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NY Daily News Honors Juan González for 25 Years as “Beacon to Whistleblowers and Wronged People”

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The New York Daily News has published a series of articles highlighting the work of columnist and Democracy Now! co-host Juan González. “It is hard to believe that 25 years have passed since Juan walked past the landmark globe in the landmark News Building on E. 42nd St. and took a desk in the seventh-floor city room, a newcomer from a Philadelphia newspaper,” the editors of the paper write. “Juan came home to write a column. And write the hell out of it he did, as New York’s leading pro-left, pro-labor voice. Along the way, Juan became a beacon to whistleblowers and to wronged people for whom justice was lacking.” [includes rush transcript]

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Welcome to all of our listeners and viewers around the country and around the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Juan, this holiday weekend, the New York Daily News, your newspaper of the last quarter of a century, certainly honored you, an honor well deserved. There is a two-page spread of 25 years of shaking it up, with many of the headline front-page stories that you did. And then yesterday, the Daily News had an editorial titled “New York’s Hometown Columnist.”

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Yeah, that was a real shocker, because the editorial board and I have often disagreed on many of its positions over the years. But it was quite a surprise, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, it talks about how you came to the paper from Philadelphia, that you were born in Puerto Rico, then grew up in East Harlem, in Brooklyn, schooled at Columbia, helped to lead the antiwar Vietnam protests at the university there. But it then goes on to say—and just let me quote—after you came to the paper, “Juan became a beacon to whistleblowers and to wronged people for whom justice was lacking.

“When few wanted to listen, Juan raised the alarm over airborne toxins released by the toppling of the World Trade Center. He told the stories of NYPD Sgt. Dexter Brown, who was wrongly shot by a member of his own narcotics team; of the people who had been wrongfully evicted from apartments managed by the Pinnacle Group; of Anna Gloria Rivera, a 10-year-old who died of botched care in the emergency room of Brooklyn’s Woodhull Hospital after an asthma attack. All of them or their representatives were vindicated in court and won large compensation awards. So did many others about whom Juan wrote.

“Most recently, he revealed how contractors had ripped off CityTime, Mayor Bloomberg’s computerized payroll project. Taxpayers enjoyed a $500 million recovery for what Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called the 'single largest fraud ever perpetrated on the city.'

“Investigator, idealist, journalist and fact-based advocate for the public and individual good — Juan Gonzalez of the Daily News.”

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And also, for a lot of those years, also co-host with you here at Democracy Now!, Amy.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re not quite at 25, but we’re almost at 17 in February. And Juan, it’s been such an honor. And—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, thank you. It’s always been a pleasure working with you, as well, here.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to link to both the story of the—many of the stories you did—one of my favorites in the image of all the front-page stories that you did is the picture that wasn’t on the front page, I don’t think, but of you in the 1960s at Columbia making headlines along with a group of other people. That one is in black and white. It’s a good one. In fact, Richard Avedon took pictures of you, didn’t he? and included them in his books.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: In the Lords, yes, he did. That was a long time ago.

AMY GOODMAN: When you were a member of the Young Lords. Well, we’re going to link to all of this—

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Anyway, let’s get back to the real news here.


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