My fellow New Yorkers:
New York City is at a crossroads. We need bold, clear leadership to unite us and move us forward. But that path must also be lit with ideas for action. As a lifelong New Yorker who faced homelessness, hunger, economic hardship and brutality at the hands of police as a young man, I know all too well the systemic problems that have kept this city from reaching its true potential for generations.
Now that we face this pandemic and its economic fallout, we must ask ourselves a question that will determine the future of our city: Are we going to try to fix our old problems, or just our new ones?
Each mayoral candidate must answer that question and then provide real, actionable ideas and goals to help us reach new heights. That is why I am sharing more than 100 things I will do as mayor to ensure a better future while addressing both the challenges of the present and the inequities of the past.
All of these steps forward are guided by a simple truth: government
inefficiency leads to social injustice. And these steps will make New York’s government smarter and more effective in order to provide a safer, fairer city that is better prepared for the future.
When government performs better—more effectively and with the right priorities—there is nothing that cannot be accomplished, including
overcoming inequality, an economic crisis and COVID-19.
But this is just the beginning. As the campaign goes on, I will detail specifics about key action items on this list and put out other policy papers on critical subject areas that can act as a blueprint for our new city.
The people of New York are what make this city great. With better government and the right leadership, they will get the city they deserve. That better brand of New York government takes care of New Yorkers when they need it, provides a path to success when they look for it, and leads the world in its commitment to equality, opportunity, and quality of life. That is the promise of New York; a promise that must be kept.
Since I was a young man, that is the city I dreamed of. Now, this is my vision for all of us. Here are my 100+ Steps Forward for New York City.
Build One Data Platform For The Entire City Government
Believe it or not, nearly all City agencies currently operate wholly separately from one another, not sharing data or metrics. By combining all agency metrics onto a single platform similar to CompStat and using analytics to track performance in real time, we can go from a reactive approach to City management to being proactive and, eventually, predictive. The cost savings and improved performance will save billions of dollars and deliver far better services to New Yorkers.
Give New Yorkers A Real-Time Score For Government Performance
By creating one data platform for all City operations, we can also create a continually updated public score for each agency going far beyond the Mayor’s Management Report, based on the performance relative to its stated goals for the year. Boston already does this with its CityScore program.
Coordinate Public And Non-Profit Delivery Of Services
New York City relies heavily on non-profits to provide critical services to New Yorkers that are funded by the City. But there is no central authority in City government that oversees and coordinates delivery of these services on a day-to-day basis. Because of this, we are not finding efficiencies and savings that can help us better deliver services to more New Yorkers. That is why we will create a real-time reporting system for the delivery of services across a unified network, overseen by the First Deputy Mayor.
Save $1.5b And Avoid Layoffs By Simply Not Hiring Anyone New For Two Years
We can significantly reduce labor costs by $1.5 billion through attrition by not replacing retiring or resigning City workers and working with the State to offer early retirements to others over the next two years. This will also allow us to retain the workers we need to deliver vital City services.
Launch Mycity, A Single Portal For All City Services And Benefits
It has never been more important that New Yorkers receive the full support of their government. Imagine typing only one number into a secure app or Web site and instantly receiving every service and benefit you qualify for—such as SNAP—without any paperwork, as well as constant up-to-date information that will help you protect you and your family. If you own a business, you can manage City paperwork through it. If you are making repairs to your property, you will have direct access to the De partment of Buildings. And, if you opt-in to using a chip-enabled City ID, you can sail through in-person interactions with City agencies, instantly have access to a bank account, and even get City loyalty discounts at participating local businesses. With the technology now available, there is no reason New York City cannot do that for every New Yorker. This is a 311 for the digital age, and so much more.
By instituting a standing Program to Eliminate the Gap (PEG), we will reduce agency spending at least 3-5% by applying an efficiency mandate that eliminates ineffective programs and unnecessary spending, while utilizing an inequality impact test so that programs vital to lower-in come New Yorkers are protected.
Speed Our Turnaround With A Recovery Share For Ultra-Millionaires
We can generate $1-2 billion annually by instituting a “Recovery Share”—a modest increase to the income taxes of city earners who make more than $5 million a year, sunsetting after two years. Those funds would go directly into initiatives that help us bounce back from the pandemic, including testing and vaccination programs, anti-hunger efforts, and financial help for those New Yorkers and industries hardest hit by COVID-19.
Make City Agencies Work Together
The root of our City’s inefficiency is in its agencies, which work in parallel, instead of in concert—and often in direct conflict with each other. By mandating inter-agency coordination and designating existing senior staff to a citywide council that meets regularly to align goals, we will institutionalize coordination to reduce inefficiency and inequality.
That council will be tasked with three specific mandates:
- Define the mission of each agency
- Ensure the missions of the agencies meet the overall mission of the City government as • defined by city leadership
- Evaluate agencies to ensure no agency’s actions conflict with another agency 6
Bring The City To The Community
The problem with City services isn’t just the lack of them--it is access to them. We must bring the City to the community, right to the doorstep of New Yorkers. Creating a program that helps New Yorkers is only half the job; educating New Yorkers about it and delivering those services is also necessary for it to be effective. We can do this by equipping City workers with computer tablets that are connected to the City’s unified digital platform and sending them into the areas with the greatest need for City services, setting up shop in open storefronts, NYCHA complexes and even parks. These workers can also connect New Yorkers to federal services and programs that will help us return some of the $20 billion-plus a year that New York taxpayers send to D.C.that we do not get back.
Appoint An Efficiency Czar
Efficiency mandates mean nothing without oversight and a leader dedicated to ensuring success. The Efficiency Czar will oversee the standing Program to Eliminate the Gap and conduct quarterly agency and department audits to continuously uncover inefficiency in the City government and make suggestions for changes. The Czar will also oversee the evaluation of large City contracts —particularly related to recurring expenses such as utility bills—and partner with companies that are incentivized to find cost savings.
