The combined statements herein are to inform our citizenry of the commitment being made by three of your Queens candidates this election year. Marvin R. Jeffcoat, Felicia Kalan, and Thomas Zmich. They represent western Queens city council districts and the Borough President race.
Like public safety, homelessness is not a one size fits all issue. The most effective way to make housing affordable is to create wealth by providing well-paying jobs as I’ve discussed in previous editorials. But when the government undertakes this responsibility, it owes a duty to those it impacts.
What NYCHA has done in Queensbridge makes it a slumlord in my humble opinion. What would the city do to a private landlord guilty of decades of neglect forcing tenants to live amid toxic, hazardous conditions including asbestos, mold, lead, severe leaks and flooding, an infestation of rats, mice and insects and other quality-of-life conditions that make life unbearable? Why aren’t bureaucrats and politicians held personally liable to the same standards that they hold private citizens to?
Ten years ago, while campaigning I spoke to concerned residents about exposed asbestos threatening the health of their children. I personally witnessed one building being supplied fresh water from a fire hydrant and makeshift RPZ Valve. Not only was this not enough to supply an entire building of families, it reduced the level of fire protection for that area.
Now that Tom, Felicia, and I pledge once again to address these issues if elected, the machine has panicked and reissued its usual set of empty promises and defensive statements like “don’t politicize a crisis” because they have no plan to address this atrocity. Once elected I pledge my full support to Pamela Wheeler, Marilyn Keller, and the 9 other residents who stood up to the politicians responsible for inflicting this misery on them.
My plan will require NYCHA to audit and inventory their equipment, real property, and infrastructure to present a plan of action and a budget within 30 days, addressing the real systematic failures that led tenants to seek legal relief. Instead of forcing residents into shelters when their units become uninhabitable the city should hire more skilled tradesmen so they can perform adequate maintenance and upkeep. The need to develop a schedule for retrofitting and renovating units without displacing residents also is a priority.
The units in Queensbridge houses need to be fixed ASAP. Winter is coming and heating issues need to be a priority. The Federal money was allocated and squandered by this administration and needs accountability. The earmarked finances of over 300 million dollars have disappeared and the residents still are waiting for the necessary repairs, even filing a court lawsuit against the city to get the repairs done.
What in God’s name has happened to this city? The answer is simple– career politicians with only self-serving goals and no concern for the public that they swore to represent. Enough is enough, exploding city budgets, no accountability, no investigations-leaving no hope for the future of a once shining beacon on the hill. It is not the city where you can “make it there” anymore.
The hope to replace the corrupt politicians and get back our status as America’s Camelot city lies in the peoples hands this November 2nd. It is your decision, Queens residents, we pray that the future of NYC will bring hope to your families and a prosperous
borough once again.