ON THE ISSUES
Safety and Sanitation
Once the most walked and walkable city in the United States, many people now avoid certain blocks or streets because of a feeling of insecurity. This is unacceptable in NYC.
Hate crimes have also surged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical violence against the Asian and Jewish communities in particular, as well as verbal slurs have become all too common. We must enforce a culture of zero tolerance for this kind of racism.
Police departments need greater investment in training and must work in conjunction with communities to keep us safe while building trust with community leaders. In areas seeing increased shoplifting and petty crime, NYPD foot patrols must be expanded as a deterrent.
We must also address the growing issue of trash and pollution in our city, which is making our streets, water, and air less clean. Increasing investment and accountability at the Department of Sanitation is a must in upcoming budgets.
Neighborhood Revitalization & Supporting Small Businesses
Even as NYC has bounced back from COVID-19 and the economy has begun to recover, we are faced with a myriad of shuttered storefronts across the city. Business owners who have lost millions of dollars dealing with declining sales, shoplifting, and petty crime while simultaneously dealing with skyrocketing rents feel they have no choice but to close shop.
Small businesses make up the very fabric of NYC and we need to address their concerns with a two-pronged approach to ensure a reduction in crime while working with landlords on lease mediation. In addition, we must work with the NYC Small Business Support Center to help businesses start, operate, and thrive.
Mainstream supermarkets and drugstores have been closing across the city at a record rate and we must ensure legislation is passed to keep them open so that District 1 residents have access to the goods and services they need and deserve.
As a public school parent and advocate, I believe strongly that for the US to retain its competitive advantage globally, we must invest in our school system. Even discounting for COVID-19 learning loss, NYC public schools are amongst the weakest in the country. With approximately 900,000 children depending on them, this is clearly unacceptable.
Parents must have school choice – whether it be general education, dual language, audition schools, or Gifted and Talented programs. We must provide all of the resources our schools, principals, and teachers need and then hold them accountable.
I believe that while we need development for the city to grow and remain vibrant, it is important to address the needs of each neighborhood and their requirements for affordable and accessible housing. We cannot continue to let developers build luxury towers in a vacuum of public transport, schools and hospitals.
It is essential for the city and state to work together to identify unused and underused buildings in their portfolio which can be converted into housing immediately. Some of this must also be used as a means to address the growing unhoused population. With a combination of temporary and permanent housing solutions and with access to mental health solutions, we can work to end our homeless crisis.
If we don’t participate in elections, we will continue to have leaders that do not truly represent our interests. I want us all to be in an inclusionary democracy. In 2021, voter turnout was just 23%. City elections not being held in even years means they have seen much lower turnout than presidential or gubernatorial elections. Consolidating municipal elections with gubernatorial or presidential elections will also lead to a more diverse electorate.
We must also make it easier and more accessible for New Yorkers to vote. Expanded early voting, same day voter registration, no excuse absentee voting, and more will allow us to encourage all residents to make their voice heard at the ballot box.
In addition, I believe legal immigrants with green cards should be allowed to vote in local elections.
Environment & Climate Change
In Downtown NYC, more than anywhere else, we feel the urgency of being proactive in building a climate resiliency plan. Lower Manhattan must be protected from tidal flooding and coastal storms. But plans to do so must be developed with community input and expanded green spaces.
Plans to address climate change in NYC must also include a focus on cleaner streets, water, and air. Expanding green spaces in our city will not only help in these areas but will also create additional gathering spaces for communities to come together.
Healthcare for all
The way COVID-19 tore through New York City in 2020 made it incredibly clear that access to affordable healthcare is paramount to supporting New Yorkers. We must work to expand healthcare access to underserved populations by passing the New York Health Act and we must fully fund New York City Health and Hospitals so that New Yorkers can access healthcare regardless of race, immigration status, or income. In addition, we must push for healthcare pricing transparency and caps through federal legislation.
Public Transit & Street Safety
To keep our city moving, we must have safe and livable streets and invest in a world-class public transportation system. We need more green spaces to ensure every New Yorker has access to one within a 10 minute walk to eliminate urban heat islands. In addition, while we encourage greater bike usage and build more bike lanes, we must ensure that legislation can keep up to ensure that both bikers and pedestrians are safe.
We must also ensure we are greatly expanding micro-mobility options as well as bus service and reliability. Many New York neighborhoods, as well as the elderly and less abled rely on buses alone to navigate the city and it's vital to reducing traffic and carbon emissions that we continue to increase those ridership numbers.
With traffic violence remaining steady since the launch of Vision Zero, we must take further steps to reduce traffic incidents by increasing red light and speed cameras and prioritizing pedestrian infrastructure to keep New Yorkers safe.