Margaret Chin immigrated to the U.S. with her family from Hong Kong in 1963 when she was nine years old. She grew up in NYC Chinatown and attended P.S. 130 and JHS 65. She graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and
from the City College of New York (CCNY) with a degree in education. It was at City College through taking Asian Studies courses that Margaret got involved in community organizing. For more than 30 years she has dedicated herself to public service to help immigrants, low income and working families.
Margaret worked for 14 years at LaGuardia Community College’s Division of Adult and Continuing Education helping immigrant adults get a college education. Many of her students learned English, got a college degree and built a better life for their families.
For the past 11 years Margaret worked at Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), an organization that she helped to form when she was in college. As the deputy executive director, Margaret led the organization’s work in advocacy, community organizing and coalition building. She fought for the preservation and building of affordable housing; better access to government services; equal opportunity and fair treatment, for immigrants, low income and working families.
In her many years of public service she served on boards of many not-for-profit organizations. Margaret was formerly the Chairperson of the NY Immigration Coalition (NYIC). She was a board member of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD) and chaired the Advocacy Committee. Margaret was a founding member of Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation (CPLDC) and served as the vice-chair of the board. Additionally, Margaret served as chair of the Census Bureau’s Race and Ethnicity Advisory Committee on the Asian and Pacific Islander Population for Census 2000. Margaret was a member of Community Board 3 and Community Board 1. Margaret was also one of the founding members of Asian Americans for Equality, where she served as President of the board from 1982 to 1986. In 2003 Margaret was a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
As an advocate for civic participation and voter education, Margaret was elected to the Democratic State Committee for two terms from 1986 to 1990. Margaret ran for City Council in 1991, 1993 and 2001. She fought hard to get bilingual ballots for the Asian community.
Margaret is married to Alan Tung, a public school teacher at P.S. 3 in Greenwich Village. Their son, Kevin, attended public schools and graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and Syracuse University. Margaret’s mother is a retired garment worker and still lives in Chinatown."
"Aaron Foldenauer is a successful attorney who has worked on leading business disputes and intellectual property lawsuits before government regulators and courts across the United States. He has a winning record despite battling some of the top litigators in the world for more than a decade. As a candidate for New York City Council, Aaron brings his proven track record as a successful advocate to improve the quality of life for his neighbors living in Lower Manhattan, who are coping with increasing housing costs and stagnant wages. Aaron believes in the value of hard work and that everyone in the community deserves the opportunity to achieve success on a level playing field. Both of Aaron’s parents were elementary school teachers in the public schools, and they constantly encouraged him to succeed academically. Aaron went on to graduate as the valedictorian of his liberal arts school, Hampden-Sydney College, with a degree in economics. Building on that achievement and three years of experience as a successful business manager, he attended the University of Virginia School of Law, where he paid his own way through law school and graduated as one of the top students in his class. Aaron has a long track record of public service. Given his interest in politics and journalism, he served as the News Editor of his college newspaper. After law school, he spent one year as a law clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which reviews virtually all federal court decisions made within nine states. Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Aaron relocated to New York City to accept employment at a top law firm. Ever since his arrival to New York City nearly twelve years ago, Aaron has lived in the same apartment in Lower Manhattan, District 1. Aaron has been a champion for minority and female lawyers attempting to succeed as attorneys. For years, he served on the Diversity Committee of a large law firm, which worked to fight against the forces that all too often prevent equal opportunities in the practice of law. In addition, Aaron has lectured at several law schools about legal strategy and how to succeed as a lawyer. Furthermore, Aaron has been dedicated to providing free legal work to those who cannot afford it. For example, he successfully represented a youth mentoring organization in Washington Heights that was being harassed by another building occupant. Aaron eventually won this organization $50,000, the right to remain in its offices, and the right to bring its certified therapy dog into the building which it uses as part of its programming to comfort troubled teenagers. Aaron has also represented a number of low-income, local New York City artists who have faced significant legal challenges. Aaron is passionate about both promoting a sustainable environment and healthy eating, views instilled in him while growing up. In order to save money and to grow fresh fruits and vegetables, his large family borrowed land from others in the neighborhood to establish a garden. He spent many hot summer days filling old milk jugs with water and tending to the family garden. Aaron will use his legal background and proven negotiating skills to fight tirelessly for all residents in Council District 1 and New York City to bring opportunities and equal justice for all.
A Greener New York City
A necessary counterpoint to our concrete jungle are green spaces where members of the community and their families can decompress, enjoy nature, and exercise. I will support the development of urban farms and green space while preserving existing spaces such as the Elizabeth Street Garden.
Preserve Historic Districts
Lower Manhattan contains a number of historic neighborhoods, including the Financial District, the Lower East Side, SoHo, Tribeca, Little Italy, and Chinatown. We need to strengthen land-use regulations to preserve small businesses and to protect the integrity of historic buildings, sites, and neighborhoods. We must preserve the character of our neighborhoods and make sure that they remain affordable for all local residents.
Parking in Commercial Hubs
Short-term street parking is supposed to be readily available in commercial hubs, such as Chinatown, and I will fight to improve access to such parking spots. The quick turnover of street parking ensures that customers of local businesses are able to park, shop, and exit the space within several hours to make space for the next customer. Unfortunately, all too often, street parking is over-utilized by municipal vehicles, thus robbing small businesses of the ability to bring in car-based customers.
Revitalize Manhattan’s Historic Chinatown
Under our current administration, businesses in Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown are struggling. In addition, local Chinatown residents are being priced out and forced to move out of Manhattan. Meanwhile, other Chinese-populated areas in Brooklyn and Queens are booming. I will fight for New York City to invest in the revitalization of Lower Manhattan’s Chinatown.
Diversity in Retail
Small businesses in our historic neighborhoods are under assault. Our diverse population relies on these small businesses, and tourists choose to visit this phenomenal city to experience a diversity of retail offerings and historic sights. Unfortunately, our neighborhoods are now inundated with chain restaurants, chain drug stores, and chain clothing stores. If New York City becomes yet another carbon copy of the suburban Mall of America, we will lose our unique place among top destinations in the world to live, work, and visit.
Support Mid-Range Retail
Over the past decade, Manhattan has seen an influx of high-end retail stores, ranging from expensive clothing stores, high-end grocery stores, and wine bars. The problem with this trend is that more affordable, mid-range retail has been pushed out—leaving the middle class with fewer alternatives to purchasing necessities for themselves and their families. As your city council member, I will work to implement policies and incentives that encourage landlords to offer retail space to mid-range retailers and corresponding incentives to assist these business owners in coping with regulations and costs associated with doing business.
Reform the Commercial Rent Tax
In all of New York City, the only businesses that are required to pay a commercial rent tax are those businesses south of 96th Street. Not only is this unfair, but this also discourages small, innovative retail businesses from investing in historic Lower Manhattan. Large chain stores and banks have cost advantages and corporate backing which allow them to readily pay this additional tax, while small business often cannot. Consequently, vibrant retail corridors with innovative small businesses are moving from Manhattan to parts of Brooklyn and Queens. New York City’s burdensome and discriminatory commercial rent tax is overdue for significant reform.
Fill Empty Storefronts
Our landscape in Lower Manhattan is littered with empty retail space with “For Lease” signs hanging in the windows. Unfortunately, there are incentives for landowners to leave retail space vacant in order to wait for the perfect, big corporate tenant even though small businesses are willing to immediately rent the space. I will fight for laws that give owners incentives to rent to small businesses and pop-up shops so that New York City remains a vibrant residential and business community.
Reform Property Tax Laws
Land owners in Chinatown are struggling to pay their property taxes, which have skyrocketed because of improper valuations that are inconsistent with zoning laws in Chinatown and the fact that businesses are struggling. These improper tax assessments hurt small businesses the most. I will advocate for the reform of our tax laws to ensure that property tax assessments and property tax rates are fair and equitable. Build the Second Avenue Subway in Lower Manhattan
Building the Second Avenue Subway, complete from Harlem to Lower Manhattan, is long overdue. Not only would this serve to reduce the strain on the 4/5/6 subway lines which operate at dramatic overcapacity, but also a complete Second Avenue Subway line would bring much-needed service to the Lower East Side and East Chinatown, two areas which are dramatically underserved by our current subway system. If elected, I would push the Trump administration to provide additional funding for this much-needed subway line.
Rebuild Our Aging Infrastructure
All too often, our career politicians ignore routine maintenance and replacement of our existing infrastructure, because these projects are not viewed as “sexy.” We can no longer afford to ignore our aging bridges, ancient gas lines, and crumbling train tunnels. Rebuilt, stronger infrastructure will also endure more favorably against the ramifications of a changing climate. The time is now to invest in ongoing maintenance, repair, and rebuilding of our infrastructure.
Support Our Growing Population
For the first time in history, more than 8.5 million people now call New York City home. Moreover, the residential population living in Lower Manhattan has more than doubled since the year 2000. As a result, our infrastructure in New York City is under immense strain. Our streets are clogged, our subways are overcrowded, our schools are overwhelmed, and our City is becoming increasingly expensive. I will advocate for policies that support sustainable growth and right-sized infrastructure.
The rise of construction and building renovations cause routine inconveniences and jam our streets and sidewalks. One scourge of our City is ubiquitous scaffolding covering and narrowing our sidewalks. This scaffolding often is put up without notice or input from local residents and can stay up for years, even without any discernable construction work being done. We must reform the way construction products are managed and impose proper incentives and guidelines to ensure that scaffolding is erected only if needed and remains in place for only as long as is necessary.
We must commit to major capital investments in preparation of major storms and the undeniable realities of Global Climate Change. As a long-time resident of the Financial District, I have experienced the effects of climate change first hand: My building was flooded during Hurricane Sandy and was closed for more than three weeks. In addition, one of my friends in Lower Manhattan lost all of his belongings when his ground-floor apartment was inundated with floodwater, and many more lost their homes in the aftermath as well. Since the year 2000, over $40 billion has been invested in Lower Manhattan, and we must protect these investments. Rather than sit idly by and wait for the next storm, the City must implement proactive measures to protect our residents, our coastline, and our valuable assets here, downtown.
Waste Management and Reduction
An all-too-common sight, and smell, in our streets are heaping piles of bags full of waste that sit for days before being taken away. The influx of residential units into Lower Manhattan has brought more waste in the form of recycling and trash that needs to be collected and processed. In addition to resolving the resulting unsightly and unsanitary conditions, the City should enact incentives for businesses and consumers to reduce the amount of overall waste that we generate as a community. I will also advocate for a serious composting initiative to be implemented on a widespread basis, which will allow for food scraps to be reused rather than landfilled and further encourage New Yorkers to join the forefront of the green revolution.
Clean, Safe Transportation
Our city streets are crowded with vehicles that burn fossil fuels and pollute the air we breathe. We need to increase the availability of clean transportation alternatives, such as electric cars, and incentivize their use by increasing the availability of charging stations. Moreover, our streets and sidewalks are far too crowded and dangerous. I will advocate for redesigning our streets to make them safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists alike.
Dramatically Reduce Tour Bus and Helicopter Traffic
Our streets are clogged with double-decker tour buses, and our skies in Lower Manhattan have the near-constant hum and exhaust from helicopter tourist traffic. In addition, downtown sidewalks are littered with hawkers selling such tourist services. We must place dramatic additional limits on these activities, which pollute our air, clog our streets, and adversely affect the quality of life for residents who live and pay taxes here.
Empower Our School Teachers
My parents were elementary school teachers. I am passionate about training our children in the critical thinking skills that I was lucky enough to learn from them. Kids need these skills more than ever today to prepare them for our increasingly demanding job market, which requires specialized, 21st century skill sets. Unfortunately, our teachers in New York City are burdened by excessive bureaucracy and hamstrung by the single-minded goal of “teaching to the test” in order to artificially boost standardized test scores. This is short-term thinking at its worst. We must make school teaching a desirable profession, one in which school teachers have the discretion to actually do their jobs and enable our children to become educated, thoughtful citizens.
Fix the Lower Manhattan School Shortage
As more families are choosing to raise children in Lower Manhattan, school shortages are becoming increasingly more common and problematic. As a result, many families are forced to hope that they win a lottery in order for their children to be allowed to attend the local school in their community. Should they lose this lottery, their children must be transported to a different neighborhood every day, which deprives those children and their families from being invested in their local community. We also must reduce class sizes, which are far too high and prevent students from getting one-on-one attention that they desperately need.
Support for the Arts
I have been a musician for most of my life and trained as both a singer and a drummer. This gave me first-hand experience in how arts education can inspire other types of learning, and therefore, I am passionate about educating our children in music, dance, theater, and the visual arts. Unfortunately, with the inordinate emphasis on standardized test scores, City schools have failed to adequately invest in arts education. In fact, schools in Lower Manhattan are lacking in auditorium space and thus, are generally unable to hold concerts, theatrical performances, and other events even if extracurricular arts programs and staff were offered.
Preserve Our Neighborhoods
As income inequality has increased in this City and across the country, families and individuals are priced out of the neighborhoods they grew up in. Displacement has become the norm. This is unacceptable. I will work to preserve our neighborhoods by ensuring that rent control regulations remain strong and that new affordable housing units are built for residents in lower income brackets. We must keep people in their homes wherever and whenever possible.
Reform Our Public Housing
NYCHA public housing facilities are in dire need of improvement on all fronts. In the last three years alone we have seen too many cases of dangerous and even deadly living conditions, including not only chronic issues with mold contamination, heat, air conditioning, and electricity problems, but also general neglect such as deadly elevator and smoke alarm failures. This is not acceptable and residents of one of the greatest cities in the world should not continue to be forced to deal with these problems. I will hold city officials accountable and fight for a fair allocation of resources on behalf of residents of public housing. I will also seek to expand the Jobs Plus program to further develop skills and employment opportunities for citizens living in public housing.
Provide Incentives for the Construction of More Rental Housing
Few New Yorkers can afford the luxury condos that have recently dotted the landscape of New York City. I will fight for the realignment of incentives so that the real estate industry will build more rental housing, which is what this City needs the most. More rental units will mean more choices for consumers, and ultimately, lower prices for people who actually live and work here in New York City.
Protecting Our Seniors
Census data makes clear that our population in New York City and Lower Manhattan is getting older. One of the cardinal responsibilities of our enlightened society is to protect our seniors. One of the more recent examples of the City’s neglect of our senior citizens was the fire sale of the Rivington House, a beautiful, historic building that functioned as a nursing home in the Lower East Side. The City sold Rivington House to a private real estate developer, who kicked out the senior citizens living there and sold the building for conversion into luxury condos at a net loss to the city of $72 million. Deals like this that benefit Fat Cats at the expense of our city’s most vulnerable citizens are inexcusable and must be prevented at all costs in the future.
Real Solutions to Help the Homeless
In New York City, homelessness has exploded, rising over 20% in the last three years, with more than 60,000 citizens now left to fend for themselves on the street. The homeless problem is one affecting all New Yorkers and we, as a society, need to understand and correct the issues and illnesses afflicting New York’s homeless population. The City is now routinely putting homeless people in random hotels without adequate services and at a cost of upwards of $600/night. The City is also shuttling the homeless in and out of Emergency Rooms without adequate post-care; these practices perpetuate, rather than fix, the underlying problem. I will advocate for rehabilitative homeless shelters or halfway houses that provide mental health, medical, education, and job training services that will strive to get people on their feet and back to leading productive lives.
Fighting for Immigrants
I will serve as an advocate to protect all of the residents of this City against federal overreaching by the Trump administration. The United States is a nation of immigrants. Immigrants often take on important jobs other Americans are unwilling to accept. Our new immigrants to New York City are the bedrock of our society and work hard to hold onto low-wage jobs in order to support their families, oftentimes in the face of abuses such as wage theft and workplace harassment.
Reducing Income Inequality
I am a product of the working middle class and had a number of jobs while I was growing up. I know both the struggle and the value of hard work first-hand and will always serve as a tireless advocate for the working and middle class. In addition, I will fight for a living wage and pay equality, to ensure that there is equal pay for equal work.
The Wrongfully Accused
I am an experienced defense attorney and care deeply about equal access to the Courts and that everyone, rich or poor, be given a fair shake by our police and our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, all too often, citizens cannot afford, and are not given, adequate legal representation and thus cannot adequately defend themselves and assert their rights. I will fight tirelessly for more resources to be allocated to this area and will work to inspire my colleagues in government to do the same."
"I was born and raised in District 1 to Puerto Rican parents. I'm an Independent Filmmaker, artist and housing activist. I was awarded Best New York Feature Film and Best New York Director at the 2015 New York City International Film Festival. I have seen the changes first hand throughout the district. When these changes started to impact my neighborhood, in 2007 I ran and was elected as President of my Tenant Association.
In 2010 during my tenure, I helped negotiate terms for a $97 million renovation and forty years of affordability on behalf of 600 families (2010-2050). I've helped countless of tenants avoid eviction and made sure my landlord was repeatedly exposed for failure to provide the Warranty Of Habitability New York Real Property Law Section 235-b
I saw the inner workings of how government works and who was really pulling the strings. It was not the politicians; it was and still is corporate interests. I became increasingly frustrated and was baffled how it often took dozens of phone calls, emails, petitions and office visits to get the attention of our elected officials, state, city and federal agencies.
I have decided to run for City Council after realizing that I could no longer sit on the sidelines and watch others make decisions without consulting or considering those who matter the most; the constituents of District 1. The hyper-development of our district, the flagrant disregard of existing residents and allowing for mega towers to be constructed. Not to mention the lack of actual "affordable" units, keeps me up at night. We have to do something.
I will not be a bribed and bought politician. I am someone that can cultivate real change and give residents back their power to institute changes they need and deserve.
WHAT I'VE ACHIEVED
Secured affordable housing for 600 families at the Grand Street Guild until 2050
Counseled other tenant leaders on affordable housing negotiations with their landlord
Worked with Federal, State and City officials with matters related to District 1
I have always supported "The Chinatown Working Group's plan and will advocate for height restrictions in District 1. The construction of mega towers in our neighborhoods directly impacts our quality of life and the very fabric and aesthetics of our communities. This zoning plan would protect chinatown and the Lower East Side. I would fight to prevent the wheels of displacement that have been in motion for over a decade. I want to put an end to the hyper-development in our district, which causes increased rents and displacement of lifelong constituents.
If the community wants more affordable housing then we must improve the current formula of 20% because that's just not enough. I would push for many more units to actually be affordable for the working class. Our district has experienced our councilwoman's vision first hand; changing the zoning of residential areas to commercial. All of which benefits developers not her constituents. These phallic symbols are going up everywhere in the district. Proof she has sold out our communities to billionaire developers. This agenda targets the most vulnerable among us, turning a neighbor against neighbor and ultimately creates a class divide.
I have always put people first, from all my many years in public service as former tenant leader. Constantly advocating for more oversight and transparency. In 2010 during my tenure, on behalf of 600 families I negotiated $97 million renovation along with city, state, federal agencies and our Landlord to secure forty years of affordability from 2010 to 2050. I've helped countless tenants avoid eviction and made sure my landlord and management company was exposed.
I also see our NYCHA neighbors suffering, I would help them fight against their sub-standard conditions and neglected facilities. NextGeneration and privatization seems like a way to privatize the gains and socialize the losses. This will eventually hurt residents who are the victims of NYCHA's neglect and eventually price them out of there homes.
I pledge to fight and save our green spaces, which our constituents hold dear and never allow what happened to LaGuardia Park, Mercer Playground, and LaGuardia Corner Gardens— happen again.
I am opposed to mayoral control of our public schools. This control takes away the voice of our district's school communities and more importantly, the parents.
I am opposed to federal, city or state funding of charter schools who take space from our public schools. This causes a burden on our children who need the room within the building and the funding for activities and special instruction. Charter schools should be obligated to pay rent as they have the resources to do so. They also need to be transparent with their curriculum, school related data and budgets.
We also need to acknowledge that our school community does not represent the diversity of this city. Many communities have thoughtful and organic ideas to tackle these issues and the Department of Education should support these efforts.
School funding is being threatened particularly now with the Trump administration. I will be a united voice along with parents and other representatives to make sure our children get their fair share of funding for education.
Since developers are adding to the increased population in our district, they should be mandated to solve the overcrowding issues they're creating, by funding new schools in perpetuity. If a development is approved, I will mandate that they fund and construct new school buildings.
I support the SBJSA (Small Business Job Survival Act). The SBJSA would end illegal extortion of commercial tenants who are forced to pay money under the table to keep their leases, rent gouging by landlords, instances in which landlords refuse to even negotiate a lease renewal with the tenant, bargain in good faith with their tenants. It would also stop landlords who work deals behind the backs of the tenants in order to take over their successful businesses or in some way gain profits as a result of the years of hard work by the tenants.
This bill would also prevent landlords from passing along all their own costs and responsibilities onto their tenants to pay. I urge you all to go to http://takebacknyc.nyc/sbjsa/. Local mom and pop shops are the very fabric of what makes NYC communities unique and diverse. However, as a result of the hyper development, many of our favorite long-time shops are being forced to close due to the artificially increased rents. These shops are carrying the fiscal responsibility because of these developers.
I will fight for the city to extend tax abatements to actual local small businesses. These businesses have been around in our neighborhood for years and we need to support and give them the respect and dignity they deserve.
I support an increase in the minimum wage. As a step further, I would advocate to tie the minimum wage to the cost of living and inflation.
93% of Americans want money out of politics. That's why I support WOLF-PAC.COM. You might hear politicians talk about transparency. Transparency does not solve the problem of the legalized bribery of our politicians. It just shows who's buying them. That's why I'm for ending the corruption and it starts with public funded elections. When politicians take money from corporations, PAC's, billionaires and developers they're beholden to them. I'm not for sale."
"Christopher was born and raised in the Lower East Side. He is the son of a bodega owner and a garment worker, who immigrated to Lower Manhattan from the Dominican Republic. He attended local public schools and afterschool programs, and has always been an active voice in the community.
Whether managing the retirement fund at IBM, or founding two community gardens in NYCHA's LES Infill I and II, Christopher has always been investing in the future. When his neighbor was illegally detained by ICE, Christopher rallied his community and got him released, securing his future in the country he immigrated to.