Find Better Deals
Far too many City contracts just keep getting renewed or extended despite poor performance. At the beginning of the new administration, all contracts over $10 million will be put under immediate review, and those that are ineffective, or can be done better by the City, will be eliminated.
Find Value And New Revenue From City Properties
New York City owns and controls billions-of-dollars worth of property across the five boroughs, representing huge potential value and revenue to pay for critical City services when we most need them. We will immediately do a complete inventory of all City properties and determine best use—whether they should be utilized by government agencies, used for housing or services, sold or leased—in order to reduce costs across City government and yield income that can be put toward core services to maintain and improve quality of life.
Maintain Our Infrastructure with Non-Profit Partnerships
At a time when we are facing massive multi-billion-dollar City deficits, New York needs to be creative about how it pays for and manages expensive pieces of its essential infrastructure. For instance, by expanding the role of franchises to handle capital projects in our parks, we will partner with conservancies who can execute work faster and cheaper than the City.
Use Our Leverage As A Client To Create A Fairer Economy
To keep good jobs in New York and advance our goals for a fairer economy, we will reward busi nesses that hire local workers and benefit minority and female owners and workers—especially on City-financed projects. Specifically, businesses will be asked to commit to hiring 75% city-based workers, prioritizing M/WBE contractors, and ensuring their contractors pay a living wage and report their workers’ residency and ethnicity statistics. Employers who agree to these terms could benefit from tax breaks and special consideration for City contracts.
Bring Health Care Resources Directly Into Low-Income Areas
Two major reasons that the pandemic hit lower-income communities the hardest are lack of access to healthcare and a near total failure by government to effectively reach those communities on the ground. During the pandemic and after, health profession als should be paired with local organizations and workers to go into those same com munities and set up in NYCHA complexes and open storefronts, partnering with public and private providers, creating a one-stop shop for basic exams, preventive care, and resources to live a healthier life. These locations would be accessible to any New Yorker, including those who are uninsured or undocumented.
Treat Social Issues As Part Of Health Care
Poverty, homelessness, unemployment and food insecurity all directly lead to poor health—yet hospitals are largely not equipped to address those issues. By utilizing the extra capacity in H+H hospitals to co-locate social services, we will address both the social and physical causes of illness, leading to much better outcomes and cost savings.
Integrate Housing Assistance Into Hospital Stays
Every $1 invested in housing and support is estimated to reduce public and hospital costs by $2 the following year and $6 in subsequent years. That is why we will identify if there are housing issues for each indigent patient and offer direct housing help at hospitals through community-based organizations.
Expand Preventative Healthcare At H+H
Our healthcare system should include far more education and resources to promote lifestyle medicine habits, such as healthy eating and self-care, that can treat and prevent illness. We will open additional health clinics like the one we established at Bellevue Hospital, the Lifestyle Medicine Program, to teach healthy habits, prevent and reverse chronic disease, and promote preventive care.
Significantly Increase Covid-19 Testing, Education And Treatment
During the pandemic, the City is relying far too much on private health companies and hospitals to conduct COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. And we have failed to adequately address the lack of information and spread of misinformation in hard-hit lower-income communities—especially those that do not speak English—through credible messengers who can help prevent the spread through education and re sources. Now we must also get those same communities vaccinated as quickly as possible. To do that, let’s engage an army of messengers using the infrastructure of the recent census outreach program, working with local organizations. And let’s put COVID-tasked health workers directly on the ground in dedicated spaces in lower-in come areas, including storefronts and pharmacies for an expanded footprint.
Form A Unified Citywide Hospitals Network
COVID-19 showed us how lack of coordination between our health providers creates inefficiencies and inequities that cost lives. When the system is set up to equitably distribute poorer, uninsured patients, outcomes will improve. We will form a unified citywide hospitals network that coordinates care for indigent patients and shares data for more efficient use of the city’s collective healthcare resources in a crisis across both private and public hospitals.
Manage Our Food Resources To Fight Hunger
There is an overall lack of information of available food resources throughout the five boroughs. Poor communication and information sharing negatively impacts efforts to connect food insecure individuals with SNAP benefits, food pantries, soup kitchens and other food resources; and this is evident now more than ever in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will form an integrated and community-engaged structure to coordinate food policy in NYC. A critical component of this structure will be to create and maintain easily accessible databases that New Yorkers and public officials can use to monitor and ensure equitable access to nutritious food across all of our communities.
Address The Needs Of Those Living With Serious And Persistent Mental Illness
Sometimes the best policy is not something new and flashy, but rather to double down on programs with proven track records. We know, for instance, that the Fountain House model of care—which creates structured therapeutic social settings for members—helps people living with serious and persistent mental illness transition from therapeutic to non-therapeutic settings. Individuals who use Fountain House for residential rehabilitation services are consistently less likely to be admitted to the hospital or to use the emergency department. So we will expand this program citywide.
Rein In Hospital Costs
Costs for care and procedures to patients can vary wildly from hospital to hospital in the city, surprising New Yorkers—even those with private insurance plans—with massive bills and indicat ing that pricing in some cases is more about profits than the actual cost of healthcare. To reduce the cost of healthcare for New Yorkers we will:
- Reveal the true cost of healthcare by requiring greater transparency by providers both at the point of care directly to patients and in providers’ overall reporting to the public. • Convene a roundtable of unions across sectors to collectively bargain with hospital systems in order to standardize pricing.
- Push the State to require hospitals to charge the same amount for each procedure and require insurance companies to pay the same amount as well.
