|WBAI Pacifica Radio 99.5 FM|
GA's been asked if SaveTheProjects is "real" or if someone's blowing smoke up my, you-know.
Well folks, not only is SaveTheProjects (STP) real, but the 'resistance' movement of HHA residents who oppose the demolition of the projects for Vision 20/20 is growing in numbers and working to get the word out.
Yesterday, a SaveTheProjects representative gave an interview on NYC's WBAI radio (99.5 FM). If given permission, I will post the clip. GA does not wish to put this individual in harm's way.
Here is my transcription of the full WBAI interview. Opinions expressed are those of SaveTheProjects. The bottom line is this group believes demolition of the projects will result in displacement and homelessness for the current population of HHA residents, and that they are being lied to and bullied by HHA leadership to support Vision 20/20.
WBAI: ...now there has been initiated a 20/20 Development project that has been initiated by the Hoboken Housing Authority headed by Carmelo Garcia. Our guest who has asked to remain anonymous because of possible retaliations will now join us. Welcome to the program.
SaveTheProjects: Thank you so very much.
WBAI: Let's start with the 20/20 Vision project and why you and others described it as primarily a racist displacement development of black people.
SaveTheProjects: Well, what Vision 20/20 will do is and one of their agendas obviously is to make the city of Hoboken, um, all-white and rich. What they're going to do is demolish, as you mentioned, all of the projects. All the projects are in sound physical condition. They're in excellent condition, and they're in better condition than probably 90% of the apartments, in let's say Manhattan. Um, so there's no reason to demolish them except to take away tenants rights because once they're demolished and given over to private developers , it means that the people who live here will no longer have any rights to live in the new buildings or for that matter, live in the city of Hoboken. The city of Hoboken is a very racist city. There's no place for blacks and Hispanics to live once these buildings are demolished.
WBAI: Now the Hoboken Housing Authority has claimed that in fact that all of the tenants in, currently living in the housing development, public housing development will be relocated and brought back and every one will have their home, and no one in fact will be displaced. Now ah, there is a great deal of unspoken questions , ah about this. First of all, when they return the rents are going to be restructured. And secondly, the ah, in our discussion and what I have read, they're looking at a major redevelopment of 1/3 luxury, 1/3 moderate income and 1/3 low income. And so, how is it possible with those numbers and percentages, that people who are currently living in public housing and those complexes will be able to come back?
SaveTheProjects: Well, they won't. And as you mentioned, not only - I mean according to Carmelo Garcia's own talk, um when he mentions 1/3 luxury, 1/3 moderate, 1/3 low income he had 806 current housing development units. And the total units in this luxury building would be 1,002. which means that 473 people of color will be displaced immediately. And of those who may, which is very unlikely, come into the low income housing, as you mentioned they will just restructure the housing so that tenants will not be able to afford to live there. One of the methods are probably you will have to pay your electric, gas, water, heat, parking fees, so I mean there's ways to get tenants out. But, we who live in the city of Hoboken don't believe that will happen at all because, let's be honest, wealthy white people don't want to live next to poor white people, which brings up another fight in Hoboken which is for rent control. So they want to get rid of rent control because they want to get rid of poor white people. Now there is no way, they're going to have blacks and Hispanics. The whole point of the development is to make the maximum amount of profits. There is no way developers are going to invest multi-millions of dollars and not get an investment. And wealthy white people are not going to pay top market value for an apartment that has black and Hispanics living there. So we know we are not moving into those buildings. It's not going to happen, cause otherwise they would not be able to sell those apartments at the full market rate. It is just a way to pacify tenants so we will allow this to happen so they can take out homes away from us and displace us from the town permanently.
WBAI: Well, given this assault against working class people, both white and black, are there any alliances that are emerging, any collaborations of a resistance against this demolition of public housing because once its, once public housing, this public housing stock is demolished, it surely will not come back. So are the, what does the landscape look like in terms of a working class alliance?
SaveTheProjects: Well the problem right now is that the tenants are being lied to, there's disinformation going on. For example, they're saying that if you don't vote for Vision 20/20 it means they're going to raze the buildings. No, that's a LIE. The buildings will ABSOLUTELY be demolished and razed, if 20/20 passes. So we're trying to get the word out, the big problem is that Carmelo Garcia, he and his group and the developers have goons. And tenants were terrorized through being threatened with eviction, bodily harm and so much for democracy in this country.
WBAI: Final question because we are near the end here.
WBAI: The Obama administration has made clear that it wants to privatize public housing. And this demolition cannot take place without the okay of the... of HUD. Now, what is the role, what do you see as the role of the federal government in terms of this demolition?
SaveTheProjects: Uh, very quickly and I'll give information for everyone if they want to join the cause. Very quickly, I mean uh, for the first time in US history an average black family will not live in a black community. This will dis-empower black people, uh we'll have less voting rights especially if we're in far suburban areas it will be difficult for us to mobilize, so this is an issue of dis-empowering and making homeless black and Hispanic people of color.
WBAI: What is the contact information in case people want to support this movement through resistance of the demolition of public housing in Hoboken. What's your contact information?
SaveTheProjects: SaveTheProjects@yahoo.com and the phone number is 201-***-****. I'll repeat the phone number, 201-***-****. I was just told we have a new Facebook page. And the Facebook page is Save the Hoboken Projects.
WBAI: Okay, thank you very much and ..
SaveTheProjects: Thank you.
WBAI: ...for all of you who are listening if you want more information about this demolition because this really represents not only the privatization but the demolition of public housing and the deconcentration of blacks and other working class people across the country.