Education is the foundation of a thriving society. I am a product of the New York City public school, I graduated from Wagner Junior High School and Brooklyn Technical High School. My parents are firm believers that education is the biggest investment of your life because no one can takeaway your knowledge, it will only grow when the mind is challenged and nurtured. The pandemic has brought the inequities in our education system into the spotlight. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done in our education system, and I am committed to do the hard work necessary so that all our children will have access to quality education regardless of where they live. I support:
Using SHSAT as the sole criteria for admission into specialized high schools, it is an equalizer, which gives students of low-income and immigrant families, a fair chance for advancement.
Expanding the Gifted & Talented Programs throughout New York City. By doing so, it will provide quality instruction to high performing students beginning at a young age. It would also reduce the current disparities by preparing more students for success in the SHSAT and entrance into specialized high schools.
Investing in underserved schools by expanding after-school programs and enrichment courses.
Public and private partnership to address technology and resource gaps in our community.
As our City reopens, I want to ensure that our students are returning to a safe environment. It is my priority that all schools provide social and mental health services to students as they return. Additionally, all teachers who want vaccinations will have access to vaccines and most importantly, our schools must have resources to provide well-ventilated classrooms.
Quality of life has decreased while crime has increased. It is undeniable that the mass death, unemployment, and economic instability that accompanied the pandemic literally upended society, especially for people who are traditionally harmed by gun violence. Gun violence continues to ravage our city, as of April 2021, 299 people have been shot, a 54% increase over the same time last year, and the most the city has seen since 2012. 92 people have been murdered, a 19.5% jump, according to the most recent NYPD data. In 2020, the city recorded 462 murders, an increase of 45% from 2019, even as most other major felonies declined. Shooting incidents overall exploded 97% last year.
Defund the police is a hashtag that has no place in our discussion of police reform. Police reform means both letting police officers fight crime and bring swift justice to anyone whose civil rights were violated by a police officer. I am a proponent of community policing with the goal to create more opportunities for police and community members to engage in positive ways. It will build relationship and trust between the public and police. By being out on the streets and in the community, it offers greater transparency and will lead to both reduction in crime rates and protection of police officers. In addition to community policing, we need to increase training in our police departments. When elected to City Council, I will:
Reinvest in the NYPD
Reinstate the Anti-Crime unit.
Fully fund the Anti-Hate unit.
Support the recruitment, retention and promotion of minority supervisors.
Work with our state elected officials on revising the current bail reform. While I believe that we should not impose bail on non-violent offenders; we must ensure public safety by setting bail for those who committed violent crimes. We need to give our judges judicial discretion when setting bail if he/she have reasons to believe that the defendant may be a harm to him/herself or the general public.
We must re-conceptualize policing and invest in it to make it a success. We must redefine policing and if done right, restore confidence in its role in society. We demand greater transparency and accountability, invest in recruitment and salaries to build diversity, and approach it in a holistic manner where policing is looked at from a community perspective.
Small businesses are the backbone and fabric of our community. The pandemic has forced them into an unprecedented economic disruption. Abandoned storefronts line the streets of District 1, conveying blight and danger, and discouraging shoppers from adjacent shops that remain open. I will work with small businesses to help them recover and push forward City programs that offer them financial reprieve. I propose the following:
Use of sales tax revenues to establish a cash grant that can be reinvested into small businesses.
Streamline permit applications and reduce fees.
Reexamine how property taxes are levy and in the meantime freeze property tax increases.
Institute policy of issuing warnings for minor non-health and safety infractions in lieu of fines.
Create a database to track small businesses and promote a year-round shop local/shop small program.
Hold our state elected officials accountable and ensure the Emergency Rental Assistance Program is going to the hands of our mom-and-pop landlords and not the developers.
Seniors have poured their hearts and souls into the communities. They worked and raised their families here. With rising cost of living, it is very difficult for some to remain in the neighborhoods they helped build. I am running for City Council because I strongly believe we need to support elderly residents as they age. I will do the following as your council person:
Support naturally-occurring retirement communities where seniors can continue to live in their neighborhoods.
Work with the Department for the Aging to fund supportive-services programs at NORCs in the district.
Expand affordable senior housing.
Address food insecurities by working with healthcare providers to identify patients with such needs and connect them with SNAP.
Increase community health programs that provide access to screening in low-income and aging communities.
Develop public awareness campaigns to drive early detection of age-related diseases.