Protect Safety Net Hospitals
Our safety net hospitals have long been under-funded and were teetering on the brink even before COVID hit. Federal funds to fight the virus have kept them afloat for now—but the State has to adjust funding to shore them up long-term. And the City must also do more. To help safety net hospitals survive, we will pair them up with wealthier hospitals that are able to negotiate more financially beneficial rates with commercial insurers because they treat far more of their customers. The hospitals will then share those savings in a pool, using their buying power to lower costs for outer-borough safety net hospitals that need financial help.
Reduce Crime By Having Cops Focus On Police Work
Most people don’t realize that a large number of our cops don’t actually spend their workdays fighting crime. Many, for instance, do clerical work, move barricades, and drive trucks. And even police officers tasked with fighting crime spend huge amounts of their time on court appearances and paperwork, not out in the street or conducting investigations or preventing crime. We can save $500 million annually through strategic civilianization of NYPD units where the existing ratio of police officers to civilian workers is simply not necessary, and by lowering overtime costs using technology to limit time wasted on paperwork and court appearances. That money can then go right into pro grams proven to reduce crime, such as our Crisis Management System.
Target Gun Violence
The number one driver of crime spikes in the city right now—and the perception that we are moving backward on crime—is gun violence. We must reverse this troubling trend, fast. To do that, we will:
- Reinvent the anti-crime unit as an anti-gun unit, hiring officers with the skills and temperament for this kind of intense, on the ground police work, targeting known shooters with precision policing tactics.
- Fully fund the City’s Crisis Management System and allow for more centralized coordination between violence interrupters and different organizations throughout the city, including our hospitals.
- Convene citywide clergy leaders and law enforcement officials to partner on public safety initiatives in hotspots.
- Form a Tri-State commission to formulate policy proposals that would stop the flow of illegal handguns into our communities.
- Prevent guns from coming in through our bus and train stations with spot checks like the ones we use in subway stations.
Deal With Crime Spikes Before They Get Out Of Control
By using real-time governing tools and tracking crime trends to become predictive, we can quickly shift NYPD resources from one community to another to reverse bad trends. For instance, we will regularly shift detectives and other officers from low-crime areas to crime hot-spots.
Tackle The Trauma That Festers In Communities Experiencing Gun Violence
Living in a high-crime community and experiencing gun violence creates trauma that impacts a youth’s ability to perform in school and achieve in life. Without adequate services that address trauma and allow for healing, youth are placed at higher risk of incarceration, teenage pregnan cy and homelessness. Prevention and follow up measures that serve to heal and support these youth are best delivered by trauma-trained credible messengers paired with mental health professionals, social services and violence interrupters. We will recruit, hire, and train community residents who have real-life experience to provide an immediate post-crisis healing space for, and to develop a working relationship with, affected youth. This helps reduce feelings of isolation and mistrust, cultivate shared investment of community-centered healing, and reduce the fear often associated with living in a high-crime, high-poverty neighborhood.
Add Local Black And Brown Officers Who Will Respect And Protect New Yorkers
One reason the NYPD continues to be plagued by incidents of bias and brutality is that the department still needs to become much more diverse. We will address this by recruiting from the very same neighborhoods that are suffering from crime, which are mostly Black and Brown, and by allowing peace officers at City agencies—who are not police officers and who are also more likely to be Black and Brown—to be promoted to the NYPD.
Train New Nypd Leaders At Top Institutions
The biggest companies in the world regularly send their executives to executive training programs at elite institutions. Our next generation of police leadership should have access to the same training to improve department performance—both on crime and civil rights. The department will work with private companies who are willing to sponsor spots for NYPD supervisors at the leader ship academies they send their own management staff to, helping train a new generation of brass to think critically, behave honorably and lead effectively.
Publicize The List Of Cops The Nypd Is Monitoring For Bad Behavior
The NYPD keeps its own “monitoring list” of cops with records of complaints and violent incidents. We will make it public to be transparent and build trust.
Make It Easier For Good Cops To Identify Bad Cops
Most police officers could tell you about a few bad cops they work with or have run in to—and most cops resent their behavior because it brings down their profession and makes it harder for them to do their job. At the same time, it is dangerous for cops to report those bad apples. So we will make it easier for cops to anonymously report bad behavior by their colleagues that results in swift action through an outside system overseen by the Department of Investigation, protecting whistleblowers and exposing problem police.
Create A Citywide Law Enforcement Intelligence Committee
To improve NYPD transparency and oversight over sensitive policing operations while still maintaining needed information security, we will create a citywide law enforcement intelligence committee. The NYPD will regularly report to and share information with the committee, which will include the mayor, council speaker, council public safety chair, public advocate and borough presidents. Each of these individuals will receive top secret clearance. The committee can also then vote to determine when and how information on operations is disclosed to the public, rather than relying on the NYPD to make proactive disclosures.
Connect Precincts To The Community
To make precinct houses more accessible to the communities they serve, we will revamp them to be more welcoming; improve them with public high-speed internet and wi-fi access; and hire specialized outreach and public information staff to change the culture of the houses into places where residents can come to learn about and participate in social and NYPD services and programs, particularly for families, children and youth.
Empower Communities To Have A Say In Their Precinct Leadership
Community policing is just a slogan if the NYPD is not, in fact, acting on what a community wants and needs. We will empower community boards and precinct councils to play a role in approving and vetoing by supermajority any precinct commander candidates and community affairs officers within their respective areas.
Address Domestic Violence Abusers’ Trauma So They Stop Perpetuating Violence
The NYPD responds to approximately 230,000 domestic incidents each year and 18% of homicides in NYC are due to domestic violence. Many abusers are repeat offenders. We must acknowledge that current programming to change abusers’ behavior is insufficient and doesn’t deal with root causes, which are often traumas experienced by the abuser themselves. To address this, we will launch the “Family Violence Perpetrator Program”, based on cognitive and behavioral therapy, in order to evaluate abusers’ traumas and treat them to prevent further violence
Keep Businesses Open And Employees Working With Tax Relief
Business owners are struggling to stay open as income for many stays low during the pandemic, forcing them to lay-off workers and close-up shop. To keep New Yorkers working—particularly in the service industries—we will allow businesses that pay the Commercial Rent Tax a break for two years if they demonstrate hardship and commit to certain employment levels.
