Solutions by Issue

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Affordable Housing

Affordable housing development must seek a better balance between market rate and affordable housing. Pioneers who have built our neighborhoods must not be forced to leave because they are victims of their own success, their housing should remain affordable so that they may realize the fruits of their labor.

As former Chief of Staff for Mitchell-Lama Subcommittee Chair, Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing, I know the current issues facing affordable housing. I had the opportunity to work on the next generation of progressive legislation that would scale certain rent regulations to the consumer price index, so that new laws are always current and housing remains affordable for generations to come. But there is more to do and as your City Council member I will continue this work by reforming rent regulation, using market indices like the consumer price index, and expanding affordable housing.

In addition to fixing affordable housing and rent regulation laws, we must also create a centralized affordable housing resource. Affordable housing must be transparent, with easily accessible and searchable lists by address and qualification, rather than having to search through over a dozen different programs and agencies. We must open affordable housing by creating an easy centralized application process. Lastly, the waiting lists for all affordable housing must be publicly available to provide accountability where these waiting lists have been previously abused.

Community

As a third generation Upper East Sider, I am committed to maintaining our neighborhood's quality of life. I will support and work with our community centers such as cultural and religious institutions as well as neighborhood associations to ensure our neighborhood remains safe, clean and a wonderful place to live.

Education

Overcrowding in East Side public schools threatens to deny a generation of children their constitutional right to a "sound basic education." We must make more school seats available now, build more schools to keep up with current development, and investigate new solutions for building educational infrastructure.

I have a strong commitment to public education that stems from being a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, State University of New York's University at Albany and University at Buffalo Law School. I helped create Community Board 8’s Youth and Education Committee, identified a Free Yellow Bus Program for local youth service providers, and created an internship program to better serve the youth and education needs of our community. As your Council member I will continue to fight for increased funding for youth services and education.

Elections

Elections are vital to preserving democracy. As a member of the New York Democratic Lawyers Council, I had the opportunity to help build a coalition of lawyers and others dedicated to fostering universal participation and trust in the electoral process by ensuring that all eligible person can register to vote easily, vote simply, fairly, without intimidation, and that all votes are counted on open and reliable voting systems. While rising to the position of State Coordination Committee Chair, I had the opportunity to organize and manage over 4,000 New York attorneys and 350 New York law students, who helped protect our right to elect Barack Obama as President and coordinate election protection for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's first election to Congress, helping to take back the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. While working with this organization, I first discovered that over 800,000 New Yorkers had been dropped from the New York State Voter Registration List and without much time before the election, I created VoterSearch.org, to help 12 million New Yorkers verify their voter registration. Since its creation VoterSearch.org has verified voter registrations for over 35,000 New Yorkers.

As Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing, I had the opportunity to work on ground breaking legislation to allow New Yorkers to register to vote online. As your City Council member I will fight for transparent elections using a voter verifiable paper trailopen voting machines with hardware and software can be reviewed by the City or State, and accountability with the requirement that with a transition to a paper based ballot, that all optical scanned paper ballots be posted online for the people to verify and audit should they so choose.

Environment

While serving as Chief of Staff to Assembly Member Jonathan L. Bing our office received an honor from the New York League of Conservation Voters for introducing environmentally friendly legislation that helped enable the MTA's Select Bus Program.


As someone who grew up in New York City and State the environment including our City and State parks, greenways such as running and bike paths, and waterways are of integral importance. As a child I grew up playing in Carl Schurz and John Jay parks, and as an adult I've hiked in our State parks with Surprise Lake Camp, biked over 75+ miles of our greenways with Transportation Alternatives, swam across the East River with NYC Swim and in the Hudson River with the New York City Triathlon, and trained everywhere with the Asphalt Green Triathlon team.


As an avid user of our City and States natural resources, you won't find a better advocate for our environment. After all what other candidate would fight to keep the City's rivers clean enough to swim in?

Good Government

As founder of WikiLaw.org, I believe that the Government and its body of law should be transparent for the people it governs. As founder of VoterSearch.org, I believe that protecting your right to vote is essential to an accountable government. As former Co-Chair of Community Board 8's Communication Committee, I worked to open the community board by announcingcommunity board membership applications and ensuring they were widely available at meetings. I have continued my work with Community Board 8's Communication Committee and we have made its television show "Community Board 8 Speaks" available online.

As your City Council member I will continue the work of making City Hall transparent by making its business available online through the web, PDF, podcast, and YouTube like videos. I will openCity Hall by creating NYC.OpenLegislation.org, a local version of OpenCongress.org, where anyone will be able to share their views on all business, in support of the mission of theParticipatory Politics Foundation. City Hall will become accountable to you the people as NYC.OpenLegislation.org, will let you track business before City Hall and how your representative voted on issues of importance to you.

Health

Public health is a necessity in a City as large as ours. All of us from infants to seniors should have access to quality health care. We must support our health institutions and provide preventative health care services such as immunizations to lower expensive treatment costs. Cutting vital health care services from our budget has historically only increased treatment costs in the long term. Through proper support and preventative health care services we can make our City a healthier place to live.

Israel

I am the grandson of immigrants who fled Eastern and Western Europe because of anti-Semitism, with family that immigrated to Israel, was educated at Rabbi Arthur Schneier Park East Day School where I learned a strong Jewish identity, speak and understand Hebrew and have been to Israel many times.


I believe that our City, State and Country must stand as a strong partner with the State of Israel, a close ally since its foundation. Israel is the only Democratic and stable country in a historically unstable region of the world where, like it or not, the United States has a dependency for fuel.


