Again tonight, there was another meeting regarding the rezoning of Sunset Park's Waterfront. The first part of the meeting was filled with loads of praise for Industry City: Kumbayahs, and statements that made you think of Rodney King: "can we all JUST get along?".
And then, as time went on, the working class and immigrant community stepped forward to say what the rezoning will do for them. It's called DISPLACEMENT!
Yes, there was talk about what Industry City looked like before Jamestown came in. The hookers and drug dealers are gone, but that's what usually happens when Capitalists invest their money in depressed neighborhoods. We can talk about that another time.
72% of Sunset Park is made up of immigrants, mostly Chinese and Hispanic. Many of them are working two and three jobs to live in Sunset Park, and this rezoning will not make their lives any better. You hear a discussion about jobs; jobs that most of the immigrants will not get. The people that are in a secure place in their lives make it seem so easy, while the people struggling know better.
It is not that the people want to stop growth; they want to be able to afford to live in Sunset Park to enjoy the growth.
Councilman Menchaca is the Chairman of the Immigration Committee, and his offering to residents the legal services that the city provides to prevent eviction is not what they expect from him. Also, the Councilman's desire to bring in the Mayor to help with Housing will only exacerbate the situation more. We need low-income Housing in Sunset Park, not high-end developers. The Councilman has a difficult decision to make; many of the immigrant people look up to him, so there is only one decision he can make. Say No!
Let's listen to Jei Fong from Protect Sunset Park talk about the things that the people want.
Fight for NYCHA joins with others in a discussion about the Three-card Monte game our political leaders play on the public.
Communities are sick of the rezonings, and tensions are growing. With every rezoning so far, affordable housing has been promised, but instead, apartments are high-jacked with deceptive AMI ratings. Take Red Hook for example, where we are head-quartered; the AMI in Red Hook is $107,000. Why is it so high you ask? Because Red Hook is combined with Cobble Hill and Park Slope where the residents are more upscaled. So if affordable housing were offered here, most of the residents in the neighborhood would not be able to pay their rents.
Now we come to NYCHA. For years, our Federal Government, as well as the other levels of government, have let NYCHA rot. Mayor de Blasio wants to utilize the RAD system, which is a program Obama put in place to save Public Housing, or at least that is what he claimed. When you watch this video, you will see what it is really doing to Public Housing. Collectively, this group believes that Council members have too much power. The communities belong to the people, not Council Members nor developers.
And when you are done watching our video, please check out this story from City Limits: http://bit.ly/2mTp5lC Please subscribe to our channel. Thank you!
It is no secret that NYC has intentionally let NYCHA buildings rot. The Intentional Decay of NYCHA, why, because if the decay is so terrible, the city would be forced to look for financial help somewhere else. The Federal Government has been cutting back funding for years, and the State Government too. So where does the city go for help? You got it! They go to developers.
In today's world, our trusted governments cannot be trusted as in the past. Then again, we should never have trusted government. And that is why the answer to fixing NYCHA problems is YOU! Yes, you, the public. Since our leaders are unable to find the door, we must fix problems ourselves. That's where Louis Flores comes in. Louis has been fighting battles for years, going back to trying to save Saint Vincents Hospital. He now sets his eyes on helping those that live in NYCHA Housing. The city has plans to demolition two building that is part of the Robert Fulton Houses, in Chelsea. Those buildings would be replaced with three taller buildings, and then the buildings would be managed by developers under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).
RAD is something Obama signed into law to help protect tenants of Public Housing, but it ain't so. When buildings are converted into the RAD system, building rules change, and a higher rate of people seem to be evicted, 10% higher in some places, rents also rise. In the case of the Robert Fulton Houses, 70% of the buildings would become market-rate apartments. Actions like this will destroy Public Housing as we know it. And the public must stop it. Please watch our video to see how Louis is approaching the situation.
Recently, we have seen citizen struggles in Puerto Rico, Paris, Hong Kong, and Britain over the actions of governments overstepping the boundaries of government rule. In this country, we struggle against Unwanted Wars, Affordable Housing, Homelessness, and Climate Change issues and more. These have been mainly capitalist struggles, where the rich are forcing officials to change regulations in exchange for goodies, like schools, parks, and fancy urban centers. All of it is helping to create more and more gentrification that pushes low and middle-class people from their homes.
We have yet to take to the streets like those mentioned above, but that might not be for long. Last night, I witnessed residents of Sunset Park, Brooklyn, shout down City Councilman, Carlos Menchaca, and force him out of a meeting he was presenting on rezoning. Menchaca was explaining his position on rezoning Sunset Park's Industry City when people started to chant no rezoning, no compromise, over and over again. After more than an hour of repeated interruptions, the councilman put the mic down and left.
Like so many other communities, Sunset Park is facing a rezoning that will significantly impact the large immigrant community. 72% of Sunset Park is made up of immigrants from Latin, and Asian countries. And this rezoning will entitle Industry City to changes that will impact all of the low and middle-class residents, as it has in many other communities. So these residents are fighting back.
