Sunday, March 30, 2008


UP FRONT News March 17, 2008
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham
"The paper that can't be bought and can't be sold."

By Tom Weiss

New York and the U.S. are the most (real estate) developed places in the universe while the quality of "governance" is on a level of the most corrupt regime in an "underdeveloped" country. The U.S. government murders - among many, many others - its own citizens by basing at least some of its wars on lies, clearly for motives that relate to profits for the few (read for example Dick Cheney and Halliburton).

In New York City, because of our (s)elected leaders, most cleary our billionaire development-obsessed mayor, we are experiencing a tsunami of unneeded luxury housing, gentrification and the disasters that inevitably come from the construction frenzy aroused by the love of money.

Michael Bloomberg, in response to the crane disaster that has taken some more innocent lives, declared that his "heart goes out" to the victims and their families. That is an outrageous claim coming from someone who, except in the strictest anatomical sense, does not appear to have a heart at all, no matter how much "philanthropy" he claims to do.

Michael Bloomberg, in political partnership with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, her boss the developer friendly cash cow Hillary Clinton and the real estate lobby, et. al., has essentially declared open season on the working people of New York. Thanks to a loopholeriddled set of tenant "protection" laws that allow landlords to hide profits and plead poverty, and pay chump-change fines after killling people and a Buildings Department that consist-tently looks the other way when it comes to construction violations, New York is becoming a very dangeorous and citizen-hostile place to live.

We can only speculate how many disasters might have occurred had Bloomberg managed to get away with his West Side Stadium monstrosity. And while as far as I am aware there have not been any lives lost (yet) in the tax giveaway to the Steinbrenner clan known as the new Yankee Stadium the working class citizens of the Bronx, who have already lost two of their parks, will pay a heavy price traffic and gentrification-wise in "SoBro" so that $30 million/year athlete part-time ball players and full-time narcissists like Alexander Rodriguez can strike out in clutch situations in front of a corporate-based fandom. Lovely. It's looking more like ancient Rome every day.

Because of over-development, gentrification and loophole-encouraged tenant displacement tactics by avaricious landlords, the affordable housing crisis is worsening. The mayor's solution is crumbs of "affordable housing", shelters and drop-in centers which (and I know from experience) have the ambience in some cases of, to use a term from UP FRONT News, "Auschwitz Lite."

This is a city where we warehouse apartments and, worse yet, warehouse people
Michael Bloomberg - aided and abetted by an often obsequeous press (perhaps worst exemplified by the heavily slanted and quite politically censored Staten Island Advance, in my home borough, where citizens seeking real news are increasingly relying on UP FRONT News along other some off-Island mainstream media - has succceeded to a degree in depicting himself as a sort of regular guy. The Staten Island Advance fell all over itself in Bloomberg adulation when he recently took the ferry to visit the new big tropical fish tanks in the St. George ferry terminal.

Regarding Staten Island, as far as I am concerned and as far as some ferry crash victims are concerned, Michael Bloomberg disgraced himself by penny-pinching the victims. Michael Bloomberg is a reverse Robin ("Robbin'?") Hood whose weird political philanthropy involves rewarding the few at the expense of just about everyone else. And he gets away with it by such bread-and circuses style publicity stunt charades as every once in awhile getting on the #4, 5 or 6 train for a few stops from his East 79th Street mansion, which is presumably sufficiently plush that for him to live in Gracie Mansion would be a form of slumming.

Things could actually get worse should Christine Quinn, who consistently backs Bloomberg on any big money matters benefiting Big Real Estate, succeed Bloomberg as mayor as she and Hillary Clinton, among others, plan.

I hope that tenants rights mayoral candidate City Councilman Tony Avella (D.-Queens) can pull a very big upset in 2009.
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