Are We Really the Fairest Big City with a Mayor for the 1%? [Op-Ed]

Posted on: January 18th, 2019 at 5:09 am by

The following editorial was written by David Tieu on behalf of Youth Against Displacement, a group formed by youth across the City who aim to stand up against the Mayor’s pro-developer agenda and protect our communities from displacement.

Last week, New Yorkers were greeted with two new proposals from the de Blasio administration: a “municipal public option” for health care and guaranteed time off for almost all City workers. Simultaneously, the Mayor announced that he would create an office to protect tenants from landlord harassment. If we accept the mainstream media’s narrative, it would appear that de Blasio is making good on his pledge to make New York the fairest big city.

The reality, however, for the people of New York City is that we are poorer, sicker, and more disenfranchised than ever thanks to the Mayor’s pro-developer policies.

Over the last six years, de Blasio has followed in former Mayor Bloomberg’s footsteps, undemocratically rezoning community after community for high-rise luxury despite mass outrage from New Yorkers everywhere. On Hizzoner’s watch, plans are approved for massive luxury towers, such as those on the Lower East Side waterfront where the health of the community still suffers from the toxic fallout of 9/11, even if it means bulldozing the City’s zoning laws; city agencies evict longtime residents from their communities to benefit slumlords and developers; essential public services such as public hospitals, schools, and NYCHA, continue to suffer; coveted tax dollars are handed to developers for new projects.

In this context, we ask: what good is a public option giving people access to the public health system that has been stripped to the bones, failing to serve them meaningfully? What good is two weeks off from work, when many of us are one paycheck away from devastation because rents are skyrocketing thanks to the Mayor’s development agenda? What good is the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, when rampant harassment and eviction are caused by the same Mayor’s policies encouraging them in the first place?

The truth is that the poor and sick are being robbed to feed the rich.

In this light, these new proposals appear to be the Mayor’s feeble attempts to save face after years of scandals that exposed his administration’s corruption, greed, and economic racism. It is pathetic to cast crumbs at the people in the hopes that we do not rise up against the Mayor of the 1%.

This Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Chinatown and Lower East Side community will march to City Hall with citywide anti-displacement groups to demand fundamental change. Enough is enough. We want a complete end to the Mayor’s developer-friendly policies that have destroyed neighborhoods citywide and have worsened wealth inequality. We call for community-led re-zonings to be passed to protect our neighborhoods from displacement; we call for an end to the pillage of the public at large. Public subsidies should not be used to finance luxury developers or big corporations such as Amazon. Public funds should be invested in public services like our public health care system so that all New Yorkers can truly obtain the care they deserve.

Last but not least, we call for restoring democracy, for government to serve the many, not the few. This will happen only if, across the five boroughs, all of us unite against this Mayor of the 1%. We call on everyone to join us, to march in the spirit of MLK, to reclaim our City for the people and send a message to City Hall: we will not be moved!

When: MLK Day, January 21, 2019, @ 12 noon
Where: Cherry and Pike Streets, Lower East Side (F train to East Broadway)

Recent Stories

The ‘New Stand’ is Finally Ready to Take the Bowery

June 2017 It’s been almost three years since Patricia Field retired her Bowery fashion boutique and quietly relocated to Seward Park. While a replacement was ultimately found a year thereafter, mum has largely been the narrative at 306 Bowery. Until now. The so-called New Stand, which inked a ten-year deal on the 6,700 square-foot retail […]

‘Esther & Carol’ Goes Dark After Less than 2 Years on the Bowery

Esther & Carol had lofty goals for the southwest corner of Bowery and Broome. Barely two years after opening, the restaurant is now dark. Esther & Carol occupied a large swath of the Sohotel corner (the former Bacchanal), and was split in thirds – full service dining room, casual takeout window, and basement lounge with […]

Icon Terminates Seward Park Garage Lease 3 Years After Parking Privatization

Three years after the parking garage privatization pitted Seward Park co-op members against the board, the operator is out. Icon/Quik Park tendered its termination over the holiday weekend, and will pull out of the garage at the end of this month. Charles H. Greenthal & Co. management circulated a letter to tenants announcing the news […]

Cajun Quietly Comes to Hell Square with ‘Parish NYC’

Out of nowhere, this new Cajun spot for Hell Square. Parish debuted last month at 146 Orchard Street. The arrival of Parish (the word for “county” in Louisiana) comes on the heels of Butcher Bar, the Astoria-based barbecue bar that shuttered back in September after little more than a year. According to its mission statement […]

NYC Half Marathon Foists Thousands of Runners onto the Lower East Side Next Month

On your mark, get set … for thousands of marathoners on the proverbial doorstep. The New York City Half Marathon is less than a month out, and for the second year running, the Lower East Side is in the crosshairs. The race route shifted last year to include spanning the Manhattan Bridge, Canal Street, and […]