Here is the entire meeting plus a rally outside:
I'm sitting here trying to plan the issues I want to address in my media properties. There are videos to be shot, and edited, and posted. There are web pages to be written, Facebook pages, Twitter posts, not to mention Instagram post to be written.
For the past several years, my focus has been on housing. The urbanization of our cities has given rise to gentrification. That has put many families into shelters or forced many others into the streets. The United States has more than 500,000 homeless people living on the streets or in shelters. New York City has 70,000 homeless, with 23,000 children leaving homeless shelters for school every day. How can that happen in the wealthiest country in the world?
Lately, my focus has also been moving to climate change. How can it not, when the United Nations delivers a report about increases in temperature, Land Use, and Sea-Level changes that will impact food production around the world. Ice sheets are melting in Greenland; increasing sea-levels by 7 meters, or 23 feet. That fact alone will put Miami Beach, and parts of Brooklyn underwater.
Whether it's Housing or Climate Change: the government is not doing enough to change the current situation.
Yes, some laws have passed to ease the burdens on renters, but nothing to stem displacement by developers. Developers receive tax breaks for building affordable apartments, but there is no enforcement to guarantee those apartments. Most of the time, those apartments are still too costly for current residents of the neighborhood, and more and more people are forced into shelters. Instead of building affordable homes, or maintaining NYCHA, the city of New York builds homeless shelters. And to further the problem, NYCHA buildings are being given to developers to manage, which only enriches the developers and washers the city's hands of the poor. In the case of NYCHA buildings like the Robert Fulton Houses, the city plans to apply for the Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD), and then tear down two buildings and replace them with three taller buildings. Under RAD, those buildings would then be rented at a 70% market rate & 30% public housing rate. What are we doing to Public Housing? Oh yeah, new jails! That's Public Housing, isn't it?
And then there is our federal government that refuses to believe in Climate Change. Look outside your freaking windows, jerks!
The President takes money from FEMA right before hurricane season starts to build his border wall. Where are their heads? The federal government should be worrying about how they will replace the lost revenue when Florida is underwater in a few years. Mayor DumBlasio talks about increasing the size of Manhattan to alleviate flooding, but what about Red Hook and other low-level parts of the city?
Let's take a whole bunch of money and throw it at the Defense Department. We can blow up the entire middle east; kill millions of people, but let's not do anything constructive for our citizens. We will make lots more money for the shareholders of the defense companies, and screw everyone else, especially, those brown-skinned immigrants.
All of my rants points to the lack of interest from our governments. Politicians run around giving speeches and promising to change things, but never say no to rezoning or force issues that help the community. Few officials in government express interest in stopping the wars. They are too interested in the jobs they expect to get for their community. Create some Green jobs in place of those war toys instead.
It comes down to us, the average citizen, to make things happen. We need, we must, get involved and demand that officials do what is right for us; not donors. We must have grass-root movements to deal with Climate Change. We can not wait any longer for the government. Knock on your neighbor's door and begin forming committees to deal with the issues that impact you and your families. Don't complain if you're not willing to change what is wrong with this country. Your children need you to care.
With dozens of people chanting, "Which side are you on," City Councilman, Carlos Menchaca, accepts thousands of signatures from the community demanding that he says no, to the request from Industry City to rezone.
While the pressure from the community increases, Menchaca, refuses to answer the question, "Which side are you on"?
Sunset Park is a community of immigrants, and the community knows what had happened to immigrants in other neighborhoods when rezoning occurred.
Carlos Menchaca is not just the City Councilman of the district, but he is also, the chairman of the Immigration Committee. So he risks his reputation of being a nice guy if he votes yes to the rezoning request; as well as the lives of the immigrant population in Sunset Park.
Here is a letter from our friend Jorge Rebagliati to the Sonoma County Supervisors regarding Climate Change:
The group Protect Sunset Park, met for two hours with Councilman Carlos Menchaca, on Friday, to discuss the Industry City request for rezoning. The group informed the councilman that the community is saying no to the IC request. The fears of displacement are in the minds of this immigrant community; and who can blame them? With every rezoning that has occurred so far, there has been displacement and the loss of local business to big named chains.
City Hall and City Planning are applying pressure on the councilman to decide on the plan quickly; a project City Hall wants. Menchaca and Community Board 7 appear to be constructing an alternative to appease City Hall. But the question is, is there time, and what would happen if we said no and walked away from the rezoning request?
The video that follows is the essence of what happened in Friday's meeting. Three languages are spoken in this video: Chinese, English, and Spanish, so please forward it to friends in Sunset Park.
And please subscribe to this channel.
I am addressing this open letter to the Sonoma County government government officials, the California governor, and to all policymakers in the world, especially to those in areas where climate change-related phenomena (extreme heat, droughts, wildfires, heavy rainfall, floods, hurricanes, sea-level rise, storm surge, tornadoes) and other geophysical processes exacerbated by climate change like earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, etc. are already causing ample biophysical, social and economic devastation.
