New Yorkers' State of the Union Wish List

Monday, January 24, 2011

Perry Graham, 45, trains cooks at Pizza Hut (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

WNYC took to the streets to find out what New Yorkers wanted the president to say during his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Raymond Espinal, 29, a foot messenger from Brooklyn

"I’m only worried about one thing: debt. Most people have a lot of debt, and I was thinking about if they could have a work program to work off their debt. Like, say the streets will be cleaner, people can clean their debt. Clean your community, paint or something. Most people I know are in debt. Either the government or some credit cards. ... If there was a way to work it off, it’d be a lot easier."

(Espinal said he owes $5,000 to the government) 

Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Perry Graham, 45, trains cooks at Pizza Hut

Graham said he wants Obama to address the war in Afghanistan. He believes it is the root of the country's economic problems. "This war’s been going on for over a decade, billions of dollars are being spent and people here ... in the U.S. are still homeless and in poverty. And all the money is being diverted to fight these wars. In Afghanistan, they’ve probably reached a point where they can stabilize their government. I think it’s been long enough.

"And no one can afford to do anything anymore, much less take two kids out anymore to the movies on the weekend and buy them some popcorn and subway cards, and come back and have dinner. It’s like $150. Who could afford that when you’re making a minimum wage of $7.15 an hour? Yet they’re spending billions and trillions of dollars on these wars in foreign countries."

Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Larry Alaimo, 66, works at the IFC Theater

"He ought to pay more attention to senior citizens living in apartments, living in these big cities and make sure they have enough hospitals for when they get old and sick. And realize that many people in the city, like New York, live on their social security, and don’t scare us every five minutes by telling us they're going to change the system. The system is good, they need to fix themselves."

Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Moses R., 23, is a civil servant and lives in Brooklyn

"My biggest concern: jobs. That’s the only thing I really ask for. The economy is a piece of s---. Everybody’s going to say, ‘Obama, all he’s doing is picking up the trash Bush left behind.' No. He needs to do something. We understand, yes, it’s going to take some time, but we need more initiative. The population, we need jobs. There’s no point in having one out of every 10th person unemployed. That’s all I really care about."

Stephen Nessen/WNYC
RJ Gordon lives in Manhattan and is a self employed casting director

Gordon said Obama should tell Americans: “If you can find somebody better, put him in office. If not, let me do my work. Let me do my job."

"Obama should stay focused. The American people put him in there. He should tell the American people to have a little patience. He’s trying to correct what Bush messed up in eight years. He’s been in there for two. So, give the man a break. Give the man a chance. A lot of people are unemployed, a lot of people have given up or aren't even looking for work and that’s going to be held over his head. That’s going to be his legacy: Can he deliver? Personally, I think give the man a chance."

Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Joesph O'Brien, 55, is a farmer from Highland, New York

"I would like him to realize that what he’s doing thus far really isn’t working with the economy. And he really needs to throw this political nonsense down and get people back to work, making some money so a person can live in this country. Cut out the nonsense with the two parties. You know what, I don’t even want to hear it. We’re all one in this country, we need to pull together and do what we need to do."

Stephen Nessen/WNYC
Laura Waldman, 25, works for GrowNYC and lives in Brooklyn

"During his inaugural address, Obama talked a lot about responsibility, and I think that’s a great place to pick up from because I think we’re entering a time of drastically new paradigms."

Waldman said when she voted for Obama she got choked up and felt sure he was going to win and was proud to be living at this time in history. But, she admitted to being disappointed since then.

"I wish he was taking more action on off-shore drilling, but I know he inherited a difficult situation. ... I'd like to see him pioneer some drastically new measures, particularly when it comes to the environment. I’d like to see democracy become more direct. It’s up to us. There’s only so much that can happen from above. What are we doing in our daily lives?"


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Comments [2]

clancy from ny

I would like him to say the following: After listening to the people I have decided to QUIT and take Joe" this is a big F in deal" with me>

Jan. 29 2011 03:45 PM

WE wish that health care would be improved by eliminating the health insurance carriers as the foundation of the health delivery system. If the federal government provided a base level of health insurance as a basic right of the citizenry then the carriers could provide supplemental...higher level insurance. Simultaneously elimination of hte complex negotiation based payment process (provider bills, insurance company denies, provider begs for money and may get 30% and then goes after patient) to one where medical care operates on a known fee/reimbursement schedule could eliminate tons of costs and provide a predictable and consistent level of health care.

Jan. 25 2011 10:42 AM

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