It is long past due for all levels of government to recognize that housing and healthcare are fundamental human rights.
Climate change is the existential challenge of our lifetime and we must act now.
Black Lives Matter ALWAYS.
A woman’s right to choose must never be denied.
LGBTQ+ rights don't end with Marriage Equality. We have to vigorously defend the community's right to safety, healthcare, and employment.
The rise in anti-Semitism must be stopped by cultivating a culture of tolerance and understanding.
I also want to be forthright about my values. I am a reformer; I believe in deepening transparency, accountability, and integrity in our political system. By consistently prioritizing collaboration and communication, I know that together we can deliver better results for our community.
Lower NYC Rent
Rents for apartments and commercial storefronts have gone up and up and up for as long as anyone can remember. We have a glut of luxury apartments, but little truly affordable housing, just as we have too many empty storefronts, but few convenient laundromats or butchers.
COVID has exacerbated these crises and laid bare how broken the real estate market is. There are now 75% more rental apartments available in Brooklyn than there were a year ago, but we have a 12% decline in actual leases signed compared to summer of 2019. If the housing market wasn't broken, this would lead to lower rents, but residential rents have remained flat. Similarly, small businesses are closing at bewildering rates. In Greenpoint and Williamsburg alone, nearly 100 businesses have shuttered their storefronts. Ironically, COVID has presented us with a rare opportunity, which we must not squander, to reform the real estate market. The market won’t just fix itself. In the immediate: we need Albany to prevent the largest explosion of homelessness since the Great Depression and provide relief to hurting New Yorkers by canceling rent and aiding small landlords and affordable housing developments. Looking forward, we need thoughtful and sophisticated carrots and sticks to reframe our city for everyone’s advantage.
I am proposing to Lower NYC Rent - here’s how:
We will require that all landlords, whether of residential units or commercial storefronts, have to register vacant property with the Department of Finance immediately upon posting a unit for rent. Landlords would be able to list their units at the market rate for three months. State Senator Julia Salazar and Assembly Member-elect Emily Gallagher have agreed to sponsor state legislation at my request that would require that after the residential unit has been empty for three months, the rent would be automatically reduced to the federally determined Fair Market Rent (currently $1,801 for a one-bedroom in Brooklyn). Over the course of three months, this new pressure on the market would lead to gradual reductions in the rental price, putting the apartment in reach for more working families in buildings with six or more units. If the rent is reduced to the Fair Market Rent, this would allow not only more working families to afford the apartment, but also New Yorkers who are low-income or experiencing homelessness to use a housing voucher to cover rent.
For commercial storefronts, I propose that if a space is vacant after three months on the market, the publicly listed rent would be reduced by 10%. If the space continues to remain vacant, the rent would be reduced by an additional 10% every subsequent three months.
Council Members have significant influence over land use and development decisions and I will use that power to ensure that people in a neighborhood can actually afford the housing built in it. In my plan to Lower NYC Rent, I lay out a concrete vision for how we can recalibrate the outsize influence of the real estate industry and make sure Brooklyn is the equitably diverse place we aspire to be.
Our waterfront district is on the frontlines of the climate crisis in New York. We can and must take strong steps to address pollution, which starts with holding corporations accountable, but also means changing some of our behavior. Our policies concerning vehicular traffic, waste disposal, zoning and more all must be reconsidered in light of climate change. I support a Green New Deal being implemented at every level of government. And we must recognize the interplay between climate justice and racial and economic justice. Global warming disproportionately impacts BIPOC and low-income communities, and these communities must be centered in our solutions. More to come on how we will make our community a model on environmental justice!
A New Public Safety Agency
2020 bore witness to the largest and most diverse national protests for racial equity and Black Lives Matter in U.S. history, led by Black and Brown Americans who are demanding a better future. Our government must respond by instituting reforms that address systemic racism and reimagine our approaches to public safety. We ask cops to respond to every issue under the sun. That’s wrong, and it’s what defunding the NYPD will address - diverting resources from the police to those trained to defuse specific tension-filled situations. When a family member has a severe mental health episode and help is needed to deescalate the situation, you should be able to call someone for help who will not bring a gun into your home. We need to create a new public safety agency made up of social workers, mental health professionals, and credible messengers trained in the community centered Crisis Management System model, all of whom must follow anti-racist principles and be experts in deescalation. Our goal is to defuse every situation, avoid violence, and get New Yorkers the help they need. Creating a new Public Safety Agency requires some Defunding of NYPD and the reallocation of a share of its outsized $6 billion budget to this new approach. More to come on better public safety models in our city - be in touch if you have thoughts!
Returning the Streets to New Yorkers
I am proud to have helped successfully advocate for Open Streets, including Outdoor Dining, as part of the City’s response to the constraints of COVID. I want to help return our streets to our residents, by making many of the pandemic-inspired changes permanent. We need to expand and invest in every type of transit, not only to serve people, increase safety, and diminish pollution, but also to disincentivize the use of personal cars. No one wants to live in a New York City clogged by traffic. To prevent that future, we need to make it easier and more attractive to choose other transportation options. I believe that a compelling transportation agenda includes more pedestrian space, a comprehensive citywide bicycle network, dedicated busways, a full length eight-car G train, expanded E-Citi Bikes, free buses, and more.
I am convinced that we can absolutely fix the BQE, while also preserving our great public treasures like the Promenade and Brooklyn Bridge Park, creating more green space, and reducing traffic in the process. This highway runs through so many neighborhoods; it makes sense for us all to work together to fund a holistic repair plan for this vital artery.
And we must Stop the Chop and end the proliferation of tourist and personal transportation helicopters hanging out above our neighborhoods. They clog our skies with noise and air pollution, benefitting the few at the expense of the many.
Quality Schools for All
Education is the investment we make collectively in our future. Underfunded, segregated, and pedagogically inadequate schools fail not only students and families but fail our community. We truly need every school to deliver an excellent education to every student, which means that we must have great principals and teachers working in quality environments and able to support children and families academically, socially, and emotionally. We also need to have racially and socio-economically integrated schools. They will contribute to better outcomes and would help us end the school-to-prison pipeline. We do not need cops in our schools, we need guidance counselors and social workers. Some schools are thriving, but many still need significant investment and support. If we pull together, we can make this happen.
COVID: A More Just Recovery
Until we have a widely disseminated vaccine, we will need to take extraordinary measures to support our neighbors who are struggling to get by. We will need similarly bold action to sustain our economy. We must continue food distribution efforts and do everything we can to prevent mass evictions by Canceling Rent owed by people unable to pay due to the crisis. But we also need to seize this moment to ensure we recover with justice. From repurposing newly available space, to strengthening our public health infrastructure so that we are prepared for the next outbreak, to building out the universal broadband network that people need to function from home - we must dream bigger than a return to normalcy.
Equity in Representation
I believe that, if I am elected, my time, energy, and resources should disproportionately be dedicated to the people in our community who are struggling the most. A range of policy proposals will be released over the course of the campaign, but the overarching objective is simple: to make the 33rd Council District a beacon for progressive government that can be emulated across our borough, city, and beyond.
Getting Big Money Out of Politics
Special interests have held too much power in our city for far too long, including real estate developers, fossil fuel companies, registered NYC lobbyists, corporate PACs, and law enforcement unions. I will not accept donations from these entities and will work to diminish their influence.
A comprehensive platform will be released in the months ahead. If you have ideas or recommendations, we would welcome them! Please submit them here.