Issues Facing District 2

East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR)
If elected to City Council to serve District 2 I will work to stop the current deceptive East Side Coastal Resiliency Project and thus prevent five years of massive construction to demolish and raise East River Park. Here’s actions I will take:

  • Champion an adaptation of the original community-led plan. Preserve the park & build less invasive flood protection.
  • Work to amend the plan to include parkland alienation, which means to create oversight to ensure the project stays on deadline and budget.
  • Ensure that NYC DOT give public presentations about their flood protection plan for the FDR.
  • Ensure that Con Ed give public presentations about their flood protection plan at the 14th St Power Plant.

Education
Council District 2 spans school districts: District One and District Two. Raising two young daughters in School District One, I have become acquainted first hand with the NYC public school system as well as alternative school options. (For those interested, my daughters did attend two public schools and currently attend a private school. My nephew, who lives with my family, has been remote learning via a Montana public high school.) I have observed that many parents are attracted to their children’s schools for the sense of community offered while other parents are attracted to their children’s schools for the academic rigor.

  • Advocate to strengthen our neighborhood schools. It is not right that any student must travel two hours a day to get a high quality education.
  • I believe that Council District Two parents want their children to be in diverse culturally rich school communities.
  • I believe all children should learn up to their potential and  advocate for accelerated curriculum education. Yes, I support the SHSAT and Gifted & Talented Education  and call for their expansion. More children qualify than seats available.
  • Call for a year-round school year (with periodic breaks), to reduce / minimize knowledge loss due to the summer break between school years and consequences of COVID. Enable children to stay at grade level and opportunity to exceed grade level. I firmly believe when children’s learning loss is reduced and minimized, we will be having a completely different conversation about education.
  • Advocate for executive functioning skills to be taught in lower elementary school (the foundation of study habits: organization, planning, and attention.)

Land Use
Chain stores, predatory landlords and developers have come into districts citywide, including ours, crippling small businesses and threatening the fabric of our neighborhoods. COVID quickened this trend and now there is at least one empty storefront on every block in many neighborhoods and many of our friends and neighbors have left for good.

  • I oppose the SOHO/NOHO rezoning plan and RAD/privatization of NYCHA.
  • I am alarmed with Union Square Park’s New Vision for Union Square (price tag $100 million!)
  • We need to work to bring back affordable low middle class and low income homeownership opportunities as well as legal single room occupancy buildings.
  • Make Community Gardens permanent and let’s celebrate them as extraordinary gifts of outdoor community centers: hands on nature, urban farming and gardening. It’s silly that community gardens have to renew their leases every ten years when many of our community gardens have been here for 30+ years.

Small Business

As a daughter of a small business owner and as a small business owner myself, I know firsthand that small businesses need more assistance than what is given right now. It was tough to running a restaurant or a “mom & pop” shop before the pandemic and it will be tough to run a small business after the pandemic. The focus of the city should be working on empowering New Yorkers to create small businesses, filling empty storefronts and retrofitting buildings for adaptive reuse.

  • In my first 100 days of office, I will either sponsor or co-sponsor the Small Business Jobs Survival Act.
  • Shop Local is a State of Mind. We need to attract small businesses who meet our community’s needs.
  • I will reintroduce Ben Kallos’ 2016 proposed bill to require sidewalk sheds be installed for no more than 90 days and taken down if no work is done on the building for seven days.

Good Governance

My parents taught me to be forthright. People around District 2 have shared stories that have impressed upon me the need for these actions:

  • If elected, initiate constituent services policy that every phone call, every email, every visit is returned with a genuine response and appropriate action.
  • Call for the examination and reform of public private partnerships in every sector, starting with housing. Doing so, will improve oversight of city contracts to stop abuses of power and corruption.
  • Demand transparent decision-making in government.
  • Uphold and expand Open Meetings Law.

Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (commonly called ULURP)

Testifying against both the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project and the Governors Island as well as being a member of the Citywide People’s Land Use Alliance, I have witnessed over the past few years repeatedly that City agencies and City Council rarely heed community input when in the governmental approval process of land use applications. The 2019 City Charter ULURP revision does not address the real power struggle at the heart of this governmental review process: developers versus citizens.

  • Not having in person public hearings limits civic engagement. I join Queens and Brooklyn City Council candidates and call for the moratorium of luxury and large-scale development projects. I think a moratorium should be in place until 2024 after the census is released and district lines are redrawn and then better evaluate the needs of our city in terms of housing, retail and work.
  • If elected, I will work to reform ULURP. I want to give Community Boards veto power and funding to hire a land use director and resources for every community board.

Homelessness

As a mother I learned to address the cause of behavior, not just the behavior. I believe the city needs to support people who live in temporary housing with safe spaces to address their cause of homelessness and provide support to empower them to live meaningful and productive lives as members of our community. In addition, the city needs to provide real tangible support and housing for couples and families with pets or service animals.

Quality of Life

As I petitioned to get on the November 2nd General ballot, many City Council District 2 residents shared  their issues of concern: some are upset about the litter on the sidewalks, trash around their buildings, and the threat of crime ushers them quickly into their buildings. Others are concerned about the rats in the playgrounds and building scaffolding that has been standing for years. Others want e-bike regulations to be enforced.

  • I hear you all, and I am seeking help in finding out how to resolve these issues.