New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took heat from Queens lawmakers for accusing their constituents of being callous for objecting to a new homeless shelter, the New York Post reports.
The 86-second clip video released by the mayor’s office shows residents protesting outside a Queens hotel slated for homeless living as city officials are escorting the kids on a field trip from the Bellerose shelter to the Manhattan Children’s Museum on September 24. The residents appear to be portrayed similarly to a scene that played out in Little Rock, Ark. when state troopers were ordered to escort black students to enter a newly integrated school in 1957.
Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks is seen as saying that the “angry adults” sent around a flyer showing hotel children playing in residents’ yards, and just “want to throw [the children] into the streets.”
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) September 24, 2016
The Children’s Museum of New York arranged a visit for the kids and their families to the museum saying they wanted to show a “helping hand from adults rather than the back of the hand,” Banks said.
“I was appalled by that video, that propaganda video,” said Democratic state Sen. Joe Addabbo to the Post. “I’ve never seen an administration go to that length to try and justify a failed policy. That was to me a sign of desperation.”
Democratic state Sen. Jose Peralta agreed saying constituents’ frustration was set off by the mayor’s office and Department of Homeless Services’ lack of communication, who they say gave no notice about the shelters coming into the districts.
“That was their frustration. So to use that and turn it around and say, ‘Oh these people could care less about homeless’ – I think that was low,” said Peralta. “I think that was a political ploy. I think that was a political tactic you see in dirty campaigning during election time.”