The “progressive” administration of Mayor Bill De Blasio has just revealed a nasty underside.
For the past 3 ½ months, it repeatedly fumigated black and Latino neighbourhoods for “Zika” and “West Nile Virus,” while completely sparing the affluent Caucasian neighborhoods in several boroughs.
Most shocking of all, the administration covered its tracks with the Edgar Allan Poe defense. Like The Purloined Letter, it left the evidence right out in the open – as if open and notorious racism were any less harmful, than its subtler forms.
Exhibit A of the racism is this:
This was done openly and repeatedly, to neighborhoods in all five boroughs.
Ahh…but which neighbourhoods?
That leads us to Exhibit B:
If you review the entire NYC Dept. of Health “Mosquito Spraying Events” schedule, you will notice the following:
Brooklyn had 16 “mosquito spraying events.”
Some neighborhoods were sprayed eleven times.
In all this repeated spraying throughout Brooklyn, the following 12 neighborhoods were not sprayed even once:
Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg, Downtown Brooklyn, Dumbo, Manhattan Beach, Columbia Street Waterfront District, Vinegar Hill, Boerum Hill, Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Greenpoint.
Why were’t they sprayed?
Here’s a hint: in 2015, these neighbourhoods were listed as the “twelve priciest neighborhoods” in Brooklyn, with houses selling for up to $15.5 million.
The excuse that these neighborhoods are “not near any water” is ridiculous…since a major selling point for seven of these neighborhoods, is precisely their proximity to major bodies of water.
For example, here is the priciest neighborhood in all of Brooklyn…Dumbo:
Here’s a Brooklyn Heights view:
Here’s a Williamsburg scene:
There are no raging currents, waves or white capped waters in any of these photos. These are all quiet bodies of water…standing waters, providing billions of opportunities for larval mosquito deposits.
But none of these “pricey” waterfront neighborhoods were fumigated, in order to maintain their real estate values.
Let’s look at Exhibit C:
The Bronx had 15 “mosquito spraying events.” Two neighborhoods were sprayed ten times.
However, seven areas were not sprayed even once: Riverdale, City Island, Locust Point, Throgs Neck, Castle Hill, Morris Park, and Van Nest. Just like Brooklyn, five of these areas are right on the waterfront.
And guess what?
All seven areas are on the list of “10 Most Expensive Neighborhoods in the Bronx.”
Staten Island had 15 “mosquito spraying events,” and some neighborhoods were sprayed 8 times.
The following six neighbourhoods were never sprayed: Oakwood Beach, Huguenot, St. George, Livingston, New Springville, and West New Brighton.
All six of them are on the list of “Best Neighborhoods” (and most expensive) in Staten Island.
20 “mosquito spraying events” occurred in Queens, with some neighbourhoods sprayed 14 times.
The following seven neighbourhoods were never sprayed: Fresh Meadows, Hollis Hills, Ditmars-Steinway, Broadway-Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Belle Harbor, and Neponsit.
All seven of them are in the top ten “Most expensive neighborhoods” in Queens.
Only one neighborhood was fumigated in Manhattan…Washington Heights.
They sprayed my own block six times between 3:20 and 6 a.m., on August 17. I saw it with my own eyes.
Below is the entire map for “Zika” and “West Nile” fumigation in Manhattan, for the entire 3½ month spraying period (May 12 – August 31).
All of it was done north of 155th street, in the Washington Heights / Inwood sections.
Nowhere else in Manhattan, did any of this spraying occur…for the full 3½ months.
CLASS AND RACIAL PROFILING
It is thus clear that all across New York – in all five boroughs – the city did not fumigate the mosquitoes. They fumigated the humans.
They classified people according to real estate value, and sprayed the poorest neighborhoods…openly and repeatedly.
Proximity to standing water was far less significant, than per capita income.
In fairness to Mayor De Blasio, the racism may not have been conscious. The mayor and all his agencies simply deferred to the developers, contractors, vendors, brokers and lobbyists who packaged those pricey neighborhoods, and to the wealthy people who live in them.
These of course, are the people who finance the mayor’s campaigns.
Unfortunately, the end result is the same…poorer people, packed in minority neighborhoods, were repeatedly fumigated in the name of “public health.”
It appears that Hannah Arendt’s Banality of Evil is gripping our national and city politics, our economic life, our media, schools, public health systems…and eventually, our spirit.
No one takes responsibility.
The dollar is king.
Truth is transactional.
Let’s spray the poor people, and tell them it’s for their own good.
For a history of the War Against All Puerto Ricans, read the book…
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