Christopher was a member of the Young Professionals Board at Defy Ventures, where he guided previously incarcerated people through the process of starting their own small businesses. Today all three businesses he mentored are thriving, allowing their owners and their families to re-imagine their lives.
Christopher still lives in the Lower East Side, and in his free time can be found volunteering at Elizabeth Street Garden, the Bowery Mission, and University Settlement. He has been working to unite the different neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan throughout his life, and will continue this mission in the City Council."
"Mr. Cho is a proven public servant and social activist. A son of Korean immigrants, he represents a new generation of Democrats who are ready to lead.
Ronnie’s deep commitment to public service, and his experience and success in both the public and private sectors, will enable him to meaningfully improve the lives of New Yorkers. He played key roles in the Obama presidential campaign in 2008 and in the White House where, as President Obama’s Millennial outreach director, he advanced the President’s agenda on issues like increasing college affordability, Affordable Care Act enrollment, deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA), LGBTQ rights, supporting young entrepreneurs, criminal justice reform, and mental health awareness. Ronnie also played a critical role in increasing funding to connect every school and library in America by 2020 with high-speed Wi-Fi. A proud product of the public education system, Ronnie is committed to providing 21st century education tools to every student in the District and the City. His career also includes time at The Daily Beast, where he wrote and edited stories related to social justice and entrepreneurship, and as an Emmy winning producer, Vice President, and Head of Public Affairs at MTV.
Ronnie has also been a passionate supporter of social justice, opportunity and equality for all communities. Ronnie won an Emmy for his work on a powerful documentary celebrating transgender youth, and he is a member of the creative council of Emily’s List supporting pro-choice women running for elected office. He also mentors high school students from all five boroughs of New York City through Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation, and he sits on the board of the Bus Federation, the nation’s leading youth organizing and civic engagement organization.
Creating opportunity and fighting for underserved communities has been a lifelong endeavor for Ronnie. As a New York City Council Member, Ronnie will make sure every child has access to a quality education, work to keep rents low so that families and small businesses can thrive in our neighborhoods, and will never stop fighting to protect the rights of our immigrant friends, family members, and all who call our community home.
Ronnie has the rare combination of experience, creativity and energy our party, our politics, and our city need right now. The entrepreneurial spirit and skills that made him such an effective grassroots organizer truly set him apart, set him ahead, and will set him up to succeed.
Ronnie offers not only a fresh perspective to the foregoing issues, but also comes from a unique background with a wealth of experience in public service.
Housing is a basic human right. Nonetheless, affordable housing has become a scarcity amidst rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. As councilman, Ronnie will increase awareness of tenants rights and advocate for affordable rents by holding enforcement entities accountable and protecting the most vulnerable in the district.
Ronnie will take a strong look at increasing oversight on landlords who take advantage of affordable housing initiatives to increase their bottom line. Landlords and developers cannot take advantage of their tenants, making our neighborhoods continually less affordable.
From the Jacob Riis to the Baruch Houses, District 2 has many public housing developments where conditions need to be rapidly improved. Under President Trump’s new federal budget, New York City Housing Authority will see a $75 million cut. As a city and as a community, we need creative solutions and a commitment to long term improvements for NYCHA buildings and its residents.
For instance, community held land banks have been proven to be an effective way to revitalize unused lands, rather than just selling the land to developers. NYCHA would maintain title to the land — potentially through a community land trust model — and work with nonprofit developers to achieve deeper and permanent affordability from green and recreational space to possible new affordable housing. And secondly, we need to take a hard look at NYCHA’s budgets and put serious capital into major repairs. We must make long term investment rather than stop gap measures.
The district needs a council member who will fight for continued NYCHA funding, and who will work to provide proactive solutions to the problems faced by NYCHA tenants.
Having attended public school his whole life, Ronnie understands the transformational power of quality public school education in shaping a child’s future as well as to the communities they live in. He has mentored young kids in the city along with New York Yankee Derek Jeter, and will continue to work towards improving public schools through increased funding, greater access to technology, and stronger support for teachers.
Jobs, Small Businesses and Opportunity
Ronnie’s parents were small business owners and understands the role of small businesses as the backbone of any community. Recently, he has witnessed many small and family owned businesses close their doors or get replaced by larger chain stores.
Ronnie supports a repeal of the commercial rent tax. This arbitrarily assessed tax puts business owners in District 2 at a disadvantage, and makes it difficult for community institutions to keep their doors open. Additionally, Ronnie supports commercial rent stabilization for small locally owned businesses, especially for women and minority-owned businesses. Small businesses should not be subjected to the same rent increases as large commercial tenants; it is punitive toward their business success.
Ronnie will work alongside small business owners to protect and bring back local cafes, restaurants, professional creatives and boutiques to our many neighborhoods that have lost them over time.
Our once-vibrant public transit system is crumbling. The regular delays, accidents, and malfunctions are unacceptable to everyday New Yorkers. As councilman, Ronnie will hold Gracie Mansion and Albany accountable for funding transportation and will explore creative solutions to the L train shutdown, from increased ferry service to dedicated bus lanes across the Williamsburg Bridge. He will fight to allocate more funds to the maintenance of our subway system and increase the availability of options in and around District 2 to ensure that New Yorkers don’t have to restructure their entire lives due to a rusty system.
Although America has made great strides towards LGBTQ equality over the past decade, constant vigilance on a local level is required to ensure that the steps forward we have made are not walked back. While Republicans in Washington are doing everything they can to circumvent federal protections, Ronnie will make sure New York City enforces its robust anti-discrimination laws and that every New Yorker is safe and respected in their city. LGBTQ rights are especially personal to Ronnie. During his time at MTV, he won an Emmy for The T Word, a documentary co-produced by Laverne Cox celebrating transgender youth. Ronnie wants New York City to be a safe place where the most vulnerable can find their voices.
One of the most important functions of a society is to take care of those who have devoted their lives to it. Thirteen percent of New York City, and over 50,000 residents of District 2 are senior citizens. As councilman, Ronnie will work to increase awareness of resources and services currently available to seniors and will advocate for the creation of new programs to better care for seniors in District 2 and beyond. As city councilman, Ronnie will increase constituent services from increased awareness of Medicare’s free annual wellness screening to being a resource for translation services at health care and senior centers for our non-English speaking seniors. Ronnie believes in fighting to ensure that our seniors live happier, healthier, and longer lives.
Criminal Justice Reform
The City Council has the unique opportunity to enact substantive criminal justice reform while state and federal policymakers remain paralyzed by partisanship. Ronnie has been a staunch ally of Black Lives Matter and will continue to advocate for it on the City Council. He will fight for sentencing reform such as the legalization of recreational marijuana, and comprehensive dialogue between police and communities. The current system is unsustainable and we cannot continue to allow inequitable policies to disproportionately target New York City’s communities of color.
The son of Korean American immigrants in a predominantly white and Latino neighborhood, Ronnie grew up being continuously reminded that he was different from other kids in his community. Ronnie knows firsthand the challenges of being an immigrant in America, and as councilman will be a staunch advocate for immigrants in District 2 and throughout New York. Even today, immigrants of all stripes are discriminated against in the workplace and in housing, and Ronnie will fight to end that discrimination and exploitation because he knows immigrants and their experience are integral components of the American dream.
When Ronnie worked in President Obama’s White House, he fought for comprehensive immigration reform and assisted in the planning and implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Trump administration’s attitude toward immigrants is cruel and unnecessarily punitive. As councilman Ronnie will fight for the rights of all immigrants in District 2 and in New York City, regardless of their immigration status, and will strongly support a pathway to citizenship for those already living in our country.
Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability
Climate change is one of the most pressing threats to our economy and our security that we will ever face. District 2 knows firsthand the dangers of climate change, having borne the brunt of Superstorm Sandy in 2012. New York must take its place as a leader among American cities in going green because we have the most to lose. The largest source of carbon emissions in the city is not cars, but buildings. Ronnie knows we need to be proactive in our everyday energy efficiency. Ronnie will prioritize educating businesses about better and more efficient use of electricity, and he’ll work with Con Edison to inform residents on the best ways to go green at home.
Combatting climate change is not just the smart choice to make, but also the economical one. There is such a great opportunity to create jobs in District 2 through a green collar jobs like building retrofitting. Ronnie believes it’s time to work with the Department of Buildings, Department of Environmental Protection, and Department of City Planning to do major 21st century upgrades to every building from moving power generators above flood levels to exploring the possibility of solar panels on major buildings.
Healthcare is a basic human right, and every New Yorker in District 2 and elsewhere deserves affordable and accessible health care. Ronnie helped implement Obamacare while at the White House, ensuring that millions of young Americans were aware of all their coverage options, and he believes we must preserve and protect Obamacare from Republican assault.
Ronnie also knows we must go further. The next step for New York City is a single-payer health care system that ensures all New Yorkers have easy and affordable access to the treatment, medication, and preventative care they need. With the unfortunate closure of Beth Israel Mount Sinai Hospital squeezing our district’s health care system, we need someone with Ronnie’s experience on the City Council to be an advocate for New Yorkers, because it is literally a matter of life and death."
"Carlina grew up in the district and is a lifelong resident of the Lower East Side. She is the daughter of a hardworking single mother, who is a civil servant and proud union member. She attended schools and played sports in the area and has spent her professional career directly serving her neighbors.
Whether with local non-profits, on the local community board or in city government, Carlina has fought to preserve and increase permanently affordable housing, created and organized programs for seniors and the homeless, and has advocated for after school programs and small business survival. During Hurricane Sandy, she assisted in coordinating nearly 4,000 volunteers to knock on 15,000 doors of homebound residents who had lost power, heat and water. After Sandy, she supported the formation of the Lower East Side disaster recovery network, which was instrumental in coordinating the response for the Second Avenue Explosion.
Carlina was awarded the Manhattan Young Democrats’ Young Gets It Done Award in 2014 and the Viva Loisaida Award in 2016 for her record of advocating for affordable housing, small business preservation, parks, community resiliency planning and education equality.
She still lives in the building where she grew up with her husband, a small business owner, and their pug Yoshi and turtle Freddie. She is looking forward to working with and fight for the community.
Our neighborhoods need a trusted Council Member who can navigate City Hall and collaborate with community partners from her first day in office. Through her extensive local volunteerism and her work as Legislative Director for Councilwoman Mendez, Carlina Rivera has the experience, skills, and integrity we need to address the economic challenges and quality of life concerns facing families in our district.
Carlina grew up on the Lower East Side, seeing first-hand the housing challenges in our community. Working at Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), she organized tenants to fight displacement and stood up to developers, successfully negotiating to bring hundreds of low, moderate, and middle-income housing units into our communities. As a Council Member, OUR housing priorities will be Carlina's priorities:
Tenant Protection – Carlina will hold predatory landlords accountable by increasing enforcement; supporting the Rent Freeze; and demanding Albany pass stronger laws to end unfair rent hikes and evictions.
The Right to Counsel – 90% of tenants in Housing Court have no legal representation, putting them at a severe disadvantage against landlords and their attorneys. Carlina will support city-funded legal aid for tenants facing eviction, keeping more families in their homes and reducing homelessness.
Zoning – Carlina supports community-based planning because every neighborhood in our City is different and residents of these diverse areas know their needs best.
New Housing – The creation and preservation of affordable, rent-regulated and subsidized housing is important at all income levels. We must strive for as close to 100% of new units built under the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program to be permanently affordable.
NYCHA – With almost 10,000 NYCHA units in District 2, Carlina will fight for more city, state and federal funding to reduce repair backlogs and address longstanding health, safety, accessibility and resiliency issues.
Supportive Housing – A major contributor to our current homelessness crisis is the lack of housing for individuals and families in need of special, onsite services such as nursing, mental healthcare, or job development. Carlina will work with her colleagues to expedite city and state commitments toward this type of development.
Rental Assistance – Reports show that our current homelessness crisis accelerated when rental assistance programs were cut by the city and state during the financial crisis. Carlina believes that we should advocate for a new program, like Home Stability Support, which is estimated to reduce the homeless population more rapidly than current efforts and save taxpayer dollars in the long-run.
Seniors in our community deserve the opportunity to age with dignity in the neighborhoods where they have spent their lives. As a Council Member, Carlina will help our seniors, veterans, and retirees thrive by focusing on:
Safe, accessible neighborhoods – Safer sidewalks, affordable senior housing, large font signs, and outdoor seating at bus stops and in public spaces.
Food Programs – Carlina will fight to keep our neighborhood supermarkets open, for expanded access to farmers markets for SNAP recipients, and for food support programs for seniors and families in need.
SCRIE – With extensive experience helping seniors remain in their homes through the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE), Carlina will sponsor legislation to make it easier to navigate city agencies and qualify for benefits like SCRIE, SNAP, SCHE and HEAP.
Senior Centers – Carlina created and managed the GOLES Healthy Aging Program, a model for cultural, recreational, and civic engagement for older adults that serves thousands in our community. Carlina will use Council funds to support senior programming and fight for additional senior center funding.
Safety and Security – Carlina has a strong relationship with the District Attorney’s Elder Abuse Unit, and will bring multi-lingual education and intervention to prevent and prosecute elder abuse, help victims of fraud scams and provide counseling.
Carlina has seen the results of imbalances across our school district. As our Councilwoman, she will make supporting our students, parents, teachers, and administrators with the right programs and equipment a top priority.
Reducing Overcrowding and Class Size – Smaller classes result in higher student achievement, so Carlina will demand that the City reduce class sizes while renovating and building new schools. Carlina successfully secured a space for a new school for Community School Districts 1 and 2 and will work to see that this design and construction is finalized.
School Leadership & Parental Involvement – Carlina will support the important work of our Community Education Councils, Presidents Councils, Parent Teacher Associations, School Leadership Teams, and Borough Student Advisory Committees, keeping parents involved in school oversight and accountability.
Resources – Carlina will deliver funds to upgrade school technology, establish sports programs, and sustain science, math, engineering, arts, and music (STEAM) as core, year-round subjects.
Diversity – Carlina will work with our CEC’s to desegregate our schools by expanding an admissions policy focused on diversity, while supporting culturally-responsive education and implicit bias training for school administrators and teachers.
Higher Education – As we ensure K-12 programming is preparing our next generation of leaders, Carlina also believes that our public university system should be fully funded by both the city and our state partners. The opportunity to obtain a degree is a path to equity for so many families, and our students and educators must have the resources they need to succeed in their respective roles.
JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Carlina served on the Community Board’s Economic Development Committee, where she met her husband, a small business owner. Carlina has seen small business challenges up close and understands how mom-and-pops struggle for survival. In her position at the City Council, Carlina secured funding to support small businesses and job creation, and will continue programs and projects for District 2.
Small Business Jobs Survival Act – Carlina supports the SBJSA to put power back into the hands of small business owners when they go to the negotiating table with their landlord. She helped issue a Small Business Guide to Lease Negotiations while on the Community Board to provide a resource to local operators.
Pipeline for Growth – Carlina will bring Council investment to job readiness programs, cooperative work experiences/apprenticeships, and creating space for tech jobs in our district. She will support community organizations with a focus on youth development, legal services, and workforce development.
MWBE & Entrepreneurship Programs – Carlina will advocate for more outreach opportunities, info sessions, and webinars on how to grow new businesses responsibly and find the assistance to become a minority- and/or woman-owned business (MWBE) vendor.
ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
As a lifelong resident of the district, Carlina has seen our local ecosystem change drastically. With cuts to health services looming, a growing senior population, and thousands of families living in Evacuation Zone 1, our health care infrastructure and waterfront must be resilient and we must remain active to protect our environment.
Healthcare – Carlina knows that regardless of what happens in Washington, we have to do all we can locally to protect and expand access to health care. Carlina will continue to provide local healthcare intervention and information workshops, defend funding for Planned Parenthood and other service providers, and strongly oppose plans to close hospitals and reduce hospital beds in our district.
East Side Coastal Resiliency Project – After Sandy, Carlina organized residents to demand solutions for coastal flooding along the East River waterfront. As Councilwoman, she will fully support the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, work to improve energy efficiency and demand our city fight climate change.
Noise Pollution – Consistent, loud noise has been linked to hearing loss, anxiety and cardiovascular disease. It is frequently at or near the top of 311 complaints, but in many cases cannot be resolved effectively. Carlina will work with her colleagues on legislation that provides DEP greater resources and regulatory power for better noise mitigation.
Gardens Rising – Carlina supports a green infrastructure study and plan to increase the permeability and stormwater capture within 50 community gardens located in Lower Manhattan to reduce flooding and protecting our waterways.
Solarize and Beyond the Grid – As a waterfront district, we know the importance of reducing our carbon footprint. Carlina will support programs to increase solar affordability, while creating a microgrid to provide local sources of power for public schools, community centers, pharmacies, supermarkets, and residences.
Indoor and Outdoor Allergens – Carlina has worked on and supports Intro 385A, the Asthma Free Homes Act, to codify mold and pest abatement and address the constant construction that creates dust and debris.
Carlina grew up in a bustling neighborhood shared by Jewish, Chinese, and Latino communities. As fears of hate crimes, bans, borders, and ICE raids keep families in their homes and kids out of school, Carlina will not cower to discriminatory threats. She has prayed, rallied, and marched with the individuals and groups that stand for tolerance and peace. As a Council Member, Carlina will assist our diverse neighbors with:
Sanctuary Cities – Carlina will fully support New York’s continuation as a Sanctuary City, protecting undocumented immigrants and their families from harassment and unfair deportation simply because they try to access health care, education or our judicial system.
Supportive Services – Carlina has worked extensively with immigrant families and undocumented individuals to help them access services, and she will provide funding for social justice groups around targeted attacks and legal services for housing, immigration and civil matters.
Adult Literacy – We need more education and enrichment classes available throughout our city. Carlina will work to ensure there is a range of programming that includes job readiness and college preparation for those seeking assistance in multiple languages.
Language Access – Carlina worked to ensure housing information for middle, moderate, and low-income families is available in 6 languages, and Carlina will continue to work to expand language access for all residents of our district.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
We should prioritize education over incarceration. Carlina witnessed the school-to-prison pipeline in the courtroom and classroom, and as a Council Member, she will work to reverse this damaging cycle by prioritizing:
Afterschool Programming – Robust afterschool programming leads to higher academic achievement and lowers rates of juvenile crime and drug use. Carlina supports local initiatives like Schools Out New York City, and will advocate for increased funding for afterschool programming.
Addiction & Mental Health Services – Carlina will advocate for expanding alternative-to-prison programs that prioritize rehabilitation for low-level, non-violent drug offenders over ineffective and costly prison sentences. She also believes prisons should not be repositories for our mentally ill and will press for quicker construction of additional supportive housing units in our city, as well as better communication of services available to this population.
Prison & Police Reform – Carlina believes that police accountability will build stronger police-community relations and further reduce crime on our community. She supports the closure of Rikers, the Black Lives Matter movement, and ending broken windows policing. Carlina will also work to reduce crime through investments in job training programs, anti-gang intervention, and education and afterschool programming.
As a pedestrian, motorist, and cyclist, Carlina understands the challenges of sharing our roads and sidewalks. Commuter options in District 2 are limited and those existing are in need of improvement. Our buses, trains, and bike lanes are packed to capacity and we must ensure that we are safe whatever means we use to travel. As a Council Member, Carlina will address:
L Train Alternatives – Carlina will demand that the City and MTA do a better job informing the community of how they will address the L train shut down for the 100,000 riders who take the line in Manhattan.
Bicycle Safety – While bicycling can provide significant health and environmental benefits, Carlina knows that increased bike lanes and programs like CitiBike will require better efforts to protect cyclists and reduce bicycle-pedestrian collisions. She will work for better education, enforcement, clearer identification of bicycle lanes, and mitigation efforts at intersections to prevent future collisions and fatalities.
Traffic and Congestion – Carlina will advocate for expanded Select Bus Service (SBS) and further public transportation innovations to reduce our communities’ carbon footprint, improve our commute, and reduce traffic and congestion.
Our City has a strong history of leading many civil rights reforms for non-majority communities. Carlina has stood with Black Lives Matter, marched with our LGBTQ neighbors, rallied against intolerance towards the Muslim community, and denounced vandalism aimed at our Jewish neighbors. She has consistently stood up for those whose civil rights are violated. As Council Member, Carlina will work to preserve the dignity of all New Yorkers
Disability Rights – Carlina believes we can do more for New Yorkers with all types of disabilities, including oversight of adequate private and public housing opportunities, transportation accessibility, and special considerations for the disabled community in disaster preparedness scenarios.
Appropriate Gender Pronouns for City Agencies – Carlina will demand that our government agencies respect the gender identity of our residents by correctly asking, and then appropriately using, an individual’s correct gender pronouns in all interactions.
School Segregation – Carlina believes that we cannot continue to lead on social justice issues if we fail to address the fact that we have one of the most segregated public school systems in the country. Carlina will work with the City’s Board of Education, PTAs and administrators to integrate schools and institute necessary reforms so that children of color in our City get the same opportunities as every other child.
GENDA – Shamefully, New York State does not provide non-discrimination protections for transgender people. Carlina strongly supports the Gender Expression Non-discrimination Act (GENDA), a law that would provide the same legal protections for transgender people in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit that exist for other communities.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Music, art and cultural diversity were a daily part of Carlina’s local upbringing. District 2 has a rich history of housing artists and is home to hundreds of murals and iconic cultural spaces and districts. With potential cuts in federal aid to this realm, Carlina is committed to standing up to save the arts by fighting for:
Cultural and Community Spaces – Our community is home to the Fourth Arts Block Cultural District (FAB), which supports a dozen arts groups and 100,000 square feet of cultural space. This vision to secure funding to make FAB permanent was made possible through community collaboration. FAB is a model for how City Councilmembers can work with local cultural organizations to help them. Carlina looks to craft legislation that creates a database of underutilized public space giving orchestras, ensembles and emerging artists somewhere to grow.
Arts in Education – Carlina is committed to keeping arts as a core subject in a STEAM curriculum and supporting programs that provide opportunities for expression and exposure to cultural institutions.
Labor Oversight – Local artists have contributed to making New York City the cultural capital of the world and are often underpaid. Carlina will advocate for fair wages and workplace protections and ensure public funds do not go to employers or venues that intentionally misclassify the position of working artists and ignore best practices.
