New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) held a mass “virtual call” to discuss deadlocked state budget negotiations and was torn into by housing activists who accused her of racism, anti-immigration, and being against felons, laughably claiming that she is “really conservative.”
The private call took place on April 11 and was sponsored by Housing Justice for All, which is pushing for “Good Cause” legislation to limit rent hikes in apartments across New York. They also want a new housing access voucher program to help out the homeless and tenants who are facing eviction.
Hochul is planning on the construction of 800,000 affordable housing units statewide. The activists accused her of holding up their programs in the contentious and anything-but-friendly call.
“Governor Hochul doesn’t like [Housing Justice For All] because she doesn’t want everyone who’s included in this program to be included. That includes people who are undocumented, people with felony convictions,” organization staffer Ritti Singh claimed, according to a recording of the event provided by a call participant to the New York Post.
“We know Governor Hochul is like really conservative and that she really, you know, she’s racist. She does not like immigrants. She does not like people who’ve been, you know, in jail. So she’s, like, really, really been fighting against it,” Singh charged.
Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition housing organizer Julie Colon, who was also on the call, bluntly charged Hochul with hating people, “She [Hochul] hates immigrants, and she hates poor people. And that’s like, demonstrated like through like, you know, how she has like run her career, the things that she has done.”
Another person on the call from the Bronx, Darryl McPherson, called Hochul a disappointment, “Kathy Hochul depended solely on the progressives to get elected [last year],” and “she has zero conscience.”
McPherson also accused Hochul of taking money from the Seneca Nation tribe and of giving to “her friend” Terry Pegula, owner of the Buffalo Bills, to finance a new Bills stadium.
Others on the call included representatives from Citizen Action, VOCAL-NY, Democratic Socialists of America, and Make the Road.
55 years ago, President Johnson signed the Fair Housing Act into law.
I remember seeing my parents fight for fair housing in our community when I was a kid. Their activism inspired me to keep up the fight — including signing nine new laws to combat housing discrimination. pic.twitter.com/eQTyENCsSm
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) April 11, 2023
Genesis Aquino, Mayor Eric Adams’ new appointee to the Rent Guidelines Board was on the call but wisely decided not to speak.
The attacks on Hochul actually came from competing takes within the same group, with some claiming she was giving far too much to illegal immigrants when compared with legal residents. It was, by all accounts, not a pleasant call for Hochul.
Housing Justice For All member Renette Bradley was exceedingly upset that illegal immigrants were receiving housing in New York City while Hochul opposes housing voucher programs for “people that are already here.”
“They’re bringing these – they have people coming in and they’re giving them housing, and we have people that’s already here. … That’s not fair. And I’m fighting. I’m gonna fight [Hochul] against that,” Bradley declared.
Budget delays might not be a big deal for @GovKathyHochul @AndreaSCousins & @CarlHeastie, but for #Utica tenants, they are literally life or death. New Yorkers are counting on Albany to pass #Good Cause & #HAVP to stay in their homes. #TenantsCantWait https://t.co/xXsivSPKw0
— John Furman (@johnfurmanutica) April 11, 2023
Someone else on the chat wrote a comment, saying, “She [Hochul] is helping all the Venezuelan people.”
And what would a New York meeting on equitable housing be without a communist or two?
Film producer Charlie Dibe, who is a proud member of “Communist Party USA Housing,” proposed “bombarding” Hochul’s Twitter account with “nonstop
‘Hochul-shaming.’” That sentiment was supported by a number of others.
“Governor Hochul proposed the New York Housing Compact to create 800,000 new homes in the coming decade, has committed billions of dollars to affordable housing and rental assistance, and is actively working with the legislature on a final budget that addresses our housing crisis and meet the needs of New Yorkers.” the governor’s office commented in a statement that was sent to the New York Post.
Activists have been pressuring legislators to sign onto the “Good Cause” eviction proposal by threatening to protest outside their homes and shaming advocates for landlords.
“Senator Andrew Gounardes. He wasn’t on Good Cause, but we ran him down and told him if he signed, we wouldn’t come to his house. So, I guess he didn’t want us there, so he signed,” Bradley of Housing Justice for All tweeted.
DSA member Andrew Hiller, along with several others on the call, asserted that their “favorite moment” was shaming Real Estate Board of NY president Jim Whelan.
“So we caught him eating lunch by himself, and we got a crowd of like 50 people to like, you know, start chanting ‘shame’ and we walked past him. We like literally booed him all the way down the hall and Albany and he like went and like hid behind security. So that was a really good moment,” Singh recounted.
Sarah Lazur, who belongs to the Crown Heights Tenants Union and is a French instructor at Barnard College, displayed utter contempt for members of Small Property Owners of New York in the chat section of the discussion, remarking that she knows where one of the members lives and would “love to knock over his trash cans.”
Another attendee snarked, “I would love to kick that can and the owner of it, too.”
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