is really hard at work!
Governor Cuomo has made himself very accessible to Eva Moskowitz to listen to the needs of the hedge fund backed corporate charter school lobby on the matter of public school co-locations.
P.S. 811 is a public school in Harlem that serves special needs students - children with autism and other disabilities that require greater attention and resources from staff and faculty. The students already share space with two other schools - P.S. 149 and Eva Moskowtiz's Harlem Success Academy. Last year, the City slated to wedge ANOTHER Eva Moskowitz school into this building - a move that, if implemented, would put P.S. 811 - where staff is already forced to teach students in hallways and stairwells - at 132% capacity. (For more insight in this situation, take a look at this video created by the parents of P.S. 811 and 149
Mayor De Blasio stepped in to put a halt to this new co-location, only to have his decision blocked by the Governor as part of the new State budget, which protects new charter school co-locations.
Governor Cuomo has met repeatedly with Eva Moskowitz and her Wall Street pals that have pumped millions of dollars into an ad campaign smearing the Mayor's policy on co-location.
Meanwhile, the Governor has met with parents and staff at P.S. 811 a grand total of zero times. This should come as no surprise as the Governor has not toured a single public school during his time in office. We cannot officially comment on whether his distribution of time among charter school lobbyists and public school parents is in any way related to who funds his campaigns.
Want to help demand a meeting for the parents of P.S. 811? Join NYCC April 10th for a march to the Governor's NYC office
Today we're launching CuomoWatch - NYCC's blog covering Andrew Cuomo's corporate-backed agenda which is wreaking havoc on public education, low wage workers, immigrants, and homeowners and tenants through the state. Unfortunately, we'll be posting frequently - The Governor is really hard at work!
Our first post comes from NYCC's Executive Director, Jonathan Westin:
Since first being elected in 2010 as a progressive, Gov Andrew Cuomo has morphed from a reformer "Main Street Andy" to the Wall Street-and-wealthy-friendly "Cash and Carry Cuomo."
While he needed the progressive-liberal Democratic vote the first time around in a nasty race against conservative Carl Paladino, this time he is staking out the anti-reform, friend-of-the-rich position.
Nowhere is that more clear than in state budget deal that would widen the income inequality gap, eliminate the bank tax, undermine our mayor's authority in citywide school policy and would effectively kill the DREAM Act for now.
There are no new limits on campaign contributions, restrictions on personal use of campaign money or closing loopholes that let LLC's give pols tons of money.
The tax provisions in this budget provide the biggest benefits to the wealthy and to Wall Street, which is like oil & gas in Texas, where lobbyists usually get what they ask for. Cash and Carry Cuomo's plan favors the wealthy and Wall Street at the expense of everyday New Yorkers and requires new austerity cuts to schools, services and the safety net.
The budget gives Wall Street some $350 million a year in tax breaks at a time when profits, bonuses, CEO pay and stock prices are at record levels and the property tax caps give large benefits to wealthier families with the biggest houses in the most prosperous suburbs and does not provide substantive tax relief to New York City.
Cuomo's support of Wall Street in the budget doesn't stop there. The Governor wrested control of $600 million from Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that the State received as part of a settlement with JP Morgan Chase for their part in the foreclosure crisis. The Attorney General had planned to devote the funds to a comprehensive foreclosure program. Instead, the use of these funds will be determined by a Governor who has spent his career catering to Wall Street interests.
On campaign financing, the Legislature and Cash and Carry Cuomo offer virtually no new regulation and missed the opportunity to fix a broken system that favor wealthy contributors.
On education, the governor and Legislature did add some $400 million in education funding but that's about $500 million less than what was needed to prevent yet another round of classroom cuts. Instead of fighting harder for our children, Cash and Carry Cuomo decided to spend his political capital to cut taxes for the wealthy and give charter schools more money and special treatment at the expense of the 97% of kids who attend traditional public schools.
And finally, the governor talked the talk on the DREAM Act - which would have provided tuition help for the children of immigrants - but didn't walk the walk. He failed to bring pressure to bear to stop Sen. Jeff Klein's cynical ploy of getting a floor vote on the Act when he knew full well it would fail.
From start to finish, Cash and Carry Cuomo used every cheap trick in the book to thwart his political rivals and preside over a budget deal that Main Street Andy would never have approved.
Yesterday was incredible. After weeks of knocking on doors, making phone calls, hosting debate-watch parties, and getting out the vote, New Yorkers voted Bill de Blasio as the leading candidate in the Democratic primary.
It should come as no surprise that Mayor Bloomberg swiftly vetoed this bill.
But we can have the final say: Today, the City Council will vote on overriding Bloomberg's veto. New York Communities for Change, along with our allies Make The Road Action Fund, VOCAL Action Fund, and NYCLU, have collected thousands of signatures, and generated thousands of phone calls to the City Council demanding the CSA be passed.
Here's how you can help this effort: In the first vote, 17 Council Members voted no on the measure prohibiting racial profiling. Let's make the message clear to these Council Members that they have a chance to do the right thing, and that the whole country is watching.
You can send a message to all 17 Members here, or you can call one or more of the 17 members - their contact info is listed below.
Let's make Civil Rights history. And let's give Mayor Bloomberg our going away present.
Council Member Elizabeth Crowley - (718) 366-3900
Council Member Lewis Fidler - (718) 241-9330
Council Member James Gennaro - (718) 217-4969
Council Member Vincent Gentile - (718) 748-5200
Council Member David Greenfield - (718) 853-2704
Council Member Daniel Halloran - (718) 631-6703
Council Member Vincent Ignizio - (718) 984-5151
Council Member Peter Koo - (718) 888-8747
Council Member Karen Koslowitz - (718) 544-8800
Council Member Michael Nelson - (718) 368-9176
Council Member James Oddo - (718) 980-1017
Council Member Christine Quinn - (718) 564-7757
Council Member Dominic Recchia - (718) 373-9673
Council Member Joel Rivera - (718) 842-8100
Council Member Eric Ulrich - (718) 738-1083
Council Member James Vacca - (718) 931-1721
Council Member Peter Vallone - (718) 274-4500
This post is part one in a three part series about the effects of the Foreclosure Crisis in New York City.
When you think about cities ravaged by the foreclosure crisis, places like Arizona, California, Nevada and Florida often come to mind…and understandably so, given their role in the housing collapse and the devastation it wrought. One city, however, that is often overlooked when discussing the debilitating effects of foreclosure is New York.
But did you know that New York City has more underwater homeowners than Baltimore and Atlanta combined? Here in New York, we have more foreclosures and underwater homeowners than most places in country, and they are often ignored. Not only is this hurting the families losing their homes, it’s costing all of us – big time: to the tune of $1.8 billion in tax revenue over a five-year period.
At a time when we’re told the programs and services we rely on are broke, and year after year we’re faced with cuts to our school budgets and affordable housing programs, the city can certainly find a better use for almost $2 billion.
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