Sheinkopf Speaks: Taking the credit & passing the blame

Photo by Dean Moses
Hank Sheinkopf

Welcome to the alternative universe called New York. Order is frowned upon. Disorder beloved. Chaos acceptable. Responsibility? As is said in many neighborhoods: Fuggeddaboudid!

Our politicians, if we are lucky, will be seen one day lining up for a special photo shoot–an image to be saved for posterity. Picture them all pointing at each other, yelling loudly like a bunch of stool pigeons: ”It was them. Not me. They did it. Don’t blame me. All I did was take my coupla hundred G’s in pay, eat shrimp at fundraisers, rub my hands when thinking about my future fat pension, my health care for life.”

They will shout about their leadership, their love for the community.  Their unequalled ability. And if you blame them for our current crises they will suddenly become French speakers. Moi? Moi?  I theenk it waz ze ozer guyz.

Rikers Island? Who me? Yes you. Failure to invest in the physical plant for years. Failure of the courts to move cases. Failure of the ruling political class to tell the truth: a facility meant to house detainees awaiting trial and prisoners serving sentences of a year or less is not meant to be home to those suffering from emotional illnesses. We don’t need correction officers you say. But yes you do. Why? Every post in a jail has to be filled. So? Not enough correction officers, higher probability of violence and suicides. No more administrative segregation. Of course, people charged in many cases with violence crimes will always do right? Tell that to the correction officers who have been slashed, beaten, and the female correction officers who’ve been sexually assaulted.

NYCHA? We did everything we could they will say. Look, we gave away the projects to private real estate operators who will pay less to their workers than NYCHA did and those private operators can throw everyone out in few years. What else? Well, when we controlled Congress we talked a lot about NYCHA and federal responsibility for NYCHA, and we talked so much our mouths became so dry we had to stop talking. 

Homelessness? Well if we continue to give taxpayer money to private shelter operators who give you a room, and then are rumored to toss their low or no income residents out onto the street until nightfall, things will certainly improve, no? More mental health services maybe? ? Are you serious?  Send them in, grab the cash, send them back. Repeat. Nothing else, buster. And on and on.

And that’s just a rant on only two of the crises we get hit in the head with every day.

Bring the City back? Nobody’s leaving,. They have to stay here. They’re just liars. They have to stay. Have to pay the taxes. Have to ride the subways with those fellows who to the average eye are traveling alone so why do they look like they’re talking to three different invisible people in three different directions. Are they having delusions? Why can’t we see the people they are clearly having conversations with? Because, they’re having a delusion. Get it? They must be living in an alternative universe.

Whatever gave you that idea?