Candidate Forum 2017 Responses

Candidates: New York City Council, District 2

After the August 2017 Candidate Forum, candidates were emailed audience questions and asked to return their responses. Those can be found below. This page will be updated with additional answers as we receive them.


Carlina Rivera

1. What interpersonal skills do you possess that will allow you to obtain your goals? How will you maintain your sanity when you encounter difficulties obtaining your goals? What do you believe would be the best ways for an individual facing financial oppression to become self-sufficient?

All my life, I have worked in coalition with community leaders and local organizations to get things done. I am an approachable and a trusted member of this district. I know the diverse communities that make up the social fabric and plan to bring them to the table in the decision-making process. To keep and maintain my composure and sanity, my family, community, friends, and pets will undoubtedly continue to keep me grounded and support me through the toughest endeavors. Finally, as the Councilwoman I will collaborate with groups like Henry Street Settlement to provide programs and services to those who are struggling financially. Every New Yorkers should have access to the housing, education, healthcare and food they need. If residents cannot get repairs, find a good job or care for their family, we are failing our neighbors.

2. The most constant complaint in the East Village is bar noise – on the streets between bars in saturated areas. What would each candidate do to relieve this situation?

Growing up in the Lower East Side, I have witnessed our neighborhood become a nightlife hub. On many blocks in this area and others, including Third Avenue in Gramercy and Kips Bay, as well as stretches of the East Village, the saturation has negatively impacted many residents’ quality of life and the irresponsible operators seemed to have multiplied in many areas. Our community boards need better resources to ensure liquor license applicants are cooperating with residents and neighborhood associations, especially when operational stipulations are introduced. Also, through my strong relationships with state elected officials and police precincts, I hope to hold operators accountable for violating noise ordinances or agreements and will stand by the volunteers who continue to challenge hospitality to be better neighbors. Our lack of retail diversity is an important issue and we should use tools like special district zoning and legislation to support diverse local mom and pop shops so that it is not only bars that can ultimately occupy these storefronts.

3. Do you support congestion pricing?

Congestion in our district grows worse every year, slowing our buses to a crawl, increasing noise pollution, and decreasing air quality. We have to consider a lot of factors in making this decision, taking into account the small businesses, seniors, disabled community, and working-class residents that rely on private vehicles for their livelihood and everyday responsibilities. While congestion pricing is in the hands of Albany, I will work with my colleagues in the Assembly and State Senate to craft legislation to reduce the number of cars on our streets and alleviate congestion in the city, particularly during the worst times of day. I am willing to further explore parts of the Move NY plan, always with an eye towards effects on small businesses and low-income families. I also want us to consider a Fair Fares (a program that would allow low-income New Yorkers to purchase MetroCards at reduced rates) model when discussing pricing on these crossings.

4. Can you bridge the gap between the community and police department? The LES has a large Latino community. How can you be a voice for everyone and not just Latinos?

It has taken a lot of work to begin repairing a fractured relationship with police and I am proud to say I have worked with every side on multiple local issues. My mother is a proud civil servant in the NYPD. Growing up, I saw the benefit of having responsible and compassionate officers work to form constructive relationships with the community through mutual trust and respect. As a Councilwoman, I will promote transparency and accountability, and NYPD-youth engagement, such as the Explorers program, as well as advocate for an expanded Neighborhood Community Officer program in our precincts to bring the modern beat cop back to our corners. Knowing both police and citizens are liable for their actions is something all communities support and with an organization as large and diverse as the NYPD, we need to build trust and respect between the force and every neighborhood.

Throughout my career in public service and volunteer work in the community, I have worked in coalition with a wide range of people and groups in all parts of this district – whether Kips Bay, Gramercy, the Village or the Lower East Side. I believe mrivey track record of collaboration as reflected in my diverse list of community leader endorsers (http://carlinarivera.nyc/endorsements/), as well as my positive, inclusive campaign demonstrates how I will be a voice for all residents of District 2 from every background.

5. If elected, how will you vote on the Mayor’s taking the DAMP tax benefit from HDFC buildings that don’t sign a new regulatory argument that takes away self-management of the buildings they own?

The HDFC program is one of the backbones of moderate- and middle-income home ownership in our community. Through the sweat equity movement and their many years of hard work, HDFC homeowners rebuilt our neighborhood during a time of disinvestment and abandonment. The very nature of the HDFC program makes a one-size-fits-all regulatory agreement unfeasible, especially one that corners boards into the difficult position of choosing to sign or losing financial incentives. Some buildings are self-sufficient and successful, while others would benefit from additional city services and support. While I appreciate HPD finally giving struggling HDFC’s the attention they deserve, the initial steps it took in formulating this agreement was the antithesis of my style, which is to gain maximum input from stakeholders to formulate policy, something reflected in my accomplishments.