Attract New Out-Of-Town Businesses
The Relocation Employment Assistance Program (REAP) has successfully drawn new businesses here from outside the state by providing a tax credit per employee per year if they locate in certain areas of the city. We will expand that to bring more business to New York.
Make NYC The Life Sciences Capital Of The World
Life sciences is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world—and these companies want to locate in cities where they will have access to leading hospitals, universities and investors. To bring them to New York, we will double-down on the existing life sciences initiative with incen tives and zoning changes that will draw in private investment and federal dollars for research.
Create “Tax-Free Tuesdays”
Out-of-town tech companies, such as Amazon, have asserted market dominance in our city at the expense of small business owners—an existential problem for our small businesses that only deepened during the pandemic. This is why we will implement a weekly sales tax holiday, every Tuesday, on services and products that are more likely to be paid for in-person to incentivize New Yorkers to spend locally. We will offset the cost of this weekly holiday by more fairly taxing online transactions such as streaming services, which are not currently taxed.
Allow For More Local Economic Development Groups
To create on-the-ground leadership that will aid local economic growth, we will ease restrictions for communities to form new Business Improvement Districts and merchants’ associations along diverse commercial corridors.
Expand The Earned Income Tax Credit
In order to keep precious dollars in the hands of New Yorkers who most need it—and who are most-likely to put it right back into our local economy—we will boost the City’s Earned Income Tax Credit amount for frontline workers by increasing their share to 30% of the Federal return.
Be The Back Office For Our Small Businesses
It is estimated that on average, small business owners spend 120 work days a year on all of the administrative tasks that come with owning a business. If the City offers “back office” assistance for these small businesses through local Chambers of Commerce, our mom and pop shops and entrepreneurs can save time and money on accounting and compliance needs, and focus on growing their businesses.
Slash The Red Tape
Small businesses pay huge fees just to launch and stay in business, and then face large fines for relatively small violations—many of which are due to lack of education about the law, not knowingly breaking it. We will make the permitting process easier and cheaper through our online system, and institute a warning system for violations that are not related to serious health or safety issues so that first-time offenders are given education in lieu of a fine. We will provide additional clarity to those who commit violations by categorizing every violation in a three level warning system: red, yellow and green. Each color corresponds to the number of days the owner has until the cure must be implemented.
Eliminate The Fees For Starting (Or Re-Starting) A Small Business
The last thing we want to do in an economic crisis is charge people to start a new business—and re-start a closed one. All filing and registration fees will be eliminated.
Save Our Hotel Industry
Tourism is a key sector of our economy, and we must keep the welcome mat out for visitors who bring billions of dollars into our city every year, employing hundreds-of-thousands of New Yorkers. That means our hotels must stay open and their 50,000 workers must stay at work. To do that, we will suspend property tax debt interest for two years so that we do not push financially distressed hotels deeper into debt, forcing closures and layoffs.
Serve Restaurants And Bars Relief
In addition to providing building owners tax abatements so that their tenants—such as restau rants and bars—can remain open, the State should also share the cost of restaurants’ workers for a period. Instead of simply paying unemployment to out-of-work food service workers, the State should be splitting the cost of their salaries with restaurant owners who commit to a certain level of employment, wages and hours while adhering to capacity limits and other health regulations. We will fight for this critical initiative to save our restaurant industry in Albany.
Start A Citywide Incubator To Incentivize Solving Intractable City Problems
The City, in partnership with investors and businesses prepared to invest in the long-term success of New York, will start an incubator to fund innovators focused on solving systemic citywide problems that lead to inequities. New Yorkers do not need another meal delivery service or another social media sensation nearly as much as we need our brightest minds to come together and solve issues such as job placement and outer-borough transportation.
Encourage Startups In Industries Of The Future To Locate Here
It is far too difficult for innovators and entrepreneurs to start their businesses in New York City. Real estate costs and high costs of living have made some of the most brilliant talent turn to other cities. We have suffered as a result because we have missed out on the job opportunities and the birth of fast-growing industries. So we will incentivize startups to move to our outer-bor oughs where property costs are more affordable and to develop fellowship programs with CUNY schools in exchange for tax credits. We will also interview failed start-ups to see how the city could better serve entrepreneurs.
Make New York City The Wind Power Hub Of The Eastern Seaboard
With waterfront assets like SBMT, the Red Hook Container Terminal, Port Richmond, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and others, we have an opportunity to corner the market on wind power manufacturing and other green technologies. We must create a pipeline of education training from middle school, high school, college to educate our young people in this field using the forthcoming Harbor School Middle School, the Harbor School on Governors Island and universities like Kingsborough CC.
Expand The City’s M/Wbe Program
Right now, the City does not do nearly enough to ensure that its M/WBE program is effectively leveling the playing field for business owners of color, who are now in a much more dire situation during COVID. For instance, M/WBE companies are often unable to participate in the City contracting process because prime contractors are not aware of how to connect with them. To fix this, we will match M/WBE companies with prime contractors and other agencies. We can do that by developing a Preferred M/WBE questionnaire to determine which companies are qualified to participate in bids and log the survey data in a searchable database.20
Develop A Next-Level Citywide Job Training And Placement Program
The City has been trying to train its workforce and connect them to better job opportu nities for generations, with varying success. Now we face a global marketplace where there is more competition than ever for labor and the skills needed for emerging, lucra tive industries like artificial intelligence, cyber security and life sciences are in demand. We are woefully underprepared for this moment, revealed by the fact that we had hun dreds-of-thousands of jobs that we could not fill before the pandemic.
