I was the last GED teacher in the South Jamaica Houses (for the Board of Education-Department of Education) which made news at the Republican National Convention just over a week ago. A strong rebuttal was just issued by Manuel Martinez who never gave permission for taped comments to be distributed. But the Republicans did it anyway.
I talked to Manuel Martinez and Claudia Perez at length about their experiences before, during, and after the video that was presented at the Republican National Convention. Since that event, the video has been seen by almost 400,000 people. Those two presidents of housing tenants have worked very hard to learn more about public housing to serve their communities and they serve those communities well. The He Kept That Promise video does show a president say that Trump is bringing “real solutions to a real problem” but what is the context as people showed appreciation. These are people to have to work hand in hand with the regional director of HUD and Trump. It’s not a moment for partisanship, except perhaps to explain that things were better in some ways under Obama, but those people should be fair and accurate in their comments.
After an introduction, much of the video is taken up talking about those “illegal immigrants.” But everyone in the communities where those people serve should note that there isn’t even one description of a physical improvement that has taken place so people are reacting to sound bites of respectful praise based only on discussions and hope. There is no substance, just some sound bites. It does seem that Claudia Perez was pleased by the discussions with Lynne Patton concerning NYCHA and perhaps overstated that as a “solution.”
These are people who want all people in their communities to see that although the appearance of the video may make it seem that they have sold out to Trump, the content does not illustrate that. These are people running or perhaps who will run for office in their districts and their achievements are the real thing and those sound bites which are easily misconstrued should be overlooked, particularly since Trump is going nowhere in South Jamaica, Spanish Harlem, and other places in the city.
This rebuttal and others like it will, in fact, generate more heat and tension for the Republicans. Uniting around Claudia, Manuel, and Carmen is what is needed now. I am totally anti-Trump and I do not have to represent the residents of any house except my wife and me. And I was not upset at those three because I know how to be fair and accurate. So read on and do not let any unfair and inaccurate people destroy the good leadership that you have. And we will find out just how Lynne Patton reacts to this. She has spoken, but we have to see the actions she will take in regard to the rest of the video material.
The details of this report come from the rebuttal letter of Manuel Martinez signed September 9, 2020 as president of the South Jamaica Houses Resident Council.
Lynn Patton, a longtime employee of the Trumps before starting her job at NY_NJ HUD Regional Director for Donald Trump, was the catalyst for the interviews that took place and Mr. Martinez states “assured the participants including me, that this platform would be used to discuss the current progress and failings of the New York City Housing Authority in a non-partisan (emphasis on non-partisan) manner with a 10 to 15- minute segment.” In addition Mr. Martinez revealed Patton’s stance about her fighting to give those selected and the houses a “voice on a national platform.” Mr. Martinez concluded his statement by stating that he was “misled,” his “personal image was swindled,” and his “message was coopted by deceptive framing in the elaborate nonconsensual manipulation” of his appearance at the Republican National Convention of 2020.
Mr. Martinez indicates in his letter that the lack of funding over the years affecting the tenants could be addressed not by privatization of the houses, but by home ownership equity in the hands of those tenants that have suffered through the loss of funding to “private contractors.” The Republicans portrayed to our nation that the Trump Administration has been about solutions achieved when, in fact, as I watched the video and there were no solutions in place that were stated.
Mr. Martinez spoke about the Housing Authority gaining access to more funding that it had achieved since 1997. Considering all of the shortages that have taken place over those years, the increase in funding still appears to be very incremental and nothing that great. The video shown to millions and millions of people could have provided those important details, the money to prove that there are really great solutions by Trump.
Lynne Patton spoke on Fox 5 News New York on August 31 and stated that “all interview subjects were fully aware of the purpose of the interviews and gave verbal consent on the camera.” I can assure Mr. Martinez and my readers and his that an Hispanic elected official in the Bronx has already repeated the same thing in writing to people around New York City. That official seized on the idea of coercion, portraying coercion by people who watched the video and forced, in this case, Mr. Martinez, to change. This was to the official a video of statements in favor of Trump. And the official claimed that the behavior was “shameful.”