Local Film Production – While filming in in our city remains as popular as ever, post-production work and scoring are frequently outsourced. Through organizing and agency communication, Carlina will work to ensure that film industry workers are not exploited and that productions, from start to finish, are truly made in NY.
A Cultural Plan – We have an opportunity to enhance access to arts and culture in all five boroughs. Carlina will continue working in coalition on this first-ever comprehensive initiative which will give residents a greater role in deciding what arts and culture looks like in their neighborhoods."
"A recognized leader known for her public service and strategic visions to improve her community, Jasmin has built a list of accomplishments through her compassionandcommitment to help others. Her efforts were recognized by NY1 as she was featured as their New Yorker of the Week and the LoDown as she was featured in their My LES Series.
Running for City Council, Jasmin is a true,hands-on advocatefor issues facing the East Village, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay, Lower East Side, Murray Hill and Rose Hill.
Over the course of her career, Jasmin has noticed that the Southern part of the district has beenforgotten, however, she has learned that the Northern parthas not received their fair share either. Although, Jasmin was born, raised and still resides in the Lower East Side, she considers herself aDistrict Kid turned Community Leader.She attended PS 142, JHS 22 and Norman Thomas High School, all within District 2. Jasmin received her B.A. in Political Science from Stony Brook University in 2007. Jasminwill Bridge the Gap between the various communities in District 2and workfor all.
Dedication to public service began at an early age for Jasmin.
Jasmin volunteered at the Boys Club of New York – Milliken House from 1993 – 1999. This was her first experience giving back to her community and it opened her eyes and heart to continue to serve. Since then Jasmin has worked at Henry Street Settlement, Grand Street Settlement Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation and Partnership with Children. Each one of her positions has required her to manage close to $1,000,000 yearly. Jasmin has strategically formed Community Advisory Boards comprised of parents, residents, stakeholders, businesses, funders and youth. She advocated for affordable housing, open spaces, tenant rights, education reform, healthcare, and transparency amongst elected officials and constituents.
Being the founder of a nonprofit organization, Jasmin had to recruit a board of directors, assure that the organization had a long-range strategy which achieves its mission and makes consistent and timely progress. She provided leadership in developing programs, organizational and financial plans and was responsible for securing donations, in kind space and hosting fundraisers.
As Jasmin’s notable efforts and outreach grew, she was asked to give a speech introducing New York State Senator Daniel Squadron at his inauguration. She was then offered the Community Liaison position. Through this position, she represented the State Senator in public forums and social, trade and civic functions with elected officials, external agencies, and community, neighborhood and business organizations. Jasmin attended meetings, seminars and forums of interest to keep informed of changing trends or legislative initiatives. She coordinated activities with representatives of other departments, outside agencies and organizations. Jasmin educated others of the Senator’s position on legislative agendas and current issues. She assisted in developing community outreach programs to build coalitions, and include public input and outreach.
Being trained at Bank Street College and P.A.S.E., Jasmin has the skills to develop and implement subject relevant workshops and curriculums. Jasmin has collaborated with PS 123-Mahalia Jackson Elementary School: Harlem, School for Global Leaders Middle School: Lower East Side, University Neighborhood Middle School: Lower East Side, Girls Prep: East Village, and Cornelia Connelly School of the Holy Child: East Village. Currently, Jasmin volunteers at several community centers in the Lower East Side, teaching History, Adolescent Health Education, Making Proud Choices, Sports & Recreation and Service Learning, Art, Financial Literacy & Work Readiness workshops."
"Mary Silver is an education advocate, community activist, and attorney, with over 25 years of experience, including representing and supporting seniors, children and immigrant communities. Mary currently serves on Community Board 6, where she focuses on housing, homelessness, and education, and on the 30th Street Men’s Shelter Advisory Board.
As a passionate education advocate for New York City public schools, Mary has gone from class mom, to PTA President, to the Community Education Council, to Community Board 6. Mary fought to build new schools to address overcrowding, and secured over $3 million in funding for school capital improvements, including new libraries, computer labs, and playgrounds.
Mary also served as an office on the Community Education Council (District 2) for seven years, focusing on fair student funding, academic achievement, and new school construction. Mary has also worked directly with local police precincts to improve public safety, by setting up undercover operations to break up local drug and prostitution rings.
Mary is also the recipient of the New York State Senate Women of Distinction Award.
Attorney with more than two decades of professional experience, including at the global accounting firm KPMG; the international law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and New York University; currently providing pro bono legal services for seniors to protect affordable housing.
Member of Community Board 6, addressing housing, homelessness, human rights, health and education.
Community Education Council officer and catalyst for School District 2’s School Overcrowding Initiative, resulting in construction of The River School on East 35th Street.
Advisory board member of the 30th Street Men’s Shelter, focused on job training and full-time employability for residents.
BA Hofstra University
JD New York University School of Law
PhD New York University – Graduate School of Arts and Science
AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Support the development and protection of affordable housing for seniors and for middle- and low-income residents; rent control and rent stabilization protections; well-managed non-profit supportive housing.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Support resiliency solutions and protections for small businesses; industry-wide efforts that build and preserve communities and improve quality-of-life; social uplift; economic justice.
EDUCATION: Support class-size reduction; desegregation of schools, strong and equitable neighborhood schools; new school construction; increased STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education; professional development for teachers and school leaders; after-school programs; parent involvement.
EQUALITY: Support the promotion and protection of human rights, including children’s rights, women’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, LGBTQ rights, and minority rights; gender identity and expression as protected classes; protections against religious discrimination; social and economic justice for seniors.
HEALTHCARE: Support healthcare as a civil right; access to affordable healthcare; full equity in health care utilization and outcomes both for users and workers, regardless of gender, age, race, sexual orientation, health status, income, or immigration status.
IMMIGRATION: Support protections for immigrants seeking services and assistance with citizenship and residency applications; immigration reform; sanctuary city protections.
PUBLIC SAFETY: Support community policing to increase local law-enforcement presence on the streets and improve lines of communication; strengthen and enforce hate-crime laws to provide security for all New Yorkers; bicycle-free sidewalks; pedestrian safety.
SENIORS: Support funding for senior centers; senior tenant harassment protections; health, wellness and legal services; fraud and abuse protection; increased SCRIE and DRIE awareness and application assistance.
TRANSPORTATION: Support mass transit expansion and improvements; “Fair Fares” legislation for low-income New Yorkers; L-train rider alternatives; traffic and noise relief."
"Jorge Vasquez (December 30, 1981) is an American lawyer, activist, and a Democratic political candidate. He is running for City Council in District 2 of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Jorge is a lifelong resident of the Lower East Side and active community member with a strong passion for civil and human rights.
Because of his dedication and leadership to the community, as an undergraduate he received the President’s Award for Leadership. In law school, he was the recipient of the Adeline Lillian Memorial Award for making the law school experience more life-affirming for others through compassionate contributions to the community. Recently, he was named the New York County Bar Association’s Young Lawyer’s Division, Star of the Bar.
Jorge is a second generation Nuyorican and a product of Manhattan’s Lower East Side. He was born at Bellevue Hospital and raised by a single mother in Lillian Wald Houses. He is the youngest of four children. Jorge’s leadership and community involvement shone through at an early age. He was also a Cub Scout, Troop 190, a member of both Milliken and Harriman Boy’s Club, and of the Lillian Wald Youth Patrol. Like a regular Lower East Sider, he played organized sports, attended the Boys Brotherhood Republic and later the Boys & Girls Republic, Educational Alliance, and New Life.
For four years, as a teen, Jorge coached a 12 and under pool team with the Metropolitan Game Room Association. He attended and later worked at Camp Wabenaki. Jorge was a camp counselor for the Board of Education’s Breakaway Program, which provided summer school in a sleepaway camp model. Students could keep up with school without missing the summer experience.
Jorge attended La Escuelita Preschool, P.S. 188, J.H.S. 56, and the High School of Fashion Industries. He earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University at Albany, a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law, and an LL.M. in trial and advocacy from Basely School of Law at Temple University.
As an undergraduate, Jorge served as a Resident Assistant from 2002 to 2004, Assistant Director of Affirmative Action from 2002 to 2003, and Student Association Senator from 2003 to 2004. In the Fall of 2002, he was initiated into the Rho Sigma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., where he served as Vice President from 2002 to 2003, and President from 2003 to 2004.
While in these roles, Jorge helped organize a variety of community service events including the annual Halloween Haunted House for children, a Black Solidarity Day march and vigil; and programs on HIV/AIDS awareness.
Before embarking on a career in law, Jorge served as a counselor in New York City public high schools.
During law school Jorge served as a student mediator, representing pro se litigants with pending employment discrimination claims before the Southern District of New York. He also participated in the Immigrant Rights/ International Human Rights Clinic, where he successfully represented a detained Guatemalan national before an Article I Judge.
After law school, Jorge served as a judicial law clerk to a Presiding Judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey. Recently, Jorge was an Agency Attorney with the New York City Commission on Human Rights where he was responsible for enforcing New York City’s Human Rights Law. Prior to the Commission, Jorge was a housing attorney with Legal Services NYC the nation’s largest provider of free civil representation.
Jorge hopes to serve as the next City Councilmember for District 2 of New York City."
"In (c1989) I tried to expose the Mortgage / Real-estate Fraud and other… who were and is involved in the massive and the existing corruption that cause the collapse of the financial market in October of 2008.
I tried to alert Federal, State, and Local Officials to what I had uncovered concerning this “New Type of Organize Crime”, but little did I no at the time they all were involved.
Following the attack on the World Trade Center in (c2001) the nation dropped its guard, and left the people unprotected. It gave birth to what we are experiencing (High Rent- High Food Prices – Homeless Crisis – Jobless Crisis – Housing Crisis – Out of Business – Going out of Business – Lost Our Lease- and other…).
Rent Guidelines Board
Rent Control Board
U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
New York Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD)
New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR)
Every Elected Official in every City, Town, and County in the State of New York dating far back as (c1981) A new type of organize crime that involves Judges who sit on the benches at the Landlord and Tenants Courts.
This is Jimmy McMillan. For 16 years I have been on the run trying to prevent what happen to me in (c1993) from happening again. President Barack Obama needs help understanding what really went wrong and what is currently going wrong in this State. I am back (see below)
(They will not cut off the hands that feed them – I am going to cut it off for them)."
"My wife and I have been residents of Manhattan's District 2 for 25 years. I am a registered dietitian by training and have spent the past 20 years working with cancer patients in both the hospital and private practice settings. I chose the healthcare career path because I've always wanted to help others, and would now like to turn the energy and drive that fueled my passion for health and well-being, to the field of public service. Politics has long been an area of interest of mine, and I have applied rigorous self-study to political topics on both the local and national levels. And while I may be entering the realm of politics for the first time, I believe I can bring a fresh perspective to local issues from a libertarian standpoint, foremost among them being less government in every aspect of our lives and more freedom for individuals to pursue the employment opportunities, small business creations, and lifestyle choices they hold dear.
I think our government is too big, tries to do far too much, and when it does do something worthwhile it does so inefficiently.
Let's ease the regulatory burden on small businesses so that instead of shelling out money for fees and fines to the city, they can direct that money to provide better products and services to consumers.
Let's also fix a warped tax code whereby commercial landlords can double or triple a tenant's rent and then leave the space empty for months or years harming our neighborhoods by creating a visual landscape of economic uncertainty.
One of the best things I love about NYC is its diversity. But if 48 out of 51 council members are Democrats espousing big government initiatives like more taxing, spending, licensing and regulating, how can that fit into this wonderfully diverse human narrative that is New York? I will inject a new vision with a less-is-more approach regarding government so individuals can pursue their professional and personal dreams without continual government meddling."
"Council Member Corey Johnson represents District 3 in the New York City Council. The district includes the West Village, Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, Flatiron, part of the Upper West Side, Columbus Circle, Times Square, the Theater District, the Garment District, the Meatpacking District, the High Line, Hudson River Park, the Javits Center, Penn Station, Moynihan Station, Madison Square Garden and the Whitney Museum.
Since being elected to office in 2013 with 86% of the vote, Corey has earned a reputation as a tenacious advocate for his constituents and a prolific legislator at City Hall. He has passed more legislation than nearly any other Council Member, focusing on safeguarding tenant rights, enhancing public health, safeguarding the welfare of animals, and more. Whether it’s by addressing discrimination against transgender New Yorkers or by confronting substandard healthcare delivery at Rikers Island, these laws have made a real difference in people’s lives.
Corey is relentless in bringing resources to his constituents and forging consensus on tough issues to achieve long-sought community goals. In Chelsea, he compelled the City to transform a vacant lot into a new public park. In the Village, he successfully negotiated a landmark land-use agreement that provided $114 million to save Hudson River Park’s Pier 40, while creating nearly 500 units of affordable housing. Corey has shown that through perseverance and smart leadership, government and communities can work closely together to achieve true public value.
Corey serves on seven committees and is Chair of the Committee on Health. He is a member of the Council’s LGBT Caucus and Co-Chair of the Manhattan Delegation."
"My name is Marni Halasa and I am running for City Council District 3 on the Eco Justice Party Line. And I believe that ordinary citizens need to get involved with the political process. So whether you are a teacher, artist, small business owner or a figure skating coach like me, regular folks need to get involved to shape the world we live in.
Everyone talks about affordable housing, my platform has the specifics to accomplish that. No one wants to see our culturally-rich neighborhood streets turn into suburban strip malls that displace residents and local businesses. We need affordable housing solutions that work, such as 100% publicly-financed and community-controlled housing as a human right. I also want to help small business-owners have more control over their leases, as well as afford reasonable rents to encourage full occupancy and maintain the character of our city neighborhoods. In addition, I will work to preserve and expand rent-stabilization and rent-control units the city already has. I will also work to repeal the MIH/BQA rezoning as well as the 421a tax giveaway to developers that has enabled the city’s runaway hyper-gentrification.
But I’d also like to do something about poverty, which manifests itself as homelessness, jobless and income inequality on our city streets. A Universal Basic Income of $2,500 a month for all residents as well as a government-based jobs guarantee would be an immense help. We also need progressive taxation, including the stock transfer tax, which will generate billions for city and state programs. These programs would give low-income and middle-class New Yorkers the support and social mobility to become healthier, more independent and live life in a decent, dignified way.
I’m not your typical candidate. I have a uniquely creative career path — as a lawyer, reporter, professional figure skater and theatrical protester — and I don’t have political experience. But I don’t need that to run and neither do you. No matter who you are, if you are passionate about your community, have a keen sense of ethics and want to improve the lives of others, then — like me — jump into this game! I encourage the Board of Elections to offer classes to make this somewhat challenging process less daunting, but if you’d like to learn more, go to my Marni for City Council Facebook page and we will show you how."
Separately, the city still hopes to lure the online retailer to build a huge second headquarters here.
Upper East Side, Carnegie Hill, Yorkville, Central Park South, Midtown East, Times Square, Koreatown, Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, Waterside Plaza, Tudor City, Turtle Bay, Murray Hill, Sutton Place
"Committed East Side community member…Public school teacher with a passion for moving girls into science and math careers… U.S. diplomat with a commitment to protecting immigrant New Yorkers…Vanessa Aronson is running for New York City Council to stand up for New York – and the East Side.
Vanessa Aronson has dedicated her life to public service.
Vanessa knew at an early age that she would dedicate her career to helping others. But she also knew she would need skills and training to make an outstanding public servant. This impulse brought her to the University of Chicago, where she studied political science, and the Harvard Kennedy School, where she got her masters degree in public policy.
From Harvard, Vanessa entered the U.S. Foreign Service. She proudly represented the United States abroad, working to serve vulnerable populations, mostly in southeast Asia. As a diplomat, Vanessa fought food insecurity, helped victims of sexual assault, and reunited families by helping them navigate the complexities of the immigration process.
Vanessa also honed her negotiating skills during her time as a diplomat. Representing the U.S. at the UN World Food Program, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Vanessa helped negotiate multi-million dollar food security agreements, which have helped nearly 800 million people.
During her time abroad, she always thought of home – and New York.
And so she returned to New York to teach in public schools with her first teaching job at Maria Teresa Mirabal Middle School (MS319) in Washington Heights.
At MS319, Vanessa taught math and science to 6th graders. She led the speech and debate team in this bilingual school, and concentrated on encouraging students – girls in particular – to pursue careers in math and science.
However, there were larger issues she noticed in the lives of her students. What became clear is that the biggest challenges facing her students were not tests or homework. They were deep-rooted problems caused by economic insecurity. Problems that can only be addressed through concerted effort and smart, holistic policymaking.
These are the realizations that inspired Vanessa to run for City Council. And this will be her goal as a City Council Member: to help people. To make the East Side – and New York – a place where middle class families can live.
The East Side of Manhattan has a wonderful tradition of Council service leadership, most recently personified by Council Member Dan Garodnick. Vanessa is mindful of this tradition, and keen to continue Dan’s good work.
The 4th Council District is a wonderful place to call home, a set of communities rich in culture, history, and civic engagement. It’s southern limit is 14th Street and the oasis of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village – “A Park Runs Through It,” – where tenants have fought to protect the community’s affordability for generations. Moving northward, the 4th District also includes Waterside Plaza; Tudor City, where residents in 1986 stood in front of a bullzdozer to protect their community’s open space; Turtle Bay; Sutton Place; sections of Midtown, including the West 50s, where residents live at the heart of Manhattan’s business district; and the Upper East Side where I live that includes Carnegie Hill and a portion of Lenox Hill.
As your City Council Member, my first priority will be to make progress on the issues that are most important to you. These include affordability, in one of the most expensive areas of Manhattan, neighborhood quality of life, public transportation, and East Side schools.
I will also take on a series of citywide matters, many of which are important to East Side, and consistent with community needs. These include education policy, an area of deep professional expertise; protecting immigrant New Yorkers, also an area where I have professional experience; developing strategies to support senior citizen New Yorkers, and working root out political corruption in New York City, concentrating on transparency and lobbying.
I also pledge to run a highly responsive constituent services operation. I know that no level of elected office is meant to work more closely with you than the Council, and I promise your questions, concerns and requests will be handled with the utmost urgency.
And finally, I will stand up for New York City at every turn, whether the threat is from Albany or Washington, DC.
AFFORDABILITY, INCLUDING HOUSING
We live in an amazing city, but with the high cost of rent and tenants’ rights at risk, many families lack the stability needed to fully engage in their communities and invest in their future. We must make sure that housing is affordable. New York City must:
Preserve current affordable housing stocks, including rent-controlled and rent-stabilized units, to the full extent provided by current law.
Support the creation of additional affordable housing stocks by working with non-profit and other developers who will make affordable housing a priority.
Repeal Urstadt. Work with our City’s representatives in State Government to repeal the Urstadt Law and restore New York City’s home rule.
QUALITY OF LIFE
We’ve got some major quality of life challenges in the 4th Council District. The Lexington Avenue Subway line is the most crowded in New York, and East Side Access will make it worse. The Second Avenue Subway is open – at long last – but many local businesses have not recovered. We rank dead-last among Council districts when it comes to park space per resident.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, RELIABILITY AND ACCESSIBILTY
When I was a teacher, one of my students used a wheelchair and spent three hours each day commuting from home to school because there are so few accessible schools near subway stations with elevators. New York should not turn its back on people with disabilities, seniors with mobility issues, or parents with strollers. New York City must:
Demand that the City's contribution to the MTA capital plan includes funds earmarked to update the more than 75% of subway stations that currently do not have elevators so they are accessible to everyone.
Ensure the Metropolitan Transit Authority immediately lists elevator outages on their website and makes intercom announcements in stations.
Follow through on the City Housing Authority’s 20-year old plan to make thousands of apartments fully wheelchair accessible.
Prioritize the installation of pedestrian ramps and the maintenance and repair of the existing ramps. Install pedestrian countdown timers at dangerous intersections in the city.
As a former New York City public school teacher, I know our youngest New Yorkers are bright, energetic, and full of promise. Our education system should do everything it can to give all students the opportunities they deserve to reach their full potential. As Council Member, I will work to:Expand school enrichment programs, such as art, music, or coding, to increase engagement and cultivate critical skills.
Support the Lunch4Learning program to provide free and healthy school lunch for all.
Prioritize Special Education services for both students with special needs and gifted and talented students so that New York City is in compliance with federal law
Extend the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline programs to include 6th– 12th grades.
Increase training for educators in non-exclusionary discipline methods, such as through the Positive Learning Collaborative, to decrease suspensions that only leave at-risk students further behind.
Increase Teacher's Choice funding, which reimburses teachers for a portion of what they spend out of pocket on classroom supplies.
Make mayoral control permanent. There is widespread agreement that mayoral control is good for New York City’s schools. And yet every year or two, this policy is used for political leverage in Albany. The state legislature should make mayoral control permanent, with robust community engagement measures put in place. I believe the Mayor should be able to make long-term decisions when it comes to NYC schools. And it will be my job as Council Member to hold the Mayor accountable for those decisions.
By 2040, seniors will make up 1 in 5 people. The needs of this fast-growing population warrant robust initiatives to make sure that New Yorkers remain healthy, active, and engaged with their communities as they age.
Involve older adults in the policy planning process about their own health and social services.
Increase access to mental health services for isolated seniors by supporting tele-health video-counseling.
Invest in job training, technology training, and placement for seniors through “age-smart employment” practices to value and retain older workers.
Expand access, availability, and information about city parks and recreation resources for older adults.
Strengthen and broaden systems to detect financial fraud and abuse.
As a diplomat I learned firsthand the importance of a strong legal framework to protect immigrants. With the Trump Administration’s attack on immigrants, this matter is more urgent than it has been in generations. To protect our immigrant neighbors, New York City must:
Put forth legislation that protects an immigrant’s right to an attorney to represent them in deportation proceedings.
Maintain New York City’s status as a sanctuary city and encourage Corporation Counsel to use legal channels to challenge any attempts by the federal government to defund programs because of this status.
Refuse to release records from NYPD, Department of Education, and IDNYC, and protect information related to a person’s immigration status.
Women's rights are human rights and women's access to reproductive healthcare should be the rule, not the exception.
NYC students should have access to comprehensive, age-appropriate sexual health education so that they can make healthy decisions.
All women in New York, regardless of income, race, or ethnicity, should have access to reproductive health care.