Our program will go to the next level to prepare our workforce by utilizing metrics and connecting human services nonprofits, the private sector, and the communities that most need jobs to identify skill gaps and focus our training on areas we know will have jobs available for our workers. We will implement a data-oriented system with holistic and detailed skills mapping of the labor force by City Council district. Companies look ing to hire will then submit a set of jobs and skills profiles. From there, we will match workers with job training and placement providers using local organizations and work ing with landlords with open storefronts to create service centers and outreach pro grams. Lastly, we will develop a public-private partnership with large companies estab lished in New York to develop a talent portal with a centralized system of resumes and hiring information using a tool similar to the college admissions Common App process.
Invest In Green Infrastructure Through The City’s Capital Program
New Yorkers spend roughly $19 billion per year on energy and it happens through the city’s highly interdependent electricity, natural gas, and steam networks. This infrastructure is considered some of the oldest and most concentrated in the nation. By upgrading our electrical grid, transitioning our power source to wind and away from natural gas, and implementing traffic controls to reduce idling, we can improve the quality of life of New Yorkers and create thousands of new jobs, especially those in low-income communities facing environmental injustice. These investments are not only the moral path to take, they also make common economic sense because they will create good paying jobs for New Yorkers and businesses will be able to rely on resilient infrastructure in the face of a rapidly changing climate.
Make The Summer Youth Employment Program Year Round
We know summer jobs programs help youth develop crucial skills, which lead to better criminal justice, academic, and employment outcomes. In the immediate term, they also help families make ends meet. We need to make these programs year round—and we will.
Ensure Diverse, Equitable Growth
To ensure we are making our economy fairer as we make it larger, we will hire a Chief Diversity Officer to drive change on equity for minorities and women, and also create a tool to track the share of M/WBE contracts and how much the City is spending on those companies versus others in real-time. We will also much more closely track who these M/WBE employers and contractors are employing. And the Officer will be tasked with tracking gender pay equity and the progress we are making toward closing the gap. First they will focus on pay equity within City agencies and then we will push to track it across private employers in the City.
Help The Unbanked And Underbanked Build Wealth
New York City has 350,000 households that are unbanked and another 680,000 households that are underbanked, meaning they must rely on services such as check cashing or payday loans. Without access to proper banking we are sidelining thousands of people from our economy and we are allowing industries such as payday lending to flourish that profit off of poverty. Community-based banks in lower-income areas that remove minimum balance requirements and overdraft fees will be granted property tax relief, or their landlords will, in exchange for sharing that relief as a rent break.
Create A Network Of Community-Based Banks To Invest In Underserved Areas
Our locally owned businesses did not get adequate help from the federal aid package because the federal government funneled money through big banks who were either unable or unwilling to provide direct assistance—especially to small businesses in communities of color. We will create a formal local banking network and help these lenders have a more robust equity base. Once these lenders are eligible for State and federal loan programs (the way big banks have long been eligible), they can work with the City to determine the best local small business owners to lend to.
Remind The World That Nyc Is Still The Center Of The Universe
We will organize the largest employers in New York to develop, fund and implement a marketing plan for our city to the rest of the world unlike any ad campaign we have ever undertaken. In addition to pitching our city as the place to visit, live and invest, we will showcase our commitment to public health and public safety to inspire confidence that this is the place to be.
Return To Urban Agriculture
Centuries ago, New York made its own food and the agriculture industry was one of its largest employers. Today, we rely almost entirely on out-of-town, out-of-state, and out of-country producers for everything from the apple we buy at the bodega to the meals
served to our kids in school. By creating a new set of building codes, business rules and tax programs for urban farmers—and supporting local producers with guaranteed City contracts—we will create jobs by building vast in-city sites that produce food for restaurants, schools and food-insecurity programs through cutting-edge techniques such as vertical farming and hydroponics, often sharing space with renewable energy plants and other sustainability infrastructure.
Reinvest In What Makes NYC Beautiful
The pandemic has had an outsize impact on the arts and cultural institutions. Long-term this will also hurt tourism, which provided 400,000 jobs pre-COVID. We will reduce unemployment in this sector while returning our city to the pinnacle of arts and culture by:
- Providing free space for artists to create by repurposing vacant storefronts to create free co-working and studio spaces for creatives and collaborators.
- Turning our open spaces into spaces for art by tasking the Department of Cultural Affairs to greenlight more open spaces to be utilized as stages and for art installations. • Investing in green art by commissioning artists to paint murals with paint that turns pollutants and harmful compounds into harmless nitrates and carbonates in the atmosphere, beautifying our city as we rejuvenate it.
- Creating a public/private partnership to create murals on blighted properties.
Empower Immigrants With Municipal Voting Rights
There are more than 3 million immigrants in New York City. The vast majority of these New Yorkers cannot vote in local elections even though many are legal tax-paying residents. By allowing lawfully permanent residents and other non-citizens authorized to work in the United States the right to vote, we will enfranchise nearly 1 million New Yorkers who deserve a say in how their city is run—and who runs it.
Housing & Development
Add Housing—For Everyone—In Wealthy Neighborhoods
For years, our rezonings focused on adding apartments in lower-income areas—which often just led to higher-income people moving in, making communities less affordable, and often forcing out longtime residents. Instead, we will build in wealthier areas with a high quality of life, allowing lower-and middle-income New Yorkers to move in by adding affordable housing and eliminating the community preference rule in those areas, which prevents many New Yorkers from living in desirable neighborhoods.
Repurpose City Office Buildings
We will convert some City office buildings into 100% affordable housing by taking advantage of more City workers working from home and consolidating workers that will still be in-person to free up space.
