New Yorkers to Bush: Listen Up!

You're talking to the president. What would you tell him?

Republicans gathering in midtown for their love-in at Madison Square Garden aren't rubbing shoulders with the majority of New Yorkers. They may not know the toll that gentrification, the lack of affordable housing and high-quality education, and the weak economy have taken on the working class and poor, on people of color, and on immigrants. So, from the South Bronx to East New York, here are some of those people whom the delegates and a worldwide TV audience did not see whooping it up for Bush and company. Here's what they say they would tell the president:

Renee Woody
45, paralegal, Bronx

I'd show him the schools, the drug addicts, and the buildings that aren't up to par. There're mice here bigger than your hand running around in these streets. No one cares.

Eddie Cantaloupo
41, construction worker, Bronx

I work in seven buildings in the Bronx where the families have no gas in their homes. How do people feed their families?! You can't cook a meal on a hot plate. We live in a society where pizza arrives faster than the cops do.

L. Griffin
32, cabdriver and security guard, East New York

I live dead in the ghetto. There's a lot of drug madness here, a lot of homelessness, abandoned buildings. I'm ready to go. The cost of living is too high. New York City is becoming just for the filthy rich. I work two jobs and I'm still broke.

Bernard Bolter
29, artist, Fort Greene

I wouldn't want to hang out with the guy. I really, really don't want to. I don't like his policies, but I don't think he's responsible for that. To me, he's just a big puppet, honestly.

Phillip Mendez
28, security guard, Bronx

I wouldn't show him anything. What's the point of looking around all the 'hoods of the city, of the country? Nothing's going to change. We have a billion-dollar mayor and nothing's getting done. What would the president do?

Emilia Wiles
27, program coordinator, Bronx

Since I work in the South Bronx, I would make Bush sit and eat dinner with single moms on food stamps and victims of police brutality, and he can answer questions about why he locks up the majority of men and women from this neighborhood, as well as Queensbridge, the Lower East Side, and Harlem. Breakfast would be at the Spofford Juvenile Detention Center, and he could explain why it's overcrowded, underfed, and abusive. We would cruise along the Bronx River, and he could apologize to the one out of eight kids who have asthma and explain why there is so much industry and pollution in this particular low-income neighborhood. To leave it off, I would handcuff him at 125th so he can answer to all his friends in the 'hood why he ignores the war going on here in America to start a bullshit war in the Middle East. Lastly, I'd leave him in the Bronx just so he could learn what a pussy he really is.

Mauro DePasquale
24, bassist, Fort Greene

I think I'd take him to meet all my psuedo-revolutionary friends. You know, the ones with more smoke and alcohol in their brains than good ideas. He'd probably get a kick out of that!

Alex Stimmel
29, teacher, Park Slope

I'd want him to look out of my window and see all the guys dealing. Drugs are a big problem around here. Frankly, I don't think he gives a shit about anyone.

Ken Boot
34, carpenter, Bronx

Everything's more expensive in the poorer neighborhoods than in the more affluent ones. It's a double standard. The same thing you get for a quarter here you can get for a dime in Westchester.

Rebecca Ferrer
28, student, Columbia University, Bronx

I would bring him to the grocery store with me and let him see how far my unemployment check goes. I would escort him to the public library and let him see the kids forming long lines just to spend an hour on the Internet.

Frank Robbins
26, political organizer, Williamsburg

I'd take him for a little tour and show him all the oil tanks near Greenpoint and Norman and the waste-treatment plant in Greenpoint. And I would show him the Williamsburg and Greenpoint firehouses that have been closed recently because he never came through with the $10 billion for first responders.

Erika Stimmel
29, artist, Park Slope

I'd want him to know that there aren't enough opportunities out there, especially for black men. On Fourth Avenue, a lot of posters at the bodegas have anti-Bush slogans on them, and a lot of the small business owners are anti-Bush. I'd want him to see that.

Patrick Phillip
62, cabdriver, Bed-Stuy

Bush has cut so many services to the poor, and they are the most affected. They aren't getting the services they need to survive. They forgot the small people.

Jake Fleischmann
20, a manager at a sporting goods store, Fort Greene

I'd show him the poor and impoverished. Just shove it in his face. There's like 18 percent unemployment here—what are you doing about it? He's not gonna get re-elected, so it doesn't matter.

Oliver Solomon
18, student at University of Vermont, Fort Greene 1
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