6. Do you feel that discretionary funds are used as a form of obtaining political support for the Council person?

Discretionary funds should never be used to gain political support. As an elected official, nothing is more sacred than the public trust and ensuring that we spend hard-earned tax dollars of New Yorkers wisely and effectively on high-needs projects and services. Through both the community boards and some form of participatory budgeting, I will give district residents of all ages a say in how funds should be spent. My experience in nonprofit and government give me the understanding of the application process from both angles and my lifelong activism has enabled me to get to know the groups doing great work on the ground who need our support.

7. During the L train shutdown, would you be in support of turning 14th street into a car-free bus and bike boulevard?

I believe that the impending L-Train shutdown is an important moment for the city and state to work hand-in-hand with the community to ensure better, more accessible crosstown mass transit above and below 14th Street. Over the next few months, I will insist on more opportunities for public engagement so our community can determine the best outcome for 14th Street during the shutdown period. We are awaiting a feasibility study by the MTA with critical information and data as to how we best move tens of thousands of riders across town. Express bus service, a bike lane and curbside access should be considered in the plan we as a community will ultimately put forward for this major transportation shutdown.

8. What are you going to do for our youth? What happened to our summer programs? Why not put to work the young kids who live in housing from 17-24 to clean their own buildings so that they can learn the importance of hard work, and taking care of their homes?

As someone whose first job at 14 was with other young people to take care of local kids at a summer camp, the energy of being a part of a hardworking team was so important to my development professionally. Growing up with a single mom in low-income housing and earning minimum wage, I know the value of that first paycheck and of being productive when not in school. Our youth need more employment and program opportunities training them for 21st century jobs. Those job opportunities should definitely be focused on community reinvestment, such as cleaning and maintaining our local developments and parks. I am committed to funding these programs in our district and working with community-based organizations to spearhead new ones. I also support the expansion of the Summer Youth Employment Program, which every year gets thousands more applicants than what the City budgets for and I have been a part of bringing these jobs in our community, hiring local young people to work in local spaces.

9. The lack of a responsible biking means we live in the midst of a public safety problem. The streets and sidewalks are dangerous for youth, the elderly, and everyone in between. Given the opportunity, how would you make the city safer?

We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of bicycles on our streets, and our district is a major thoroughfare for cyclist commuters. I am a supporter of green infrastructure that helps reduce pollution and improves the health of those pedaling, but new or “casual” cyclists are not properly trained and many aren’t informed of local traffic guidelines. As a cyclist, I care deeply about the safety of everyone on our streets. I will support legislation and policy requiring additional bicycle police enforcement as well as funding for safety awareness programs. I would also like clearer signage at crosswalks and separate public outreach programs geared towards pedestrians so that they are clearly aware of bike-lane crossings. I will also push for bicycle safety to be a priority of Vision Zero so that families feel safe walking in their neighborhoods.

10. Mom and Pop retail businesses leaving LES due to large chain stores, night life clubs and Amazon. CB3 proposes a small business district. How can you advocate for such an initiative?

Our local operators are under great pressure as rising rents, rising wages, and online commerce becomes costs of doing business. My husband is a small business owner, and we know the difficulties of keeping a shop open. We have seen some success with a special zoning district in the Upper West Side to preserve small businesses, and I support further development of this concept in our community with local stakeholders involved in the discussion. In addition, I support measures to strengthen the technical assistance, educational and financial support small businesses receive from our city, and will work on policy reform at agencies to reduce redundant or unnecessary penalties. Another priority is to push a new Small Business Jobs Survival Act that levels the playing field between businesses and landlords.

11. How can you help us fix the problem we have with rats?

Our community is plagued by some of the largest rat havens in the city. Being recognized by the Mayor as a district in need of support finally brings us overdue intervention that is important to our public health. I will encourage other Community Boards to ask for the same assistance to mitigate our pest problems. We need to ensure our parks and community garden operators have funding for rat reduction initiatives and work with city agencies on waste management, especially with large producers like NYCHA, schools, and restaurants. We must also work with stakeholders on legislation and sanitation policy that would change the timelines of sidewalk garbage placement and pickup in the most rat-infested areas. I look forward to best practices with recent proposals like the non-toxic dry-ice plan and sterilization efforts, which would help in areas like Tompkins Square Park (a major source of rat complaints in the district), where poisons are discouraged because wildlife populations, like hawks, might be harmed.