I stand with Israel and believe we can support democracy, freedom and peace through our efforts locally including in the City Council.

Jobs

In these difficult economic times we must reform our regressive tax system, not create new draconian sales taxes that burden our City's working families, while cutting vital services like health care and education that we need. We should create new economic incentive programs to encourage growth and job creation. I had the privilege of working on one such progressive economic program, the Second Avenue Subway Construction Grants Program, while serving as Chief of Staff to Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing. This program would provide economic and technical support to small businesses that were negatively affected by the construction of the Second Avenue Subway. Through innovative economic development and tax reform we will combat the threat of rows of empty store fronts and maintain a vibrant community by helping to keep small independently owned and operated businesses open and preserving jobs through even the most difficult of economic times.

Marine Transfer Station

I am a resident of the Gracie Point and Yorkville neighborhoods and a member of both Asphalt Green and Sane Trash Solutions. I have benefited personally from the parks where the City intends to build the Marine Transfer Station, losing over 40 pounds by running along the East River Esplanade and through regular exercise as a member of the Asphalt Green Triathlon Team so that I am no longer clinically overweight. Asphalt Green provides a healthy and safe recreation for the youth and adults in New York City, even producing Olympians. A residential neighborhood, let alone a fitness center and children's play field is no place for a garbage dump.

Public Safety

We must work together to keep our neighborhood safe from crime and emergencies like construction accidents. In the wake of the two crane collapses on the Upper East Side last year that claimed 9 lives, we must increase financial support for emergency services, improve construction regulation and community notice, as well as expand our Community Emergency Response Teams.

Roosevelt Island

As a third generation Upper East Sider, I have deep roots in the community including on Roosevelt Island where my grandfather, Dr. Andrew Kallos, served patients at Coler-Goldwater Memorial Hospital upon completing his distinguished service in the United States Armed services during World War II.


As a Chief of Staff to an Upper East Side Assembly Member and longtime member of Community Board 8 Manhattan, I have kept the needs of Roosevelt Island residents at the forefront of my agenda. Working alongside resident leaders to fight for "Democracy on Roosevelt Island" through recognition of the Governor of elections for Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) Board Members and "Access Roosevelt Island" to provide transportation alternatives for Roosevelt Island.


I will continue to fight for responsible development on Roosevelt Island of the infrastructure improvements that will be required to better support the existing 12,000 residents as well as the 2,780 new students and faculty that Cornell NYC Tech will bring.

Second Avenue Subway Construction

The East Side of Manhattan is currently undergoing one of the most significant construction projects in decades -- the creation of the long-awaited Second Avenue subway. The construction has begun and will eventually run through parts of most of Manhattan. While the Second Avenue Subway will eventually bring much needed transportation improvements to the East Side, it is currently having a substantially negative effect on local businesses.


As former Chief of Staff for Assembly Member Jonathan L. Bing, I had the opportunity to work on drafting the Second Avenue Subway Construction Economic Development Grant Program, as well as working the MTA and Second Avenue Business Association to launch the Shop Second Avenue campaign. While this bill originally passed both houses, it was vetoed by the Governor and has not passed both since. I will reintroduce the legislation on a City level and continue to fight to keep and grow jobs in the district.

Tax Reform

Technology

Technology is the great equalizer. In a world where knowledge is power, the Internet provides access to an information superhighway where anyone can learn anything from a better golf swing to a new programming language which provides them with a marketable skill and access to new jobs.

As a student at the Bronx High School of Science, having access to the Internet gave me the opportunity to found a technology consulting firm, featured in the New York Times. My firm went on to provide services to the New York Football GiantsPfizer PharmaceuticalsNorth Shore University Hospital and the State University of New York at Albany and Buffalo. After financing my education, I used these skills to found WikiLaw.org, which has recently partnered with Jurispedia.org for a global shared law, VoterSearch.org to help 12 million New Yorkers verify their voter registrations, and OpenLegislation.org to put all the voting records for the New York City and State Legislators online for free.

As your City Council member I will leverage technology to make our government is transparent, accountable, and open. We will make City Hall transparent by adopting Open Government Data Principles, so that information like our laws and our budgets will be made freely available to the public to use in making government accountable with projects like Open Congress, Public.Resource.org and Project Sunlight. I will also fight to open the flood gates of knowledge by supporting our public libraries and advocating for free universal wireless so that every New York City resident has the same opportunity to learn from these valuable resources. I will also advocate for use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in government to save billions a year, reinvigorate New York City's technology sector, and to create new jobs in a City that once boasted "Silicon Alley."

Many of the ideas from this platform have already been partially adopted by Mayor Mike Bloomberg as part of his initiative for a "Connected City."

Transportation

New York City Transit is the life blood of New York City, moving more than 187.9 million passengers per month. However, the Lexington Avenue Subway Line is currently over 150% of capacity. As the City grows we must improve capacity and investigate transportation alternatives. We must find alternative transportation routes for residents of Roosevelt Island by modifying current subway service, trams, ferries, and even building additional subway stations.

While we are building any improvements, including the long overdue Second Avenue Subway, we must make sure that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is transparent by making its construction plans available to the people, open to review and suggestions from the community, and accountable should final decisions be made by the MTA without public comment.

While the Mayor's Congestion Pricing plan may not have been enacted, it is important not to let a greener New York fall by the wayside. As your City Council member I will work with you to implement initiatives that preserve our environment, improve transportation and make New York City a clean, affordable, and accessible place to live.