Let history record: The collapse of the crown jewel of New York City’s progressive infrastructure proceeded without pause on the watch of its most ostentatiously progressive mayor.
And as the conditions at the New York City Housing Authority deteriorated, Mayor de Blasio and the boss he tapped to run the bureaucracy kicked up a massive dust cloud of lies.
Such are the sobering, sickening conclusions of a complaint filed by federal prosecutors and a consent decree reached with those prosecutors that will place NYCHA under the stewardship of a court-appointed monitor.
A mayor does not sign over a potentially limitless supply of management control and taxpayer dollars for a federally funded agency — $1 billion over the next four years, for starters — except to wash away failures of cataclysmic proportions.
The miseries suffered among the more than 400,000 NYCHA residents play out as a real-time tragedy, measured in children poisoned by lead paint, seniors trapped by broken elevators, frigid temperatures in the deep of winter, epidemic vermin-spurred asthma attacks.
These failures did not start with de Blasio, but the mayor’s four years of denial, his sudden professions of shock at decay, render any responsibility laid at his feet by predecessors squarely his burden.
Daily News readers are sure to experience dej… vu in the litany of breakdowns and coverups, because Daily News reporter Greg Smith has been documenting them in a depressing drumbeat in these pages.
A failure to inspect for exposed lead paint, in violation of federal law — an open secret among NYCHA management but kept hidden from ex-Chairwoman Shola Olatoye and de Blasio. Or so he says. Either way, Olatoye falsely certified compliance to the feds.
Sneers at Department of Health test results showing that kids had been poisoned while living in apartments rife with lead paint hazards, coupled with a claim that just 19 children had suffered lead poisoning when hundreds almost certainly had.
“Thank God there has not been harm done to any child because of the mistakes that have been made,” a mendacious de Blasio said last year.
Mold flowering on walls and ceilings, years into a legal settlement binding NYCHA to clear it up, after NYCHA gamed the system for measuring progress.
Elevators broken so often that staff had a word for an entire bank being out at once, a “double-header.”
Heat out with appalling frequency.
Work orders tossed out by the hundreds of thousands by the past administration, while NYCHA put out press releases touting new efficiencies.
Gaping holes in walls and doors that left roaches and rodents rampant, with routine extermination all but ended.
Management literally covered up problems with plywood and duct tape when U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspectors came visiting, or turned off water to stop pipes from leaking.
Pray a better future starts now for hundreds of thousands of poor and working-class New Yorkers — despite and not because of a mayor who insists he cares about them above all else.
For shame, Mayor de Blasio. For shame.
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