Provide materials and outreach to seniors that are both linguistically and culturally appropriate.
Work to ensure that senior centers are well-ventilated once they reopen.
Affordable housing is a primary concern for many New Yorkers. We need responsible development that incorporates and respects the needs of the community. The current inclusionary housing guideline does little to address the lack of affordable housing. The City must provide relief to renters, homeowners and mom-and-pop landlords who have experienced income loss during the pandemic. When the state’s COVID-19Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act ends in August, a large number of New Yorkers will face immediate homelessness. I will:
Work to address the shortage of affordable housing by increasing the inclusionary housing from current 20-25% requirement to 30-35%.
Work with City and State agencies to identify government owned parcels and partner with developers to build 100% affordable units.
Adopt a real estate property tax freeze for a period of three years and reduce late payment penalties.
Hold state elected officials accountable and ensure the Emergency Rental Assistance Program will benefit mom-and-pop landlords ahead of real estate and hedge fund developers.
Examine the possible conversion of commercial space into affordable housing.
Address homelessness by getting families off the streets and into stable housing. It is imperative that homeless families have a stable home so their children’s education are not disrupted.
Advocate for more supportive housing with wraparound services for homeless individuals suffering from mental health illness, chronic health issues and substance abuses.
Expand rental assistance for renters so they can stay in their homes. With a steady rental income, landlords can continue to pay their expenses related to the upkeep of their properties.
As a resident in the historical district of TriBeCa, I am reminded of the uniqueness and the richness of our architectural history. We need to strengthened land-use regulations to preserve the beauty of the historical districts and curb over development. I am a supporter of responsible development where the community’s input and engagement are respected and welcomed.
I strongly oppose the Borough-Based Jail (BBJ) and closing of Rikers Island. Without a doubt, we need to re-make, renovation, rehabilitate Rikers into a humane facility. Reform must take place at Rikers but simply dismantling it does not solve the institutional and structural issues there. Detainees are subjected to inhuman conditions that needs to be remedied through proper training for the correction officers. We need to renovate Rikers to bring it up to current standards. Rikers Island has vast open space for inmate to recreate outdoors and I propose a ward specifically used to treat individuals with mental health needs so they can receive the proper services they need, and not simply warehousing people. Vertical jail has never been built anywhere in the world because they pose danger to those detained, to those who work there and to those that live around there. Safety and security are of great concern when transporting individuals to and from their cells during meal times. I suggest that the $9B proposed for BBJ be diverted to fund affordable housing, close the technology and resource divide in our education system, upgrade school infrastructures and fund programs for seniors and the homeless population.
I am against the certified plan for SoHo/NoHo rezoning because it will destroy the unique characteristics of the area. The certified plan will encourage developers to demolish buildings with rent regulated apartments and loft-law units; thereby displacing low-income residents. The certified plan allows the upzoning of the area without affordable housing requirements because commercial space, community facilities, and residential space not over 25,000 sq ft/25 units per building per existing zoning lots are exempted from the affordable housing mandate. The plan would allow developers to build high-density high-rises that do not fit into the characteristics of SoHo/NoHo. And lastly, it will allow big box stores to come into the area, resulting in the displacement of mom-and-pop small businesses that truly make SoHo unique.
I do not support the rezoning of Governors Island and am disappointed that the City Council voted in favor of it. The unique characteristics of Governors Island (with its welcoming, open, expansive, parklands and rich role in U.S. history) are valuable not only to residents of Council District 1 but to all New Yorkers and visitors. Constructing high-density high-rises on the island would destroy this treasured oasis. I support Metro Area Governors Island Coalition’s call to keep new buildings on Governors Island to a minimum and not to exceed the four-story height of buildings in the historic district or the 35-foot height limit in the current zoning. I strongly urge the reuse and rehabilitation of existing structures on Governors Island, when possible, to reduce construction waste and pollution. I do not support the current plans for 250 Water Street and the construction of four additional high-rises in the Two Bridges Neighborhood.
The COVID19 pandemic has highlighted the disparities that our community battles in their daily lives. Access to care has been an issue due to language and technological barriers. To end these inequalities, I will:
Demand that all municipal announcements must be in multiple languages.
Establish partnerships with various Community Based Organizations to assist with online registrations.
Bring mobile COVID testing and vaccination sites to seniors and disabled persons who cannot travel outside of their neighborhoods.
Increase access to mental health and preventative care in underserved communities.
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