Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, August 16, 2013
America’s nanny state mayor, Michael Bloomberg, suggested his latest big government project Friday – fingerprinting residents of public housing so they can get into their homes.
The New York City mayor suggested this big brother tactic during his weekly radio appearance on WOR’s ”The John Gambling Show.”
“What we really should have is fingerprinting to get in. And of course there’s an allegation that some of these apartments aren’t occupied by the people who originally have the lease,” he told Gambling. He added that while the number of residents in public housing is only about 5 percent of the total population, that group accounts for about 20 percent of the city’s crime.
He also noted that public housing residents want to see an increase in security to keep crime down: “We’ve just gotta find some ways to keep bringing crime down there,” he said.
“If you have a stranger walking in the halls of your apartment building, don’t you want somebody to stop and say, ‘Who are you? Why’re you here?’ Because the locks on these doors, with so many people coming and going, you really can’t,” he added.
Incidentally, The New York Times released a poll Friday showing that only 3 percent of New Yorkers think Bloomberg’s policies favor the poor, suggesting that his previous comment isn’t all that true.
Bloomberg’s proposal wasn’t well-received by several mayoral candidates, including former City Comptroller Bill Thompson, public advocate Bill de Blasio and City Council President Christine Quinn. Bloomberg is term-limited and will not seek a fourth term in November.
“Disrespectful. Disgraceful. No other words apply,” Thompson said in a statement. “Just like stop and frisk, this is another direct act of treating minorities like criminals. Mayor Bloomberg wants to make New Yorkers feel like prisoners in their own homes. When I’m mayor, I’ll keep NYCHA residents safe without taking away their dignity. I’ll increase police presence and install security cameras that should have been installed years ago to safeguard residents.”
“The Mayor’s comments that New Yorkers who enter public housing should be fingerprinted is outrageous and insulting and shows just how out of touch this administration has become,” de Blasio also said in a statement. “Once again, Mayor Bloomberg has resorted to presuming innocent people are guilty simply because they happen to live in certain areas, and in doing so he is stigmatizing entire communities.”
“It’s a completely ludicrous and outrageous notion that NYCHA residents and their guests should have to be fingerprinted to gain access to their own homes and to visit family and friends. Rather than go after law abiding citizens who live in public housing, the City needs to provide residents with the security systems they have been promised for years,” Quinn said in a statement according to Politicker.
Bloomberg’s spokesman, Marc La Vorgna, defended his boss’s statement but acknowledged that fingerprinting isn’t a part of the city’s immediate plans.
“All security is moving towards biometrics – even the next iPhone will have fingerprint security. Every day the Mayor logs into his computer by placing his finger on the keyboard to login. Why wouldn’t we want to think about providing the highest level of security possible for NYCHA residents?” he asked via email according toPoliticker. “You place the strongest security measures on things of most value – what is more valuable than their homes?”
“We have regular key locks on most NYCHA buildings, unfortunately they are destroyed regularly because criminals want access to the buildings. The current plan is to install electronic key pads or key card access to make sure only people who live there have access and NYCHA residence can go to sleep at night and not have drug dealers creeping around their hallways,” he continued.
Earlier this week Bloomberg suffered a major setback when a federal court ruled that the city’s police force needed to stop using the practice of “stop-and-frisk” because it violated Americans’ Constitutional rights.