Maternal mortality should not be dependent on zip code or race and ethnicity.
Vanessa is proud to have earned the endorsement of NOW-NYC."
"I am a New Yorker since 1970, when brought to the United States as a child. I am a Single mother of 2 young adults and the proud grandmother of twin boys, a toddler and a Graduate of the 2017 Kindergarten Class. I am here today before you, tired of the rhetoric that disunites us, the anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-working class, anti-diversity policies of the new administration in Washington, which in few months has wreaked havoc in many American families, attacking all groups of which I am a part of; and inspired by the 40,259 votes I received last year when I ran for the first time as a Delegate to the Presidential Convention for the Democratic National Committee in Congressional District 12, which included the voters of the New York City Council District 4.
For more than 35 years, my commitment to my community has been true and tested, long before thinking of running for office; altruistically and without a title or official position. Having been elected to 2 party positions with over 41,000 votes, 20% of which are from the voters in District 4 of the New York City Council; I have been enabled to provide assistance in a more effective way.
Making the quality of life issues a top priority. Securing a sustainable economy filled with sustainable jobs. Securing the funding owed to our schools to increase their budgets, thus improving them. Securing a clean environment, air and water. With decades of experience navigating the complexities the legislative process and of governmental agencies, which time after time delivered results favoring hard working New Yorkers. I know what it takes to find solutions and get things done."
Single Payer Healthcare is a Human Right!
Healthcare can no longer be denied to everyday folks. I will fight every step of the way and advocate for Medicare for all.
New Yorkers deserve an environment free of greenhouse gas emissions. I have spent the last decade working for clients whose objectives were lined up with my values, rather than lining up my pockets and choking our population with pollution.
Our children are our future, their education will assure we will have a bright future. Once elected, I will charge ahead so that schools are able to retrieve the funding they are owed, beginning with the schools in my district.
Your home is your Castle! And New Yorkers should not live in fear of loosing their homes to greedy landlords. I will work fiercely to protect all tenant's. In order to ensure “true” affordability, as your city council member I will push on the issues of unlawful evictions to more housing opportunities for the seniors and low, middle and homeless families that is affordable and subsidized by the tax benefits granted on our behalf.
New York City has always been a colorful city, full of all religions and ethnics. We must protect the vulnerable people of New York City, the very same people that earned us the "Melting Pot" name, whom continue to make socio-economic-cultural contributions to our society, which makes New York City stand out like no other.
Public Transportation must be accessible to all generations of our city. Currently less than 30% of our train stations in our district are ADA accessible. This affects all generations: from young mothers with baby carriages, to high school students with large backpacks, to large families traveling together, to sportsmen and workers traveling with heavy gear/equpment, and to our seniors wrestling with endless flights of stairs, and shoppers that would rather spend the cabfare in another purchase. I will urge for the MTA to look into their plans and help find the funding to support a more efficient way for anyone to get to their train, as well as pushing on other issues concerning efficiency that are frustrating so many of our daily commuters.
In order to continue to develop our city economically, we have to create sustainable jobs; jobs that can lead to some type of career advancement so workers can actually live off a paycheck and not be impoverished by one.
Honoring our Seniors
Council District 4 is known to be one the largest NORC (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) in the Island of Manhattan. I will be a fierce advocate for Seniors to be able to age in place and not fear the affordability of their homes or healthcare, and live with dignity, honoring their golden years.
We are a Country built by Immigrants, this gave us the "Melting Pot" name. Most of us came to the United States to make significant contributions to the socio-economic-cultural fabrics of this great Nation; therefore New York City must be a "Sanctuary City". I will work fiercely with all Immigrants the Old and the New to find new ways of helping the most vulnerable of this segment of our population.
As the only woman of color in this race, I know from first hand experiences which I have successfully managed in the past> I will use these experiences to assure that we accept and love one another equally, regardless of origin, race, color, gender, religion, sexual preference, economic or academic status; so that we united stand under one banner, one name and one country, the United States of America!"
"Rachel Honig has spent the last two decades as a public relations executive advocating for small and mid-sized businesses. In that time, she has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, retailers, trade associations, and not-for-profits to assist them in successfully achieving their objectives. Rachel is a sought-after strategic advisor to CEOs, management teams, and executive boards addressing a wide range of organizational and communications-related challenges.
Rachel’s passion for public service was nurtured while working at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), a state grant-making agency. As NYSCA’s Director of Special Projects, Rachel managed the organization’s marketing and fundraising efforts. In this role, she brought attention to the state’s cultural icons and institutions, while helping spotlight the importance of arts education in schools.
A first generation college graduate, Rachel studied Ethics and Art History at Smith College while competing nationally, and internationally, in parliamentary debate. Education and culture continue to be important priorities for Rachel, as she has rallied efforts to benefit Arts organizations, such as a 40th birthday party focused on fundraising and mural painting to benefit Creative Art Works, a non-profit that incorporates academic enrichment, workforce development and community engagement.
Rachel is a member of the Board of Advisors of the Masters Degree program in Communications at Baruch College. Additionally, she sits on the Board of Directors of She Runs It (formerly Advertising Women of New York). Rachel is gratified to be able to give back to her alma mater as President Emeritus of the Smith College Club of New York City.
Rachel resides on Sutton Place South with her rescue dog, Hester, where they both enjoy exploring their neighborhood. Rachel enjoys sailing the New York waterways, running through Central Park, and exploring the the unlimited foodie destinations in the city she loves.
As Council Member for New York City’s fourth district, Rachel will work tirelessly for the interests of her constituents with a focused, pragmatic, results-oriented approach to solving the challenges facing our city today such as small business displacement, homelessness, eradicating lead from our public schools and preserving our green spaces.
Rachel believes that now more than ever it is important to fight to preserve and improve quality of life for residents of the fourth Council district in a manner worthy of the great city that she calls home.
SMALL BUSINESS DISPLACEMENT
There are far too many vacant storefronts, both in our district and city-wide. We are facing a crisis that must be addressed. Rents for commercial spaces rose by 42% from 2012 to 2015, making rent too high for many small businesses. On top of that, businesses in Manhattan below 96th street must pay a commercial rent tax on rent above $250,000. The City is effectively charging double for rent: property taxes are priced into the leases and the rent that the businesses pay, then they have to pay a commercial rent tax directly to the city. It’s no wonder that businesses are struggling! Furthermore, City Hall has failed those businesses along Phase I of the Second Avenue Subway line, offering only a waiving of fines as an abatement (too little too late).
My plan to save small businesses:
Support and pass legislation to increase the floor of the Commercial Rent Tax to $500,000
Create tax abatements and real marketing programs for small businesses along the Phase II and Phase III routes of the Second Ave Subway
Support a version of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act and bring it to the floor of the City Council for a vote
Create opportunities for intersectionality by supporting women and minority-owned businesses (43 % of small businesses in New York are minority owned – double the 21 % national average. Women small business ownership in NYC is at 32 %, slightly higher than the national average.)
UTILIZATION AND PROTECTION OF THE EAST SIDE WATERWAY
New Yorkers and particularly East siders need greater access to our waterways. While West Siders have benefited from the Hudson River Greenway project, those of us on the East Side still lack up-to-date and pedestrian-friendly ways to access our beautiful East River. We also need to see greater plans for protection of the East Side before the inevitable next super storm hits. Delays in the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project are potentially devastating for our city. The solution must satisfy both the function of protection against a storm and the function of a greenway, all the while ensuring fiscal responsibility.
My plan to improve the East Side Waterway:
Hold the Mayor accountable to start work on the East River Greenway project by 2019 as promised
Fight to get strong storm preparedness measures for the entire East Side enacted and funded
Support the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project and hold the Mayor accountable for effectively spending the $335 million in federal funds before we lose them
Ensure that the project involves the community so that it can serve the needs and concerns of the community
Engage the city’s Department of Emergency Management to actively give New Yorkers the necessary information and skill to respond to potentially life-threatening storms, for example, a campaign to get more stores to display stickers showing their evacuation zones
Work with Community Boards in the District to disseminate storm preparation guidance
The city must prioritize affordable housing to help people stay in their homes. As a first step, I will demand an audit of affordable housing units to ensure developers are keeping good on their commitments and units are being utilized effectively. Furthermore, we should explore creative solutions to address this crisis, rather simply falling back on old solutions that have not always worked. For example, city-owned vacant lots should be developed in public-private partnerships to increase the stock of affordable housing.
While there are no NYCHA units in District 4, as a member of City Council I would work to improve NYCHA units throughout the city. It is unacceptable that residents of these buildings live in units with leaks and roofs caving in. The city must remedy these units immediately.
District 4 has higher rates of traffic deaths than many areas of the city. Throughout the city, motorists injured 10,769 pedestrians and 4,591 cyclists in 2016. The streets are far from safe. Bike lanes have made our streets safer and I fully support encouraging more people to bike in our city, but bikers who do not follow the rules of the road put our pedestrians at risk. Furthermore, the danger of distracted drivers is only increasing with more and more drivers (especially Uber, Via and Lyft drivers) using multiple screens for pick-up and directions. Furthermore, the NYPD does not do enough to enforce the safety standards that our residents deserve. The focus of Vision Zero has been on education of and enforcement of motor vehicle drivers – but does not extended to reach bicyclists and pedestrians.
My plan to keep our streets safe:
Hold bike traffic accountable to the rules of the road
Continuously look for ways to mitigate Midtown traffic and congestion through DOT programs like Slow Zone
Make sidewalks safer by eliminating bicycle traffic (bike lanes help with this) and widening sidewalks where possible
Support the Vision Zero policy and extending the focus on education and enforcement to bicyclists and pedestrians as well
Educate pedestrians to be safe and alert through a joint program with the NYPD and the Department of Education
Work with the NYPD to enforce bike traffic rules, for example, bicyclists going the wrong way down the streets MUST be ticketed at high levels (or their employers if delivery messengers) and the NYPD must increase enforcement of red lights and failure to yield
The current state of NYC zoning regulations allows for overdevelopment, resulting in a greater population density than the city infrastructure can handle, typically making compromises on space, safety, and economic well-being. With further development of high rise residential complexes made possible by the sale of air rights, the problems of the neighbourhood are only amplified by the increase in population density. We already observe overcrowding in schools, increased congestion in traffic and public transportation, and skyscrapers literally making the city darker by blocking light from our parks and decreasing the open air available.
My plan to fight overdevelopment:
Keep the Mayor’s powers in check through an active and effective City Council
Make developers and investors contribute to infrastructure development in the neighborhoods where they building, including public transportation improvements, funding for public schools, and funding for public spaces
Fight to maintain education quality in schools to ensure quality education for all
Support and create programs to reduce congestion and make streets safer
New York City is one of the least accessible cities with only 24% of its subway station having disability access, far behind Boston (at 74%), Chicago (at 68%), and even Washington DC (nearly 100%). Furthermore, traffic congestion in lower Manhattan has increased rapidly over the last decade, with more vehicles on the streets that are narrowed due to construction and double parking. This has made the transit slower, noisier, and costlier, plus the harmful effect of pollution to the environment and public health.
My plan to make the New York transit experience better:
Press for larger allocation of public funds to this cause
Work with private investors and developers responsible for large projects to dedicate a portion of their investment towards improving local public infrastructure
Encourage city taxi services and alternate taxi services to make their vehicles more compliant with accessibility regulations
Implement more programs like Park Smart 2.0 and the MoveNY project
There are 60,000 New Yorkers who are homeless. 20,000 of them are children. While putting these citizens up in vacant hotel rooms gets them out of the elements, out of sight also means out of mind. It does not address the health and service programs needed to get our homeless neighbors back on their feet.
My plan to tackle our homelessness problem:
Demand that the city prioritize health and social services to help those already homeless
Support programs like Pathways Housing First that focus on finding housing for the homeless without any pre-conditions
Recognize the complex and overlapping issues that lead to homelessness and refuse to settle for a one-size-fits-all approach to solving the problem
Preserve affordable housing to help people stay in their homes and avoid even greater homeless numbers
LEAD IN SCHOOLS
There are dangerously high levels of lead in the drinking water in of our public schools. After the practice of “flushing” the pipes before testing was revealed, it took consistent pushing from the news media and City Council to force the Mayor to retest all the city’s schools. This retesting showed that over 83% of our public schools have dangerously high levels of lead in the water, including in our own district, at PS 6 on East 81st Street.
My plan to protect the health of our children:
Allocate funding to replace ancient plumbing infrastructure
Implement consistent standards and regular testing for all of New York City’s public schools moving forward
Ensure that parents are quickly informed of results and that the city provides safe drinking water if the levels are elevated
Keep the Mayor and the various departments accountable for the health of our children
New York City allocated $31 Billion of the its $85 Billion budget to the Department of Education. We spend approximately $21,000 per student in NYC schools compared to $11,000 per student nationally – and only 72% of our students graduate and less than half of those meet college readiness standards, which is worse than the state and national average. (Even Los Angeles, the next closest school district in terms of number of students enrolled, spends a fraction of our budget and has better graduation rates.) In addition, poorer districts do not get sufficient aid to make up for the funds raised from property tax. The rampant development also brings up concerns about overcrowding in public schools, and about the impact of co-located charter schools on students and teachers. More alarming is the fact that there is lead in the drinking water of our public schools.
My plan to ensure that our children get the possible best education:
Work with the Mayor and the DOE to improve graduation rates to match, if not exceed, the state average, while keeping them fiscally accountable
Press Albany to contribute more to these schools in state funding aid to meet their needs
Make developers and investors of new projects contribute to local infrastructure, including schools
Maintain the quality of education by keeping low class size and diversity to encourage well-rounded education
Implement stricter control over the charter school licenses, and encourage transparency and community involvement in charter schools
Address the effect of co-location of charter schools on teacher and student performance and morale
Ensuring that all citizens have access to the ballot is incredibly important to me. There are many election best practices that we can draw on from around the country that have not yet been implemented in New York. This city should be a leader in innovative ideas, not stuck playing catch-up as our political system gets mired in pay-to-play politics.
My plan for election reform:
Institute Early Voting and Vote by Mail
Allow residents to change their party affiliation online, easily and quickly
Advocate for open primaries
Push the city to change to even-year municipal elections, both to save money on administering elections and to increase voter engagement and turnout for municipal elections
REDUCE LOBBYIST INFLUENCE
The City Council has been controlled by career politicians and lobbyists for too long. This pay-to-play system benefits only a small group of people at the expense of the citizen’s of this great city. For example, the Mayor’s overdevelopment goes unchecked because of real estate and development lobbyists in the city council.
My plan for tackling the pay-to-play culture:
Advocate for a garden leave (mandated time not working as a lobbyist) before lobbyists can run for City Council
Mandate that individuals currently registered as lobbyists cannot serve on the Council
Stand as an independent voice against this Mayor and the unchecked influence of lobbyists
ARTS AND CULTURE
Serving as the largest tourist attraction in the western hemisphere, with nearly 50 million visitors every year since 2010, our city has much to offer. Since 2014 the tourism industry has generated over $40 billion every year, with the $50 billion milestone in sight. But these large numbers coupled with numerous events and parades, give our the district’s residents the best and worst of the deal. While they have immediate access to such events, they also have to face difficulties of increased transit congestion, traffic diversions, noise pollution, and increased safety hazards. With changing circumstances of policies at the federal level and the looming economic hurdles, it is important for the city to act for itself.
My plan to preserve the city’s cultural heritage:
Work with the city to continue to expand its creative campaigns like Restaurant Week, Broadway Week, and Attractions Week, to have focused mobilisation of tourists
Improve coordination with NYPD and MTA to minimize problems by controlling the flow of enthusiastic attendees before and after events like the parades
Fight to enforce stricter and faster action on violators and those who pose a safety hazard, to preserve the city’s cultural vibe
SANE SANITATION POLICY
Many of us have been dismayed at the developments around the Upper East Side Marine Transfer Station and its proximity to Asphalt Green. The Marine Transfer Station at full operation would have 800 trucks rolling in 6 days a week carrying solid and liquid waste. This has risks from spillage leading to increase in rodents and flies to emissions of asthma inducing pollutants. It is also incredibly dangerous to children playing in and around Asphalt Green. In addition to these risks, a report by the Independent Budget Office of the city shows that the long term costs of exporting this waste is higher than the current short term solution we have in place.
My plan to protect our neighborhood:
Work with Councilman Ben Kallos to find a mutually agreeable solution with the Department of Sanitation
Not compromising at all on public health and safety, and protecting our children who play on Asphalt Green
Limit the number of trucks going to this Marine Transfer Station, and setting up other precautionary systems
Find a better plan for Waste Management which is fiscally responsible, and facilitate stronger education around recycling, composting and waste"
"Jeff Mailman is a lifelong New Yorker who has devoted his career to improving life for his fellow citizens. He’s worked on critical fire safety, animal protection and cancer prevention measures in the New York City Council as a Legislative Director to Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. He’s protected seniors and families through his work at the Bureau of Consumer Fraud and Protection. And he’s looked out for our neighborhoods as a member of Community Board 6 and the Turtle Bay Association. Jeff is running for City Council to fight for residents of the 4th Council district. From Murray Hill to the heart of Midtown to the Upper East, Jeff will stand up for us.
For the past five years, Jeff has served as the Legislative Director for New York City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley. Jeff currently assists the Council Member in analyzing and researching legislation and policy proposals on topics ranging from physical education in public schools to smoke alarms to animal welfare and consumer protection. Prior to joining the Council Member, Jeff worked in the Bureau of Consumer Fraud and Protection at the N.Y.S. Attorney General’s Office on a public service fellowship. In this role, Jeff investigated credit card debt settlement and credit repair companies, and online marketers of “free trial” promotions for deceptive business practices.
Prior to working in the public sector, Jeff served as a Dean’s Fellow and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Legal Writing Center at his alma mater, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Jeff is a resident of Turtle Bay (Midtown East) and has served on the board of the Turtle Bay Association and was a former full board member of Manhattan Community Board Six, where he has served on both the Public Safety and Environment Committee and the Health and Education Committee. Jeff also remains active in his community through his membership at Temple Emanu-El, including the Men’s Club, and through participation in community events.
Jeff grew up in Hollis Hills, Queens, with his parents, sister, and twin brother, where he attended public schools.
Housing: Jeff is dedicated to preserving affordable housing and protecting tenants’ rights.
Seniors: Jeff believes we need for additional resources for seniors, such as the establishment of a new lifelong learning center.
Schools: Jeff is strong supporter of public schools, where his mother works as a speech therapist. He will fight for better conditions in our classrooms and for the highest educational standards.
Environment: From developing a coastal resiliency plan for Waterside Plaza, to seeking ways to reduce rat infestations, to increasing staff at the Department of Environmental Protection, Jeff has many ideas on improving and strengthening New York’s environment.
Worker Protection: Jeff believes more can be done to inspect work at construction sites in the evenings and on weekends to ensure that proper safety measures are adhered to.
Supporting the Performing Arts: Jeff will research the proposals (creating a searchable database of community spaces, property tax incentives, favorable utility rates, exchange workshops) specified in the League of Independent Theater’s 2017 Performing Arts Platform to figure out ways to create new rehearsal/performance spaces throughout the City.
In Jeff’s capacity as the Legislative Director for a N.Y.C. Council Member, following is an overview of some of the matters that he has worked on that affect all New York City residents.
Working with the N.Y.C. Fire Department, fire safety experts, and the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), on a bill (Proposed Int. 56-A) to require the use of photoelectric smoke alarms in all residential buildings in N.Y.C. in order to reduce the number of civilian fire fatalities caused by smoke inhalation each year. This data-driven bill will save lives and can serve as model legislation for the rest of the country.
Worked with the Phys Ed 4 All Coalition, which included the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and other advocates to pass legislation (Local Law 102 of 2015) to require the N.Y.C. Department of Education to report annually whether or not each school meets the State’s mandated physical education requirements. This law will place a renewed emphasis on the importance of quality gym time and incentivize principals to ensure that adequate resources are directed to physical education.
Worked on Council Resolutions calling on the N.Y.S. legislature to increase the criminal penalties for reckless driving and for hit-and-runs when a serious injury or death ensues.
Worked with Catalyst, PowHer NY, 20/20 Women on Boards, Direct Women, 30% Coalition, Enterprising and Professional Women NYC, and Diverse Visions Group on legislation (Local Law 44 of 2016) that would require the N.Y.C. Department of Small Business Services to conduct a voluntary survey of companies that do business with the City to collect data on the gender, racial, and ethnic diversity among the directors, officers, and executive-level staff members of such companies. The survey will additionally request information on companies’ plans to improve diversity in such positions and efforts taken to achieve those plans. This survey would draw attention to the importance of diversity within corporate leadership positions.
Worked with the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and the Humane Society of New York to pass legislation (Local Law 5 of 2015) that requires pet shops to acquire kittens and puppies only from breeders licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture and to provide customers with information about the source of the animal and disclosing any health conditions. Greater transparency protects consumers and spares one from incurring expensive veterinary bills and from the emotional hardship of acquiring a sick pet. Jeff also worked on a companion law (Local Law 7 of 2015) that requires pet shops to spay and neuter cats and dogs prior to sale to improve the health of such animals and to help control the population in the City’s overcrowded animal shelters.
Worked with the Fire Department and REBNY to update the N.Y.C. Fire Code and made substantial improvements to the chapter on Emergency Action Plans (EAPs). The Code now contains EAPs that are tailored to the various types of occupancies in N.Y.C. such as high-rise office buildings, shopping malls, and small mom-and-pop shops. For example, in large office buildings, there is a new requirement that a member of the building’s staff be available to guide first responders to the actual location of a medical emergency.
Restoring line-of-duty pension disability benefits for firefighters, fire and medical officers, and police officers.
Requiring the mayoral administration to release the end-to-end response times to 911 emergency calls so that we know how long it takes for help to arrive from the moment someone picks up the telephone to when responders arrive at the scene.
Funding to increase the number of F.D.N.Y. ambulances and personnel in order to reduce medical emergency response times.
Funding a Cancer Prevention Initiative to increase accessibility to breast, ovarian, and colon cancer screenings.
Funding a Holocaust Survivors Initiative in order to provide social services to 30,000 holocaust survivors living in N.Y.C. at or below the poverty line."
