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Shelters and jails, de Blasio’s new homes for us!

ASSEMBLYMAN CHARLES BARRON, 60TH DISTRICT | 5/4/2017, 11:47 a.m.
Mayor Bill de Blasio came into office talking about a “tale of two cities,” one white and wealthy, and the ...
Assemblyman Charles Barron

What a hypocrite! Mayor Bill de Blasio came into office talking about a “tale of two cities,” one white and wealthy, and the other Black, Brown and poor. Now through gentrification he’s building new affordable homes for the white middle class and through budget allocations he’s building shelters and jails, the new homes for poor struggling Black and Brown people. This policy is the height of hypocrisy!

Mayor de Blasio is proposing 90 new homeless shelters and will spend more than $1 billion building local detention centers (jails) as he closes down Rikers Island. Of course, all of these shelters and jails will be built in economically oppressed Black and Brown communities. This plan is unconscionable and unacceptable. You mean to tell me that this neo-liberal (pseudo-progressive) mayor can’t find money from his $84.8 billion proposed city budget for economic development, job creation and “real” affordable housing for Black and Brown people? The best he can do is shelters and jails? It’s a shame and a disgrace! Paraphrasing the Bible, “Where one’s treasure is, so is his heart.” Clearly this mayor has no heart for us, because his treasure is in building shelters and jails for us.

Let’s not forget that New York City’s budget of $84.8 billion is larger than 47 state budgets in the United States. Only New York State, California and Texas have larger budgets. New York City’s budget is larger than just about every African country’s budget, and larger than many European countries’ and Asian countries’ budgets. In addition to New York City’s $84.8 billion expense budget, there’s a 10-year, $95 billion capital budget. The capital dollars are used to build and repair schools, hospitals, parks, trains, bridges and other infrastructure projects.

Last year in Mayor de Blasio’s budget was an allocation of money to hire more than 1,200 police officers who, too often, are discourteous and brutal, and who abused the use of deadly force with impunity from the law (they suffer no consequences). I am proud to say that City Council Member Inez Barron, my brilliant, beautiful, bold, African Queen wife was the only one to vote against that budget.

Well it’s budget time again! It’s time for us as a people to demand that the mayor move from police containment, jails and shelter construction to economic development, job creation and the construction of “real” affordable housing for Black and Brown people. Mayor de Blasio, stop the empty “progressive” rhetoric and show us the money and the plan for revitalizing our communities.

Forward ever, backward never!