Former mayor Rudy Giuliani penned an op-ed in the New York Post, fiercely criticizing the policies that he believes have led to the homeless crisis.
“We had a strategy that worked. Why was it abandoned?”asks Giuliani. Good question, your honor:
The so-called “progressive” view, that people have a right to live on the sidewalk, is not only legally devoid of any merit but is inhumane, indecent and dangerous. As is the case in many other policies — redistribution of wealth, social engineering, weak national defense — it’s a contradiction to describe this stance as progressive. It should properly be regarded as retrogressive.
People living on the street, urinating and defecating there, marked the Dark Ages of Western civilization. In a humane, decent and civilized city, the problems of the homeless are dealt with through intervention rather than denial.
My analysis of social policy always begins with how I would treat my child, sister, brother or friend if they fell on hard times. Suppose I found someone I loved living on the streets. What would I do? Let him remain there because he wants to and claims some fictitious legal right to do so? Or would I find out what was wrong and intervene, even if a bit of tough love was necessary?
The plan we followed was simple and effective. We didn’t need a task force to devise it, and it should be utilized now by New York City before we become a homeless haven like we used to be.
The police should approach every person attempting to sleep on the sidewalk and tell them they are not allowed to use the streets as a bedroom and toilet. If he only needs a place to stay, that can be provided. If he needs a job, the city should help him find one as my New York City Job Agency did, or if private work can’t be found, he can be required to work for the city for the legal limit of 20 hours a week.
This will instill or maintain a work ethic — easily lost if you get something for nothing. It will also teach and reinforce that you must contribute to earn money.
If the problems are more severe, then referrals can be made to alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs and for mental evaluation to determine if therapy and medication can be helpful.
In addition to homelessness, the city has regressed back to the ’70s as topless panhandlers clog Times Square, public urination and defecation is rampant, the murder rate is on the rise, and a new scourge — synthetic marijuana — is turning many New Yorkers into “zombies”:
It was early afternoon when the man with the twitching legs was dragged from the ground into an ambulance. Another man selling books washed away the vomit.
A man named Charlie Medina sat at the same spot a few days later, unable to remember his name before he fell into a trance with his jaw open and his eyes dilated.
And the lovers. They were unable to find a room. One pulled off the other’s shirt and her bra, then started to kiss her bruised breasts while a small crowd gathered to watch.
The people here on this stretch of 125th Street in East Harlem may change, but the drug remains the same: K2, also called synthetic marijuana, a potent mix of herbs and chemicals that has become widely used among homeless people in New York City.
A joint of K2 goes for a dollar or two, far cheaper than food. Many bodegas on 125th Street sell it. A marijuana joint, by comparison, costs about $5. Crowds of up to 80 or 100 homeless people come in on buses from a nearby shelter on Randalls Island, drawn by heroin recovery clinics nearby, and spend the day there under the influence of this cheaper narcotic. The block between Park and Lexington Avenues appears at times to be a street of zombies.
Can you really blame Mayor de Blasio? The radical leftist has put his stamp on all aspects of city life, especially changing the “broken windows” policing strategy that Guiliani alluded to. The contrast between what Giuliani believes and what de Blasio believes is striking and simple: Rudy believes in freedom with responsibility. De Blasio believes in freedom without responsibility.
It is that difference that is making life miserable for New Yorkers.