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."
"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."
"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."
Republican/ Rent Is Too Damn High
"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."
"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."
"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."
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
"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."
"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"
"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."
Mark D. Levine
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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
I am a native Harlemite, Democrat, and social worker living in Central Harlem. I started helping others when I was 9 years old raising money for hungry children around the world.
I have served Harlem and diverse communities for more than three decades in non-profit administration, management and leadership.
I am a member of the boards of Havens Relief Fund Society serving individuals in financial crisis.
I am a former Board member of Ecumenical Community Development Organization, a housing and employment organization for youth and adults and Neighborhood Women's Collective promoting economic empowerment for women and girls.
"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."