Our Platform Issues
Creating a Better Future
New York is in the midst of a severe housing crisis. The decades of federal, state and city policies have failed to preserve or increase our stock of affordable housing. Housing trickle downs and generous tax incentives have utterly failed to deliver affordable housing, and they have cannibalized other policy opportunities. We must aggressively revamp our housing policies, by exploring proven approaches such as land trusts. Because real estate is both housing and speculation, we must enact policies that tame the speculative volatility of our real estate market. Vacant land is at a huge premium. We must make sure that our New York City’s zoning and land use priorities support affordable housing goals by discouraging other uses such as commercial and market rate development in favor of permanently affordable housing. Incentives must also be created to reduce the staggeringly high vacancy rate in our district. (Double the citywide rate).
We must create more supportive housing, for homeless and vulnerable individuals and families, and we must demand more accountability from service providers.
We must pass Good Cause Eviction Act.
Climate and Environment
Climate change is an existential threat that requires true leadership. We must reduce our greenhouse emissions, reduce vehicular traffic and decarbonate our electric grid. Our district has one of the lowest air qualities. The culprit, among others are the Lincoln Tunnel and the cruise ships docked on the Hudson River. Both issues can be tackled with legislative measures. Congestion pricing, a federal law, will help reduce traffic in our district. Major investments must be made in our public transportation system. A set of legislative actions must be taken promptly to compel cruise ships to shore in, meaning to plug into our grid when they are docked. Our electric grid must decarbonated as soon as possible. We must assert control of New York’s Green energy future.
New York State has a duty to support the New York City school system. It is imperative to reduce class size. The state must step in to regulate class sizes. The state must allocate all the available funding to the city to support class size reduction. AD 75 elementary schools are amongst the most crowded in the city.
We must restore Free CUNY.
Public transportation is the backbone of New York economy. We rely on our subways and buses to go to work, to school, to socialize and to enjoy our city. Our transit system should be safe and reliable. We must heavily invest in our public transportation system. Currently, MTA capital upgrades are costly and funds are not properly allocated. We must demand more transparency from the MTA.
Cycling is at a new high, but so are fatalities. This is unacceptable. We must support a bike lane network that allows safe and convenient bicycle mobility in New York City. Our district is particularly challenging to cyclists and pedestrians alike, especially around the Lincoln Tunnel, as well as along 10th Avenue and 23rd Street. We must prioritize street redesign that promotes safety.
Healthcare is a human right. A majority of New Yorkers are uninsured or underinsured. New York must work towards universal health care. New York State-run Universal health care will provide collective bargaining with drug companies to lower the cost of medicine. As a member of NY State assembly, I will also support a bill establishing a cap on insulin. I will also support a bill mandating health insurance plans to cover all forms of FDA-approved contraceptives.
Our current approach to public safety is ineffective and wasteful. We need to invest in proven, evidence-based better alternatives to community safety. Violence disrupters, mental health trained providers, community policing needs to be implemented. At the same time, repeat offenders must be held accountable, especially when responsible to a large majority of criminal activity.
To fix our housing crisis, we need to complement strong rent protection laws like Good Cause Eviction with new strategies to expand our funding and strategies to address NYCHA maintenance and increase our housing stock.
We must expand protections to public housing tenants and continue to reduce the rate of evictions in New York. We must ensure that we reduce the staggeringly high residential vacancy rate in our district. We must also safeguard our stock of rent stabilized apartments from predatory developers.
Finally, we must provide everybody in housing court with an attorney just as we do in criminal matters.
As long as members of the LGBTQ community face higher rates of violence and discrimination in society, our work is not done. We must pass the Gender Recognition Act that would reduce the unnecessary burden that individuals go through to update their identity documents to reflect their gender. It is critical that we establish the suicide prevention task force and phone line, as we lose too many LGBTQ youth to suicide every year.
Women’s and reproductive rights are under assault in the US. We must make sure that NY laws are as robust as possible to support free and easy access to contraception and abortion for all.
Accessibility for people with Disabilities
We must ensure that people with disabilities have equal access. Our public realm needs to be greatly improved.
We also need to fund and strengthen training to give strong access to disabled individuals to the work force. In the past ten years, I have worked with the disabled community to improve our public transportation infrastructure, especially our subway stations.
Accountable and Open Government
We need to end sexual harassment in the workplace. While laws have been strengthened, they need to be more forcefully enforced. The legal framework needs to be further improved so that prosecutors can bring changes in criminal courts. Statutes of limitation also needs to be extended and in certain cases repealed.
Ethics and Impeachment
The past year was a turning point in New York State government. Governor Cuomo harassed women who worked for him and cover it up. He abused his power. He resigned after mounting pressure stemming from a damning independent report issued by the NY State Attorney General.We need to reform our ethics system. We need to do away with conflicts of interest. For example, it should no longer be possible for the CEO of a real estate Fortune 500 company to sit on a state task force, make recommendations on a transit project, donate almost one million dollars to the governor and for said governor to introduce a plan that will contribute 2 to 4 billion in assets to said company. We also need to stop the constant revolving door between public sector and lobbyists and consultants.We need to do away with JCOPE and appoint a joint commission with teeth.
Budget Transparency and Accountability
Most State public authorities are authorized to issue bonds — without voter approval — to develop, operate and maintain infrastructure or to fund projects for third parties. Currently, over 97 percent of all State-funded debt outstanding was issued by public authorities without voter input or oversight. This lack of transparency and accountability is unacceptable and places a huge strain on the state finances. Authorities’ governance is also opaque and problematic.
Authorities must be subjected to the role and power of the legislature and must respond for the large debt exposure they carry.
We need to continue to improve our election process. Early voting and absentee ballots must be expanded. Voting by mail must be streamlined and access to polling stations must be facilitated on Election Day.
Our campaign finance system must be entirely overalled. We must urgently create a matching fund program for state elections. It is essential so that keep corporate and special interest in check. We need to emulate what New York City has done for their city elections with a robust match fund program.
Tax Subsidies Reform
We must revamp our tax subsidies and tax exemption system to stop favoring large and very profitable corporations. We must eliminate MSG tax exemption. We must also entirely reassess how NY State economic development incentives are allocated and evaluated so that they do not benefit corporations that have unrestricted access to working capital.