"As Chief of Staff to Assembly Member Jonathan Bing, Keith drafted and worked on legislation to:
Create an Equal Rights Amendment in the New York State Constitution to prevent discrimination based on gender;
Institute ‘no fault divorce’ in New York State, ending the State’s reputation as the only state in the nation without it;
Prevent the de-regulation of rent stabilized apartments;
Protecting middle-class Mitchell-Lama apartments;
Preventing discrimination based on a tenant’s source of income (e.g. Section 8 vouchers or Social Security Disability Insurance);
Create a small business grants program for businesses affected by Second Avenue subway construction;
Improve community board oversight on nightlife establishments and close a loophole used by many bad establishments;
Since 2011, Keith has worked for City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Sr. helping to advocate for after school funding, expanded Advanced Placement, prevent bullying of LGBT students in public schools, secure funding for employment and workforce programs, create new affordable housing, and preserve the quality of life on the Upper East Side.
In 2006, Keith was the tenant organizer for the “Preserve Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village” campaign during the sale of the neighborhood to Tishman Speyer.
Keith presently chairs the Business Affairs and Street Life Committee of Community Board Six. In this role, he has worked to support small businesses and maintain quality of life in the neighborhood. He has ensured that neighborhoods have a healthy balance between a vibrant nightlife and a peaceful community.
Keith is a member of the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, Community Board Six, Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club, Tilden Democratic Club, Kips Bay Neighborhood Association, League of Conservation Voters, The Epiphany School Alumni Committee, University of Dayton Alumni Committee, and serves as a District Leader for the Democratic Party in Manhattan. He formerly served as Vice President of the Manhattan Young Democrats and as a Board Member for ACT NOW.
Keith attended The Epiphany School, St. Francis Preparatory, the University of Dayton, and The CUNY Graduate Center.
Connect every high school—not just the specialized ones—to high-growth industries for after-school and summer internships.
Evaluate teachers based on what happens in the classroom, not on a standardized test.
End discriminatory admissions policies that hold back diversity.
Make sure that the East Side has enough Pre-K seats by requiring school space in new development.
Create a new agency dedicated to ages 0-3 to support early childhood education.
Create new housing for middle-class families with a 21st Century Mitchell-Lama program.
Help address homelessness by investing in a “Marshall Plan” for public housing.
Give communities the tools they need to better participate in city planning process (including protecting air, sunlight, and open space).
Assist seniors with rent by creating a new program modeled on SCRIE to cover more tenants.
Connect new development to surrounding infrastructure, such as school seats, transportation, and public space.
A More Vibrant City
Save neighborhood stores with tax reform, limits on big box expansion, and #shoplocal initiatives.
Expand IDNYC into a debit card that new New Yorkers can use, free from predatory bank fees.
Create a “People’s Way” to provide traffic-free options during the “L” train shutdown, including Select Bus Service.
Provide new incentives for those who recycle, including a "save-as-you-throw" program.
Fight climate change with innovative solutions for expanding renewable energy (Read my op-ed in Crain's New York on a new idea for expanding solar energy: Floating Solar Panels)
Reforming City Government
Get the pork barrel out of the city budget—support communities based on need and merit, not politics.
Lower campaign contribution limits and increase public funding to take big money out of politics.
Reform the Board of Elections by appointing commissioners based on qualifications, not political connections.
Real lobbying reform: limit bundling by lobbyists and politicians, expand restrictions on lobbying after leaving government, and increased disclosure for those doing business.
The campaign finance system in New York City is a model for other cities and states. Our system provides grassroots candidates with the opportunity to run for elected office without needing access to large contributions or exclusive donors. I am proud to participate in and support the public financing system.
I am dedicated to leveling the playing field between regular donors and the large donors that can provide a significant fundraising boost to elected officials. The outsized impact of large campaign contributions erodes and undermines the core democratic principle of “one person, one vote.” In the coming years, the City can take a few important steps to help reduce the influence of big-money contributions, including:
Strengthen Campaign Finance Laws: The Campaign Finance Board (CFB) currently provides candidates with 55% of their money through public funding, requiring them to fund the other 45% through private donations. The City can empower grassroots campaigns by allowing for full public financing, thereby removing the need to attract large donors. My idea: pilot a full public financing program for special elections, which are non-partisan elections that occur in a shortened time period. If it works, the City can scale it up to regular elections.
Lower Contribution Limits Across the Board: The Matching Funds program helps amplify the voice of regular New Yorkers, but big donors are still the path to fundraising for most elected officials. I propose lowering the contribution limit for City Council from $2,750 to $1,225 (which is the maximum matching amount per contribution) to make small donors and large donors equal in their donation capacity.
Close “Doing Business” Loopholes: City law lowers the maximum donation limit for individuals and companies doing business with the City. However, loopholes in the City’s campaign finance system allow these individuals and companies to give the normal maximum donation—rather than adhering to ‘doing business’ contribution limits. By closing this loophole, we will uphold the intention of the law and make sure that contributions do not affect outcomes of business proposals and agreements between the donors and the City.
Open Calendars on Lobbying Meetings: The public should have more access to information about lobbying activity in the City. For starters, the City Council should disclose all lobbying meetings every January and July, at the same time that they have to disclose their contributions. This would provide a clear picture of how contributions are being used to influence outcomes at the City Council. I would also push to make sure that the Mayor honors his pledge to disclose City agency lobbying, which has yet to be fulfilled.
Increase Sunlight on Lobbying Activity: The City has strong disclosure laws that require lobbyists to disclose clients and compensation on a bi-monthly basis. Here’s what’s still hidden: a list of who got lobbied, who did the lobbying, and the specific bill or subject matter. This information is provided to the City, but the public has no access to the information. The City should provide this information on the City Clerk’s website so that the public can have a clearer picture of lobbying activity.
Expand Lobbying Restrictions on Former Elected Officials and Decision Makers: The City law currently prohibits any individual from lobbying their branch of government for one-year after leaving government. I propose extending this prohibition to two years for all elected officials and senior decision makers. The City also has to continue to update its laws to ensure that the definition of ‘lobbying’ meets the constant update in technology, access to elected officials, and new means of communication.
Four New Ideas to Reform the City Budget
The annual budget provides Council Members with millions of dollars to spend in their own district. While this funding goes to many worthy groups and projects, it continues to be a complicated, opaque process that rewards politically connected groups and hurts smaller groups that are unable to navigate the system.
I start with one big premise: take the politics out of the funding process or end the process all together. There are available options if the City chooses to replace this process, like allowing City agencies to distribute funding directly (e.g. through request for proposals) or providing more meaningful public input into decisions. We can also:
Create a Blue Ribbon Commission on Member Item Reform: Every year, the City Council allocates millions of dollars to each member to spend in their district. Unfortunately, too much of the money is spent based on political or personal connections rather than merit, need, or measurable outcome. I join Mayor Bill De Blasio, Comptroller Scott Stringer, and others that have voiced concern about this process. I recommend appointing a Blue Ribbon Commission of good government advocates, budget experts, and community members that can further the Council’s 2014 reforms and recommend whether to replace the existing process or how to improve it.
Put Every Funding Allocation Online in an Easy-to-Read Format: After the money is spent, the Council should give the public an easy-to-read report demonstrating how their Council Member allocated or supported funding. Right now, a City Council Member allocates three pots of funding (Local, Aging, Youth) and recommends through four others (Borough Delegations, Speaker Funding, Caucuses, Initiatives). The public should have a clear list of which organizations their Council Member supported. After the budget process, let’s put an easy-to-read list online that details each organization that received direct funding or support from a Council Member.
Measure “Outcomes and Objectives” of Discretionary Funding: For groups receiving the largest pots of funding, we need a way to measure their outcomes against their objectives. One of my concerns with discretionary funding is that after money is being allocated, the outcomes are not being measured to ensure outcomes. It’s time that we measure the metrics on a year-to-year basis. Before the next budget, the City Council should ask the largest groups to provide metrics on their outcomes. This is not unusual: RFPs often require a process of evaluating outcomes, and private foundations require it when distributing money.
Open the Data in Budget Documents: Budget watchdogs a need access to public information in an open format so they can analyze City data and help citizens understand major allocations in the City budget. If elected, I would push for legislation to require the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to provide budget data to the public in a machine-readable and sortable format without restrictions on usage.
Nine New Ideas for City Council Reform
One of my priorities is to strengthen the City Council and to make sure that it is on equal footing with other branches of City government. My ideas would allow City Council Members to have more freedom to introduce bills, reduce unnecessary parts of the Council, and to make it easier for public engagement in the process. Here is my nine-point plan to make that happen:
Establish Independent Bill Drafting: The Council should establish an independent bill drafting unit that can operate as a fully operational and independent entity to draft bills in an expedited manner. The unit would serve the City Council, Public Advocate, and Borough Presidents. The State Legislature has a unit that performs independent bill drafting and can serve as a template for the City Council.
Improve Bill Introduction: Members should have the unfettered ability to introduce legislation and have it considered by the City Council, rather than leaving control in the hands of the Speaker. The current process limits the amount of bills that a Council Member can request at a given time and has other limitations on the number of bills that can be introduced on a particular topic. This process should be reformed to allow Council Members to more freely introduce legislation.
Enact Time Limitations on Bill Placeholders: In present form, a Council Member can put in an LS request (essentially a placeholder on a particular bill topic) that is never removed. The harm in this process is that a Council Member can decide to sit on a bill for the entire four years. One of the quickest fixes: implement time restrictions so that an idea has to be introduced as a bill within a given time frame or becomes available to another Council Member for introduction.
Institute Transparent Bill Aging: The City Council rules require a bill to be placed on public display for 7 days leading up to a vote. The City Council satisfies this requirement by merely placing the bill on desk inside of City Hall, outside of public purview. The Council should update the process with technology and create an online list of bills that are ‘Active' or ‘Aging’ so that members of the public will know when a bill has an upcoming vote.
Consolidate and Reduce Council Committees: The City Council currently has 35 committees and six sub-committees, with a range of 5 to 23 members on each one. The Council should consolidate and reduce the overall number of committees, create a better balance of members on each committee, and strengthen the staff on core committees. Allowing a high number of committees is a form of patronage, where virtually every Council Member is a Committee Chair.
Create Independent Committees: City Council Committee Chairs should be able to operate their committees with more freedom. This means providing them with the ability to schedule committee meetings, hire committee staff, and determine which bills will receive a vote. This freedom will create a more democratic City Council.
Put Voting Records Online: The City Council should provide an easy-to-navigate system for letting voters know how their Council Member voted on a range of bills or issues. I propose putting voting records on the Council Member’s page so that the public can see how their member is voting.
Strengthen the Council’s Oversight Function: Oversight is one of the Council’s most important functions. The City Council should increase resources and staff to reinforce its commitment to perform oversight of the Mayor and City agencies. This would give the Council significantly more power to ensure that its objectives are met and to perform diligent oversight of City government.
Push Reporting Reform: There are hundreds of reporting requirements placed on City agencies. Many of these reporting requirements are outdated or unnecessary. The Council should review of agency reporting requirements with the intent of eliminating or reducing those that are no longer needed and instituting systematized checks to ensure necessary reports are completed and submitted.
Three New Ideas to Modernize City Elections
Let’s face it: the public has lost confidence in our elections, and recent events have only made it worse. Whether it’s long lines at the polling places, stringent rules about absentee voting, or an election system from the 19th Century, the City and State of New York need to take election reform seriously. Although the State has jurisdiction over many parts of our elections, the City can take meaningful steps to the lead the way on reform:
End Patronage at the Board of Elections: The City must take election reform seriously—beginning by reforming the City’s Board of Elections (BOE). Right now, the City Council appoints BOE Commissioners in a process that is hidden from the public. Here’s an easy idea for the City Council: implement independent screening panels for the BOE that provide a rating, such as “Highly Qualified”, “Qualified”, or “Unqualified,” for any individual that submits their name for nomination as a commissioner.
Implement Instant Runoff Voting: The City spends millions of dollars on campaigns for citywide run-off elections, which are often low-turnout, low-information races. Instead, we should implement instant runoff voting for Mayor, Public Advocate, and Comptroller elections. This will save millions of dollars and increase voter turnout.
Modernize Poll Worker Recruitment: New York State needs to update election laws to allow for early voting, online voting, and easier access to voting. In the meantime, the City can take immediate steps to make Election Day better for more people. I propose a new program to assist with Election Day operations:
Half-Day Shifts: Make it easier for people to commit to working at the polls.
Municipal Poll Workers Program: Allow non-essential municipal staff a day off to work at the polls.
College and High School Recruitment: Give students a day off from school to fulfill their civic duty and work in the polling place.
New Technology in the Polling Place: Provide poll workers with the technology to give better guidance to voters.
Better Compensation for Poll Workers: Update the compensation to provide a better incentive."
"Bessie has worked to help elect progressive candidates to elected office, specifically in the New York State Senate and Congress in and around New York City.
Housing is the largest expense for any resident of New York, but the costs are often more than half of the income of those in our neighborhood. For all the talk about building new affordable units, too little emphasis is placed on the need to focus on preservation and reclamation of affordable housing. While 6,191 units of new affordable housing were financed in 2014, reports stated that 200,000 affordable homes have disappeared from the rolls of the overseeing agencies as of the same year. Rather than spending money on building new units and making slow progress toward livability, we should focus more city funds on finding affordable units that have fallen off the rolls and ensure that existing affordable housing is not lost through evictions or demolition of existing buildings.
As your City Councilmember, I would:
Support new affordable housing programs.
Support housing preservation.
Support an audit of J-51 and 421a buildings to recover lost affordable units.
Support a fast-track restoration of rent stabilized housing rents for re-claimed units.
Support development that incorporates public use projects as part of a ULURP (upzoning) process.
While we can boast of historic Central Park, Bryant Park and Madison Square Park, we have few community parks on the East Side. Instead, we have POPS spaces – plazas and fountains that are privately funded and maintained but are open for public use. Yet too often the amenities of these spaces are missing or the security turns the public away.
As part of my campaign I will explore the open spaces and comment on where the public is welcomed or admonished for using them. I invite you to come and meet me in your POPS and mine! Please check back in the spring for dates when I will be in a POPS near you.
As your City Councilmember, I would:
Support POPS oversight.
Support new public parks projects.
Support a clarification of the regulations for POPS properties.
Last year I noticed one new homeless person on my block. At the same time, residents at 33rd and 3rd complained about a series of incidents with homeless New Yorkers. There are similar problems on 25th street in Chelsea and uptown on 85th Street.
It is clear to all of us that homelessness is a mounting issue. Much needs to be done, including funding of programs that move the working homeless (people who work, but cannot get approved for an apartment) into permanent housing; expanding rent freeze programs to prevent people from becoming homeless; and building more affordable units. To effectively address such ongoing community issues, I propose the formation of a community task force to identify the hotspots for homelessness and assist City agencies in serving the residents and preventing street homeless in our community.
As your City Councilmember, I would:
Support more mental health funding for at risk adults and homeless New Yorkers.
Support increased funding for Special Exit and Prevention Supplement program.
Support community task force on sanitation and street homelessness.
Expanded Rent assistance for residents at risk of losing their homes
As a new mom I understand that nothing can ever be good enough for our children. Our schools on the East Side are good, but more class seats and smaller teacher to student ratios would make them better.
While Charter schools fill a purpose in some parts of the city, they are rare in our neighborhood. Charters originally began in 1999 as an alternative for the poorest and most at-risk students in areas where the public schools were failing and administrators were authorized to experiment with new educational approaches. The results of this experiment are as yet unclear in part because it is hard to compare outcomes from charter schools who are authorized and reviewed on the state level and not usually through the Department of Education. While some charters have done well and others have closed, I have reservations about two tracks of education. that we may be headed for a separate and inherently unequal tracks of education by allowing too much difference in administering public and charter schools. Rather than having two tracks of education that are both problematic we should have one form of education that we are all trying to improve together. Important to stand up now for public schools now more than ever since the incoming Federal administration who are openly hostile to public education and public funding of education. Success in education is about creativity. We should allow our teachers to spark the imagination. We need to give teachers the freedom to really teach, and not focus only on teaching to standardized tests.
As your City Councilmember, I would:
For charter schools:
Support standard reporting benchmarks for Charters, comparable to public schools
Support intervention for struggling charters schools
Oppose the co-location of charter and public schools.
Support creative education and moving away from ‘teaching to tests’
Support lower teacher : student ratio and smaller class sizes."
Democrat Candidate Committees: Here Candidate Caucuses: Here
"I believe in the power of government to make a difference in people's lives. I've heard your ideas and formed a platform around a simple, yet provocative idea: A Livable City.
Women Entrepreneurs (WE) NYC is a New York City initiative that aims to raise up thousands of female business-owners from underserved communities. As Director of WE NYC, Marti launched and managed innovative programs on leadership, access to capital and mentorship. The role not only harnessed Marti's passion for women's empowerment and entrepreneurship, but also built upon Marti's decade of experience starting, running and selling her own small business.
Prior to that, Marti served as Director of Strategic Initiatives for New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs, the agency tasked with enforcement of consumer protection laws and empowerment of low-income New Yorkers. Marti's career began in the private sector as a senior manager at a global technology company where she oversaw a market development team covering seven countries, but her desire to have a positive impact inspired a transition to public service.
Marti was elected Democratic State Committeewoman for the 74th Assembly District and is President of Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats. She was previously Vice President of Village Independent Democrats. Marti was appointed by Council Member Dan Garodnick to be a member of Community Board 5. She sits on the Public Safety and Quality of Life Committee and the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District (BID).
Marti has been a dedicated volunteer building homes and raising funds for, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of, Habitat for Humanity NYC. She is on Habitat for Humanity's Leadership Council and Chair of Habitat for Humanity's Women Build. Marti also was appointed to the NYC Health + Hospitals Bellevue Community Advisory Board, which is a vital link between the hospital and the communities served by it.
Marti grew up in Rochester, NY and studied Economics and Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania, where began her activism as president of Penn's chapter of N.O.W. Marti earned her Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University where she focused her studies on entrepreneurship. Marti is married to Dr. Roderick Wong and they reside on the east side of Manhattan with their children, Leo and Gia.
Identify vacant city-owned lots and revise the city’s land bank legislation to help transform underutilized land into affordable housing. Specifically, create a citywide Community Land Trust that will ensure a community-backed model for converting vacant lots into permanently affordable, multi-family, rent-stabilized buildings and low-income cooperative housing.
Analyze all existing federal, state, and local tax incentives and abatements intended to induce the creation of affordable housing. Identify where there are gaps or additional funds needed to ensure that more affordable units are built for the individuals and families that need it the most.
Expand community education and outreach to seniors who qualify to receive The Senior Citizen and/or Disability Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE/DRIE) benefits.
Protect communities from unsafe and illegal hotels by holding home sharing services accountable and working with the Office of Special Enforcement to crack down on users advertising illegal short-term rentals.
Analyze the existing availability and cost of services and facilities for seniors and improve access and affordability to create better opportunities for the elderly to age in place.
Work with local lenders and banks to create a “first-look” program in which lenders offer properties that are at-risk of going into foreclosure or losing their affordability restrictions to good housing developers before they market the buildings more broadly.
Stand against predatory equity by passing new legislation that publishes physical letter grades on rent-stabilized apartments. Much like restaurant grades, this legislation will evaluate landlords and their building management based on criteria including the number of outstanding housing code building violations, current tenant-landlord legal disputes, and debt service ratios. The grading system will help current and prospective tenants identify the quality of the current landlord, the likelihood that the building will fall into disrepair, the history of tenant harassment, and the risk of foreclosure based on debt levels. It will also help dissuade bad landlords from continuing poor and illegal behavior and identify for the City where proactive intervention is most needed.
Repeal the Urstadt Law to give New York full control over its rent regulation.
End vacancy destabilization to bring apartments back permanently under rent regulation and end the practice of selling tenant screening reports to landlords to evaluate prospective new tenants
STUY TOWN + PETER COOPER VILLAGE
Ensure that Blackstone continues to honor their commitments to preserve 5K affordable units for 20 years, set limits on yearly increases for Roberts tenants, maintain current configuration of open space and submit to public review any proposed air rights transfers.
Require advance notification for major capital improvements, so residents are aware of the costs and timing of projects.
Reduce the amount of beds at the 30th Street Men's Shelter to manageable levels and ensure that no sex-offenders are allowed into our neighborhood shelters.
Prevent homelessness before it starts by investing in affordable housing and moving long-term street homeless individuals directly into subsidized, supportive housing that provides mental health services, debt counseling, legal and job support services.
Learn from and invest in proven models that provide targeted supportive housing services for homeless individuals and families such as the Scattered Site Housing Model.
DEVELOPMENT + LANDMARKS
Preserve historically significant housing by increasing the use of landmarking to ensure permanent affordability.
Notify Community Boards when developers assemble air rights to add transparency to the process.
Ensure community feedback in implementation of mandatory inclusionary housing plan.
Monitor existing modular (prefabricated construction) development in New York City and other municipalities and identify ways to improve and scale unionized building projects around the City.
Create paid resident-run “neighborhood watch” patrols to create local jobs, ensure community safety, and reduce building vandalism.
Provide a citywide after-school financial literacy program to educate high school students about student loans, saving, credit, and budgeting.
Expand outreach and opportunities for students and families to become more familiar with STEM career paths and programs as early as elementary school and continuing through high school.
Utilize public-private partnerships to expand the New York Public Library’s Hotspot loan program, which will ensure that children have the adequate broadband service required to successfully complete their homework.
Ensure that the Department of Education continues to collect information on race/ethnicity, gender, special education status, English language learner status, primary home language, and address of residence for all pre-K children in order to analyze how to best integrate UPK and identify opportunities for integrated classrooms.
Require schools and universities who receive City funding to train staff on how to respond when students experience cyberbullying as advocated by Hollaback.
FACILITIES + MAINTENANCE
Increase funding for school construction and repair to alleviate crowding and facility rationing.
Monitor the number of available UPK seats in District 4 and ensure that the gap is closed by identifying new providers and easily accessible locations.
To increase equitable access, hire additional counselors in schools to help parents navigate the complex open enrollment process.
Conduct comprehensive, consistent outreach to parents and others in school communities to increase and foster parent interest and participation in their children’s schools and education.
Convene parent advocates from around the City to share best practices, urgent issues, and creative solutions for our local schools.
Research and scale proven programs that encourage healthy eating and fitness habits for students.
Pass an immediate ban on deep/flash-fried foods and junk food vending machines to reduce childhood obesity.
Expand funding for school gardens and gardening programs as well as after-school cooking programs.
Form a Legacy Business Preservation Fund, which will provide qualifying small businesses (including nonprofits) with annual financial assistance. The funds will also provide grants to commercial landlords in exchange for creating 10-year leases with these businesses.
Reform the Commercial Rent Tax to exempt business owners located south of 96th Street who pay less than $500,000 per year, from the current threshold of $250,000.
Establish a new public-private partnership that provides 1,000 small businesses with free advisory committees comprised of volunteers who are experts in key fields.
Create and distribute a free toolkit for small businesses that includes vetted back-end products (i.e. inventory management, payroll, employment support, etc.) and technical assistance training to ensure that entrepreneurs can spend more time working on their businesses, not in their businesses.
Like the City’s MWBE program which aims to increase the participation of Minority and Women Business Enterprises in the economy through local government contracting, amend the administrative code and New York City Charter to establish goals for participation by socially responsible, mission-driven businesses (such as B-Corporations and nonprofit organizations) which allow for the businesses to better compete for government contracts.
Expand programs that support NYCHA-based home businesses, using the NYCHA Food Business Pathways program as a model.
Build on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) by focusing legislation on existing businesses with under 50 employees and under $500,000 in annual revenue.
Support prevailing wage and organizing rights for all workers in New York City.
Support and highlight businesses and employer models that commit to providing workers with a minimum number of work hours and sufficient advance notice of last-minute schedule changes, in contrast to companies that use "just-in-time" and split shift scheduling.
Advocate for the expansion of New York State’s Temporary Disability Insurance program to include paid family leave that raises the current cap on benefits from $170 per week to roughly $600 per week over the course of four years to ensure that mothers and fathers are able to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, and that care of a seriously ill child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, grandchild, grandparent, sibling, or the parent of a spouse or partner is allowed.
Empower individuals to negotiate fair salaries and ensure gender parity by exploring the creation of an online database based on City tax data. To protect the privacy of individuals, the site would list salary information by job title (not name) for companies that employ 50 or more employees.
Adequately fund and expand access to free legal services for immigrant workers and asylum seekers.
Build the capacity of community-based organizations that serve immigrant communities by regularly convening and coordinating groups focused on worker education and workforce development.
Increase support and technical assistance for worker centers (aka day-laborer centers), which offer valuable opportunities for immigrant workers to learn on-site while waiting for employment.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT + TECHNOLOGY
Using the Tech Talent Pipeline as a model, close hiring gaps in the Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) fields by working with employers to specify the skill needed and provide high quality training to local job seekers.
Expand free, multi-lingual technology training to businesses to support increased sales with education that focuses on website development, social media training, and marketing.
Hold the MTA accountable for completion of the Second Avenue Subway since the first phase alone decreased travel times and crowding on the Lexington Avenue line.
Work with the Department of Transportation to quickly identify the best locations for short-term expansion of Select Bus Service on the Upper East Side to reduce congestion on the Lexington line.
Expand and protect local bus service to increase mobility for seniors and people with disabilities.
Advocate for Move NY's fair tolling plan to maintain, modernize, and expand our road, bridge, and transit networks.
Ensure all public school students are provided with a full fare MetroCard by collaborating with the MTA, NYC Department of Education and NYC Office of Pupil Transportation.
Tie further expansion of ridesharing services to a commitment to put more wheelchair accessible vehicles on the road.
BIKE + PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
Hire more bike cops to improve bicycling conditions, safety against careless drivers, and mobility, but also protect pedestrians and seniors from aggressive biking behavior.
Work with the Department of Transportation to model new, lengthy, protected bike lanes much like the Manhattan Waterfront Greenway Bike Route, which will not interfere with pedestrian plazas or traffic.
Follow up on the Transportation Alternative's recommendation to put Vision Zero 2024 back on schedule by adopting interim annual reduction targets and increasing funding for the Department of Transportation to allow for the redesign of the most dangerous streets and intersections, like 76th and Park.
Move away from pollution-generating sanitation garages and toward single-stream, zero waste recycling.
Continue to monitor the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station and the 25th Street Sanitation Garage to guarantee that community needs are met and our children are protected from truck congestion and pollution.
Bring hassle-free composting to District 4 by expanding the NYC Organics program to every resident and business on the East Side.
Create more public open space by expanding the temporary use of our side streets as places to congregate, play, and exercise.
Enhance the district's green canopy by planting thousands of trees in our parks and neighborhoods.
Address the air quality and noise concerns with power plants in neighboring districts by working with power plant operators to find appropriate times to release steam and supporting a resolution to call on the State to phase out the harmful number 4 and 6 oils burned at power plants that serve the City.
Support the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, as long as community needs are addressed, and continue to reinforce our waterfront above 23rd Street, especially Waterside Plaza, with green infrastructure to protect residents against future Sandy events and rising sea levels.
Convene leading experts on climate change to understand what additional regulatory reforms would benefit the City in its effort to become more resilient and advocate for even more proactive legislation.
Continue to enhance the district's green canopy by planting thousands of trees to protect critical transit infrastructure from hurricanes, floods, and climate change.
Enforce recycling laws for restaurants and bars to reduce waste.
Encourage paperless City agencies, which will allow for reduced waste and cost savings.
Continue to monitor and invite community participation in the development of the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station and the 25th Street Sanitation Garage to guarantee that community needs are met and our children are protected from truck congestion and air pollution.
Support the expansion of hassle-free composting to District 4 by expanding the NYC Organics program to every resident and business on the East Side.
Working with the DOB, investigate ways to mitigate noise concerns related to after-hours construction. Explore options such as the use of noise mufflers and sufficient notice to neighborhood residents prior to activity.
Ensure community involvement and continued oversight for all new, large scale construction projects to ensure that noise protections are enforced and quality of life for residents and businesses does not diminish.
Partner with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission to create a Taxi Stand at the Waterside Plaza boat slip so noisy disembarking passengers can leave directly from the pier instead of walking through Stuyvesant Town Peter Cooper Village.
SENIORS AND HEALTH
SENIORS: Launch a robust outreach campaign to educate seniors about Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) benefits since a Department of Finance report found Stuyvesant Town is one of the most under-enrolled neighborhoods in the city, with only 25% of eligible seniors receiving benefits.
Create additional Senior Centers in District 4 and fund programming on weekends for Stein Neighborhood Senior Center and Lenox Hill Neighborhood Senior Center.
Establish a public-private partnership to scale senior-focused technology centers like the first-of-its-kind Senior Planet Center, which provides seniors with social connections and education around technology and health.
Convene organizations that promote Home Sharing for seniors to identify best practices and interventions that can be used to scale safe, sustainable cohabitation that combats the isolation and loneliness experienced by aging alone.
Commit to listening to community needs through a quarterly convening for seniors in District 4 to discuss priority issues impacting senior quality of life.
HEALTH: Hold Mount Sinai Health System accountable to keep their commitment to expand their facilities, including a new hospital at 13th Street and 2nd Avenue to counter the downsizing Beth Israel at 16th Street and 1st Avenue.
Provide free sunscreen in NYC parks, beaches and playgrounds to reduce risk of cancer as suggested in a recent report from NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer.
Support universal health care for all New Yorkers. Specifically, review outcomes from the Direct Access pilot that serves 1,000 immigrant New Yorkers, who are excluded from federal and state insurance programs, with reliable and coordinated access to low-cost healthcare. Using information and learning from the pilot, work with the community to explore pilot expansion.
Bring and expand mobile health clinics that provide preventative care and flu shots to families with small children and seniors.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Prohibit the City from hiring contractors that build private prisons. We need to send a message that profiting of off mass incarceration is wrong and if you partner with these companies, you don’t deserve taxpayer dollars.
Pass the Right to Know Act, the legislative package that would improve communication and the relationship between police and civilians by requiring officers to identify themselves during an encounter, state their reason for making a stop, and explain the right to refuse a search where there is no legal justification.
End the prosecution of fare evaders citywide. No one should be sitting in jail for not being able to afford the cost of a subway ride. Diverting repeat offenders to community service programs instead of prosecuting them is less costly for our city and better for the future of these individuals.
Accelerate the closure of Rikers Island, as advocated by State Senator Brian Benjamin, to bring the injustices and wasted taxpayer dollars to an end. Through decreasing unnecessary arrests, finding alternatives to incarceration, and following through on the creation of a citywide bail fund for nonviolent and low-level offenders, we can work towards closing Rikers in less than 10 years.
Empower the Civilian Complaint Review Board to initiate investigations without receiving a formal complaint, as supported by the good government group, Citizens Union. Without this reform, many incidents of known police misconduct that go unreported by citizens who fear reprisal or simply don’t know they have the option to file a complaint, could be investigated.
Keep Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents out of our courts and schools. We need to resist Donald Trump’s bigoted war on our city’s immigrant population, whom we depend on for its contributions to the city’s economy, culture and vitality. Maintaining our status as a sanctuary city by refusing to cooperate with ICE/DHS when they overstep their bounds and use intimidation tactics will ensure that our city lives out its progressive values.
Improve communication between the State Liquor Authority and NYPD to ramp up enforcement actions against noisy nightlife establishments who repeatedly violate the City’s noise code.
Stop the issuance of After Hours Variances in neighborhoods that are already overburdened by construction continuing past normal work hours.
Bring back “No Honking” signs to the city’s noisiest intersections, using 311 data to determine where they should be placed.
Work with the NYPD and FDNY to initiate a Request for Proposal for quieter siren technology that doesn’t penetrate into the homes of nearby residents.
ARTS & CULTURE
Work with the many arts advocacy organizations in NYC to fight for the classroom space and funding schools need to provide their students with a rich education in music, drama, visual arts, and dance.
Stand up to employers who unfairly misclassify working artists as independent contractors and prevent misclassification before it happens by educating artists about their rights and informing employers about labor best practices.
Build on existing pilot that exchange workshops for public school students, seniors, and NYCHA residents, for access to rehearsal/performance spaces as advocated by League of Independent Theaters NY (LITNY).
Advocate for the Mayor’s office of Media and Entertainment to adopt grant awards guidelines that ensure that arts institutions are paying their musicians and actors fairly.
Sign onto City Council’s City Spaces legislation to create a searchable database of underutilized community and city-owned spaces that can serve as performance and rehearsal spaces.
Expand the Theater Sub-district Fund to include arts organizations with budgets below $250,000/year.
Relieve independent venues of high property taxes and rents by using rezoning and landmarking measures.
Ensure that individuals who make their living from their art have a loud voice in the conversation about affordable housing and ensure that their needs are being met with the creation of new developments (read more about Marti’s plan for affordable housing here)."
"Patrick Bobilin is a resident of Yorkville, a political activist, educator, engineer and proud community organizer. He was raised by a single mother who worked in customer service and struggled to succeed in affording basic needs of housing, food and healthcare despite working 50-hour weeks throughout her life. This instilled in him a profound need to fight for social justice and human rights for the underserved women, children, LGBT-identified individuals and people of color who should not be deprived of basic services under any circumstances.
Patrick was public school educated and, with the help of scholarships and grants, paid his way to become the first in his family to receive an advanced degree. He is also the first member of his family in a generation who has been able to afford to move back to Manhattan, where they came from Bayamon, Puerto Rico in the 1950s. He watched as, one-by-one, his family was uprooted further uptown, Bronx and even upstate because of affordability issues.
Inspired by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Patrick has decided to turn his motivation as a concerned citizen and perennial protester into becoming an engaged political actor. He has organized with Black Lives Matter and has marched for reproductive rights, public schools, and against LGBT discrimination. He will fight for the rights of the 99%, stand up to real estate developers to demand truly affordable housing, to meet the needs of each according to their ability to afford. Together, we will have schools with safe drinking water and challenge a city administration who promised to stand in the way of the 24-hour waste transfer station on the East River, 500 feet from a playing field and affordable housing with no stringent environmental protections yet in its path.
Housing and Affordability:
One-by-one, members of Patrick’s family moved further uptown or upstate from El Barrio because of a lack of truly affordable housing. The current form of affordable forces individuals living near or below the poverty line, receiving SSI/Social Security, to compete in the housing market, as if housing were something less than a human right. We need expanded support for NYCHA and an expansion of NYCHA housing to get the hundreds of thousands of people on waiting lists in affordable housing. Meanwhile, vacant apartments in luxury towers build wealth for people who live outside of the city while residents struggle with rent. We need to bring the concept of homeownership back to middle- and lower-income New Yorkers. We need to change the culture of bare minimums when talking about wages and benefits. We need to remind corporations, city government, and Albany that true affordability is our right, not a tax write-off.
Healthcare is a human right that should be offered to all, according to their needs, regardless of gender, age, sexuality, income or race. Our health and our bodies should not be subject to market forces. I will work tirelessly in the fight for single-payer care for every New Yorker. I will fight to protect and expand public physical and mental health services for all women, children, and LGBT individuals.
Health and Safety in Schools:
Upper Manhattan has some of the best and most innovative public schools in the city. We have great teachers and talented students. We need to maintain diverse schools, with healthy meals provided to every student, and we need to stop putting students and staff at risk with the high-risk lead contamination found in some of our schools. The contamination results found in the water at Roosevelt Island’s PS 217 are shameful and it is up to our elected officials to take responsibility and address this crisis with greater urgency. I will demand health, safety, and diversity in our public schools.
Environmental safety and the 91st Street Transfer Station:
Our elected officials promised us that the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station would not open. We need newly elected officials who will stand up to the developers, special interests, and lobbyists who managed to sway our current administration. The station should absolutely not be opened without a second ramp to divert traffic. Better yet, the station could be repurposed for the community. With the station is in a residential flood zone, we need to demand that the health, safety, and wellness of the people in our neighborhood take precedence over the greed of lobbyists and political special interests.
Replacing empty storefronts with pop-up gallery space to expand the cultural footprint of District 5
Community-based policing and an independent civilian review board for NYPD
Protected pensions, health care and competitive pay for all city and state employees
LGBT inclusiveness training for all public employees and all people working in health and mental hygiene, education and social services, to be taught by LGBT-identified individuals
A cultural shift on how we talk about homelessness and a shared responsibility to provide housing and healthcare needed as basic human rights for all ages, abilities, and identities
Decriminalizing “quality-of-life” offenses in order to unclog our jail systems and protect first-time undocumented offenders
Universal basic income for stay-at-home parents
Full public matching funds and transparency to keep the 1% from influencing policy that affects the 99%
Truly free public universities, including housing subsidies for low-income students
An expansion of loan forgiveness programs for degree-holding graduates, to get this generation and the next out of debt
A jobs program to connect recent graduates and small business owners in order to help graduates build tech careers while helping small businesses run by native and non-native English speakers to be modern and competitive
Continued support of women’s right to choose and public access to free cancer screenings and birth control
Expanded public employee access and training for Naloxone administration in response to the opioid epidemic
Free public access to Naloxone and training provided to individuals and businesses
Air-conditioning units for families and seniors living in public housing
Tenant Protection for Nursing Home, Senior, Disabled and other Special-Needs Housing Residents.
Rent Regulation for NYCHA Residents.
To Preserve Our Historic Buildings and Land sites.
Citywide Rent Regulation for all Rental Residential Housing.
Accommodation of autistics, particularly outer ID, so as to prevent overreaction and panic by Police and others, when they act out.
Gwen is most widely known since 1999, for Founding/Coordinating the Coalition to Save P.S. 109, reversing an already ongoing, illegal demolition by the NYC Board of Education. The Coalition to Save PS 109 went on to landmark PS 109 with the help of the NYC Landmarks Conservancy. Gwen won the first Grassroots Preservation Award by The Historic District Council. Unfortunately, instead of restoring the building as a school that could serve 1,200 East Harlem/El Barrio children, the incumbent and her political allies are converting it into a specialized artist residence, at many times the cost. That “Artspace” as it is called has already created an atmosphere in which INFILL (see above) has gotten off the ground in NYCHA’s nearby Washington Houses.
In 1997 when the Rent Stabilization laws were threatened by abolition, Gwen singularly saw to it that the tenants' movement provided free bus travel for the East Harlem residents to Albany. She also arranged free lunches, as well as mobilizing a significant contingent. Gwen was able to acquire the services, pro bono, of the prestigious law firm, Davis Polk and Wardwell to oppose the reopening of the 100th Street Bus Terminal in 2000. The suit alleged environmental racism. East Harlem suffers from the highest rate of asthma in the USA.
Gwen, initiated the "A Breath of Fresh Air" campaign after 9-11. The program was dedicated to and for the New York City Fireman and Policeman. Gwen asked the resort owners of Cape May, NJ, to give first responders free rest and recuperation weekends in the beautiful bed and breakfasts of Cape May . Thirty-five inns and hotels participated as well 5 restaurants. Gwen was honored both by the New York Daily News , “Spotlight on People” as well as Channel 7 News, “New York City’s Hometown Hero“, for her effort.
Adaptable and versatile, communicative and witty, intellectual and elegant, youthful and lively, Gwen has extraordinary intensity to get things done. Gwen is a great listener, exploring all sides of a question before taking a stand without ambiguity, wishy-washiness or sellout compromise. Gwen will harness a Gemini-like wisdom and inquisitiveness to be able to master rapidly the procedures in City Council and develop effective strategies. It is not often that a candidate is so made-to-order to serve the broad public.
Gwen Goodwin was born on June 8, 1961. She arrived in New York, East Harlem in 1985. She has made her home in East Harlem going on 28 years.
'Hi, I’m Gwen Goodwin, I have been an activist for 30 years.
Most recently, I worked on the Bernie Sanders campaign with my late husband Peter Anderson. We were excited and hopeful because of Bernie’s progressive platform for working and middle class people. As an activist, I have accomplished many achievements of public service: I arranged free Cape May mini-vacations for Firefighters and other First Responders after 911. The name of this program was A Breath of Fresh air. 400 hundred firemen were able to relieve themselves of the toxic air and relax in beautiful historic Cape May.
I saved the l P.S.109 from a demolition in progress, by spearheading the Coalition to save PS 109. I compelled the School Construction Authority to put the roof back on, and we landmarked the building. Today it is on the national Register of historic places.
I was able to enlist the prestigious law firm, Davis, Polk and Wardwell, to sue the MTA pro bono, for environmental racism when they rebuilt the defunct bus terminal at 100 St. and Lexington.
I got the gas power turned on at District 5’s Lexington Houses in August 2013, after it had been off for more than two months, and all elected officials stood idly by. I was able to accomplish all this as a private citizen activist, not holding any office Imagine what I could d o as a City Council member
Some of my goals include Tenant Protection for Nursing Home, senior disabled and other special-needs housing residents. Rent Regulation for NYCHA Residents. Expanded Preservation of Our Historic Buildings and Land Sites. Citywide Rent Regulation for all Rental Residential Housing. Better accommodation for Autistic people, including outer ID, so as to project understanding when they act out. I am familiar with problems of autism among relatives.'”
"Endorsed by The New York Times for his “fresh ideas” and elected in 2013, Ben Kallos represent the East Side and Roosevelt Island in the City Council. He grew up in the neighborhood with his grandparents who fled anti-Semitism in Europe and his mother who still lives here.
MORE SCHOOL SEATS AND STEM FUNDING Won 400 universal Pre-Kindergarten seats for the district and invested millions for STEM (Science, Technology & Math) in public schools.
FIGHTING CORRUPTION Authored laws to prohibit outside income, limit influence of lobbyists and eliminate “legal bribery”; and investigated the Rivington nursing home scandal.
INVESTING IN BETTER PARKS Secured more than $150 million to rehabilitate and expand the East River Esplanade with Congressmember Maloney.
HOLDING THE MTA ACCOUNTABLE Helped open the 2nd Avenue Subway on-time with Governor Cuomo, secured three East Side ferry stops, added off-board payment to M79 and M86, and won 79 new buses for the M15.
EXPANDING AFFORDABLE HOUSING Won two consecutive rent freezes for 1.1 million rent-stabilized tenants and passed Mandatory Inclusionary Housing.
CLEANING UP THE NEIGHBORHOOD Purchased 300 new trash cans to keep more than 100 intersections clean and litter free.
OPPOSING THE MARINE TRANSFER STATION Exposed high costs, moved the ramp, and limited to only using one-third of capacity to keep 300 trucks off our roads—let’s dump the dump.
A third generation Upper East Sider, whose grandparents fled anti-Semitism in Russia and Hungary to build a better life in New York City, Ben Kallos has been the Executive Director of a leading good government group, lawyer, entrepreneur and former Chief of Staff to a local Assembly Member. As a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, SUNY Albany and SUNY Buffalo, he has used his public education for public service in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.
Family and Education
Dr. Andrew Kallos, his grandfather, fled antisemitism in Europe to enlist as a Doctor in the United States Army during World War II. Upon completing his distinguished service, he practiced medicine on the Upper East Side and served patients at Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Roosevelt Island. Dr. June Kallos, his mother, grew up on the Upper East Side to become a psychologist practicing in the area and teaching Psychology for the City University of New York.
Council Member Ben Kallos grew up on the Upper East Side, graduating from Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School, the Bronx High School of Science, where he embraced digital innovation as part of the next generation of after school jobs--the technology consulting firm. Kallos attended SUNY Albany, where he served on the student, faculty and university governments and boards. Kallos paid his own way through University at Buffalo Law School, the State University of New York’s only law school. Kallos had the opportunity to serve as a hearing officer in University at Buffalo’s Student-Wide Judiciary, a progressive judicial system with low recidivism where he had the chance to educate students who violated university rules and often local laws on making better choices. Kallos also fought to protect working class seniors who had seen their life savings and retirements lost in the law school’s Securities Clinic. Kallos became increasingly involved in public service as an Editor for the Buffalo Public Interest Law Journal and interned with the Hon. Renee Forgensi Minarik in the New York State Court of Claims, a regional office of United States Senator Charles Schumer, and the New York State Attorney General’s Internet Bureau. All of these experiences instilled in him a passion for public service.
As an attorney, Kallos was licensed to practice in New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.. While working as an attorney at Gorlick, Kravitz and Listhaus, P.C., Kallos fought for the working families in unions to secure their retirement and health benefits. While litigating these cases in Federal Court, Kallos worked with the Federal Courts Committee of the New York County Lawyers’ Association to improve nationwide Electronic Case Filing. Kallos went on to practice litigation at Abrams, Fensterman, Fensterman, Eisman, Greenberg, Formato & Einiger, LLP.
Kallos has spent his entire political career fighting for New Yorkers. As a member of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council he rose to the position of Statewide Coordination Committee Chair, organizing and managing over 4,000 attorneys and 350 law students, to protect our ability to elect Barack Obama as President. Kallos also created the VoterSearch.org program to help protect the right to vote for over 12 million New Yorkers when he learned that some 2 millions voters had been removed from the voter roles. As a member of Community Board 8 he rose to the position of Co-Chair for the Communications Committee, implementing open source technology on CB8M.com to reduce waste and save the City thousands, publicizing the open application process and opportunities to become a public member. He also helped start the Youth and Education Committee, identified a Free Yellow Bus for youth service providers, and created a Youth and Education Internship to better serve the youth and education needs of the community. Kallos was soon asked to join the Office of Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing as Chief of Staff, where he had the opportunity to work to advance quality education, affordable housing, public health and safety, tax reform and open government and work to improve the lives of New Yorkers.
Continuing a path of public service, Kallos signed on as Executive Director of the New Roosevelt Initiative, New York State’s first government reform political committee. The group successfully helped oust disgraced Senator Pedro Espada, electing reformer Gustavo Rivera in his place. Following the victory, New Roosevelt launched the Citizens’ Committee for an Effective Constitution, a coalition of opposites, building http://EffectiveNY.org to host public discussion of the New York State Constitution and serve as a non-partisan platform for how to best reform the constitution and create effective change on issues including campaign finance reform and redistricting.
As your City Council Member, Ben Kallos is fighting for our community's issues, opening his office at 244 East 93rd Street to the public, and will always be accountable to the people of the Fifth district."
Helen Rosenthal represents the Upper West Side in the New York City Council. Leading voice on issues of accessibility, civic engagement, affordable housing, pedestrian safety, the environment, and adequate funding for social service providers.
Helen’s vote total in the general election was the highest of any candidate running for City Council in New York City.
Helen is a staunch advocate for people with disabilities. In March 2017, the City Council passed her legislation requiring that all new or renovated City of New York assembly areas install “Hearing Loop” technology for those with hearing loss.
In March 2016 the Mayor signed into law Helen’s two bills that expand access to City services for New Yorkers with disabilities. Under one of the new laws, City agencies must employ a Disability Service Facilitator and post that person’s contact information clearly on their website so people with disabilities can get the help they need from that agency. Under the second new law, government materials advertising open public meetings must include information on accessibility accommodations and a contact to request accommodations so that people with disabilities can participate more easily.
Helen pioneered Student Voter Registration Day, which registered over 8,500 New York City high school students to vote in time for the 2016 presidential primary and brought civic education to thousands more. She also brought Participatory Budgeting (PB) to the Upper West Side so residents can vote on how to spend $1 million of taxpayer money each year to improve local parks, schools, and streets.
Helen is committed to school de-segregation. She supports the School District 3 rezoning plan because it fosters educational excellence, creates more diversity, and addresses capacity issues in our schools. Helen stood firmly with the Community Education Council, which voted 9-1 in favor of the rezoning.
Maintaining affordable housing is a major issue on the Upper West Side – over the past five years nearly 2,500 rent regulated apartments have been de-regulated, often as a result of tenant harassment.
Helen offers free, monthly housing clinics with access to legal advice from lawyers as well as a discussion of current events as they relate to affordable housing, and she has a full-time housing specialist on staff. Helen is a champion of the Rent Freeze program for seniors and people with disabilities, and she introduced the legislation that expanded the income threshold for the Disabilities Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) program from $29,000 to $50,000.
In addition, her district office first sounded the alarm when the Department of Finance (DOF) tried to reduce or remove Rent Freeze benefits for 5,700 New York City seniors and people with disabilities; as a result, DOF agreed to grandfather in these tenants.
Helen is a lead voice on regulating Airbnb and other short-term rental sites, which exacerbate the shortage of affordable housing, landlord harassment, and racial profiling.
Helen is a leader on pedestrian safety in the Council. “Cooper’s Law”, her legislation to remove taxi drivers who kill or critically injure others from the streets, was one of eleven bills in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero package of legislation and was signed into law in June 2014. In September 2016, the Council passed Helen’s Bike to Work Bill, which requires office buildings to allow foldable bikes in passenger elevators.
Helen is outspoken on the importance of divesting from fossil fuels and investing in green energy. Her legislation for the environment includes bills to allow for citizen enforcement of idling vehicles and the regulation of tourist helicopters, two key sources of air and noise pollution. In April 2015 the City Council adopted Helen’s resolution declaring the City of New York a “TPP-Free Zone” and urging Congress not to grant President Obama “fast-track” authority over, or permission to sign, the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
As Chair of the Contracts Committee, Helen is fighting for more funding for social service nonprofit service providers, which are chronically shortchanged. Many nonprofit providers struggle financially because government at all levels pay late and inadequately for the services. These nonprofits provide essential services like job training, early childhood education, and services for seniors, teens, and people with disabilities. Investing in these nonprofits will create better jobs for the over 200,000 New Yorkers in this sector and better service for the 2.5 million New Yorkers served by it.
Helen is also very focused on ways to reform the City of New York’s $15 billion worth of contracts with for-profit and non-profit service providers. Helen has begun an examination of how these contracts are awarded; how they are structured in terms of payment levels; and ways to streamline the reimbursement process for non-profit providers.
Helen serves on the following Committees: Finance; Housing and Buildings; Education; Cultural Affairs, Libraries, and Intergroup Relations; and Oversight and Investigations. She is also a member of the Council’s 12-member Budget Negotiating Team (BNT) and a Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus.
Helen received a B.A. from Michigan State University and a Masters in Public Health from Yale University. She lives with her husband on the Upper West Side, and they have two daughters. In good weather Helen bikes to work 2-3 times a week."
"In the 29 years Mel Wymore has lived on the Upper West Side, he has been one of our community's most active and effective leaders. After 22 years representing us on Community Board 7―including two terms as its elected chair―Mel won the 2013 endorsement of The New York Times for his decades of tangible improvements to our community. An engineer by training, Mel's passion is activism and public service. He has raised two successful children on the Upper West Side.
In recent years, unregulated overdevelopment and high costs have hurt seniors, overcrowded our schools, and left storefronts vacant as beloved local businesses disappear.
Mel's record of tangible victories makes him the best choice to take on these challenges. As chair of Community Board 7, Mel led groundbreaking negotiations to take on one of the biggest real estate developers in the city. Mel forced the developer to pay hundreds of millions of dollars for the first new public school building on the Upper West Side in 30 years, 600 units of permanent affordable housing, and expansion of Riverside Park, all without taxpayers paying a dime.
Mel is the right choice this year to stand up to big real estate and save small businesses, stop overcrowding in our schools, expand affordable housing and services for seniors, and clean up our neighborhood.
A lifelong community organizer, Mel has cofounded or chaired more than 30 organizations and civic groups formed to improve our quality of life and empower youth, seniors, people with disabilities, small businesses, local nonprofits, the LGBT community and low-income families of the Upper West Side.
Mel believes that everyone deserves a safe, secure life in our neighborhood. He organized neighbors to start the Stratford Arms Meal Program, which provided food security to seniors for more than 20 years. As chair of the West Side Y, Mel promoted youth development and mentorship opportunities, new programs for seniors, reconstruction of the community theater, and expansions of pre-school and teen facilities. As chair of Ethical Culture Fieldston School PTA, Mel focused on increasing diversity, which grew from 16 to 40 percent over a ten-year period.
In 2013, Mel was among the first openly transgender candidates to run for public office. If he wins the 2017 City Council race, he would be the first-ever transgender elected official in a major American city―a resounding message that hate has no place in New York. As executive director of TransPAC, an organization dedicated to advancing the rights of transgender people in New York, Mel received wide acclaim for his work to beat IDC members and elect a progressive New York State Senate in 2016.
Formally trained in mathematics, speech communications, and systems engineering, Mel’s professional experience spans several industries, including manufacturing, transportation, communications, hospitality, and digital enterprise."
"Mark Levine is a New York City Council Member representing the 7th District in Northern Manhattan. He is a progressive policy leader on housing, education, economic justice, transportation, environmentalism, and more.
Mark has been a strong advocate for addressing inequality in New York City. He chairs the City Council’s Committee on Parks and Recreation, where is pushing for greater equity for parks in New York’s low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. He is also a leading voice on affordable housing issues, including the fight to get legal representation for all tenants in housing court. As chair of the City Council’s Jewish Caucus he is focused on combating Jewish poverty in New York City and fostering inter-group relations.
Mark is also a member of the Finance, Education, Housing & Buildings, Government Operations, and Rules committees. He serves on the Council’s Policy Working Group and is a member of the Progressive Caucus. He is Vice Chair of the Progressive Caucus Alliance, which supports progressive candidates running for local office in New York City.
In the 7th Council District Mark has fought for safer streets, faster bus service, better schools, cleaner parks, more affordable housing, and development which fits the scale and context of the neighborhood.
Mark began his career as a bilingual math and science teacher at Junior High School 149 in the South Bronx. He went on to found Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union, which helps low-income families in Upper Manhattan gain access to financial services including more than $15 million in microloans. In the years before he entered the City Council, Mark served as Executive Director of Teach For America-New York and as Executive Director of the Center for After-School Excellence at TASC. He has been recognized nationally for his work as a social entrepreneur.
Mark also has long taken a leading role in his community. He was elected as a Democratic district leader in 2007. He also founded the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan, a diverse grassroots organization focused on progressive activism and political reform. Mark served as chair of the Traffic and Transportation Committee on Manhattan Community Board 12 where he called for improved subway and bus service and championed the cause of making streets safer for bicyclists.
Mark graduated from Haverford College with a B.A. in physics. He received a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Mark resides with his wife and their two sons in Washington Heights and he speaks Spanish and Hebrew."
"Thomas Lopez-Pierre: is a 48 year old Christian man (Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior) of Dominican, Puerto Rican and Haitian descent (born addicted to drugs, raised in foster care and group homes).
Thomas Lopez-Pierre: a sinner, saved by God's grace is a man of the people, fighting for economic and social justice by protecting residential tenants and small business owners from being pushed out of their apartments and/or place of business by greedy landlords.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre's campaign for NYC City Council is rooted in economic and social justice.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre has 6 year old twin girls and a 11 year old son from a previous marriage.
A native New Yorker, Thomas Lopez-Pierre's professional background is rooted in social responsibility and devoted to economic empowerment and philanthropic endeavors that help strengthen his community.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre serves as the Executive Director of the Harlem Family Eviction Prevention Fund, Inc.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre is an active and proud member of the Barack Obama Democratic Club of Upper Manhattan.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre attended John Jay College/CUNY.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre is a member of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.
Thomas Lopez-Pierre lives in the Manhattan Valley section of Upper Manhattan."
"Diana Ayala is a candidate for City Council in the 8th District. She has worked for nearly two decades serving the people of the 8th District in social service agencies and government, and is a passionate advocate on issues including housing, gun violence and senior services. She currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff for Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
Diana was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, and migrated to New York City with her family as a child. Growing up in public housing after a time in the shelter system, she experienced numerous challenges that would help give her a unique voice and perspective in government and politics, and drive her passion for public service.
As an expecting teenage mom, the father of Diana's son was shot and killed in a senseless shooting, after which she returned to shelter. She later entered into a new relationship that proved abusive. In the face of these challenges, she found the personal strength to start her life over. She enrolled in school and received her degree in Human Services from Bronx Community College.
Diana first worked as a Senior Center Director in East Harlem for seven years. She went on to serve as Constituent Services Director and then Deputy Chief of Staff for Speaker Mark-Viverito.
In her current capacity, Diana has been instrumental in crafting legislation that has become law, from expanding tenants’ rights to cracking down on the sale of synthetic marijuana (K2). Diana has worked hand-in-hand with constituents to address issues ranging from housing, homelessness and mental health, to schools, immigration and gun violence. She is a partner with the people and a strong voice and aggressive champion for what she believes in.
Diana lives in East Harlem with her life partner Frankie. She has four children and three grandchildren.
In nearly a decade working for Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Diana's work has touched countless families in the 8th District through her work in constituent services. She has also helped spearhead a number of local initiatives as well as legislative action to address issues facing our district:
K2 Legislation Diana's work in our district helped bring attention to the impact of synthetic marijuana (K2) on neighborhoods like East Harlem and the South Bronx. As a result, the Council passed a package of legislation to combat the sale of this harmful substance.
Participatory Budgeting Diana has been an integral part of District 8's Participatory Budgeting (PB) initiative, working to give local residents a voice in how taxpayer dollars are spent.
Age Friendly Neighborhoods Diana has spent over 20 years fighting to improve the lives of our local seniors. She helped lead an effort to make East Harlem an Age Friendly Neighborhood, including developing the first-ever dedicated pool hours for seniors, which has since expanded to parks around the city. Recognizing the growth of our senior population in the South Bronx, Diana has begun the process of launching an Age Friendly planning process in Mott Haven.
125th Street Task Force In the face of persistent challenges at the intersection of 125th Street and Lexington Avenue, Diana led a task force made up of city agencies, social service organizations and neighbors which developed a multi-pronged strategy that has successfully improved the quality of life in this area. This model helped inform City Council legislation to create Neighborhood Support Teams throughout the five boroughs."
"When seeking a leadership position, it is not always the most experienced or most 'qualified' that is most effective. A role like City Council Member requires a person with relationship building skills. Someone that can collaborate and work with colleagues to advance legislation that will benefit NYC, while also reaching out and being accessible to district residents and ensuring their voices are being heard. Likewise, relationships should be forged with thought leaders and community activists with bold solutions to the issues that plague our community. It's time for new leadership, politics, as usual, has left us stuck. We have representatives who are at the mercy of Real Estate Developers and other big ticket donors, while I just want to represent the people. I am the best person to represent our district because I have a new and fresh approach to tackling issues like affordable housing, living wage, a path to citizenship, homelessness, parental alienation, mental health issues, education and many others. I'm not the same ole, same ole. I don't just talk a good game, show up to an event, give a speech and bounce. I stay and I roll up my sleeves, engage and share ideas. I am a community participant. I sit on the board of 596 acres advocating for community land access. I teach aspiring entrepreneurs through the services of WIBO training to support new and future business owners. I also manage 70 leaders and lead 421 young women to reach for their dreams and be an active part of this community.
FAMILY COURT REFORM
August 25, 2013; my daughter committed suicide due to the failed systems of Children and Family services and family court. I want to make sure families don’t have to go through the pain of losing a child due to the failures of institute’s setup to protect them. I am your voice for Family Court Reform.
HOUSING FOR ALL
No family should have to uproot their lives because they can no longer stay in their neighborhood because of high rents and lack of permanent housing. Therefore, I will protect, preserve and demand affordable permanent housing to make sure each resident has an affordable and safe place to call home regardless of their income. I am in favor of Movement for Justice in El Barrio’s 10-point plan to preserve rent stabilized housing. I'm also in favor of Picture the Homeless Housing not warehouse act as well.
Our immigration system is broken. There are too many people getting taken advantage of on their path to becoming a citizen. My opponent's policies wouldn't solve anything. I favor an affordable pathway to citizenship by partnering with a reputable non-profit organization and attorneys to help offset the cost for all law-abiding residents of New York.
QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL
Each and every child in our community deserves the opportunity to grow up to live a successful life. Every child needs excellent schools, professional teachers and quality afterschool programs. Smaller class sizes help children learn because they allow teachers to spend more one-on-one time with each student, providing the individualized instruction they need and quality afterschool programs provide a safe environment for our children.
Minimum wage workers earn less than $500 a week. No matter where you live, that's just not enough money to make ends meet. This is about people in our district who show up every day and work hard so their employer can make a profit. At the very least, everyone in our district deserve to be paid at $20 per hour.
An important part of my job will be to help protect you from crime. The question is, which policies make you safer? A lot of jurisdictions get better evidence from suspects and witnesses by requiring that all police questioning be recorded electronically and by police officer’s given their name before they make an arrest. It eliminates disputes about what was said, it protects the innocent and makes it easier to convict the guilty. I’m not saying all our police have done anything wrong in the past, it’s just technology and time has changed rapidly and we should take advantage of it. If we can do something that simple to help get some felons off our streets, it’s my responsibility to make it happen----so we can all be safer and more secure."
"A lifelong New Yorker, Robert J. Rodriguez has dedicated his career to protecting and creating affordable housing, increasing employment opportunities, and ensuring our children get the quality education they deserve. He hopes to continue that leadership from City Hall as the next council member representing District 8.
Elected into the State Assembly in 2010, Robert currently represents over 130,000 residents in the neighborhoods of East Harlem/El Barrio, the Upper East Side, Central Harlem, and Randall’s Island. Throughout his time in office he has been a champion for NYCHA tenants and affordable housing, working tirelessly to ensure that New York City remains affordable for working families and senior citizens.
During his tenure, Robert has worked to improve New York’s transit, roads, and bridges with his Move NY Fair Plan bill, which would lock in revenue for necessary upgrades. He has fought aggressively for the MTA to put $1.5 billion back in their capital plan for phase two of the Second Avenue Subway. Robert has also advocated for a productive waterfront along the East River Esplanade, inclusive of park space and waterfront access.
Moving forward, Robert is focused on continuing this work while also increasing opportunities for youth and seniors; as well as increasing access and opportunities for Women and Minority Owned Business Enterprises.
Born and raised in El Barrio, Robert attended P.S. 112, River East, Isaac Newton, and graduated from Cardinal High School in The Bronx. He later received his B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from New York University.
Before being elected Robert served as the Chairman of Community Board 11, representing the neighborhoods of East Harlem. He worked to develop infrastructure that allowed all East Harlem residents had access to the benefits of development, as well as access to the variety of cultural and social services offered by New York City.
Robert also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone where he helped guide the disbursement of over $82 million in for-profit financing and $13 million in grants for non-profit organizations in East Harlem. He also served on the board of the Terrence Cardinal Cooke Community Advisory Board, Catholic Charities Community Services of New York, while also serving on the board of SCANNY – a youth and family services organization located in East Harlem and the South Bronx.
Currently, Robert resides in El Barrio with his wife and son.
As a product of the public schools in East Harlem’s District 4, Robert understands that when it comes to our schools, students have to be the top priority.
As an Assemblymember, Robert has worked to highlight the lack of technology in our schools in his report “Uptown Upgrade.” In Albany, Robert fought hard to eliminate the barriers that surrounded K-12 education. These actions resulted in a budget that prioritized education and increased foundation aid, including a $50 million increase in aide for community schools. Robert has also remained focused on making a higher education available to more young men and women, sponsoring legislation that would enable students to automatically apply to SUNY and CUNY.
As a council member, Robert will continue to be a strong supporter for teachers by making sure they have the resources, training, and equipment necessary to give each student the education they deserve.
It is vital that residents of East Harlem and the South Bronx have access to reliable subway service and affordable fares without facing the severe overcrowding riders currently experience.
From Albany, Robert Rodriguez has worked for transportation equity with his Move NY Fair Plan bill. This progressive plan would lock in over $1 billion in available resources to invest in the City’s transportation infrastructure and work to keep fares affordable.
Phase 2: Second Avenue Subway
In Albany, Robert fought aggressively for the MTA to put $1.5 billion back into their capital plan for Phase 2 of the Second Avenue Subway. From City Hall, Robert will continue to work with City and State agencies to ensure that phase two of construction remains on schedule.
Robert Rodriguez is dedicated to maintaining a building and community infrastructure that both enhances and protects resident’s quality of life.
In order to preserve valuable open spaces along the City’s waterfront, Robert proposed a 30-year feasibility plan to revitalize the East Harlem waterfront from 96th to 125th Streets. From 2015-2017 he was able to secure $4 million to build a state-of-the-art East River Esplanade and PIer 107 in East Harlem.
Air Quality Protection
Just as we require smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in our buildings, it is important that methane detectors are also prioritized. In Albany, Robert introduced legislation requiring the installation of combustible gas detectors in all residential dwellings. This legislation will save lives, property, city resources, and the environment from needless destruction due to gas leaks.
Since his time serving as Chair of Community Board 11 in East Harlem, and continuing during his time serving in the Assembly, Robert Rodriguez has been a champion for NYCHA tenants and affordable housing. District 8 needs experienced representation that understands the issues housing tenants face.
As a City Council representative, Robert Rodriguez will make sure NYCHA developments receive the repairs they have been promised, fight to preserve developments, help to address the long waiting lists, and work to remove scaffolding sheds from properties where no active work is taking place.
Throughout his tenure in Albany, Robert has fought for clean energy, clean water, renewable energy, and open space.
Addressing Climate Change
Last year, Robert co-sponsored A10342, enacting the New York State climate and community protection act, which would help put the State on track to minimize the adverse impacts of climate change through a combination of measures to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions.
Resiliency & Recovery
In May of 2015, Robert introduced legislation that would give special powers to the New York State Environmental Corp. to aid in the protection of New Yorkers during times of flooding by allowing them to own and improve resiliency at the East River Esplanade.
As a supporter of renewable energy and emissions control, Robert believes the CIty must further its commitment to an electric taxi fleet. With more of these vehicles and charging stations available, the City will be able to significantly lessen its carbon footprint while also saving money on transportation costs.
Criminal Justice Reform
Growing up in El Barrio, Robert is no stranger to the struggle of keeping New York’s streets safe. The moment Robert became a community activist, he began working to increase public safety. In his capacity as a State Assemblyman, Robert was a supporter of Raise the Age and the decriminalization of marijuana. In 2010 50,383 people were arrested for low-level marijuana possession - 86% of whom were black or latino. Robert believes in supporting progressive legislation that ensures our young people are given a fair chance to turn their lives around.
Creating a thriving community is also about creating a healthy one. Assemblyman Robert Rodriguez is committed to increasing the quality of life for East Harlem and South Bronx community members and bringing additional resources to address the health issues that disproportionately affect residents of District 8.
Healthcare & Seniors
Pushing for investment in primary care facilities, Robert passed legislation to provide funding for the construction of the facilities and will continue to advocate for the success of partnerships with providers and specialty care clinics.
East Harlem and the South Bronx have the highest rates of asthma in the nation, with air pollution and traffic activity being rooted as primary asthma triggers. With Robert’s proven record of fighting for environmental legislation, he can be counted on to improve outdoor air quality and family health through the reduction or elimination of asthma triggers."
"Cordell Cleare is an activist and advocate. She has fought for environmental and social justice, tenant’s rights and better educational opportunities and resources for public school students. She was the recipient of the 1997 Brooke Russell Astor Award for her advocacy to prevent childhood lead poisoning. Ms. Cleare served as the Chair of the New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning (NYCCELP) for over 12 years. NYCCELP is the grassroots organization that led the fight to bring about the most comprehensive childhood lead poisoning prevention law in the nation (Local Law 1 of 2004).
She served as staff to former City Councilman and Deputy Majority Leader Bill Perkins. She advocated for individuals as well as the community as a group on a wide range of issues. Her work in that office was effective and often brought positive results; from getting public benefits restored to preventing illegal evictions and uncovering national scandals. Cordell worked extensively with former City Councilman Perkins on a variety of critical community and legislative matters including black male unemployment, land use & historic preservation, infant mortality, justice for the Central Park 5 and of course lead poisoning prevention to name a few.
Cordell Cleare was elected to Community School Board District 3 and served from 1999 – 2004. After the mayoral dismantling of school boards and Community District Education Councils were formed in 2004 she was elected by parents to the District 3 Community Education Council in 2004 and again in 2005 and continued to serve until the end of her term in 2007. As an education advocate she has supported Campaign for Fiscal Equity efforts and joined the fight for badly needed resources, funding, and technology and capital improvements, particularly in the most underserved and lowest performing schools in the district. Parent empowerment and involvement, qualified teachers and reforms to policies and practices that result in major inequities between schools in and/or students from certain neighborhoods and socio-economic backgrounds are among the many issues Ms. Cleare fought for.
As the female Democratic District Leader in the 68th Assembly District in Harlem (2007 – 2015) Cordell has organized and participated in many efforts to build and improve the community and encourage participation in the political process. Through the Sojourner Truth Democratic Club, she supported and worked successfully to get numerous Democratic candidates on the ballot and elected to federal, state, city and party positions. After the 2010 Census and the redistricting that followed in 2012 Cordell Cleare was drawn into a new district (70th Assembly District) where she ran for and successfully won the vacant seat in 2015.
In 2007 Cordell Cleare served as Coordinator of “CD 15 for Obama” and led petitioning efforts to get then Senator Barack Obama on the ballot in the 15th congressional district in New York, gathering the second highest number of signatures for Barack Obama for President than any other congressional district on the East Coast. Cordell also sat as a delegate for Presidential Candidate Obama in the historic 2008 National Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado.
Cordell Cleare served as Chief of Staff to State Senator Bill Perkins (2006 - 2016) where continued to work through his office on important issues affecting the community. She currently serves as the Female Democratic District Leader of the 70th Assembly District, Part A."
"Dr. Tyson-Lord Gray, 37, is a Harlem resident and advocate for social and environmental justice. Reared in a single parent home on public assistance, he learned first hand the challenges posed by economic and environmental poverty. Yet, it was the determination of his mother to provide a better life for her only child and the support of the community that kept him off the streets and in school.
For over 20 years he has worked to increase social justice and environmental awareness with a diverse array of organizations including Harlem based organizations such as West Harlem Environmental Action (WEACT) and Harlem Grown as well as local churches and faith-based organizations. He currently teaches at NYU and Pace University and formerly provided a range of "pro bono" services at The Legal Aid Society to their legally indigent clients. Those issues, ranging from homeless rights and public housing policy to public benefits and disability rights, are among the fundamental concerns for residents who reside within the 9th City Council District.Tyson is also the founder of Green Community Vision, Inc., a not-for-profit organization aimed at increasing environmental awareness in communities of color.
- Served 6 years as a Chaplain Candidate Program Officer in U.S. Navy
- M.Div. from Morehouse School of Religion
- S.T.M. from Boston University
- Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University
- J.D. from Pace University, Elisabeth Haub School of Law
"As a young man, Marvin served four years in the United States Navy. After being honorably discharged from the military in 1986, he worked in the printing field before starting his career with the New York City Transit Authority in 1991 as a Station Cleaner.
Always an active Local 100 member, over time he went on to hold a number of elected and unelected offices, including Grievance Officer and Shop Steward. In 2003 he was elected to the TWU Local 100 Executive Board, a NYC Central Labor Council delegate in 2004 and as Section Chair of the Stations Department in 2010. He served as Director of Political and Community Action Development from 2010 to 2012 before taking on his current position.
Political and Community Action
Under Marvin’s direction, TWU Local 100 has become a political powerhouse in New York races, helping to elect dozens of local legislators, in particular black women such as Assemblypersons Diana Richardson, Rodneyse Bichotte, Latrice Walker, Pam Harris and Tremaine Wright, who were all championed and chosen by Marvin as candidates to support early in their careers. ( Assemblypersons Rodneyse Bichotte, Latrice Walker and Diana RichardsonL-R.)
Due to his strong advocacy for labor, civil and human rights and education, Marvin has been invited to sit on the boards for theLatino Leadership Institute,theMid-Manhattan Branch of the NAACP, theMaking The Grade Foundation, theNYC Labor/Religion Coalition,theSolidarity Board of Community Voices Heard, theAfrican-American Day Parade Advisory Board, theCUNY Murphy Center Labor Executive Advisory BoardandPA’LANTE Harlem, a housing advocacy group.
He has been recognized many times over for his work, most recently with the Latino Leadership Institute Labor Award (2014), the Making the Grade Community Award (2014), the Political Action award from the CUNY Murphy Center (2014) and the prestigious Labor Award presented by the NYS Black & Latino Legislative Caucus (2016) and the Labor industries “Good Scout” award, presented by the Boy Scouts of America. Marvin has received citations and proclamations from numerous elected officials. He attended Cornell University, focusing on Industrial Labor Relations.
A native New Yorker who was born and raised in Manhattan,Marvin is a resident of Harlem. He lives with his wife of 35 years, Carole, with whom he has three children – Justin, Alizabeth, and Xavier.
"Bill Perkins, Democrat—Working Families, was re-elected to the New York City Council in a Special Election on February 14th, 2017.
During the previous decade, Bill Perkins represented the 30th Senatorial District which is part of New York County and encompasses Harlem, the great preponderance of East Harlem, the Upper West Side and Washington Heights. A lifelong resident of Harlem, Bill Perkins started his political career as a community activist and is known for his tenacious and unyielding commitment to serving the community. The young, elderly and the most vulnerable New Yorkers have always been Bill’s legislative priorities.
From 1998-2005, Bill Perkins served on the New York City Council. During his initial tenure, he was the third highest ranking member of the Council serving as the Deputy Majority Leader. As Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Perkins was the prime sponsor of the Childhood Lead Paint Poisoning Prevention Act of 2004 which protects children from the deadly effects of lead paint in their homes. Thanks to his efforts, New York has the strongest lead paint prevention law in the country.
A strong advocate of public education, Bill Perkins has fought to provide every child equal access to a quality education. He advocated for and allocated funding for computer technology, public libraries and the rehabilitation of school playgrounds. He helped fight for and won increased funding for the City University of New York (CUNY) scholarships, full-time staffing and college preparatory courses. Bill is one of the leading voices on maintaining the public university’s mission of access and excellence.
Senator Perkins knows the importance of early cancer detection. He has been successful in establishing early detection programs increasing awareness of colon and other cancers in city hospitals so cancer patients stand to have a better chance at survival and recovery. He helped safeguard the health of children and adults by fighting against conditions that trigger asthma like pesticide use, diesel buses and rats. In response to a myriad of health concerns in our community, Bill was the leader in the fight to combat the high rates of infant and maternal mortality, and has worked tirelessly on essential issues such as the crusade to end HIV/AIDS and the fight to enact universal, single-payer healthcare in New York State, forever putting “Patients Before Profits.”
A strong voice in the fight for civil rights and civil liberties, Bill Perkins originally introduced the Patriot Act Resolution in the City Council which mandates that anti-terrorism laws and policies be implemented in New York City in a manner that does not infringe on the fundamental rights and liberties of New Yorkers. He also opposed racial, ethnic and religious profiling. He sponsored landmark legislation to protect the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender communities. He was instrumental in leading the fight for the Living Wage to provide a minimum wage that was also a living wage, for all.
As a youth, Bill Perkins recognized the importance of a quality education. He worked hard and was awarded a scholarship to Collegiate Preparatory School in Manhattan and later a scholarship to Brown University. After graduating from Brown in 1972 with a BA in Political Science, Bill returned to New York and dedicated himself to giving back to his community through activism and public service. Bill Perkins has continued on that mission ever since and remains committed through this very day to fight for fairness, justice, equity and improving the lives of those he represents."
"For over 16 years Harlem Community Leader Julius Tajiddin has proven, not only does he fight hard for Harlem, but he also gets results. He is a Voice that is needed, a Voice that is Heard, a Voice that is for Now!
With Harlem's Legacy being under attack the time has come to put this Armed Forces Veteran in the New York City Council.
There is not question that Julius Tajiddin has been a tireless, effective Community Leader. Whether it was the time when he served on Community Board 10's Land Use, Housing and Education Committees; Community Board 9's Steering Committee for Manhattanville's Community Benefits Agreement with Columbia University; Frederick Douglass Academy 2's School Leadership Team as its Chairman, Wadleigh High School Campus' Leadership Team as its co-chairman or the Harlem Street Merchants Association as its current Chairman, Tajiddin is a force to be reckoned with.
He has stood up to Corruption forcing resignations of corrupt officials or their prosecutions; was a Critical Advocate in slowing down unfair Charter School co-locations in public school buildings throughout the city, and Helped the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture obtain one of its most valuable archives.*
Some of Tajiddin's Effect include
> Strategized the Shabazz Family's prosecution against Ebay in 2003 that reclaimed one of the most valuable caches of Malcolm X papers to date.*
> Co-founded Harlem4Obama in 2007.
> Orchestrated [President] Barack Obama's historic visit to the world famous Apollo Theater in November of 2007.
> Saved over 30,000 Rent Stabilized apartments from being deregulated in 2008 after successfully negotiating with the DHCR officials to change its unconstitutional Preferential Rent Policy, and 24,000 Public Housing residents from losing their apartments in 2010 after forcing NYCHA to scrap an unjust Section 8 program.
> In 2011 prevented the Department of Education from closing the Wadleigh School of the Performing and Visual Arts and Frederick Douglass Academy 2's middle schools.
> Helped create a community/ACS partnership in Central Harlem where members of the Community participate in Child Safety Conferences which has resulted in a reduction of unfair removal of children from their families.
> In 2013 co-created the Neighborhood Coordinating Officers Community Policing Program a community alternative to Stop and Frisk.
> In 2016, co-sponsored a bill in Albany to justly compensate wrongfully incarcerated prisoners.
The Tajiddin Handprint for the future includes:
* Bringing back vocational training in the public schools
* Enacting laws that will protect senior citizens from losing their apartments and homes through scams
* Bringing in more Income Targeted Housing to neighborhoods that need affordable housing and not allow the development of luxury housing in neighborhoods that are Plurality African American, Latino, or Asian or any other group to outpace low and moderate income housing
* Creating Public Housing Improvement Districts that will foster new jobs for Public Housing residents, empower residents and surrounding communities, keep their families together and improve and strengthen their quality of life
* Improve the economic condition overall of Council District 9's plurality.
When you really think about it, it's not clever slogans that we need, it's about who can deliver. The question is: Who has already delivered for Harlem? There is only one answer. Julius Tajiddin. The Tajiddin Effect cannot be discounted. Tajiddin is the ONLY Choice!"
"Jack was born in Harlem Hospital to two loving parents and raised in the church. As a lifelong Harlem resident, Jack as seen firsthand what drugs, poverty and the lack of employment, opportunities, and resources can do to a community.
However, he soon became another statistic of substance abuse being addicted to drugs and was incarcerated. In prison, Jack remembered his mother’s words and faith and gave his heart to Christ.
Now, twelve years free from drugs and a dedicated father, grandfather, and husband, he is hell-bent on making others see that there is more to life than selling and doing drugs. He is a member of First Church of Christ Holiness, a consultant at Harlem Children’s Zone, and an advocate for justice reform.
Jack’s favorite quote is from Mark Twain that said, "The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why."
Therefore, he is running for Councilman for District 9, to help the communities and take back Harlem, making it a district of respect, giving youths the opportunity for a better tomorrow and pride in themselves. Jack is a candidate we all can get behind."
"Pierre Andre Gooding— Teacher | Attorney | Politician — serving Harlem by running for your City Council in District 9 in New York City. Gooding was elected President for the undergraduate class of 2006 and Vice President for the law school class of 2011 at the University of Pennsylvania, respectively. A Democrat and Libertarian, Gooding’s political ideology focuses on fiscal responsibility and social liberalism.
Gooding was born in the Grant Houses in Harlem. Due to rampant unemployment and failing schools in the neighborhood, Gooding’s family moved to Massachusetts, and Gooding attended public school in Haverhill. As a child, Gooding participated in the Johns Hopkin's Center for Talented Youth and the Princeton Summer Institute for the Gifted programs, scoring a 1020 on his SATs in 8th grade. Gooding attended Haverhill High School where he served as Vice President for C’02 and participated in varsity track, tennis (captain) and cross country teams.
Upon graduation, Gooding went to Penn, majoring in Political Science and Sociology. While in college, Gooding was a member of the Undergraduate Assembly and Class Board and served as President for Tau Epsilon Phi. Gooding was awarded the Spoon in 2006, one of the top leadership award at the University (along with the Althea K. Hottel Award for women). Gooding was accepted to Penn Law his senior year but deferred attendance to teach 6th and 8th grade English as a Second Language at Intermediate School 143m, Eleanor Roosevelt Junior High School in Washington Heights as a Teach For America corps member. He received a Masters in Teaching from Pace University in 2008.
Gooding then returned to Penn for law school, serving as secretary for the Council of Student Representatives and Class Leadership Committee. Following graduation, Gooding worked in Miami as a corporate litigation specialist, and was elected to the Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyer Section Board of Directors in 2012, and served as a chair of the rainmakers and homeless outreach committees. Gooding then returned to New York to utilize his attorney skills in the education space as legal counsel for Success Academy Charter Schools. Gooding has also focused his legal efforts in New York on protecting the public from criminals.
On September 1st, 2016, a client contacted Gooding regarding not being allowed to move into apartment 26G at the Atelier located at 635 W. 42nd St, allegedly “owned” by Republican State Senate Candidate Jon Girodes. After verifying that the transaction was a scam from condominium sources, Gooding took the client to the 10th Precinct to file criminal charges and notified the press. Gooding was asked to represent and assembled fourteen other alleged victims, pro bono. Victims were scammed out of money ranging from $400 to over $15,000. Regarding the crime, Gooding stated:
"The scam is simple: he posts on Craigslist under his name or assumed name saying he's posting an apartment that's affordable because that's his initiative as a public officer. The person comes over, he shows them the amenities, wines them and dines them and takes their money. And then he comes up with various reasons why he won't return that money….It's the same apartment every single time, the same sort of lease structure. It's very obvious that there's no intent to ever rent out this apartment."
Girodes was arrested on Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 on seven counts of third-degree grand larceny, one count of fourth-degree grand larceny, one count of first-degree scheme to defraud and one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument. Girodes pled not guilty but did not post the $75,000 bond. However, Girodes was on the November 8, 2016 election ballot for the 30th State Senate district including Harlem, the Upper West and Upper East side while incarcerated on Riker’s Island."
"Francesca Castellanos is a community organizer who has lived in the 10thdistrict her whole life. Her three most important priorities are housing, education, and nutrition. She currently works as a freelance Spanish translator for the Department of Aging which allows her to interact with the elderly. Her most important priority, and most likely reason for running for office, is to bring affordable housing to her district as she has been a tenant advocate and organizer for a number of years. In her district there are only three major public housing complexes, and a few other assorted buildings. Many landlords within the district have warehoused many of the apartments and she sees this as an invasion on available housing. She believes many people have left her district because it is extremely hard to find affordable housing, and the cost of living is extremely high.
Her second most important issue is nutrition. She says there are very few supermarkets, and it is tough for the poorer people in her neighborhood to purchase the correct nutrients. Besides being extremely expensive, residents must travel far to find fresh food. Many issues have arisen from lack of nutrition within the district such as rising diabetes and high cholesterol. The final issue she would focus on is education. While she believes that there are enough schools in her district and that overcrowding is not an issue, she does believe that schools should offer civics classes, which would increase children’s respect for other human beings and animals. She believes that to make an impact Albany must allow the city to decide rent increases and revise the ERSTADT laws. She thinks New York City should also lobby Albany to receive more home rule power. With respect to the city council discretionary funding issues, she believes that transparency is extremely necessary because it is hard to fathom how elected officials get away with funding phony organizations and breaking the law. She also said it should be clear to all elected officials that they cannot fund groups where their family has a senior role.
Ms. Castellanos believes she differs from the other candidates because she was raised in the district and has lived there for many years and has a lot of personal experiences working with people from all over the district. Her main obstacle to winning, she believes, is a corrupt board of elections and a corrupt system of elections in the district. Citizens Union believes that Ms. Castellanos was a good candidate with a real understanding of housing and nutrition issues, but ultimately did not choose to prefer her in the primary race because there were other more experienced candidates with the ability to be possibly more effective representatives for the district if elected."
"My name is Josue Perez, and I am running for City Council in District 10.
My story is not so different from the stories of many in our community. My parents immigrated to New York, full of hope and purpose and appreciative of the potential of the world’s most iconic Sanctuary City.
My mother worked two jobs to support our family, and planted roots here, where I have gone on to live for a large part of my life. I have watched the changes, both good and bad, that shaped our neighborhood. It has inspired me to choose a career where I was not just an observer of these changes, but an active participant, where I can give back to the community, and help to improve the conditions here for current and future generations, and for the people here, of every background, who help make this community the amazing, diverse community it is.
For the past 16 years, I have educated the city’s youth, teaching High School math in the Theodore Roosevelt Campus, focusing my efforts into improving the lives and opportunities of our community’s children, including participating in after school programs, coaching a middle school baseball team, and participating in free Tutoring Programs. I coordinated the BJC (Beauty and Joy of Computing) program to bring computer Science to minority and young women in our community.
I would then go on to fight for other issues important to our community, actively involved supporting “Paid Family Leave” and “Fight for 15”. I’m a founding member and director of FDC (Fuerza Dominicanos Por el Cambio), an organization that provides basic needs and services to the residents of upper Manhattan and the Bronx. I am an advisor and member of the board of directors of “Amor Sin Frontera” (Love without Borders), and the National Commission of Human Rights Inc..
As a UFT delegate, I continue to fight for Public Education in our children’s lives, and have personally seen the detrimental effects of the encroachment of charter schools into the public sphere. I was there as the Campaign for Fiscal Equity fought for sound basic education for public school students, survived the Bloomberg Administration’s attacks on public educators and their union, watched students suffer through Common Core, and remained a solid supporter and believer of the great equalizing effect of public education for all.
As a resident of the neighborhood, I know all too well the struggles of local families trying to stay in their homes. I myself recently had to move because the landlord in our last building wanted to raise the rent beyond what we could afford to pay as a family. I strongly feel that we should not be pushed out of our homes for rents that are rising to unaffordable rates far too quickly for us to keep up with.
Becoming a Candidate for City Council District 10 is the next step in my long trajectory of public service. I appreciate the opportunity to present my campaign and my mission to you, and look forward to your support."
"Ydanis Rodriguez has a long track record of advocating for the community he represents. For more than 20 years he has served his community with transparency, honesty and integrity. As a Council Member, he continues to work to ensure much-needed services for Northern Manhattan, including immigration reform, higher quality education for all children, affordable housing and health care, and a more transparent and efficient government. Ydanis was born in the Dominican Republic and came to Washington Heights when he was 18 years old. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science at the City College of New York, paying his way working as a taxi-driver. He then went on to obtain his Master’s degree in Bilingual Education at City College. In 1992, Ydanis successfully helped to found Gregorio Luperon High School, a school dedicated to the success of immigrant families, where he became a public high school teacher. At City College, he worked to ensure tuition was maintained affordable through his active participation in the student government, his 14 years of experience teaching refined and strengthened his passion for serving the community.
As a founding faculty member at Gregorio Luperon High School, Ydanis became very aware of the growing problems of overcrowding and the lack of resources at his school and others in the area. With his fellow teachers, students, and community members, His efforts resulted in the construction of a new state of the art facility to house Gregorio Luperon High School. Throughout his career, Ydanis continues to work for change in Washington Heights, Inwood, and Marble Hill. Whether it was to improve translation and interpretation services in local hospitals, to shut down a proposed correction facility on 182nd street, or to keep open the 180th Street Post Office, Ydanis was actively involved. Ydanis and his family currently reside uptown in Inwood. As a City Councilman, Ydanis continues to be an active voice for District 10 residents and the progressive movement, in partnership community residents and organizations. He has taken strong stances on diversity in higher education, increased college readiness amongst high school students, providing more affordable housing options in Northern Manhattan, calling for smart and progressive immigration reform, and giving a greater voice to the working and middle classes of New York City.
During his time in office, Council Member Rodriguez has placed a focus on 5 policy initiatives for District 10 including: increased college readiness, more affordable housing, better health and nutrition, job creation and clean streets and quality of life improvement.
Council Member Rodriguez is the current Chair of the New York City Council Transportation Committee where he has championed the City’s Vision Zero Initiative and he has been a champion in advocating for safer, more efficient transportation options for all. Working in partnership with Mayor de Blasio, Governor Cuomo and Speaker Mark-Viverito, and his colleagues at the Council and State Legislature, Council Member Rodriguez was successfully able to champion the reduction in speed limit to 25 MPH."