In [dis]honor of the 140th anniversary since pinko pin-up Vladimir Ilyich Lenin spawned, I’d like to present the Lenin Prize for the Reification of Destructive Ideologies to ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis. Ms. Lewis has taken a lot of heat since the ACORN-appearing-to-aid-and-abet-child-prostitution scandal broke, but remains incredibly committed to her organization–one based on a particularly vile and inane form of bureaucratic socialism. As the leader of a group that can claim more credit (excluding government) for perpetuating urban poverty than any other, the following should not be surprising.
Earlier today, Reason‘s Damon Root posted an e-mail authored by Lewis disparaging a Brooklyn man whose home was condemned through eminent domain:
Finally, the itch that was Daniel Goldstein has been scratched and scratched out. After almost seven years of flawed strategies, smear campaigns, stupid tactics, disingenuous rhetoric and total disregard for people who have lived in the downtown Brooklyn community for years before he even thought about coming here; finally he got what he really wanted. A Deal. Not for the community he claimed to love so much, but for the only beneficiary of his community of one, himself, Double Dealing Danny Goldstein.
Her cranky little missive is in response to Goldstein’s announcement that he has agreed to vacate his home next month. Goldstein lives/lived in the Atlantic Yards area of Brooklyn, which is currently undergoing forced redevelopment. Naturally, as with most comprehensive redevelopment plans, this one entails kicking many low- and middle-income residents and business owners to the curb in order to transfer the property to a wealthy private developer.
But why, you might ask, would ACORN, an organization with a stated mission to “[help] those who have historically been locked out,” support wealthy private developer Bruce Ratner’s land grab over the rights of residents? Because even for committed socialist dupes, money talks. Ratner quietly funneled money into the group in 2008 following a funding panic in the wake of a multi-million dollar embezzlement scandal involving high-ranking ACORN officials. It is also alleged by a former ACORN official-turned-whistle-blower that ACORN and Lewis were promised kickbacks from Ratner in the form of control of new affordable housing units, an arrangement that could net the organization tens of millions of dollars in the coming years.
For more on Atlantic Yards, the state’s land grab, and the Ratner plan, visit Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn.