AGAIN NO HEAT IN NYCHA, GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN BLAME GAME & TRANSGENDER MILITARY BAN

January 23, 2019 at 4:30 am

As the tri-state region grapples with wind chills near zero degrees, some New Yorkers in public housing report that they are still without heat or hot water. As NYCHA tenants seek change within the housing system, all eyes turn to the federal government for solutions. But, all talks are frozen while the government remains shutdown. In a five to four vote, the Supreme Court revived the Trump administration’s policy of barring transgender people from serving in the military.

Aired on January 22, 2019. 

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>>> IT'S
BRUTAL.
LIKE,
THIS MORNING I WOKE UP AND
THERE'S, LIKE,
NO HOT WATER AND I JUST WANTED
TO CRY.
>> ANYONE WHO DOES NOT HAVE
HEAT OR HOT WATER,
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE HEAT OR HOT
WATER TODAY,
CALL RIGHT NOW TO 311 SO WE
CAN TRY TO GET YOU HELP NOW.
ANY TIME YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT
COLD TEMPERATURES YOU HAVE TO
TALK ABOUT PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT
FOR ANY REASON.
PEOPLE GOING ABOUT THEIR
BUSINESS,
THE COLD CAN CATCH UP,
THAT'S WHY PEOPLE HAVE TO BE
REMINDED, IF YOU GO OUTSIDE,
DO IT FOR AS LITTLE TIME AS
POSSIBLE.
>> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO
"METROFOCUS." I'M JENA
FLANNIGAN.
AS TEMPERATURES DROP AND NEW
YORKERS FACE RECORD-BREAKING
COLD,
THOUSANDS LIVING IN NEW YORK
CITY PUBLIC HOUSING GO WITHOUT
HEAT OR HOT WATER AGAIN.
COLD,
OUTRAGED AND FED UP WITH NYCHA
AND ITS LONG RECORD,
TENANTS AND OFFICIALS ARE
SEEKING ANSWERS AND THE
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN THAT
IMPACTS THE FEDERAL LEVEL HAS
FROZEN ALL TALKS WITH
SOLUTIONS WITH NEGOTIATIONS
WITH CITY HALL AND FEDERAL
OFFICIALS OVER THE FATE OF THE
EMBATTLED AGENCY AT A
STANDSTILL AND TENANTS AGAIN,
OUT OF LUCK ANY IN THE COLD.
JOINING US, AS ALWAYS,
WITH THE UPDATE IS ELLIS
HENNIGAN.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
>> HAPPY NEW YEAR.
>> LET'S START WITH THE COLD.
BECAUSE EVERYBODY IS FEELING
IT.
>> IT IS COLD, BY THE WAY.
>> IT'S VERY, VERY COLD,
BUT FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE
NYCHA HOUSING,
THEY'RE LEFT OUT IN THE COLD.
>> WELL,
IF YOU DON'T HAVE HEAT, YEAH.
IT'S ROUGH IN THOSE APARTMENTS
AND SOME PEOPLE ARE ABLE TO
BOIL WATER ON THE STOVE OR
HUDDLING AROUND IN THE
KITCHEN, BUT YEAH,
IT'S A TOUGH WEEKEND.
>> AT THE SAME TIME,
THIS IS SOMETHING WE SAW
HAPPEN LAST YEAR WHERE WE SAW
NUMEROUS TENANTS THAT WERE
STUCK IN APARTMENTS THAT
DIDN'T HAVE HEAT AND HOT
WATER.
THEN WE FOUND OUT THERE WERE
ISSUES WITH THE BOILERS,
ET CETERA.
HAS THE AGENCY MADE ANY
MOVEMENT TO KEEP PEOPLE WARM
THIS WINTER?
