Last week the federal NYCHA monitor issued his first quarterly report. It was a scathing indictment of the agency, describing “putrid liquid” spilling into a laundry room and rats scurrying through a 14-floor high garbage compactor. As one resident explained, “we are hostages in our own homes at night…due to rats that are the size of cats.”
But as disturbing as these examples are, the most important finding was less graphic but ultimately more dangerous: A systemic culture of failing to take responsibility. NYCHA, the monitor found, was simply unable to proactively recognize and tackle problems, and in many instances showed little interest in even making the attempt.
Last month, a New Jersey appeals court overturned an egregiously bad decision by a family court judge who had refused to try a 16-year old rapist as an adult because he came from a “good family” and attended an “excellent school.” The judge further downplayed the rape because the victim knew her attacker and it did not occur “at gunpoint.” The judge went on to inexplicably observe that he felt it important to “distinguish between a sexual assault and a rape.”