New York: Robbing "Hood"; Steal From The Poor, Give To The Rich

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Heckuva Job Bloomberg!

[What's On My Mind]

I was once a Republican so what I’m about to talk about comes with some insight into the current situation. 

Unfortunately, this will not make it harder for my critics to say I don’t know what I’m talking about.

I’m a New Yorker, conceived here, carried here but delivered in Pennsylvania. I returned to New York to start school in the First Grade and have been here ever since.

I know New York. I used to love New York. I don’t anymore but that doesn’t mean I want to destroy it. It’s the only home I really have. So when I see this city systematically being deconstructed or destroyed, it gets my blood up.

I’m upset because I know for certain that what is happening to us and to our hospitals and schools and to our people does not need to happen. Why have our after school programs and classrooms been gutted? What has happened to the cultural classes?

These do create better people. When I was a teenager in the early 1960’s, I always had after-school programs to occupy my time and help keep me out of trouble. Some of these programs included instructional classes.

The one I liked best was wood-working with Mr. Carson in Red Hook, Brooklyn. These were sponsored by the Police Athletic League (PAL) but now, the police just want to lock kids up, giving them prison records instead of knowledge and skills. I often wonder if such officers feel any guilt.

They know what they are doing and can see the result first hand, up close. How do they live with what they do?

But police act on the streets according to policy. Policies can either hurt or help. Someone at the top has told them to go after our kids and the tools, Stop-and-Frisk, among others, were being used when I was a teenager. It was probably called by another name at that time.

Stop-and-Frisk has a very long history of use against our kids, and it was used against me. Much later in life, when I was just over 30 years old and after a hellish bout against me of Stop-and-Frisk episodes, I had a cop tell me he was surprised that they had not been able to "get me" yet.

He said this to me,  and I'm a Viet Nam era Army veteran who had held a Secret Clearance, and who had never even been accused of committing a crime, let alone been arrested or convicted.

I think the plan, which has been known to work, was to instill me with so much rage from the injustice of the repeated Stop-and-Frisks that I would fight back. You can’t win fighting a cop on the street and I’m sure they were hoping I would give them cause to lock me up or kill me.

The only way I was able to defeat them was by getting psychological counseling where my analyst was able to remove the rage and hatred that was in me after each stop and this allowed me to go back out on the street in a state of peace and calm so that I could intelligently handle and survive the next Stop-and-Frisk.

I think the counseling saved my life because some cops acted like only my death would satisfy them. Thank you for helping me stay alive, Dr. Neilsen.

But even when in the classroom, we and our kids are under constant attack. Much needed programs are always being cut back and schools are being closed at the same time as more prisons are being built. In a journalism lecture recently we read an article in The Wall Street Journal where a mayor of one "unlucky" Pennsylvania town was complaining that his town was suffering because prison there were closing, meaning they would lose jobs!

Illiteracy is common among the incarcerated. If you can’t read, you can’t know the law nor can you really understand what you are up against, much of which is clearly stated in law books. You are intellectually limited to what you see on TV or what you hear on radio or what people tell you.

How do you get a job if you can’t read or fill out a job application?  If we cut back on schooling, we know we can fill the prisons we’re building.

So money is cut to insure there is a supply of people to lock up; but of course, none is available to keep them healthy and properly educated. This is not new, we all know this is happening. How to stop it has been the problem.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly are determined to keep these programs and policies in place. They are using fear of crime to get people to stay in line with them.

In addition, teachers are being stressed and even pointed to as the problem while at the same time funding cuts remove the support they need to properly do their jobs. Why should some dedicated teachers on their limited income have to buy what they feel our children need in the classroom? Who is stupid enough to let this happen? Or, as I am pointing out, is someone making this happen?

In New York we do have a Republican administration in power. The word “power” means things can be done by force if necessary. This means that hospitals and schools can and will be closed by force if need be.

If you doubt this, you might be justified – because you might not see decisions by judges as the application and use of force.  But try going against a judges’ order and see if you don’t wind up facing a cop pointing a loaded gun at you or at least threatening you with the use of force.

Are you prepared to die to keep a school or hospital open? Are these jobs worth your life to keep in place? 

Saying that funding can’t be found is the excuse given to us but is there is another way to look at what is happening?  Try seeing it as the with-holding of funds in the richest city in the richest country in the world.

Having this happen here obviously does not make any sense at all. We know there is money for what we need. But where is it? Mayor Bloomberg, one of the richest men in the world with a reported net worth of $27 billion, who without doubt knows how to access money, can’t figure out how to access funds to keep our people healthy and alive or to educate our children who represent our future.

Is this stupidity or just the implication of the usual policies? We all know that Republicans never have anything positive or creative to replace what they are always so anxious to destroy. So do we just roll over and die because some current administration wants it to happen and has the power to make it happen?

Please note the following: A Nov 28, 2012 Addendum proposed by the Bloomberg administration drops funding to just under $70 million for the 2013 year, a cut of $20 million from this fiscal year and $47 million cut from the start of the Out-of School Time (OST) program two years ago, according to a news brief from The Center for New York City Affairs.

And again, more attacks on the poor: According to a slew of reports this year focusing on the relationship between funding and education, the availability of resources deteriorated quickly from just a few years ago.

For instance, in November the Alliance for Quality Education released “Back to Inequality: How Students in Poor School Districts are Paying the Price for the State Budget.”  It found that in poor districts a cut of $843 per student equaled about $21,000 per classroom - more than triple the size of cuts in wealthy districts.

Approximately 46,000 slots for youth in after-school programs, or “Out of School Time” (OST), were lost over the past four years due to $8.5 million in budget cuts, according to Kevin Douglas, policy analyst for United Neighborhood Houses.

Now, probably due to the mayoral elections, the following was announced: Just recently, $13 million has been made available to classrooms, under the OST program, but only for "at risk kids."

If Republicans remain in power, I’m quite sure this funding will be withdrawn after the elections.

This is just the way things are done in this town. If you want to stop this, just don’t vote for anyone who supports or is part of the Republican Party. We can do this in New York and we can do this nation wide. It’s the only way I see that we can save ourselves.


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