Group Interrupts Mayor's Address (Update)
February 3rd, 2009

A new coalition, Right to the City-NY, is taking credit for busting up Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s speaking engagement this afternoon.

The group, which is represented by public relations firm BerlinRosen (who sent over the press release below just now), is calling for Bloomberg to address the needs of low-income New Yorkers. (This sounds eerily familiar to what we heard from Comptroller William Thompson’s new campaign manager yesterday.)

Bloomberg had been addressing a Crain’s sponsored luncheon on the “The Future of New York City.”

Update: BerlinRosen called saying they would not be representing this group on a permanent basis. The release was a one-time thing.

The release is after the jump.

Here it is:

At Business Summit, Low-Income NYers Call for Role in Planning Future of NYC

During Bloomberg Speech, Communities Hit Hardest By Recession Call for Voice in Recovery

THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE

New York At 1 pm today as Mayor Bloomberg delivered the keynote address to business executives gathered at the Grand Hyatt Hotel for a conference on The Future of New York City, a group of low-income New Yorkers in the grassroots coalition Right to the City-NY entered the conference to demand the Mayor hear the concerns of low-income residents of the city.

Chanting this is what democracy looks like, the group attempted to deliver a letter to the Mayor in which they noted the absence of working-class, minority and immigrant New Yorkers at the conference and called for a meeting on the concerns of low-income New Yorkers. After being removed from the conference room, the advocates gathered in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt to voice their priorities and concerns about the future of the city.

This event does not represent the real people that live in the many different communities around New York, said Anne Washington, a 30-year resident of Harlem, member of Community Voices Heard, and a resident of NYCHAs Grant Houses. Mayor Bloomberg needs to have a real dialogue with the people he represents. He should listen to the issues we care about and include them in the decisions he makes. Right now it feels like low-income people are being pushed out of their neighborhoods and out of the city. We have been part of these communities for many years and deserve to be heard, Washington stated.

In the letter to the Mayor, Right to the City-NY advocates called for another economic planning summit that addresses the needs of low-income New Yorkers.

The policy recommendations that come out of todays The Future of NY conference could have a serious impact on the lives of low-income people those that are most impacted by the current economic crisis. We are asking you to broaden your circle of advisors to include us, and to stop holding closed-door meetings with the political and business elite of New York. We have the right to be involved in the decision-making process that affects our lives and communities, the letter to the Mayor states.

We ask that you extend the same courtesy to us that you have shown the citys elite by organizing a convention of low-income New Yorkers to produce policy recommendations that actually reflect community priorities for the citys economic future, the letter concludes.

We are not going to be shut out of our city or the places where people are discussing issues that affect our lives. We demand to be heard. We are a part of the city, we live here, and we should have a voice bottom line. Most of the wealthy CEOs at this forum dont even live here, they come here to make money and then go home while poor people live and work here, said Chevelle Johnson, Brooklyn resident and Member of NYC AIDS Housing Network/ VOCAL.

“As Mayor Bloomberg and business leaders hole away in a $250-per person meeting, Chinatown residents are here to say that it’s the people of New York City – low-income workers, immigrants, and working class people – and not them, who are the future of this city,” said CAAAV’s Chinatown Justice Project Coordinator Esther Wang. “They’re the ones who knowingly led us into the economic crisis we find ourselves and who are still giving themselves six-figure bonuses while we suffer the real consequences – why should we trust them to lead us out?” she stated.

Right to the City-NY (RTTC-NY) is an alliance of grassroots, primarily membership-based organizations working in low-income, immigrant and other communities of color in New York City.

Right to the City-NY includes: CAAAV/Chinatown Tenants Union; Center for Social Inclusion; Community Development Project, Urban Justice Center; Community Voices Heard (CVH); FIERCE; Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE); Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ); Make the Road New York; Mothers on the Move (MOM); NYC Aids Housing Network/V.O.C.A.L. NY-Users Union (NYCAHN/VOCAL); Picture the Homeless; Red Hook Initiative; West Harlem Environmental Action (WEACT).

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By on February 3, 2009, 2:09 pm
In category: Community Development,Economy,Gotham City,Governing,Health,Housing,Public Finance | 5 Comments »

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5 Responses to “Group Interrupts Mayor's Address (Update)”

  1. Joyce Saly Says:
    February 3rd, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Just one more reason to intensely dislike Bloomberg. Only the high income earners attend the conferences. Of course they don’t support a higher tax on salaries of more than $500,000, and they provide Bloomberg with positive feedback on his proposals.

  2. Debbie Says:
    February 4th, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I am sick and tired of people blaming the upper-middle class for all the problems. The rich already pay a lot of taxes in New York. The City won’t be able provide services to the poor if the rich leave the City! The poor pay little in taxes, get subsidized housing and Medicaid, and, quite frankly, are often are the reason why our public schools are failing and why we have crime in New York. If the poor don’t like it here, they are free to move to less expensive places. I know that a lot of people will be angry with me after reading this message but the truth of the matter is it is the professional class that make the City livable.

  3. Ali Says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Beyond the obvious knee-jerk reaction to your post, Debbie, who would serve the food, drive the taxis, clean the sewers, wash the windows, etc. if the poor decided to leave NYC? Think about it. Would that make the City more or less livable? Clearly those who have made a profit off the current economic system play an important role (and are sometimes unfairly criticized), but your class-biased comments are just as unfair and stereotypical about us and you claim that we are of the upper class.

  4. Mai Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    We are not against or hate the rich! What we are saying is that everyone should be part of the decision making when it comes to the future of NYC!From the poorest of the city to the richest! I am a business owner who ran a successful business for many years before it was taken away over night because of Bloomberg and his policies and these “great developers” That bloomberg is is reaching out to plan the future of this city. As far as blaming upper middle class, We are not. Even the the upper middle class are being affected by his policies. There were no upper middle class in that meeting, only the filthy rich. As far as I know , millionares are not upper middle class! I was once “upper middle class” and our mayor didn’t give a damn about my issues when I reached out to him. The only thing he did for me was have someone call me and tell me where my local welfare office was located! By the way I was denied! LOL! Thanks Mr. Bloomberg!

  5. Craig Says:
    February 21st, 2009 at 8:11 am

    It was indeed ironic that the protest appeared at such an appropriate moment in the presentation. After 8 years of Bloomberg’s “Affordable Housing Plan,” all I can see personallly is a glut of overpriced condominiums everywhere in the city.

    The point was made effectively and peacefuly that all of the resident communities should be included in discussing future plans for New York. Many income levels are frustrated with finding affordable housing here.

    I commend Chevelle Johnson and members of New York City AIDS Housing Network for standing up and be willing to be unjustly arrested for shouting their views that have been ignored for so long.

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