Government Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. https://www.gothamgazette.com/government 2022-08-13T03:24:30+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Joomla! - Open Source Content Management New York Must Amend Carlos’ Law Before the Governor Signs It 2022-08-12T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-12T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11517-new-york-amend-carlos-law-construction-safety Louis Coletti lcoletti@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/why-amend-claw.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Scaffolding (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The cost to build in New York can be </span><a href="https://www.city-journal.org/deconstructing-new-yorks-building-costs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">10 times more expensive than in neighboring New Jersey or Connecticut</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. It’s a reality that’s hurting our economy, especially Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in the construction sector, at the worst possible time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Empire State’s unaffordability factor begins with the massive, state-imposed cost-of-liability insurance, a result of the 137-year-old Scaffold Law.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To bid on any construction project in the public or private sector, a contracting firm in New York is held to a strict liability for whatever accident occurs for any reason—even if a worker jumps off a ladder.  There is only one question: How much does the contractor pay?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The costs here are astronomical and out of line with the 49 other states. In New York, the cost of insurance is $41 per square foot compared to $3 in Connecticut and $4 in New Jersey. Is it any wonder why firms are moving there, or why there’s always such a housing shortage and affordability crisis in New York? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, with a market downturn looming, there’s well-meaning legislation on the desk of Governor Hochul that will, if not amended, worsen the problem considerably, especially for MWBEs and small businesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The idea behind “Carlos’ Law” is an honorable one. Named for Carlos Moncayo, a construction worker killed on the job in 2015, it raises the financial penalties employers face for workplace fatalities from a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $10,000 to a minimum of $300,000 and a maximum of $500,000. It also broadens the criteria of workers to whom these new rules apply.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In trying to solve the very real problem of having an ineffectual law on the books, legislators have gone too far in the other direction. If Carlos’ Law is signed by Governor Hochul without being adjusted, it will have a punitive effect on contractors in the state, putting New York, and its $</span><a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/304883/new-york-real-gdp-by-industry/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">40 billion per year construction trade</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, at further risk of a recession.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the Building Trades Employers Association expressed in a June 30 letter to the Governor, there are easy ways to make Carlos’ Law workable for both employers and employees:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Make the fines a ceiling, not a floor;</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Establish guidelines to factors the court should consider in determining an appropriate fine amount;</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Clearly define the standard of culpability within the law as criminal recklessness;</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Enhance the language to specifically focus on “employees” on the worksite, and standardize that the rules focus on “serious physical injury,” versus any injury at all.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With some minor changes, Carlos’ Law would act as a deterrent against unscrupulous contractors without punishing the upstanding ones. Instead of keeping MWBEs at arm’s length, it would embrace them. It’s hard enough to build in New York. Let’s do it, together, the right way.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Louis Coletti of New York City is president of the New York Building Trades Employers Association. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/bteany"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@BTEANY</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/why-amend-claw.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Scaffolding (photo: Demetrius Freeman/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The cost to build in New York can be </span><a href="https://www.city-journal.org/deconstructing-new-yorks-building-costs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">10 times more expensive than in neighboring New Jersey or Connecticut</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. It’s a reality that’s hurting our economy, especially Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in the construction sector, at the worst possible time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Empire State’s unaffordability factor begins with the massive, state-imposed cost-of-liability insurance, a result of the 137-year-old Scaffold Law.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To bid on any construction project in the public or private sector, a contracting firm in New York is held to a strict liability for whatever accident occurs for any reason—even if a worker jumps off a ladder.  There is only one question: How much does the contractor pay?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The costs here are astronomical and out of line with the 49 other states. In New York, the cost of insurance is $41 per square foot compared to $3 in Connecticut and $4 in New Jersey. Is it any wonder why firms are moving there, or why there’s always such a housing shortage and affordability crisis in New York? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, with a market downturn looming, there’s well-meaning legislation on the desk of Governor Hochul that will, if not amended, worsen the problem considerably, especially for MWBEs and small businesses.