1. Today I was supposed to meet my dear friend, who is an FDNY chaplain, for an outdoor lunch. She had to cancel at the last minute, when she rushed off to a fire.

When I found out why, a familiar rose up in me.
2. My friend had found me a safe place to live when, in 2018, the radiator in my East Village walk up had exploded, spewing boiling water across ceiling, walls, floors. So much hot water scaled the ceiling before the FDNY arrived, part of the ceiling collapsed.
3. Had I been asleep when that had happened, I'd have been badly scalded or possibly killed.

It happened because may landlord didn't do a safety check before turning on the heat that winter.

My landlord was a well-known repeat offender of a landlord.
4. In my four years in that bldg, there was often no heat, or no hot water (when the boiler had blown up in the basement. For 6 months, there was no gas when a gas leak (which I'd call 911 abt) filled the bldg with dangerous gas. The FDNY & said there was too much damage to
5. the gas infrastructure to turn it back on. Eventually, the landlord decided not to fix it at and to replace everyone's gas stoves w electric. He filled our narrow hallways w 12 gas ovens. But he was too cheap to install the right electric lines, so the ovens blocked egress
6. for months—ANOTHER egregious fire trap.

I called the FDNY who took a safety complaint.

I filed complaints w the Dept of Bldgs and my city council member.

Nothing happened to the landlord.
7. In one of those "only in NY" coincidences, I found out that the landlord changed his name on documents, and that I HAD REPORTED A STORY ABOUT HIM IN THE VILLAGE VOICE YEARS BEFORE!!!
8. That story was abt an undocumented woman in a bldg in the Bronx whose apt was a slum - 24/7, there was spraying water in her bathroom, turning the room into a mold petri dish. She had no heat. The front door never locked. She organized the tenants to stand up together.
9. The landlord found out and came to the bldg and beat her up. He got a restraining order making it so he couldn't enter the bldg. So, he called immigration and tried to have her deported.

Meanwhile, the city had HUNDREDS of violation against him.
10. When I found the various names he used, I found her he had more than 1,000 violations against him for various bldgs. He owed more than $100,000 in violations just for MY BLDG, going back decades.
11. When my radiator exploded, I tried to get help from the city. They did nothing; I was a journalist, PhD student, and citizen. And armed with the city's own record of his violations and six-figure debts, I could get NO ONE to do ANYTHING to help —not the Public Advocate, not
12. the Mayor's office, not the Department of Buildings, not the City Council, not 311, not the FDNY...no one would stop this landlord from maintaining would-be death traps.
13. So when I read @annia post the complaints of NO HEAT for this building, I was so angry I could barely see straight.
14. Ruth Wilson Gilmore: “Racism, specifically, is the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death.”

Vulnerability to premature death happened toady—manufactured by the landlord AND the city.
15. Will there be accountability from the city or the landlord?

My guess is accountability will come from neither.
16. This city is run by and for landlords. @annia: "The man listed as landlord, Rick Gropper, is on @NYCMayor's transition team—for housing." You can't make this shit up. They'll try to blame the space heater & the tenant who used it, blame tenants for leaving fire doors open.
17. But make no mistake, the lack of heat, the lack of the landlord addressing the lack of heat, the lack of the city enforcing its own violations...

Had the landlord provided safe heat & the city made sure the bldg was safe, no space heater would have been needed.
18. The result: One of the worst residential fires in this city's modern history.

Completely unavoidable, except that the City of NY failed to follow up on well documented violations, and due to the greed of Mayor Adams' housing transition team member
19. I'll speak for myself, but I think a lot of the annoyance at the movie DON'T LOOK UP was journalists wrestling w how, even when we DO "raise awareness" abt things, it is meaningless, so satire + journalism itself feel a bit futile in an era fo constant mass death & suffering
20. New York City is a town 100% run by Democrats in every single way, FWIW
18. I should clarify that landlord I had was NOT the same one from this week's fire. I found out that my bad landlord was a landlord I had previously investigated, as he changed his name often. But both these landlords had something in common: the city wouldn't do shit abt them.
19. And I am furious, if not surprised, that the residents are being blamed for the space heater or open doors when there were documented reports to the city of a lack of heat and nonfunctioning doors. These were, as Engels coined the term, social murders

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More from @thrasherxy

11 Jan
So many people, me included, feel beaten down and depressed. This is bc as we start year 3, we are yet again tasked w the impossible: Carry out difficult, alienating, individual tasks which are doomed to never be enough bc they require a state response that isn’t happening.
So many people feel ashamed to be depressed, like they’re a failure bc they struggle to teach online or they feel privilege guilt for mourning a 3rd birthday w/o their friends.

It’s not you. There’s little any of us can do. It’s the system. And it is ok to feel broken by it.
A friend asked me how to help donate better masks. And it’s not something we can really do beyond a bit of harm reduction. The state needs to produce and distribute masks and tests. It won’t do it, so unless we can force it to, any “charity” will be crumbs. There aren’t enough
Read 22 tweets
11 Jan
I believe it includes Medicaid and ACA plans.

Still 30 million—THIRTY MILLION—have no insurance at all, not even Medicaid!


SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!! "Study: Risk of severe COVID-19 imperils millions of uninsured"

A viral underclass made at every turn!

Read 15 tweets
10 Jan
I don’t feel like most of us have accepted how bad this is going to make life, nor how many lives it will end. The vaccines are working well at individual protection—but the scale of direct harm & collateral damage of what’s coming is almost as unfathomable as it was preventable.
Vaccines work best at a population level by making them encounter viruses so infrequently, they have fewer chances to breakthrough.

What we have is runaway community spread — like pointing a fire hose at someone wearing a water resistant jacket & expecting them to stay dry.
The good news, such as it is, is that the percent of cases leading to overall hospitalizations and death is much lower than it would have been pre-vaccine; the bad news is that sheer volume is SO MUCH HIGHER than it ever was pre-vaccine—and it's still rising.
Read 5 tweets
10 Jan
1. Extremely proud of our journalism students at Northwestern, and the courage they have to fearlessly report on an institution which has so much power over the grades, housing, food, medical career and futures
2. Journalism gets the goods, and the federal lawsuit cites @thedailynu's print

and "The Weekly" podcast


reporting from 2019 on treatment given to legacy admissions.
* their grades, housing, food, medical lives, careers and futures
Read 6 tweets
10 Jan
SCOOP: Today on MSNBC, Symone Sanders interviews her former boss, VP Kamala Harris, abt the Democrats' plan to win the midterms by doing—nothing!

SCOOP: Today on Fox, former Trump Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders interviews her former boss, former President Donald Trump!
SCOOP: Today on NBC, Jenna Bush Hager interviews the woman who took over the job last held by her mother—First Lady Michelle Obama! today.com/video/watch-mi…
Read 4 tweets
10 Jan
I will never understand how news media can hire people who were working like YESTERDAY to spin the news media, give them the microphone, then turn around and say "Why doesn't the public trust us?"
Symone Sanders announced her departure from the White House a month ago. It is likely she was negotiating her new job at MSNBC while she was working for the people. How is that ethical? Ppl get angry at workers becoming lobbyists right after leaving govt—how is this better?
Yup. Legislators sell their govt expertise off to the highest bidding corporation after short stints in govt. It is BARELY regulated. But I don't think there is any regulation or oversight of spokes ppl leaving for lucrative talking head gigs at all.
Read 5 tweets

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