Radio interview about the current conditions facing NYCHA
By PROGRESS NEW YORK STAFF
Progress New York staff member Louis Flores was interviewed by WBAI 99.5 FM news host Michael G. Haskins for the “Living in the City” news program. The subject of the interview was the situation facing the New York City Housing Authority, or NYCHA.
The interview featured two important revelations.
First, the questioning [at 18:00] whether the controversial handing-over of public housing to private landlords under the Federal program known as Rental Assistance Demonstration, or RAD, should be subjected to the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, or ULURP process.
Second, when asked by Mr. Haskins to explain [at 21:00] why no official at NYCHA was held accountable for the scandals that have engulf the Municipal public housing authority, the Progress New York staff member replied that U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, of New York’s southern district, had a Big Business approach to corruption.
In one section of the interview, Mr. Haskins asked about the focus Mayor Bill de Blasio places on infill development at NYCHA.
[17:50] This speaks to the larger problem facing NYCHA. The mayor’s plan for RAD isn’t enough, won’t raise enough money for NYCHA, and it’s not intended to, because RAD is basically a failed program. And one of the other ways the Mayor plans to raise money for NYCHA is to carry out this thing called infill development, and that’s what happening at the Holmes Towers* on the Upper East Side – is the mayor planned a development to infill an open space, and he did it by issuing waivers out of the Mayor’s Office, I believe . And the Manhattan Borough President sued to stop this plan, because a plan of this size should have been subjected to the Uniform Land [Use] Review Procedure, or ULURP, and she won. And she won.
[18:40] And so NYCHA and the Mayor had to scrap their plan, and they are going to have to propose a new one and subject it to ULURP. And we believe that the same kind of oversight should apply to RAD, because what we are talking about here is the disposition of public assets. And any disposition of City real property has to be subjected to ULURP. That’s under the City Charter, I believe it’s Section 197-c, if I remember correctly. But I may be wrong, but I believe that is the section. And that’s not happening under RAD. And what is happening under RAD is you are transferring control of public housing. On some level that is a disposition of City real property. [19:25]
In another section of the interview, Mr. Haskins asked why there was never any accountability for criminal activities that triggered a Federal civil rights investigation.
[21:24] Well, I have a personal belief that the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan has a much [more] permissive attitude about corruption – about public corruption and public neglect of public duties. We are dealing with a new U.S. Attorney. His name is Geoffrey Berman. He’s an appointee of the Trump administration, and he’s a former law partner of Rudy Giuliani. And we believe he has a much more Big Business approach to Government. It’s very disappointing to me. I have to bring this subject up many times, and I don’t know if people understand. We are dealing with a U.S. Attorney that very –- he’s willing to countenance public corruption and public malfeasance. And he’s holding basically nobody accountable here.