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The idea behind “Carlos’ Law” is an honorable one. Named for Carlos Moncayo, a construction worker killed on the job in 2015, it raises the financial penalties employers face for workplace fatalities from a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $10,000 to a minimum of $300,000 and a maximum of $500,000. It also broadens the criteria of workers to whom these new rules apply.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In trying to solve the very real problem of having an ineffectual law on the books, legislators have gone too far in the other direction. If Carlos’ Law is signed by Governor Hochul without being adjusted, it will have a punitive effect on contractors in the state, putting New York, and its $</span><a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/304883/new-york-real-gdp-by-industry/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">40 billion per year construction trade</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, at further risk of a recession.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As the Building Trades Employers Association expressed in a June 30 letter to the Governor, there are easy ways to make Carlos’ Law workable for both employers and employees:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Make the fines a ceiling, not a floor;</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Establish guidelines to factors the court should consider in determining an appropriate fine amount;</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Clearly define the standard of culpability within the law as criminal recklessness;</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Enhance the language to specifically focus on “employees” on the worksite, and standardize that the rules focus on “serious physical injury,” versus any injury at all.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With some minor changes, Carlos’ Law would act as a deterrent against unscrupulous contractors without punishing the upstanding ones. Instead of keeping MWBEs at arm’s length, it would embrace them. It’s hard enough to build in New York. Let’s do it, together, the right way.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Louis Coletti of New York City is president of the New York Building Trades Employers Association. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/bteany"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@BTEANY</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Long Overdue Reforms and the Road to Instilling Public Faith in New York Government 2022-08-11T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-11T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11512-reforms-new-york-government-elections Sal Albanese & Maria Danzilo mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/long-overdue-road.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>A push to increase faith in government (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of all the pressing problems facing New York City — increasing crime, economic stagnation, high taxes, rising homelessness, crumbling infrastructure, and poor sanitation — a fundamental issue is at the core: lack of faith in our government and institutions to address and solve these  issues.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trust has been broken because government appears corrupt, indecipherable, and motivated to  benefit special interests, insiders, and their allies. New York’s future depends on restoring its  ability to create and implement policy that truly serves the public’s needs. To restore public confidence and reduce the cynicism that has led to abysmally low voter turnout, we must have the will and commitment to enact long overdue reforms. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are several recommendations:  </span></p> <p><b>1) Effectuate Non-Partisan Redistricting: </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">In New York’s recent redistricting debacle, the State Supreme Court ruled the Democrats’  gerrymandering plan failed to follow constitutionally required procedures to ensure a non-partisan redistricting process.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democrats drew maps in January 2022, after the new bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission failed to complete its work. The Court threw out those maps and hired an independent third party to redraw districts. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This could’ve been avoided if commission members were initially made up of independent  members such as judges, law professors, retired public servants, and political scientists, rather  than partisan political appointees. The word gerrymandering implies the system is rigged. A truly  independent redistricting commission will secure voter trust that the system used to elect representatives is working and fair and not rigged to favor any political party or other special interest.  </span></p> <p><b>2) Expand Ranked Choice Voting (RCV): </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">RCV gives voters more say in who is elected. Efficient and more representative, it was  introduced in New York City’s June 2022 municipal primary elections after 73% of city voters backed a 2019 ballot measure proposed by a city charter commission. It should be extended to all state elections. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Under the current “winner-take-all” system candidates often win with significantly less than a  majority of votes. Voters are often faced with having to choose between their preferred  candidate and a “safe” choice. Under RCV, even if one’s desired candidate loses, lower  ranked choices still help decide the outcome. Winners reflect more broad consensus among the voters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City provides an excellent template for broader implementation.</span></p> <p><b>3) Implement Final Five Open Primaries:<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Turnout in New York primaries is abysmally low. In the recent June 2022 primaries for  Governor and State Assembly, less than 14% of those registered voted. In national elections,  New York and other closed primary states have significantly lower turnout than states with open  primaries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An open primary system would franchise more than 2.7 million ‘independent’ voters in our state, including over 400,000 military veterans, and liberate parties from being tied down and beholden to their most extreme influences. Diversity of opinion and thought would be ignited within parties once more as voters are able to participate in the elections that matter. When confidence in the system itself is restored, we can expect to see significantly greater voter turnout. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York is one of only 14 states in which at least one political party administers closed  primaries for federal and state-level elections. To implement open primaries for these elections, state election law must be amended.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For New York City elections, we must go directly to voters  with a ballot initiative. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Final Five”</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> voting will combine ranked-choice voting with open primaries.  </span></p> <p><b>4) Expand Mechanisms for Ballot Initiatives and Referendums: </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ballot initiatives and referendums, allowed in 26 states, enable voters to bypass the state legislature by placing proposed statutes and constitutional amendments on the ballot. These  measures reduce voter disengagement and can contribute to greater turnout by signaling to  voters that their vote will directly affect the outcome of a particular issue.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In New York, voters do not have the power to initiate statewide referendums and initiatives. Several attempts to introduce voter referendums in New York have failed.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Additionally, 19 states have enacted recall mechanisms, which have been effective in holding elected officials accountable for doing the job they were elected to do.  </span></p> <p><b>5) Enact Effective Campaign Financing Reforms: </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">State and City Boards of Elections need independent oversight to assure transparency and  trust. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Doing business restrictions” must be enacted statewide to largely prohibit campaign donations from individuals or entities that do business with government. We must finally end the “pay-to-play” mindset in Albany and the potential for unrestricted donations to influence contracting, subsidy, and other government decisions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Contribution levels should be reconsidered annually. State contribution levels are far too high,  even in the new campaign finance system to be instituted in the next elections, allowing large donors to maintain outsized influence. These rules must be made based on the ethical challenges of today and lessons learned from the past.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York must address the ill effects of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision overturning 100  years of campaign finance restrictions in </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Citizens United v. FEC</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. We can heighten donor  transparency requirements and expand matching funds and “democracy dollar” programs  successful in other states. Programs to reward voters by providing matching dollar vouchers to </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">be donated to the political candidate of their choice can counter voter apathy, while expanding  pools of candidates. </span></p> <p><b>6) Empower Truly Independent Ethics Agencies:  </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Government watchdog groups like the League of Women Voters have been calling for city and  state ethics reform for decades, but efforts always fall short. Truly independent commissions  empowered to enact comprehensive integrity and conflicts of interest policies, along with  mechanisms to enforce them, will restore institutional trust and confidence.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor Hochul and the State Legislature recently replaced the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), with the “Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government,” but their reforms fell short because this new entity is still populated by political appointees without the independence needed to hold elected officials to the highest standards. The governor’s own ethical questions regarding the Buffalo Bills stadium funding and Penn Station redevelopment deals haven’t helped engender trust in how she has gone about implementing reforms and leading the government.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City’s Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) should be replaced by independent  appointees with enforcement powers outside of political influence. Currently, its membership is nominated by elected officials including the mayor, comptroller, and public advocate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Former Mayor Bill de Blasio famously disregarded the Board’s advice and admonishments on multiple occasions, including regarding his fundraising efforts, which created the “appearance of coercion and improper access.” Yet de Blasio faced no punishment from a Board full of his own appointees. The city’s comptroller, Brad Lander, recently sought guidance from the Board, including an appointee of his own, about whether he faces conflicts in his office’s approval of contracts between the city and members of a nonprofit umbrella group run by his wife. These actions and questions undercut the credibility of the Conflicts of Interest Board to act independently and fairly, and diminishes public confidence.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Good government groups have rightly suggested a firewall between elected officials and  appointees of ethics commissions. Elected leaders simply should not have any say in who gets  appointed to the entities that oversee them. A truly independent ethics panel should be  appointed by a designating commission made up of trusted, qualified, and experienced third  parties, such as law school deans, bar association presidents, and judges, vetted for  independence.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This autonomous panel would be empowered to write and enforce protocols that follow best practices for rules compliance and conflicts of interest, with full public disclosure of every investigation.