Former Starbucks CEO and 2020 presidential candidate Howard Schultz often describes his life as a rags-to-riches success story while telling how he grew up as a poor child in a tough housing project in Brooklyn who ended up founding a coffee empire, but his former neighbors don't remember it that way.
“It was a shiny, wonderful world,” said Elyse Maltz, 65, one of the many people who lived in Brooklyn's Bayview housing project in the 1950s and 1960s when Schultz lived there with his family, told The Washington Post. "You were interviewed to get in. My family was pretty well off."
Maltz said she wants Schultz to quit depicting people who lived in Bayview when he was there as poor or destitute, because "it's insulting."
Schultz wasn't interviewed for The Post story, but campaign spokesman Tucker Warren said that claiming his family wasn't poor is a comment on the state of today's politics.
“Other families at Bayview may have had more money or better jobs, but the Schultz family was poor, period," said Warren.
Shelly Blank, a longtime Bayview resident who runs a Facebook group for people who had lived there, said that in the early days, Bayview was "brand new, a beautiful new place with new kitchens, new plumbing. We’re excited that he’s running, but I yell at the TV when he says this stuff.”
Schultz himself has changed his description of Bayview over the years. In 1997, he described the project in his book "Pour Your Heart Into It" as "not a frightening place," but after that, his descriptions got darker.
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