12. What are you going to do about the high end buildings being built not for low-income housing?

We have an affordable housing crisis in our community. We witness new construction of luxury housing daily, while our low-income housing crumbles and remains underfunded. The Mayor’s affordable housing plan is a start, but we need deeper permanent affordability requirements for very low-income families, more senior housing, and more supportive housing to combat recidivist homelessness. To do this, we must revisit the programs available for incentivizing affordable housing development and create new ones that do not lean heavily on tax abatements that cost the city over $1 Billion a year. In addition, we must review for affordable housing development all vacant land in the district that is not park or garden space, nor open space on NYCHA property.

13. How can you help change crime within NYCHA complexes?

Crime in NYCHA developments is often a product of our lack of opportunities for our youth, many of whom get caught in the school-to-prison pipeline, and who do not have access to good jobs with a path to stability. We must take a holistic approach to reducing crime, which includes not only growing the Neighborhood Community Officer program in PSA4 precinct but also investing in youth and summer employment programs, afterschool and vocational training programs, drug rehabilitation and alternative-to-incarceration programs, and better support for our Tenant Associations, which have the potential of being the glue that holds NYCHA developments together in a positive way. Furthermore, the gang violence on these campuses has existed for years and our education and criminal justice system has lacked the reform our community deserves and has demanded time and time again.

14. Have you accepted support or donations from real estate developers, landlords, or PACs or politicians that are aligned with developers and/or landlords?

I am proud to be near the top of candidate city-wide with the most small dollar contributions. These contributions have come from community leaders and neighbors of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. I am proud to have been endorsed by unions and organizations representing trades, teachers, artists, hospital workers, tenants, civil servants, and service workers. Many of their political action committees, including TenantsPAC, have contributed to our campaign as well.

My network includes professionals who are listed as “real estate brokers.” These individuals, many of them long-time residents of affordable housing are motivated by neighborhood investment and personal relationship. I will not and have refused to take money from bad actors in the real estate industry, which includes PACs representing landlords or developers.


Jasmin Sanchez

1. What interpersonal skills do you possess that will allow you to obtain your goals? How will you maintain your sanity when you encounter difficulties obtaining your goals? What do you believe would be the best ways for an individual facing financial oppression to become self-sufficient?

Through the years I have been able to develop and master several skills that have made me successful. One of the most important skills I have mastered is listening. The best communicators are not only skilled at articulating their own thoughts, they’re also great listeners. We tend to associate being the loudest voice in the room with power and control, but successful leaders understand the importance of listening to others’ thoughts and ideas. The other is communication. The ability to communicate well is essential to forming and maintaining relationships. Leaders who have mastered the exchange of ideas can more effectively manage employees and create a productive work environment. Working as a program director and supervising a staff of over 20 people and over 200 youth and families has given me the experience needed to manage people, understand different work ethics, cultural and economic backgrounds and collaboratively work towards a common vision. The last skill that has made me successful is negation. In my position within the DOE I am negotiating throughout the day with clients, employees, and funders. The most successful negotiators remain fair and considerate of others’ desires while pushing for what they want.

As a softball coach I preach that Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM) and that the word TEAM does not have an I in it. This means that I approach every circumstance with a plan but an open mind. Working within the DOE and numerous nonprofits I have faced the challenges of having people in opposition to my goals. Leaders will always face resistance, and the way I handle opposition determines a great deal about how I am perceived so I handle it gracefully by focusing on the issue and remaining non-confrontational, taking responsibility if I contributed to an issue, and asking for the resistors’ help in coming to a resolution. I am of the opinion that a solution can always be met as long as everyone is willing to work towards a common goal. Lastly, I know that leaders are always watched. Members of my church, Primitive Christian Church, always remind me that I need to pray about what I say, how I say it, how I react and my message. They keep me humble and constantly remind me that people will often look to me as a leader during times of change for reassurance, guidance, and a sense of stability.

In my experience the best way to approach how to become self-sufficient is to approach it within the workings of a small self-sufficient community. At my university, every dorm community had an office that provided career counseling, mental health programming, a health clinic and more services needed to advance our success. Our resources shouldn’t be sourced from thousands of miles away, nor should they be provided by a single entity. Real sustainability means diversity on a community level, as well as personal level. Within a self-sufficient community, needs are met easily, efficiently and sustainably through proper planning, collaboration and cooperation. On a larger scale the community may provide jobs that service and support the community members directly which is where the REES program comes in from NYCHA as well as their Section 3 program. We must hold accountable new businesses that open up in our district to hire locally as well as hire some of our youth during the summer. Not only are tangible needs met, but social needs are met as well. Self-sufficient communities provide friendship, entertainment and support. They are dynamic: consisting of many small parts to create a whole sustainable system of self-sufficient living.