In watching the video on various occasions there was mention of Trump and “real solutions” but actually the words coming out of the mouth never even mentioned a single example by Claudia Perez. The only non-president of housing made what I would call a racist statement (racial bias, divisive, and there without realizing that there actually could be Black people who came here without a visa as well in public housing) against “illegal immigrants” in public housing as she mentioned that Black people were on waiting lists and could not get into the housing. My point is that housing is for everyone and not just Black people. This segment of the taping is a typical Trump tactic to divide people and reinforce and incite hate. And she and Trump are not invited to my house. And there is a clause (at least) that permits their entry into NYC Houses.
The parties to the video including the Jamestown Associates, the Trump Campaign, and Lynne Patton did not attain consent, according to Mr. Martinez, but we know from his letter that Lynne Patton stated to him that she had to fight for the idea of the video. I have read about how badly Patton feels for those who spoke out in the video and she has stated that the tenants are her priority over her love for Donald Trump. Manuel Martinez has told me that the video included a statement about no consent until he reviews the video. The Patton statement made public is only about concern for how ten minutes of video were cut down by several minutes and it, too, was a disappointment to her as well.
This reminds me of the Nixon Watergate tapes that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon. So let’s go to the entire video tape as New Yorkers used to hear from one of its sportscasters decades ago. Information is being held back.
I have also read in Breitbart News that an editor of New York Newsday confirmed the use of the video by the Republican National Convention with the four people from NYC Housing, but there was no written confirmation in that article to support what was said. I can also recall a statement by Dr. Ben Carson as he took his position at HUD for Trump that things at HUD were going to be made uncomfortable for the residents. What great successes have been accomplished by Trump in public housing.
This is a man who pretends to have built a wall with Mexico’s money. He claims that China has paid the United States more for a tariff he has imposed and that means the tariff is a tax just like the V.A.T. tax that is used throughout Europe and probably other places. So the consumers have paid the tariff. There is much, much more to Trump’s claims leading to In Trump We Do Not Trust.
There seemed to be a taping session that lasted for four hours for the event and context matters. Things must have been taken out of context to upset those representatives of NYC Housing. The comments made about de Blasio do not have anything to do with Joe Biden since there is no responsibility on his part (Democrats are not one cohesive group locally, regionally, or nationally). The airing of the video would have been much more effective if Trump were running for mayor of New York City against de Blasio). And all that we can see right now short of a complete clarification of the issue are the emails in articles where the media including CNN and NY Newsday have been in touch with Lynne Patton. This issue would have been cleared up a long time ago if the parties knew or desired to cut to the chase. Let’s see the entire the entire tape before someone decides to destroy the video tape. And I would love to know the specific reactions of tenants in the New York City Houses about all this, something that has not been reported.
About 350,000 viewers have seen the video that was shown at the Republican National Convention. We have to set the record straight. And there is important dubious information about Lynne Patton’s portrayal of things that I researched on the internet about her.
I was the last GED in the South Jamaica Houses and I’ve talked a lot about teaching there over the years. I was expecting Cory Rooney of Sony Music. ( Taken from his website During his tenure at Sony Music Entertainment, Cory wrote and pro- duced a slew of hit singles, including Jennifer Lopez’s Ain’t It Funny, I’m Real, and Jenny From the Block. He also worked with other multi-platinum artists including Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson, Marc Anthony, Jessica Simpson, Brian McKnight, Mandy Moore, Aretha Franklin, and many more). The day the administration shut down my site, I had to tell him not to come down there with a group that he was promoting.
I wonder if any of the families of the GED students still live there. Here is the first scene of a screenplay that I wrote about my work, a scene from the South Jamaica Houses. Take a look at El Quijote del GED with a cover photo taken outside the White House. I look forward to doing much more for the residents of the South Jamaica Houses and all other housing across our nation.