>> LET'S JUST CONCEDE THAT
NYCHA IS A MESS.
>> OKAY.
>> YEARS OF BAD INVESTMENT,
MAYBE CORRUPTION AND
MISMANAGEMENT TO GO ALONG WITH
IT,
FIGHTS WITH WASHINGTON HAS
LEFT THOSE FACILITIES
STRUGGLING, RIGHT?
AND YOU'RE RIGHT,
HEAT AND HOT WATER IS ONE OF
THE ISSUES,
LEAD AND MOLD HAVE ALSO BEEN A
PERSISTENT PROBLEM THERE.
>> UH-HUH.
>> AND RIGHT NOW THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT IS THREATENING TO
TAKE OVER THE SYSTEM THAT
WASHINGTON WOULD RUN THE
HOUSING OF 400,
000 NEW YORKERS AND THEY'RE
NEGOTIATING BETWEEN THE CITY
AND THE FEDS TRYING TO FIGURE
OUT IF THERE IS SOME WAY
AROUND THAT FORMAL TAKEOVER.
>> WELL,
THAT PRISS ME TO THE NEXT
GREAT POINT OF HOW MUCH
NEGOTIATING ARE WE DOING,
CONSIDERING THE FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT IS CLOSED?
>> DID YOU NOTICE THAT?
>> YEAH.
>> AMONG THOSE WHO ARE NOT
WORKING RIGHT NOW ARE 95% OF
THE EMPLOYEES OF HUD,
HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
DEPARTMENT IN WASHINGTON,
WHICH OVERSEES PUBLIC HOUSING
ACROSS THE COUNTRY.
SO, YES,
THOSE TALKS THAT WERE ROARING
ALONG BEFORE CHRISTMAS HAVE
NOW PRETTY MUCH GROUND TO A
HALT AND THEY'RE STARING AT
JANUARY 31 DEADLINE,
SECRETARY BEN CARSON SAYING IF
THERE'S NO DEAL BY THEN HE'S
GOING TO COME IN AND TAKE OVER
THE ENTIRE SYSTEM.
>> BUT YET WE DON'T KNOW IF
THERE ARE NEGOTIATIONS THAT
ARE ABLE TO HAPPEN CONSIDERING
THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT
IS CLOSED.
>> NOT MUCH IS GOING ON THIS
WEEK, APPARENTLY.
>> NYCHA IS ONE OF THE PAINS
THAT WE'RE SEEING AND IT'S
STARTING TO RIPPLE THROUGHOUT
THE ENTIRE ECONOMY.
>> IT IS.
MANY OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES
AND THE CONTRACTORS WHO ARE
EITHER NOT WORKING OR AT LEAST
NOT BEING PAID DO THINGS THAT
THE PUBLIC DOESN'T SEE EVERY
DAY, RIGHT?
IT WORKS IN OFFICES AND WHILE
THE WORK IS OFTEN VERY
IMPORTANT,
WE DON'T NECESSARILY SEE THE
CONSEQUENCES OF IT ON A DAILY
BASIS.
I KEEP MY EYE ON THE AIRPORTS
AND THAT IS AN AREA,
THOSE TSA EMPLOYEES AND WE
HAVE TO START THINKING ABOUT
THOSE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS,
AS WELL.
IN THERE WORKING.
WHEN THEY START NOT SHOWING UP
IN LARGE NUMBERS AND IT SEEMS
LIKE THOSE NUMBERS ARE
CREEPING UP,
THAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS BOTH
DANGEROUS IN TERMS OF OUR
SAFETY AND A CONCERN IN TERMS
OF TERRORISM AND REALLY DOES
HAVE ECONOMIC IMPACT.
I'D KEEP MY EYES ON THAT.
>> WE DO HAVE, THIS FRIDAY,
IF THERE'S NO DEAL,
THERE WILL BE ANOTHER MISSED
PAYCHECK AND WE'RE NOT JUST
TALKING PEOPLE CALLING IN SICK
SAYING I CAN'T COME IN.
PEOPLE WOULD ARE SAYING THEY
HAVE ACTUAL ISSUES,
I CAN'T AFFORD TRANSPORTATION
AND I CAN'T AFFORD CHILD CARE.
THESE ARE SERIOUS PROBLEMS.
>> I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU,
BUT MOST OF US DON'T HAVE BIG,