2. The most constant complaint in the East Village is bar noise – on the streets between bars in saturated areas. What would each candidate do to relieve this situation?

I have made my position on this very clear at forums. I feel that we need to have NYPD on foot patrol in these areas. It will alleviate the noise, the brawls and the intoxication in public areas severely. I have also stated that each bar owner should be required to take full responsibility for their patron’s behavior. This responsibility should be made clear when the bar owner comes up for renewal for his or her liquor license before the Community Board and the NYS Liquor Authority. I believe that fines should be levied against bar owners for failure to comply. These owners need to realize that their businesses are in a community that houses families, working class individuals, youth and seniors. This is not a tourist destination or a college campus. It is my home, it is OUR home. Lastly, I vow to be on night walks with and without the NYPD. After all, it takes a village to ensure the safety of everyone.

3. Do you support congestion pricing?

I’m a strong believer that congestion pricing won’t reduce heavy traffic, instead it’ll simply punish the poor for being poor and not being able to afford to live in Manhattan or its nearby periphery. It doesn’t make sense to me that they would place a toll that will impact the poor with more fees to use the means they use to get to work more reliably. The city should put a moratorium of the building of mega-towers which caters toward the rich living abroad and strains city’s resources such as water, electricity, outdoor parking, and municipal services.

In addition, if the city truly cared about traffic congestion, they wouldn’t have built European “cafe-like seating” malls in areas in the middle of busy two-way intersections nor turn NYC’s longest and busiest street (Broadway, formerly a main trucking distribution route) into a single-lane street. Those Mayor Bloomberg city traffic-implementations greatly led to the increased traffic problems Manhattan faces today.

4. Can you bridge the gap between the community and police department? The LES has a large Latino community. How can you be a voice for everyone and not just Latinos?

I intend to do just that. Growing up in Baruch Houses, our local NYPD officers were heavily involved in our community. They worked alongside tenant patrols and tenant associations to ensure community safety and provided trainings to tenants. They were also on bikes and on foot patrol. They participated in after-school programs and youth events. But today this is missing. I will ensure that our district rebuilds a solid foundation with the NYPD. I will advertise the local precinct meetings as well as the PSA4 meetings. I will work to have every after-school program offer the Law Enforcement Explorers program which provides young men and women from the city’s diverse communities with an introduction to a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system. The program, geared for ages 14 to 20, often results in strengthening ties between the community and police. Explorers are taught the importance of higher education, self-discipline, and respect for diversity and human dignity through training and involvement in community service projects. I will also ensure that all summer camp programs offer the NYPD Summer Youth Police Academy which is one of several innovative, effective programs that the Department provides for young people in New York City. The program gives young individuals between the ages of 10 and 16 the opportunity to train with police officers during the summer, leading to positive relationships between the Police Department and the city’s youth. Lastly, I would ensure that the NYPD is involved in regularly conducting one-day presentations for students and parents on a variety of topics and are available to speak upon request. Some of the topics will cover: bullying, choices and consequences, employment interview preparation, family fun nights, gang awareness, internet safety and parental workshops that focus on awareness, prevention tips and helpful resources.

I chose to run for the City Council at this moment because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together. Unless we unite our district by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction. That direction is towards a better future for our children and the generations to come.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the people. But it also comes from my own Lower East Side story. I am the granddaughter of a Spaniard and Italian man and a Puerto Rican woman both of whom were born in Puerto Rico. I was raised with the help of my grandparents who migrated to New York in 1959. I’ve gone to some of the districts best schools, because for me, there aren’t any bad schools. As an educator, I service every race, ethnicity, and gender and I will never forget that in no other country on Earth are my story and experiences even possible.

The fact is that the comments and actions that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few months reflects the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through and now has plagued our communities. And I will work diligently to ensure that race/ethnicity is not a factor in my district.

5. If elected, how will you vote on the Mayor’s taking the DAMP tax benefit from HDFC buildings that don’t sign a new regulatory argument that takes away self-management of the buildings they own?

I would make my position clear to the Mayor and the entire City Council in the form of a bill that would protect the DAMP tax benefit within the HDFC. It is not fair that an agreement was signed by both parties and now one side wants to go back on the agreement. This is a blatant attack on the property rights of low, moderate and middle income people. What they are saying is don’t sign and lose your tax break or sign and get a better deal but you forfeit your right to control your home. Our city, Our district is not one that goes back on an agreement.

