Home Retail Action Project Queens Center Mall Campaign Kingsbridge Armory Redevelopment Alliance Living Wage NYC Please Watch Our TV Ad
Featured Video
   
Take Action!
Step 1: Find your City Council Member.
Step 2: Fill in the following information
First Name:*
    
Last Name:*
Address:
City:
State:
Zip:*
Phone:
Email:*
Councilmember:*
Email Subject:*
Message:
*Required Field
The question is who is better off, Mr. Mayor?
New York Daily News
ALBOR RUIZ

September 16, 2012
View the Original Article


 Mayor Bloomberg, always the optimist, thinks that New York is better off today than it was four years ago.

Yet, what many people — like the nearly 400,000 unemployed and the hundreds of thousands of underemployed New Yorkers — would like to ask our billionaire mayor, is better off for whom.

Rodobaldo Ramos, 23, a deliveryman at a small Woodside restaurant works 10 to 13 hour days, seven days a week. On a good week he earns $475 — with tips.

 When we told Ramos that Bloomberg, one of the richest men in the country, opposes the Living Wage bill recently passed by the City Council, which would raise the minimum wage to a small segment of workers, Ramos asked in disbelief: “Is that true? The mayor is against people getting paid a little more?”

Obviously, Ramos does not agree with the mayor.

“We can say in New York City, and that’s the only place I’m an expert on, things are better than four years ago,” Bloomberg told WCBS 880 radio at the beginning of the month.

Yet, hundreds of thousands of people like Ramos as well as federal Census figures released last Wednesday cast doubt over our mayor’s optimism.

Activists say that, according to those figures, if the poor people of our state were to form in line, they would reach from Manhattan to San Francisco. Unbelievable perhaps, but true nonetheless.

The Census shows that one in six — I repeat, one in six — New York state residents live in poverty. That is, the number of New Yorkers living below the poverty line of $17,916 for a family of three, went up 6% from the 2008-2009 time period to the 2010-2011 time period. The harsh reality is that more than three million people in our state are poor.

“People have trouble conceptualizing a number as large as three million, but this new data means that if all of the New York residents in poverty held hands, they could create a line that would run from Times Square to the Golden Gate Bridge,” said Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

Although poverty data for the city — where the unemployment rate is 10% — has not yet been released, advocates say, the poverty increase is evident in the ever growing number of people seeking help at the more than 1,100 soup kitchens and food pantries.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture report released two weeks ago showed a 39% increase in food insecurity in the state from 1999-2001 to 2009-2011.

 Another unmistakable indication of the growth of poverty in the city is that family homelessness is at an all-time high.

“Today, there are 10,903 families, including 18,449 children, living in homeless shelters in New York City, up 13% in the last year alone,” said another report, released last Wednesday, by Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., the Supportive Housing Network of New York, and the Corporation for Supportive Housing.

A pretty dire situation that could get worse if those in Washington intent on axing billions from the food stamp program and other anti-poverty programs get their way.

If this happens, expect a tremendous hike in the number of people seeking emergency food aid at the city’s already overburdened soup kitchens and food pantries.

 “For those of us who see surging lines at food pantries and soup kitchens citywide, these new numbers are no surprise,” Berg said.

But for Bloomberg, always the optimist, they seem to be. That’s why the real question that begs for an answer from him has to be: Better off? Really, Mr. Mayor? For whom?