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This list is not exhaustive of all that needs to be done to restore faith and trust in government,  but even these pragmatic and reasonable recommendations will take considerable will to  implement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elected leaders have been fighting real reform for decades, and it’s time we elect candidates who are unafraid to demand comprehensive action. Government will be far more effective with more democratic elections and proper rules in place to assure it is operating with honesty and integrity.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">By Sal Albanese &amp; Maria Danzilo. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/SalAlbaneseNYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@SalAlbaneseNYC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> &amp; </span><a href="https://twitter.com/Maria4Dist6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@Maria4Dist6</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/long-overdue-road.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>A push to increase faith in government (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of all the pressing problems facing New York City — increasing crime, economic stagnation, high taxes, rising homelessness, crumbling infrastructure, and poor sanitation — a fundamental issue is at the core: lack of faith in our government and institutions to address and solve these  issues.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Trust has been broken because government appears corrupt, indecipherable, and motivated to  benefit special interests, insiders, and their allies. New York’s future depends on restoring its  ability to create and implement policy that truly serves the public’s needs. To restore public confidence and reduce the cynicism that has led to abysmally low voter turnout, we must have the will and commitment to enact long overdue reforms. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are several recommendations:  </span></p> <p><b>1) Effectuate Non-Partisan Redistricting: </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">In New York’s recent redistricting debacle, the State Supreme Court ruled the Democrats’  gerrymandering plan failed to follow constitutionally required procedures to ensure a non-partisan redistricting process.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Democrats drew maps in January 2022, after the new bipartisan Independent Redistricting Commission failed to complete its work. The Court threw out those maps and hired an independent third party to redraw districts. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This could’ve been avoided if commission members were initially made up of independent  members such as judges, law professors, retired public servants, and political scientists, rather  than partisan political appointees. The word gerrymandering implies the system is rigged. A truly  independent redistricting commission will secure voter trust that the system used to elect representatives is working and fair and not rigged to favor any political party or other special interest.  </span></p> <p><b>2) Expand Ranked Choice Voting (RCV): </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">RCV gives voters more say in who is elected. Efficient and more representative, it was  introduced in New York City’s June 2022 municipal primary elections after 73% of city voters backed a 2019 ballot measure proposed by a city charter commission. It should be extended to all state elections. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Under the current “winner-take-all” system candidates often win with significantly less than a  majority of votes. Voters are often faced with having to choose between their preferred  candidate and a “safe” choice. Under RCV, even if one’s desired candidate loses, lower  ranked choices still help decide the outcome. Winners reflect more broad consensus among the voters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City provides an excellent template for broader implementation.</span></p> <p><b>3) Implement Final Five Open Primaries:<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Turnout in New York primaries is abysmally low. In the recent June 2022 primaries for  Governor and State Assembly, less than 14% of those registered voted. In national elections,  New York and other closed primary states have significantly lower turnout than states with open  primaries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An open primary system would franchise more than 2.7 million ‘independent’ voters in our state, including over 400,000 military veterans, and liberate parties from being tied down and beholden to their most extreme influences. Diversity of opinion and thought would be ignited within parties once more as voters are able to participate in the elections that matter. When confidence in the system itself is restored, we can expect to see significantly greater voter turnout. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York is one of only 14 states in which at least one political party administers closed  primaries for federal and state-level elections. To implement open primaries for these elections, state election law must be amended.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For New York City elections, we must go directly to voters  with a ballot initiative. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Final Five”</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> voting will combine ranked-choice voting with open primaries.  </span></p> <p><b>4) Expand Mechanisms for Ballot Initiatives and Referendums: </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ballot initiatives and referendums, allowed in 26 states, enable voters to bypass the state legislature by placing proposed statutes and constitutional amendments on the ballot. These  measures reduce voter disengagement and can contribute to greater turnout by signaling to  voters that their vote will directly affect the outcome of a particular issue.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In New York, voters do not have the power to initiate statewide referendums and initiatives. Several attempts to introduce voter referendums in New York have failed.