6. Do you feel that discretionary funds are used as a form of obtaining political support for the Council person?

I am the only candidate that has openly stated that if I am elected, I would participate in Participatory Budgeting, something our district has never seen. I do feel that there is a need

to do away with the entire idea of awarding discretionary funds. This process, although well intentioned, is used in this district to reward political supporters and punish those who disagree. When you look at where Council Member Rosie Mendez’s funds are distributed you will see that certain organizations are receiving more than $100,000 in discretionary funds. These are the very same organizations that are campaigning, endorsing and discussing candidates and politics in their offices, on their pages and in public meetings. It is illegal for nonprofits to participate in the political process to the extent that these organizations are.

I am supportive of the Participatory Budgeting because it is democracy at its finest. Allowing the district to vote on which proposals should receive funds as opposed to the council member. There is absolutely no reason why the same organizations are receiving $100,000 or more every year.

7. During the L train shutdown, would you be in support of turning 14th street into a car-free bus and bike boulevard?

Yes I would be in support of a car free zone. Without a dedicated car free zone, buses on 14th street would be slowed down by traffic. We do not what riders congesting the streets with more Ubers and Lyft. People depend on the speed and reliability of buses and if a car free zone is not implemented the new routes will suffer and fewer people will use them. Subways will get more crowded, traffic congestion will get worse, and people will end up making fewer trips. With the L-Train shutting down, local businesses need the foot traffic of riders who use the corridor every day to continue coming to their neighborhoods. A great example of how this would work is by looking at the Fulton Street Mall (Brooklyn) where there is a bus and pedestrian street retail strip. It brings in over 100,000 shoppers per day.

8. What are you going to do for our youth? What happened to our summer programs? Why not put to work the young kids who live in housing from 17-24 to clean their own buildings so that they can learn the importance of hard work, and taking care of their homes?

I am proud to be the only candidate that has a strong and successful track record in youth, organizing and development. I will ensure that community based organizations employ their youth. I have successfully secured 45 young people jobs every year during the summer with small businesses and nonprofit organizations. I have developed a youth development program focused on service learning, work readiness, academic and sports. I have also partnered youth with internships throughout the school year. I would expand on these programs and ensure that organizations and schools apply to various funding sources to support the number of youth in our district. In addition to the above, I will allocate funds for youth employment.

I believe the question should be what happened to our FREE summer programs. We have organizations charging an obscene amount of money for sessions of summer camp to a community that cannot afford it. In addition, as someone who currently operates and manages after school and summer camp programs, I have seen in middle school and high school lack of engagement. I feel organizations have to do a better job in retaining youth and ensuring that their staff is equipped to provide engaging activities. Our youth should be in summer programs not at Pitt Pool for session 1 and 2 or out on the streets. I have created a program that trains staff and another one that refers staff to an agency based on what the needs are. All of this is provided free of cost.

I have proposed in my platform that the City of New York greatly increase the level of funding for SYEP especially for the young people between the ages of 18 to 24 year olds who reside in public housing and designate them to work within the development that they live in.

9. The lack of a responsible biking means we live in the midst of a public safety problem. The streets and sidewalks are dangerous for youth, the elderly, and everyone in between. Given the opportunity, how would you make the city safer?

I would propose that the NYPD continue to enforce laws currently on the books regarding bike safety and the City of New York increase a Public Bike Safety Campaign so that bikers fully understand the consequences of not abiding by the current laws. I have seen in other parts of the city traffic lights for cyclists. I think this would be a great idea to manage cyclists and hold them accountable.

10. Mom and Pop retail businesses leaving LES due to large chain stores, night life clubs and Amazon. CB3 proposes a small business district. How can you advocate for such an initiative?

I’ve proposed the creation of the Loisiada Business Improvement District. This area would cover roughly all Avenues from East 14th Street to the north, south to East Houston Street, West to Avenue A and East to Avenue D. It would include an area which would be zoned and/or declared a historic neighborhood in order to protect the character of the neighborhood. I am also a supporter of the Commercial Tax Credit and the Small Business Job Survival Act.

11. How can you help us fix the problem we have with rats?

In my development we had a major rat infestation. I live in Baruch Houses. I went live on Facebook during my Rat Patrol tours. Needless to say, in a week the rat population decreased.