Allow Private Office Buildings And Hotels To Become Housing
The pandemic has unfortunately left many of our hotels and office buildings empty. In some cases, their owners want to convert the buildings to housing, but current City regulations make that either too expensive or too challenging. By making some zoning tweaks and other rule changes, we can facilitate conversions where appropriate and add desperately needed housing stock—particularly at hotels in the outer boroughs.
Think Big By Building Small
Outdated rules prevent New York developers from building the kind of small, cheaper micro units that are common today around the world. Homeowners in single family zones are also prevented from legally leasing “accessory units” like “granny flats”. And single room occupancy units, or SROs, and basement apartments are still illegal, despite their common use elsewhere. By allowing for all of these to be built or legally used, we will quickly add hundreds-of-thousands of affordable apartments.
Empower Community Development Corporations
Community development corporations (CDCs) were a major reason New York was able to build its way out of the fiscal crisis in the 70s and 80s—by granting these local organizations property and funding to bring economic investment to their own neighborhoods. We will do that again to reinvigorate distressed lower-income areas by creating new economic activity and affordable housing.
Give Faith-Based Institutions The Tools To Provide Housing
Faith-based institutions have the social vision and local understanding to advance affordable and supportive housing projects with excess development rights on their own properties, but they also often do not have the financial or technical capacity to do so. We will partner with faith-based institutions across New York City to leverage these development rights for a public purpose.
Prioritize Those Who Need Supportive Housing The Most
New Yorkers in local shelters—especially those who lived in the neighborhood beforehand and were displaced—will be prioritized for supportive housing. So too will young people aging out of foster care, who should be given every chance at starting off adulthood on the right foot.
Improve Rent Subsidies To Prevent New Yorkers From Becoming Homeless
New Yorkers on the brink of homelessness and in shelters need far greater assistance than is available now to transition into permanent housing. One way we will accomplish this is by increasing the value of the City FHEPS housing vouchers so they reflect the value of the housing that is actually available in our city. There was a time when $1,323 for a one bedroom and $1,580 for a two bedroom was sufficient, but that time is long gone. And when the cost of a person in the shelter system is $124, and the cost of a family is $196 per day, increasing the value of vouchers is common sense governing.
Give City-Owned Property To Non-Profit Land Trusts To Create Affordable Housing
Vacant and underutilized City property is a massive waste of our resources and often a blight on neighborhoods. In the midst of this housing crisis, we will aggressively seek to partner with community land trusts by offering properties to organizations that commit to building permanently affordable housing.
Establish Universal Broadband Access
Access to information should be guaranteed, like electricity and clean water. Yet, after years of promises to close huge gaps in broadband access across the city, New York is still shamefully behind in guaranteeing service—and now students forced to learn from home are receiving sub-par or no education at all because of it. We will finally close the broadband gap by using rezoning powers to require affordable Mandatory Inclusionary Internet, creating incentives for 5G providers to offer affordable access, and forcing cable providers to expand affordable internet offerings to every single low-income New Yorker using requirements for their City contracts that are already in place. For transparency, New Yorkers will also be able to track progress as companies lay fiber optics in our communities through real-time GIS mapping that will be made available online. And we can use proceeds from our Data Tax on Big Tech to pay for any capital and digital literacy costs needed to ensure access to the Internet. This will allow for us to create the remote learning option students need and deserve, while also providing telehealth services to far more New Yorkers during the pandemic.
Streamline The Process To Help New Yorkers Who Are Behind On Their Rent
Currently, when New Yorkers fall on hard times and are behind on rent, their options to get help involve navigating a long trail of red tape and bureaucracy with the City’s One Shot Deal and CBO’s rent relief programs. It is an unnecessarily demoralizing process to endure multiple long application processes while feeling the threat of eviction. Rent relief programs largely need similar information from applicants such as amount owed, proof of residence, and a summary explaining the hard times fallen upon. The City can create a common application for those in need of rent relief and allow approved CBOs access to the information. It will also allow an applicant to go to one place to see the status of their various applications for help with paying back arrears.
Create Live/Work Communities
Neighborhoods that have a healthier mix of residential, commercial and retail space have done better than single-use areas in the city during the pandemic because people are traveling less. Live/work communities also use City resources more consistently and efficiently, are more resilient to economic downturns, and can be safer because they are in constant use.
Allow Building Inspections By Drones
One of the most expensive regulatory costs and biggest potential slowdowns for any building developer is the inspections process—and those costs either stall growth or are eventually passed on to tenants. Drones can and should be used to cut costs by performing inspections much more efficiently and cheaply.
Use City Offices As Anchor Tenants In New Outer-Borough Development
By moving City offices from Manhattan to the outer-boroughs, we will free up density for housing in high quality of life areas while stimulating growth in under-developed, underserved areas around outer-borough transit centers. This shift must also be accompanied by increasing intra-borough transit options—which will be one of our overall citywide transportation goals.
Invest New Yorkers’ Taxes In New Yorkers
We will boost the local economy by prioritizing procurement of locally provided services and city-made products for City contracts, and by adjusting building and zoning rules to speed the growth of local manufacturers and producers. We will also engage in a “Loyal to NY” marketing campaign to remind New Yorkers what great products and services are available to them that are made and provided right in their own city. And we will report quarterly the percentage of City contracts that are held by out-of-state vendors.
Sell Nycha’s Air Rights To Raise Billions For Nycha Tenants
By selling the developable “air rights” over NYCHA properties to builders within the same community district, we will raise up to $8 billion that can be used to make badly needed repairs and quality of life improvements for NYCHA tenants. Local community developers—especially non-profit groups—should get first shot at these air rights if they want them.
