New York’s leftist politicians travel to Vienna for free to promote ‘social housing’
A group of Democratic Socialists and other far-left politicians have spent much of the past week traveling to Vienna, all expenses paid, as progressives push so-called ‘social housing’ across the country. State.
State Senator Julia Salazarfellow socialist based in Brooklyn Women of the State Assembly Emily Gallagher and five other state lawmakers were part of a group group of 50 members – including New York housing organizers and other activists – who landed in Austria on Monday to learn about the country’s heavily subsidized social housing program that serves people of all incomes.
The group visited the Karl Marx and other housing complexes, met with the Vienna Chamber of Labour, dined with private union leaders, gushed about “single lane roads” which limit the use of the car, and have checked public toilets at 50 cents, according to Gallagher’s tweets.
“Touring Karl Marx Hof, a huge social housing complex where you can live if you apply and earn less than 3K per month”, Gallagher tweeted Monday. “The lease is — permanent — regardless of whether your [sic] income, and you can redeem units. Kindergarten, library, bicycle storage, parking and gardens included #When In Wien.”
While many officers returned home as early as Friday, Gallagher was scheduled to return to New York on Tuesday, his reps said.
The expenses of the trip – including airfare and accommodation – are supported by various foundations and other private donors. It was organized by several left-wing political groups, including Housing justice for all, action lab, and New York University Urban Democracy Labaccording to some present.
They declined to say which donors and foundations footed the bill for the seven pols or how much it cost.
The cheapest round-trip flights from New York to Vienna were around $700 on Friday, according to Skyscanner.com. Four-star one-bed hotel rooms in Vienna could cost between $87 and $274 per night, according to Hotels.com.
While there, Salazar raised eyebrows in the United States by suggesting she would be all for the government seizing private property in New York to boost public housing.
“Expropriate them and allow community land trusts to acquire the properties to house people,” tweeted Salazar on Wednesday.
She was responding to a report in The city suggesting that landlords in the Big Apple are deliberately holding tens of thousands of rent-stabilized units for “ransom” by leaving them vacant to help manipulate changes in rent laws.
The next day, fellow Democratic Socialist and Queens councilor Tiffany Caban, who did not make the trip to Vienna, linked the same article and tweeted, “These units should be owned and maintained by residents and the public.”
Other politicians who visited Vienna included Senator Brian Kavanagh of Manhattan; and State Assembly members Marcela Mitaynes and Phara Souffrant Forrest of Brooklyn, Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan and Anna Kelles, who represents the Ithaca area.
The left-handed trip has sparked a lot of reactions on social media. Some applauded them for seeking alternatives to America’s flawed public housing system. Others have questioned their motives – and their funding.
“Who pays for this junket? I hope it’s not my fellow taxpayers from New York! And if not who pays for this glorification of communism… Karl Marx”, tweeted @DickYoungsGhost.
“So what’s the Gallagher plan when you get back from that bull junket?” another critic @ImpunityCity tweeted. “Do you think the developers who own you and your faux-aggressive elected allies are going to build homes like this without topping them off with 50 floors of condos? And enough tales of biking bulls.
Gallagher via Twitter insisted the trip was not “taxpayer funded” as representatives of other pols did when contacted by The Post.
Cea Weaver, campaign coordinator for Housing Justice for All, defended the trip in a text message from Vienna on Friday. She said it was organized to introduce lawmakers and fair housing advocates to Vienna’s “social housing model, which has won praise around the world for providing safe, decent and affordable housing to nearly a million tenants”.
“As New York faces a housing crisis of historic proportions, we need to look deeper and explore a wide variety of options to house New Yorkers,” she added.