I still continue my Rat Patrol tours because I know my development is not the only one that has this problem. I have also went into the night life areas and have compiled a report on how restaurants and lounges dispose of their left over food and garbage. These business need to be fined since it is one of the greatest sources of feeding rats in our district.

I will continue to hold public meetings with NYCHA, night life business owners, tenant associations and the Department of Sanitation with regards to how we can effectively develop a plan for our district to reduce the rat population.

12. What are you going to do about the high end buildings being built not for low-income housing?

If I am elected as the next city councilwoman, I will not accept high end buildings being built in the district that does not benefit our district. I do not believe in building on public land. I am firm when I say we must receive, at a minimum, 50% of the units for low to moderate income families. We must also have first priority to the units before it being opened to the rest of the city. Our mom and pop shops are dwindling and I need to ensure preservation of the ones we currently have and invest in new ones. Lastly, if you build in my district, we need schools, urgent care units, green space, parks, and bathhouses that need to be renovated.

13. How can you help change crime within NYCHA complexes?

As a lifelong resident of a NYCHA development, Baruch Houses, I would expand on foot patrol by the NYPD. I will also invest in installing brand new locks for the main entrance of NYCHA buildings and a brighter street light system. When I was growing up, we did not have high gates that obstruct the views. I will make sure that gates like this are removed. NYCHA has gates that are painted black, this makes the development gloomy. NYCHA needs to remove scaffolding immediately to ensure safety in the community and if scaffolding must remain up for work purposes, put lights throughout the area so that it is not a gathering ground for negative behaviors.

I will ensure that every development has a functioning and high tech community center, senior center and adult resource center. Every building will have active tenant patrols and tenant associations and NYPD will be standing with us to ensure the success of these initiatives.

14. Have you accepted support or donations from real estate developers, landlords, or PACs or politicians that are aligned with developers and/or landlords?

Absolutely not, please feel free to check my contribution page with the NYC Campaign Finance Board.


Mary Silver

1. What interpersonal skills do you possess that will allow you to obtain your goals? How will you maintain your sanity when you encounter difficulties obtaining your goals? What do you believe would be the best ways for an individual facing financial oppression to become self-sufficient?

I know how to compromise, negotiate effectively, and be respectful of my colleagues’ opinions and ideas. I pride myself on being able to provide solutions to challenging problems. To accomplish community goals, I work collaboratively with people who hold a range of views. I understand that goals worth achieving often require us to face difficulties and obstacles. That has never discouraged me from putting forth all of my effort toward making this a better city for all New Yorkers. I believe that individuals facing financial oppression need help obtaining job training, affordable housing, and quality jobs. Our city government is here to serve the people, and the goal should be self-sufficiency for all New Yorkers.

2. The most constant complaint in the East Village is bar noise – on the streets between bars in saturated areas. What would each candidate do to relieve this situation?

Noise is the number one complaint to the city’s 311 hotline. I would enforce rules regarding how late bars can stay open, and focus on the enforcement of current noise regulations. We need to work closely with bar owners to ensure that our communities remain safe and quiet. I would also explore lobbying Albany to give more local control regarding liquor licenses.

3. Do you support congestion pricing?

I strongly support congestion pricing. There are far too many cars crowding our streets and negatively impacting our air quality and noise levels. We need to do a better job keeping our streets clear and safe, especially for pedestrians and cyclists. At the same time, we also have to look at the impact of ride-sharing vehicles on local traffic.

4. Can you bridge the gap between the community and police department? The LES has a large Latino community. How can you be a voice for everyone and not just Latinos?

I believe that I can bridge this gap by being accessible to my constituents and transparent with them about my ideas and decisions. I am here to serve the people of District 2, and that means that I want to hear everyone’s concerns and issues so that we can solve our problems together. I am running for office so that I can serve the needs of all people in this district—regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. I believe that I can be a voice for everyone by working with the community to solve our most challenging problems. We also need to ensure that the local precincts reflect the communities that they serve.

5. If elected, how will you vote on the Mayor’s taking the DAMP tax benefit from HDFC buildings that don’t sign a new regulatory argument that takes away self-management of the buildings they own?

HDFC co-ops were intended as affordable housing, and receive property tax breaks as part of their agreement with the city. If co-ops choose to go market-rate, then they will no longer benefit from the tax exemptions. Market-rate units are by definition not affordable housing, and should not get special tax treatment from the city. We cannot afford to lose any more affordable housing units for the purpose of personal profit.

6. Do you feel that discretionary funds are used as a form of obtaining political support for the Council person?

Unfortunately, discretionary funds can be used to obtain political support for council members. We need to make sure that our elected officials are transparent, honest and fiscally responsible. This is why I firmly believe in participatory budgeting.