Get More Money Out Of The Federal Government For City Housing
NYCHA tenants are understandably skeptical of the City program to get more money out of the federal government by transitioning some complexes to private management under the PACT to Preserve program. But the program can also unlock billions of dollars to improve their homes. To raise needed revenue and give tenants more control over the process, we will provide free legal counsel to tenants going through the conversion. This will ensure that tenants can select an attorney who they trust to fight for their needs and the confidence that they will end up with the better housing that is promised.
Keep Nycha Tenants Informed To Keep Nycha Accountable
NYCHA is notoriously opaque about progress on repairs and its own spending. This has led to unacceptable conditions and huge deficits. We will apply crystal clear transparency through constant reporting of progress on apartment and building repairs, as well as spending, posted in real-time through a dashboard. We will also do an audit to see what budgeted money has actually been spent. And we will promote further transparency and tracking by placing QR codes on buildings as a way for anyone to point, click and track progress.
Adopt Pet-Friendly Housing Policies
According to a study by the ASPCA, housing-related issues are the number one reason renters give up their pets. NYC is a city of renters, and housing that is owned or operated by the City of New York should not displace the cost of caring for animals on yet another City system—our animal shelters. By adopting pet-friendly policies in our City-owned and operated housing systems, we can keep pets out of the animal shelter by keeping them where they belong—with the people who love them.
Create A Livable City For New Yorkers Of All Abilities
Every New Yorker has the right to enjoy our city and to have access to the same basic quality of life as their neighbors. Yet many of the approximately 1 million New Yorkers who live with a disability are prevented from easily using City buildings, streets, and even housing because their needs have not been prioritized. So we will conduct a citywide audit of City infrastructure and properties —including cultural institutions and other groups that lease City property—to determine where those needs are not being met, and then turn that into a plan for action.
Move To A Full-Year School Year
Three hundred years ago, when children worked alongside their families on an agrarian calendar, it made sense to take a few months off a year to tend to the crops. Those days are long over. By moving to a full-year school year, we can much better utilize our education infrastructure by creating more flexibility for parents in how—and when —their child receives their education. This calendar change will also ensure our school buildings stay open year-round and can be utilized for day-long activities, including childcare, soft skills instruction and local programming. Learning during the summer months also does not need to be limited to the school buildings; it can be a time when teachers and students are encouraged to see the city as their laboratory, their theater, and their museum.
Give Homeless Families Local Preference For Schools
One of the worst effects of homelessness is how it destabilizes the day-to-day lives of children. We will help prevent that by giving them priority at local schools, which can create needed constancy and normalcy.
Improve Health And School Performance With Healthier Food
There is clear evidence that what we eat—especially what children eat—significantly affects mood, attention, and mental and physical health. Yet our schools continue to feed our children empty calories and processed foods that impede their ability to thrive and achieve. Even worse, some foods served in our schools, and the bad lifestyle habits eating them leads to, set children on a path to developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. We were successful in creating “Meatless Mondays” in schools—but that did not go nearly far enough. We will completely overhaul the menu, focusing on whole, fresh foods, encouraging consumption that leads to children’s improved health and school performance.
Make Dyslexia Screening Universal
Studies show that up to 30-40% of inmates in prisons are dyslexic, indicating that students whose learning challenges are not discovered are also not addressed, leading to avoidable negative outcomes. By making dyslexia screening universal in City schools, we will identify these challenges early and better ensure success for students.
Provide Every Parent Who Needs It With Childcare
Childcare in New York is outrageously expensive—and lack of affordable childcare is harming parents’ ability to work and their children’s futures. Children without adequate childcare—especially during the first 1,000 days of life—are much less likely to succeed, and are much more likely to be Black and Brown. It is a moral imperative that we provide childcare for every parent who cannot afford it, starting with children ages 0 to 3. This will close a massive gap in care for the youngest New Yorkers at the most critical point of their brain development, and free up parents—especially women of color—to power our economy and excel in their own careers.
We can start by removing the biggest cost to childcare providers of young children: space. We will do this by prioritizing space in City-owned buildings for childcare, offering density bonuses to residential building developers who guarantee permanently free or low rent to providers, and with a tax break to office building owners and other private building owners who create free space for providers—savings which will be required to be passed on to parents. But we must also get much more out of our federal government. And doing that on behalf of parents will be a top priority for the Adams Administration.
Greatly Increase Job Training In High School
We will expand programs for our high school students like the Career Technical Education Industry Scholars Program and ApprenticeNYC, which teach fundamental skills that almost anyone in manufacturing needs, and then match employers with employees. And we will add and expand STEAM centers like the one at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to every borough and give students the chance to earn certifications in fields that will lead to jobs, not just academic degrees.
Prioritize Schools Investment In Low-Performing Communities
There are both tangible and psychological problems created for students by a poor physical educational environment—and student outcomes are clearly linked. That is why we will prioritize Department of Education schools capital dollars to go toward the construction of state-of-the-art buildings in particularly low-performing communities. Additionally, less than 20% of our schools are fully accessible to children with physical disabilities. All new construction would be fully accessible.
Institute A Robust Program For Culturally Aware Professional Development
Nearly one-half of all New Yorkers speak a language other than English at home, and new New Yorkers from hundreds of different countries move here every year. Their kids may have very different cultural norms that affect how they learn and their ability to succeed in an American classroom. We will create a professional development program for educators to ensure they are culturally responsive to those students.
Create A Comprehensive Life Skills Curriculum
Every adult knows that life skills are just as necessary to live a productive, successful life as academic knowledge. Unfortunately, our schools largely do not teach skills like social interaction and job interview etiquette. We will create a life skills curriculum to prepare every public school student to enter the adult world and work in it. We will also make internship and externship programming available to every high school student to put those skills to work right away.
Create The Best Remote Learning Experience In The World
The City’s initial rollout of remote learning has been completely unacceptable. Tens of thousands of kids are simply not logging-on on a daily basis because they don’t have tablets or wi-fi, missing instruction that is costing them their future. At the same time, educators have not received the training or support they need to ensure that the kids who are online are learning effectively. But remote learning is here to stay, and it can improve education options for parents and students, as well as help desegregate our classrooms if done properly.