More recently, scientists like myself, are confirming that climate change-related processes are happening much earlier than expected and that urgent and massive emergency action must be undertaken.
Climate change accentuated phenomena are impacting us now and their frequency and intensity are set to increase even if all anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions are stopped today. For this reason, even though stopping anthropogenic GHG emissions and drawing down existing carbon in the atmosphere at maximum speed is still very important to mitigate climate change, it is paramount to deploy deep climate adaptation strategies in order to better cope with our present and future climate reality. Deep climate adaptation means to undertake all the necessary economic, structural, organizational, societal, etc., transformations to minimize the impact of climate change vulnerabilities particular to each region.
This open letter is not intended to convince anyone on whether climate change is happening or not, or whether is occurring because of natural forces, mostly human activities or a combination of both factors. The aim of this open letter is to discuss the most important problem related to climate change, the issue of living in a world where climate change enhanced phenomena are impacting us now and will become the norm in our very near future.
I’m a very distressed climate scientist that has done research on extreme weather and its relations to climate variability and change. I’ve experienced firsthand the devastating impacts of climate change accentuated phenomena, with more powerful Hurricanes impacting my homeland of Puerto Rico and more frequent and larger wildfires in California where I currently live. I am in the front lines of the climate change apocalypse.
The Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) Report of October 2018 presented a dire state of the climate which, in reality, understated the true, even more disastrous, state of the climate. The Report claimed that with global CO2 emissions reductions of 45% below 2010 levels by 2030 and zero emissions by 2050, the average global temperature increase above pre-industrial times would likely stay below 1.5º C. The exclusion of the self-reinforcing climate change amplifying feedbacks (f.i. ice sheet disintegration, loss of albedo effect, heat storage by the oceans and release of methane from melting permafrost) in their climate change models, makes those suggestions irrelevant and misleading. The Report suggests that there is still a “carbon budget” that safely allows for more GHG emissions, which is not supported by the more realistic models that include the amplifying feedbacks, and by the now almost constant extreme and usually “unprecedented” climate change-related events happening around the world. There is no safe carbon budget left.
Because of those amplifying feedbacks alone, the increase of 1.5ºC is going to be surpassed significantly sooner than 2030, even if all anthropogenic GHG emissions are stopped immediately. The current global average temperature increase is close to 1.2º C and many areas of the Earth are already beyond a 1.5º C increase. For instance, Canada is at about 2 times the global average temperature increase and the Arctic Region (including Northern Canada) is at about 3 times the average.
The already major activation of the self-reinforcing climate change amplifying feedbacks, as a consequence of anthropogenic GHG emissions, makes the existing climate change mostly irreversible and leaves a short, but difficult to quantify, time for humans to mitigate further climate change aggravation by stopping all GHG emissions and removing GHG from the atmosphere, before a runaway climate change gets established.
As a scientist and as a being of this world I argue that we must stop debating whether we act or not on climate change. My position on the issue is clear, we must take bold climate action to prepare our societies for a more extreme world at the brink of societal collapse. We must embrace the fact that more devastating climate change effects will occur in the near future, so we must quickly begin our deep adaptation process to live in this new more climate extreme world.
If we don’t want to witness the end of organized civilization as we know it, we must act now. For that reason, I urge local, state and federal/national policymakers to accept the scientific consensus and the empirical reality that climate change is impacting us now and that it will continue to impact us in the immediate and long term future. After acknowledging our climate reality, I ask policymakers at all levels to issue official climate disaster state of emergency executive orders to make all resources available to deal with the climate change crisis which, ultimately, has the potential for the extinction of humanity.
I urge our governments to develop emergency measures that would allow us to prepare all of the infrastructure (roads, dams, buildings, parks, bridges, emergency-response infrastructure) and essential sustaining systems like farming, water supply, and health care, in our communities to the impacts of climate change. If we take bold action now, we can employ every able person in our communities in the 100% renewable energy transformation, infrastructure resiliency efforts and environmental restoration measures that would allow us to be better prepared to cope with climate change impacts now and in the very near future.
The impacts of climate change will not stop in the near future, even if we dropped all of our GHG emissions to zero. For that reason, I urge policymakers to focus on developing a more just and resilient local, national and global society that would allow all of its members to have a dignified life under our current and future climate reality.
In order for all of this to happen, policymakers need to accept one very important fact, we cannot continue with our current unsustainable economic activities that view the Earth as merely a collection of resources to be exploited in eternity for the sake of never-ending economic growth and wealth accumulation. Our voracious economic growth since the industrial revolution, almost exclusively dependent on fossil fuels, is what brought us here and it needs to stop if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
If we want to avoid the worst of the very likely climate apocalypse in our horizon, we must act now and work together to build a more just and resilient world for us, our children and all of humanity. It is impossible to put a brake on all of the climate change impacts that will threaten us now and in the very near future, but we can still mitigate Climate Change, build more resilient communities, restore key ecosystems and relinquish old unsustainable practices that would allow us to live a dignified life in a more climate extreme world.