7. During the L train shutdown, would you be in support of turning 14th street into a car-free bus and bike boulevard?

I believe that more research and analysis must be done before I can support this plan. If easing traffic on 14th Street will create dangerous and unmanageable traffic on adjacent residential streets, then we are solving one problem and creating another. The MTA must be held accountable to create a safe and effective plan to ease commuter problems during the L Train shutdown.

8. What are you going to do for our youth? What happened to our summer programs? Why not put to work the young kids who live in housing from 17-24 to clean their own buildings so that they can learn the importance of hard work, and taking care of their homes?

If elected, I will support funding and efforts to expand summer jobs programs, and summer learning programs. We have an obligation to provide our children with the best education possible, and with opportunities to stay safe and healthy during the summer. I believe in teaching our young kids the value of hard work and taking care of their homes, but I also believe that they need our help in doing so, and that their education should come first.

9. The lack of a responsible biking means we live in the midst of a public safety problem. The streets and sidewalks are dangerous for youth, the elderly, and everyone in between. Given the opportunity, how would you make the city safer?

I believe we need to do a better job enforcing traffic laws for bike riders, and make sure that we have community input in order to make our streets safer. As cycling becomes more popular, we must make sure that commuters and pedestrians are safe.

10. Mom and Pop retail businesses leaving LES due to large chain stores, night life clubs and Amazon. CB3 proposes a small business district. How can you advocate for such an initiative?

Small businesses are the cornerstones of our neighborhoods, and as City Council Member I will fight to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), and enact better rent regulations to protect small business owners from price gouging and harassment.

11. How can you help us fix the problem we have with rats?

I support the new plan to purchase new garbage cans and regulate when New Yorkers can dump their trash on the sidewalks. I believe that we need to have a cleaner city, and part of that means doing our part to get rid of rodents.

12. What are you going to do about the high end buildings being built not for low-income housing?

Our City Council Members must exact more from real estate developers. For too long, our representation has let them do as they please. If real estate developers are going to radically alter the needs of a neighborhood, then they should contribute more to the community in the form of affordable housing or capital improvements to subway stops, parks, etc.

13. How can you help change crime within NYCHA complexes?

I believe that we need to hire security to protect our citizens, and make sure that the laws are properly enforced. We also need to establish emergency response systems in these areas. I believe that we need to make sure that people living in NYCHA complexes are safe, and that they know whom they can turn to when they feel that they are in danger.

14. Have you accepted support or donations from real estate developers, landlords, or PACs or politicians that are aligned with developers and/or landlords?

No, with the exception of The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (the union representing principals) which has endorsed me and donated to my campaign.


Jorge Vasquez

1.       What interpersonal skills do you possess that will allow you to obtain your goals? How will you maintain your sanity when you encounter difficulties obtaining your goals? What do you believe would be the best ways for an individual facing financial oppression to become self-sufficient?

I think the LES community can answer that question. As a former prosecutor for the NYC Government against human rights violations, and a public interest attorney, I have actively SEEKED the people who need my help. I’m looking for a formal office from which I can help those with complaints, and listen to those who may not have the legislative answers to work on creating them. My sanity should also speak for itself, as a grassroots campaign requires 60 to 90 hours a week of constant listening, fighting the oppressive machine, and oppositional constituents. I feel I have handled this with poise, and will continue to into the future.

2.       The most constant complaint in the East Village is bar noise – on the streets between bars in saturated areas.  What would each candidate do to relieve this situation?

The bars are an issue, assuredly. They stem from two larger problems, however. First, the only way for a restaurant to exist is to have their liquor license (stemming from high rent prices). This can only be dealt with by making sure landlords are playing fair, which is what I’ve spent my career doing. Additionally, NYU has continued to encroach on the LES, and as a City Council Member I assure you I will prevent this parasitic tendency.

3.       Do you support congestion pricing?

We have to think about who this really affects- it’s mostly going to be people from outer boroughs who need the money, and the people within the city who support this can’t comprehend the effects on pocket-money, necessarily. Not to mention the trickle-down increase in costs to small businesses, thus members of our district are paying higher prices for goods, leading to a lower quality of life. If the preliminary reports indicate this increases use of busses and subways, then we’d be all for it. But a lot of the efficacy of legislation comes from its execution- so we must assure this happens in the best possible way.

4.       Can you bridge the gap between the community and policy department? The LES has a large Latino community.  How can you be a voice for everyone and not just Latinos?

