As the NYC budget was unveiled this week, gasps of horror and dismay rippled through the walls of nonprofits and social service organizations across New York City. Social workers and other advocates for the elderly, homeless and mentally challenged residents of the city struggled to make sense of what this would mean to their programs that they had so carefully worked tirelessly to build up over the years.
Mayor Bloomberg has been at the forefront of the immigration debate - indicating his support for immigrants and saying that their skills and vibrancy are a vital part of New York's economy and yet in his budget he eliminated most funding for ESL programming - we all know how frustrating it is to try to communicate with someone who does not share our common language, be that a restaurant server in this country, or when traveling abroad - what is his honor thinking exactly?
Mayor Bloomberg claims to be a catalyst for social change and yet his decisions continue to reflect those of the Republican party and favors the ueber wealthy.
I exhort all who have been or will be impacted by his cuts to clog his switchboard and email box and snail mail box so that he will hear our voices loud and clear: it is not ok to marginalize the already disenfranchised and marginalized in this great state of New York - yes, budgets must be balanced, but we also recall the huge pay raises he has bestowed on his inner circle. Yes, it is long and hard work to be a political appointee - I speak on a personal level as a former political appointee to one of Mayor Bloomberg's associates - the amazing Ross Anderson former Mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah - the pay was not great and certainly did not match the hours that I put in during my 5 and one half year tenure. I laud the Mayor for recognizing that too often public servants are over worker and underpaid and not appreciated.
May he not forget the "little people" and certainly not those who live on the fringes of society, barely eking out an existence, working in subsistence jobs - who can live on $7.25 an hour - the prevailing minimum wage in New York, after all?
Please friends - call or write to the Mayor and ask him to restore funds to aging programs, homeless programs and those that serve the disabled - if not from the budget proper, then perhaps his honor can look into his own personal finances in the billions and award monies in the forms of grants to aid in this stop gap measure.