Friday, April 19, 2013

Delivered Justice

Still from the 8-year chronicle of  Hoboken gentrification, Delivered Vacant

At 2PM today, the fate of HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia's run for Assembly will be decided by Superior Court Judge Peter Bariso.

From PolitickerNJ:



So what do you think will happen?

GA has no idea.

But last week, something on MSV caught my eye.  It was buried in a comment by  Mi Reinona!, who had posted an essay called "Why I became an elected official"  by Carmelo Garcia. Here's what Garcia wrote:
Growing up, I witnessed many injustices to minorities and to those of the underprivileged class... In the 1980s my family lost our home due to arson. We were forced to leap from a third-story window to escape the flames. This was during a time in Hoboken, N.J. when Hispanic families were being burned out to make room for the gentrification of the condo development.
Garcia tells us of his life experience of being burned out of his home for the gentrification of Hoboken, depicted in Nora Jacobsen's brilliant documentary Delivered Vacant.

How ironic then, that one of the tenant's rights activists featured in the movie, a fighter for tenants like Garcia and his family, is Sheilah Scully, one of 5 Plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Carmelo Garcia.


From The Hoboken Reporter, Apr 23, 2007:
One of the tenant activists featured in the movie, Sheilah Scully, hasn't been involved in town politics in recent years but still resides in Hoboken. She told the Reporter in 1997 that things have definitely changed since the 1980s.

"[I]t was very, very traumatic," Scully said. "People were dying. The issues were very visceral, very profound. It seemed very black and white. It just doesn't feel that way now. I have a strong sense of 'we're all in this together.' " 
Isn't that ironic?

I thought it was.  Because the subtext of Garcia's schtick is that those who burned him out of his home (yuppies) are the ones trying to scalp him now, and that his ethnicity, Hispanic, is a factor.

Sheilah's long history of community activism, her battles for clean elections, and her fight against powerful interests for the rights of (Garcia's words) the "minorities and the underprivileged class" in the days of gentrification-by-fire, obliterates playing the ethnicity card.

Boy, does it ever.
 

7 comments:

  1. I thought the same thing, GA. But then to the David Babblers of the world, we are the same person, right?

    Garcia's anger and sense of doing justice for those murdered or displaced by arson should have been directed toward the greed of the landlords and the developers - Hoboken locals in most cases -who were offering top-dollar for those properties "delivered vacant", not the people who might buy or rent them.

    Sadly, not one person was ever brought to justice for those crimes and as each person who was in power at that time dies off, their secrets are buried with them. But some still know the truth and may justice one day be served for those black and Latino families, but it won't be from any effort on the part of Garcia.

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    1. Indeed, dear Oracle. Said much more eloquently.

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  2. Sheilah is an active member of the community to this day, including her involvement and support of the Hoboken Fair Housing Association (HFHA) - the organization that successfully defeated the ballot question to weaken rent control this past November. In an attack on our democratic process, that election was overturned in the courtroom where false evidence was submitted by the plaintiffs' lawyers. The HFHA are defending that election without any support from any of our elected representatives. The HFHA is accepting donations at hobokenfairhousing.com

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    1. The court recessed over an hour ago... waiting for the decision now.

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