Who Will Best Serve Our Neighborhood? Three candidates for City Council talk about the 95th St Shelter and their credentials
Next Tuesday, the fate of our beautiful neighborhood is in your hands! We interviewed the 3 candidates for Upper West Side City Council Member. You make the call, you have make the effort to vote. As added incentive, Mayor de Blasio is facing a spirited primary challenge from Sal Albanese. Show up on Tuesday, Sept. 12th to vote in the Democratic primary.
REMINDER: Register for the Rat Academy on Sept. 28th. Sign up at info@N90s.org. Seating is limited.
3 Candidates are running in the Democratic Primary this Tuesday to represent most of our UWS neighborhood (District 6) in the NYC City Council:
- Mel Wymore, a former chair of Community Board 7,
- Cary Goodman, who has been leading the fight against development of Theodore Roosevelt Park by the Museum of Natural History;
- Council Member Helen Rosenthal, who has served our district since 2013.
Here is the link to the recent candidate debate on NY-1 TV: http://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/decision-2017/2017/08/17/ny1-online–debate-for-the-upper-west-side.html
The Democratic primary is next Tuesday, September 12th. It is important to vote. The future leadership of our neighborhood, in fact the leadership of the City itself is at stake in this primary.
Mayor de Blasio is being challenged by former Council Member Sal Albanese in the Democratic Primary for Mayor and others. See the final debate: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2017/09/06/de-blasio-albanese-mayoral-debate/
Remember to vote!
We asked our local City Council candidates specific questions about their approach to issues impacting us daily in our W90s neighborhood, and why we should vote for them:
How do you distinguish yourself from the other candidates?
Why should a West 90s neighbor vote for you?
I have proven myself effective as both a lawmaker and in tackling direct constituent concerns. Public school support, street safety, disability rights and civic engagement are just part of a long list of effective programs and policy changes my office has affected. Our commitment to addressing housing issues is a top priority for my office. We have worked directly with hundreds of residents to keep them in their homes and addressed the larger issue of tenant rights by passing protective legislation and creating the Office of the Tenant Advocate to better level the playing field between tenants and landlord/developers.
First, 30 years of real results, not talk. Second, I’ll put in the time. After four years of being blown off, I’ll take your concerns seriously and put in the effort to work with you and make sure that the community is safe, tenants in shelters are well-managed, and management companies are held accountable.
Both of the other candidates are decades-long politicians. Both support the toxic expansion plan of the museum of natural history to destroy our public parkland. Both ‘dissed’ our public schools by sending their children exclusively to private schools. Neither of them has been a union rep; neither has been a public school teacher; neither of them have initiated and led social. justice campaigns citywide. I think people should vote for me because I will be a an independent check on the absolute power of the Mayor, the lobbyists and our shadow government.
Freedom House, a homeless shelter the City agrees is not well run, is taking 15 months to replace their current vendor. Do you feel this vendor, Aguila, should be replaced immediately, or should the City let them serve out their contract? What would you do?
I would seek a review of the contract by the Comptroller with an eye towards immediate cancellation.
Aguila should be replaced immediately. Further, I am appalled that Council Member Rosenthal has disbanded Community Advisory Boards in the 90s, which are vital tools to give the community a voice and ensure that these often-dangerous facilities have public oversight.
The city has stated publicly that it is committed to not extending Aguila’s contract in Freedom House. Two months ago the city agreed to require Aguila to hire an additional case worker, and while they have done so, I’m not convinced that additional staff has had the desired effect. I believe Aguila should be replaced by a provider which has demonstrated better results.
A recent NY Times story documented that the Upper West Side houses 1,000+ more homeless than are created here. What has been your track record on supporting the spirit and letter of the Fair Share regulations set forth in the City Charter?
The key issue here is empowering the voices of locals, who have been unheard and unserved. This has created dangerous conditions and frequent criminal incidents in the 90s. I can’t promise that the UWS will only house homeless New Yorkers from our neighborhood, and I believe that if we have the ability to help people, we should. But, I can promise that the currently-unacceptable conditions of homeless housing in the 90s will be a priority. I’ll work with neighbors, the local police precinct, nonprofits and government agencies to ensure that the 90s can be safe, clean, and once again work for all of its neighbors. I have a record of empowering unheard voices. That’s what we need here.
Our city is facing a humanitarian crisis and we must utilize every tool at the city and state’s disposal to address it. To do that effectively, communication and input is a key element to ensure that every community has accountability over shelter placements in their neighborhoods. Shelter provider contracts must have clear and measurable benchmarks and be held accountable by both the community and agencies. This critical element has been missing from homeless plans in the past but are essential to ensure the best care possible for those in need while maintaining a neighborhood’s quality of life.
I have been active in the effort to combat the number one driver of family homelessness, domestic violence. For that work I have been named four years in a row by the Commissioner to Combat Domestic Violence as an ‘Upstander.’ My work resulted in getting the Yankees to light the stadium in purple on behalf of domestic violence awareness.
What would you identify as your greatest public service accomplishment?
Saved NYC taxpayers over 1/2 billion dollars by forcing the Department of Education to re-bid a technology contract, got a new school building built and opened a year early, and supported a school rezoning plan that creates greater long term equity and integration.
On the local level, my greatest accomplishment has been saving the 85th Street playground in Central Park from being demolished. More broadly, I was awarded the UN Peacemaker Medal for The Children’s Parade for Peace which I organized with PS 9 and other city schools
Forcing one of NYC’s biggest developers to pay for over $700 million in direct UWS investments. Without taxpayers paying a dime, we got the first new school in 30 years, 600 units of permanent affordable housing, and $20 million for Riverside Park.