So, to create the best remote learning experience in the world for parents and students, we will first place a Data Tax on the massive tech companies that sell our private data to advertisers and others, and then use the proceeds to connect all New Yorkers who need broadband access to a provider at subsidized or no cost, if necessary. We will also use our buying power as a major client of Apple and Google to get hardware and software at significantly less cost than what we are paying now. That cost savings and new revenue from the Data Tax will help pay for a new unit of remote learning experts who oversee the program and improvements, and who can improve the technological literacy of students. From there, we will use remote learning as a vehicle to desegregate New York City public education by opening citywide class opportunities with top-flight educators and connecting them to students from all communities, transcending zip code and income.
Move From Cradle-To-Career To Prenatal-To-Career
It is true that early childhood development is critical and that attention on the 0-3 ages must increase significantly, including much greater options for childcare, healthcare and education. But we need to go even further and recognize that an expectant mother’s health and environment during pregnancy can be just as critical to the health and ability of a child. That is why we will become the global leader in the prenatal-to-career approach, with a much more comprehensive citywide program for expecting moms and families that links them to vital resources such as healthy foods, prenatal classes and doulas.
Open Up School Buildings To The Community
Many useful school spaces lie dormant before and after school hours, as well as on the weekends because extended use permit fees are a barrier to entry for those serving the underserved. After years of advocacy, we launched a $2 million pilot program through the DOE to provide community-based organizations with greater access to the use of school facilities, without incurring the cost of space usage. We will expand this effort to reach a greater number of CBOs that provide cultural, sports, or enrichment programming for youth.
Build Out A State Of The Art Bus Transit System
New York City can’t build its way out of congestion so it must use its existing roadways more efficiently. The fastest way to do this is to prioritize the infrastructure that New York City controls, namely its street network. We must act quickly to improve the commutes and quality of life for millions of New Yorkers through re-envisioning our streetscape. This means striping more bus lanes, building an interconnected Bus Rapid Transit system starting on roadways with service roads in transit deserts, and creating more busways throughout New York City.
Create Shared Electric Bike And Scooter Networks For Transit-Starved Communities
Millions of New Yorkers—mostly people of color in lower-income and middle-income communities—are not within walking distance of the subway and do not have access to decent public transit options. CitiBike says it will close some of those gaps—but it is right now largely in higher-income areas. To connect underserved communities to mass transit and allow them to get around their communities and connect to transit more easily, we will create a citywide network of shared electric bikes and scooters that prioritizes those New Yorkers disconnected from transit.
Commit Capital Funding To Bike Share Expansion
New York City is home to the only bike share system that does not receive public subsidy. To quickly expand our bike and scooter share system to neighborhoods across New York City that are transit deprived, we will upfront capital costs for private providers.
Get Creative About Creating Safe Byways For Bikes
In addition to building out protected bike lanes throughout the city, we will also find unused space such as road space under elevated highways and railways that can become bicycle superhighways.
Create A “Safe Routes To Parks” Program
Build out protected bike and pedestrian infrastructure to safely connect neighborhoods far from large open spaces to destination parks.
Make New York More Inviting And Livable By Making It More Walkable
We will pedestrianize more of the city where there are multiple transit options and where we can discourage car use to attract visitors with more open space and open markets, while improving public safety and making the city more livable for its residents.
Recapture Land Lost To Robert Moses-Era Highway Projects
New York CIty can’t grow more land so we must recapture lost land. That means jumpstarting projects like the BQ Green and PX Forward, and map and analyze opportunities across the five boroughs to recapture lost land to reconnect our communities.
Implement Municipal Car Share
We will implement a municipal car share system so that we can reduce our municipal fleet, and find efficiencies while sharing resources across agencies. This will reduce congestion in our central business districts where many of our agencies are located and create more livable communities.
Close “Missed Connections”
In an era of scarcity we must do more with our existing assets and increase mobility for residents, including:
- Free transfers for unconnected subway stations within a half-mile of one another. • Reopening closed subway entrances to improve access and mobility for riders. • Making permanent and expanding the Freedom Ticket program.
- Mapping and connecting disconnected bike infrastructure.
Lead By Example On Climate Change
The City has placed a number of regulations on industries to meet necessary climate goals. But the City remains behind on achieving its goals for itself, particularly goals re lated to renewable energy use and emissions. Climate change requires the transforma tion of multiple sectors, including energy, transportation and food—and these sectors will be tracked and included in further measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But we will also invest significantly in leading by example as a City government, gener ating our own green energy at wastewater treatment plants and placing solar panels on City buildings. And we will invest in our ability to store energy and use it more efficiently, retrofitting City buildings to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Pay For A Citywide Organics Program By Partnering With Private Processors
The City cut its organics collection program as part of its deficit reduction measures for the current fiscal year. That was a mistake. The methane released from organic waste in landfills is destroying our environment and speeding climate change. And the cost of sending that waste to states far away increases in cost every year. To offset the cost of the collection program now while we face a budget crunch, we will guarantee private processors long-term contracts in exchange for picking up the cost of picking up the waste now.
Prepare The Next Generation Of Green Workers
The green revolution is not just about saving our planet—it’s about creating new, good-paying jobs. We will create a green economy curriculum for our high school students, connect them to internships in this industry, and build a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) school that will focus solely on green technologies and training for the jobs of the future.
Invest In Electric Buses
To both protect the environment and make an investment that will save the City money on fuel and maintenance savings, we will significantly speed up our conversion to an entirely electric bus fleet. This can be achieved by raising money through the City’s capital program to pay for the higher up-front cost of the vehicles against the long-term benefits.