Friday News Round Up

  1. Two Trees Management (David and Jed Walentas) released their (ridiculous) plans for the Domino Sugar Factory site this week. The plan still has to be approved by the city, and would require significant rezoning. City Limits has gathered several articles documenting the forgotten history of the Walentas family of developers and the Domino Sugar Factory site. Expect more on this from us next week.
  2. The Riverdale Press has been releasing a series of articles on the problem with recieverships in foreclosures. This is a very important issue that doesn’t get the attention that it deserves, particularly when so many multifamily buildings are in foreclosure and managed by receivers  UHAB and our allies have been sounding the alarm about the need for reciever reform for quite sometime. Check out this article which details several buildings in which we organize, and be sure to read the whole series!
  3. Mayor Bloomberg’s emphasis on using data to improve our city got lots of attention this week, and the attention is deserved. One of the less exciting aspects of our job (or more exciting, depending on your preference) is combing through mortgage documents and building histories online. The incredible amount of information about their homes and their cities that New Yorkers can access through the internet is revolutionary. It allows the city to improve code enforcement and building oversight, but it also informs the organizing that we do and the struggle for a more just city in an important and empowering way.
  4. Bloomberg Businessweek, on the other had, has gotten lots of negative attention for this racially insensitive and classist magazine cover. The illustration, like much right-wing coverage of the on-going housing crisis, places blame on low-income, minority homeowners while ignoring the big banks and sleazy lending tactics that are the real culprits.
  5. The Furman Center released “Sandy’s Effects on Housing in New York City,” a brief fact sheet with a self-explanatory title. They point out that the cost of Sandy will not be fully known for quite some time, and that many homeowners have not realized the extent of damage to their property. That said, their findings: 55% of people who applied for FEMA aide were renters with a median income of $18,000. People affected were older, whiter, and poorer than the city on average. More NYCHA buildings were damaged than even EXIST in any other large public housing authority in the country.

Finally, two events you should attend! Tonight, our own Dan Desloover and Brent Sharman will be participating in an Urban Homesteading Roundtable at the New School. They will discuss engaging public power to fight for new housing ecologies in the face of the housing crisis.

And if you follow our blog closely, you will know that we wrote just a few days ago about the privatization of public housing. If that’s an interesting subject to you, be sure to join Columbia and Hunter professors Peter Marcuse and Tom Angotti as they address that very subject at the Brecht Forum this Saturday.



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