FAT SAVINGS ACCOUNTS READY TO
BAIL US OUT AT MOMENTS LIKE
THIS, RIGHT?
WE LIVE PAYCHECK TO PAYCHECK
AND WE COUNT ON THAT MONEY AND
EVEN THOUGH IN THE CASE OF THE
FEDERAL EMPLOYEES,
THEY'RE LIKELY TO GET THAT
MONEY EVENTUALLY.
YOU KNOW, IT'S HARD.
AND THE CASH FLOW.
AND DON'T FORGET,
THE CONTRACTORS,
MANY OF WHOM WILL NEVER GET
REPAID FOR THE TIME THEY
MISSED.
>> LET'S PIVOT TO THE
ARCHITECT OF THE SHUTDOWN,
AND THAT IS PRESIDENT TRUMP.
>> WELL,
I DON'T SEE MUCH PROGRESS
BEING MADE THERE.
THE PRESIDENT CAME OUT OVER
THE WEEKEND WITH A PROPOSED
DEAL THAT HAS SO FAR,
AT LEAST,
ESSENTIALLY GENERATED NO
SUPPORT FROM DEMOCRATS WHO ARE
SAYING -- >> OR CONSERVATIVES.
HE GOT PUSHBACK FROM HARD LINE
CONSERVATIVES.
>> HE'S IN A BIT OF A SQUEEZE.
ON THE RIGHT THEY'RE CALLING
IT AMNESTY AND ON THE LEFT,
WHY SHOULD WE TRADE TEMPORARY
RELIEF ON DACA FOR A PERMANENT
WALL?
IT DOESN'T EVEN REALLY SEEM TO
PROVOKE MUCH ACTUAL
NEGOTIATION.
>> MOVING ON TO A DIFFERENT
MOVE BY THIS CURRENT
ADMINISTRATION, LET'S SAY,
AND THAT IS THE BAN FOR THE
TRANSGENDER MEMBERS OF THE
MILITARY.
AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE
SUPREME COURT RECENTLY DECIDED
AS EARLY AS THIS MORNING TO
LET THAT AT LEAST TEMPORARILY
GO INTO EFFECT.
>> YOU EMPHASIZED TEMPORARILY
BECAUSE THAT ISSUE IS WINDING
ITS WAY THROUGH THE FEDERAL
COURT SYSTEM GETTING SOMEWHAT
DISPARATE RESULTS IN DIFFERENT
PLACES.
WHAT THE COURT DID TODAY ON
ANOTHER 5 TO 4 VOTE, RIGHT?
EXACTLY ALONG PARTY LINES
REMINDING THE FOLKS THAT OFTEN
THE SUPREME COURT DOES BEHAVE
LIKE THE THIRD HOUSE OF
CONGRESS,
LIKE JUST ANOTHER POLITICAL
OPERATION,
THAT THE BAN THAT THE
PRESIDENT IS SEEKING CAN GO
INTO EFFECT TEMPORARILY WHILE
THIS THING INCHES ITS WAY
THROUGH THE COURTS.
A BIG VICTORY FOR THE
ADMINISTRATION.
>> WE'LL SEE HOW IT PLAYS OUT
WITH THE RANK AND FILE OF THE
MILITARY,
SEVERAL OF WHOM ARE TRANSAND
ARE ACTUALLY SERVING AND KIDS
WHO MIGHT BE CONSIDERING
ENROLLING.
ET CETERA.
>> IT'S COMPLICATED BECAUSE
YOU HAVE SOME TRANSINDIVIDUALS
IN THERE ALREADY,
AND YOU WILL THANK THEM OUT
AND SEND THEM HOME IN VARIOUS
RANKS IN THE ORGANIZATION.
WILL YOU SAY NO NEW ONES CAN
COME IN.
THE ACTUAL MECHANICS OF
INSTITUTING A BAN LIKE THAT
ARE COMPLICATED.
>> AND OF COURSE,
IT'S THE ACTUAL DOING OF A LOT
OF THESE POLICIES THAT SEEMS
TO BE WHERE A LOT OF THE HURT

AND THE TRAUMA SEEMS TO BE,

BUT LISTEN,
I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH
FOR JOINING US.
THERE WAS A LOT TO GET TO.
UNFORTUNATELY,
WE DIDN'T GET THAT DEEP INTO
IT.
>> AND ALMOST ALL OF IT IS
UNDONE, DO YOU NOTICE THAT?
>> YES.
YES.
>> YEAH.
THERE IS A THEME RIGHT NOW TO
THE BEGINNING OF 2019.
WE WILL KEEP WATCHING.
ELLIS, PLEASE COME BACK.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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