Mayor Eric Adams defended his comparison of an 84-year-old whose family survived the Holocaust to a plantation owner made on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s Hamilton Heights town hall meeting was interrupted by Jeanie Dubnau, a housing rights activist and assistant biology professor at Rutgers University.
She challenged him for having just voted in favor of a resolution that would raise rent for residents in rent-stabilized flats.
When Dubnau stepped up, she pointed at Adams and asked, “Why in New York City, where the real estate is controlling you, Mr. Mayor, why are we having these horrible rent increases last year and this year?”
This started the conversation between the mayor and Dubnau.She was alluding to the recent approval of rent hikes in rent-stabilized apartments by the mayor-appointed Rent Guidelines Board of the city.
All right, first of all, if you’re going to ask a question, don’t point at me and don’t treat me disrespectfully.
Please treat me with the respect I deserve since I am the mayor of this city. Adams said, “I’m speaking to you as an adult. The mayor said, “Don’t stand there like you own someone on a plantation.”
Give me the respect I’m due and participate in the dialogue, he continued.
Treat me with the same degree of respect that I treat you up here in Washington Heights. So please stop pointing at me, treat me with respect, and speak to me like an adult because I am an adult. I entered this room like an adult, and I’ll leave it in the same adult manner. Your query was addressed by me.
Adams defended his response in a Friday radio appearance on 1010 WINS. She interrupted [the meeting], and after that, she spoke poorly of me in her communications.
As the mayor of this city, Adams reaffirmed, “I will not accept contempt for public service, and I will not allow disrespect for myself.
Additionally, he asserted that her outburst was a reflection of a wider national pattern of disdain for law enforcement officials, religious institutions, and other public servants.
I speak for this city, and we need to start having more productive conversations about how we interact with one another both locally and nationally, he continued.
Jeanie Dubnau, a German woman by origin, was born in Belgium while her parents were visiting before the Second World War.
She is now 84 years old.
However, when she was a child, they went back home only to find themselves in the heart of the Nazi horror regime.
They were ultimately compelled to leave the nation with their daughter, who has lived there since she was eight, first in Belgium, then in France, and eventually in the Big Apple district of New York City after the War.