Yes, absolutely- my voice extends far past the Latino community, and I think it shows through the composition of our team and the unification we are trying to push for. Chetan Hebbur, a previous candidate from Murray Hill has endorsed and is working me, and his constituents’ main issues regarded vagrancy. I think a strong leader, willing to listen to EVERYONE, and understand what quality of life means to them, is the candidate that is best for the District. We need to hold our precincts accountable, but that comes from having a listener in the District office, who hears constituents needs and acts as an effective mediator to the 9th and 13th precincts.

5.       If elected, how will you vote on the Mayor’s taking the DAMP tax benefit from HDFC buildings that don’t sign a new regulatory argument that takes away self-management of the buildings they own?

I am totally against this. HDFC owners shouldn’t be held hostage for the City dropping the ball. Period. But this shouldn’t take effect for around a decade.

6.       Do you feel that discretionary funds are used as a form of obtaining political support for the Council person?

This depends largely on the types of bills utilizing discretionary funding. We believe misappropriation is bound to happen on some scale, but for instance with education, it cannot simply be a numbers game based on how many people are in class, etc. There must be further thought into where money needs to flow, and how this is going to have an effect on our youth engagement.

7.       During the L train shutdown, would you be in support of turning 14th street into a car-free bus and bike boulevard?

I’m more concerned with increasing select bus service across the Williamsburg Bridge and making sure the M & J lines are properly running. I’m open to the possibility of a 14th street shutdown, but once again, this must be rolled out slowly and carefully, and in a way that doesn’t affect the quality of life of small business owners and those they employ.

8.       What are you going to do for our youth?  What happened to our summer programs?  Why not put to work the young kids who live in housing from 17-24 to clean their own buildings so that they can learn the importance of hard work, and taking care of their homes?

I’m all for these resources returning to the District. I relied on these opportunities and agencies to get my teeth taken care of as a kid without healthcare. I talk to people DAILY who talk about the lack of affordable childcare, which, in turn, affects their ability to bring home money for their kids. I think we need to be thinking about the tech hub, and “Silicon Alley”. Let’s make sure they’re hiring kids from the area. Let’s make sure small businesses, in general, have incentives to hire younger kids. But, first, these small businesses need to exist.

9.       The lack of a responsible biking means we live in the midst of a public safety problem.  The streets and sidewalks are dangerous for youth, the elderly, and everyone in between.  Given the opportunity, how would you make the city safer?

We make the city safer by assuring that cyclists obey the traffic laws, encourage the use of helmets, and work hand in hand with law enforcement to assure pedestrian safety. Additionally, if we make public transportation better, it gives people a safer alternative. A good program to incentivize this would be the Fair Fare initiative.

10.   Mom and Pop retail businesses leaving LES due to large chain stores, night life clubs and Amazon.  CB3 proposes a small business district.  How can you advocate for such an initiative?

Zoning is always questionable, and we need to focus on who is truly benefitting from these negotiations and follow the money. We need to make sure that even if we zone this special district, we are following those that develop there and are creating true community opportunities and resources. But as the candidate endorsed by the Small Business Congress, and a STRONG supporter of the Small Business Job Survival Act, I am all for more Mom & Pop stores. I’m a product of these businesses, as is my family. Again, the questions remain not in theory but how these initiatives are executed.

11.   How can you help us fix the problem we have with rats?

We need more people reporting the rodents to 311, asking for the Department of Sanitation, and giving us the numbers to quantify what an infestation looks like, and telling us where I need to focus when I’m elected. Without that information it’s very difficult to solve any of these problems, but it’s our elected officials’ responsibility to educate the residents of their Districts that this step needs to be taken.

12.   What are you going to do about the high end buildings being built not for low-income housing?

I am completely opposed to this. In summation, less one bedrooms need to be built so that people are incentivized to build roots in the community that last. We want to incentivize ownership, which is completely out of the question for families. We need no more of this mentality that if a developer gives us a garden that’s an acceptable amount of good to be doing for the community. We need leaders who are ENTIRELY clear of development money.

13.   How can you help change crime within NYCHA complexes?

Crime within NYCHA communities, to me, is no more reflective of the issues that affect crime as a whole in the District. We need small businesses with lights on to prevent the stunning increase in sexual violence by keeping our eyes and ears open. We need to make sure our socioeconomic condition is taken care of. I don’t think this crime is unique, and I think this ideology leads to broken window policing.

14.   Have you accepted support or donations from real estate developers, landlords, or PACs or politicians that are aligned with developers and/or landlords?

ABSOLUTELY NOT, and this WILL NOT change.

Translate >>