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Additionally, 19 states have enacted recall mechanisms, which have been effective in holding elected officials accountable for doing the job they were elected to do.  </span></p> <p><b>5) Enact Effective Campaign Financing Reforms: </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">State and City Boards of Elections need independent oversight to assure transparency and  trust. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Doing business restrictions” must be enacted statewide to largely prohibit campaign donations from individuals or entities that do business with government. We must finally end the “pay-to-play” mindset in Albany and the potential for unrestricted donations to influence contracting, subsidy, and other government decisions. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Contribution levels should be reconsidered annually. State contribution levels are far too high,  even in the new campaign finance system to be instituted in the next elections, allowing large donors to maintain outsized influence. These rules must be made based on the ethical challenges of today and lessons learned from the past.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York must address the ill effects of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision overturning 100  years of campaign finance restrictions in </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Citizens United v. FEC</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. We can heighten donor  transparency requirements and expand matching funds and “democracy dollar” programs  successful in other states. Programs to reward voters by providing matching dollar vouchers to </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">be donated to the political candidate of their choice can counter voter apathy, while expanding  pools of candidates. </span></p> <p><b>6) Empower Truly Independent Ethics Agencies:  </b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Government watchdog groups like the League of Women Voters have been calling for city and  state ethics reform for decades, but efforts always fall short. Truly independent commissions  empowered to enact comprehensive integrity and conflicts of interest policies, along with  mechanisms to enforce them, will restore institutional trust and confidence.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Governor Hochul and the State Legislature recently replaced the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE), with the “Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government,” but their reforms fell short because this new entity is still populated by political appointees without the independence needed to hold elected officials to the highest standards. The governor’s own ethical questions regarding the Buffalo Bills stadium funding and Penn Station redevelopment deals haven’t helped engender trust in how she has gone about implementing reforms and leading the government.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City’s Conflicts of Interest Board (COIB) should be replaced by independent  appointees with enforcement powers outside of political influence. Currently, its membership is nominated by elected officials including the mayor, comptroller, and public advocate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Former Mayor Bill de Blasio famously disregarded the Board’s advice and admonishments on multiple occasions, including regarding his fundraising efforts, which created the “appearance of coercion and improper access.” Yet de Blasio faced no punishment from a Board full of his own appointees. The city’s comptroller, Brad Lander, recently sought guidance from the Board, including an appointee of his own, about whether he faces conflicts in his office’s approval of contracts between the city and members of a nonprofit umbrella group run by his wife. These actions and questions undercut the credibility of the Conflicts of Interest Board to act independently and fairly, and diminishes public confidence.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Good government groups have rightly suggested a firewall between elected officials and  appointees of ethics commissions. Elected leaders simply should not have any say in who gets  appointed to the entities that oversee them. A truly independent ethics panel should be  appointed by a designating commission made up of trusted, qualified, and experienced third  parties, such as law school deans, bar association presidents, and judges, vetted for  independence.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This autonomous panel would be empowered to write and enforce protocols that follow best practices for rules compliance and conflicts of interest, with full public disclosure of every investigation.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This list is not exhaustive of all that needs to be done to restore faith and trust in government,  but even these pragmatic and reasonable recommendations will take considerable will to  implement.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Elected leaders have been fighting real reform for decades, and it’s time we elect candidates who are unafraid to demand comprehensive action. Government will be far more effective with more democratic elections and proper rules in place to assure it is operating with honesty and integrity.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">By Sal Albanese &amp; Maria Danzilo. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/SalAlbaneseNYC" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@SalAlbaneseNYC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> &amp; </span><a href="https://twitter.com/Maria4Dist6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@Maria4Dist6</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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An Opportunity for Progress in Combating the City’s Housing Crisis 2022-08-10T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-10T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11513-opportunity-progress-nyc-housing-crisis Moses Nakamura mnakamura@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/an-opp-progr2.jpg" /></p> <p>A rendering of The Lirio</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ongoing affordable housing crisis in New York City requires bold solutions. We must house more people, especially in vulnerable populations. In Hell’s Kitchen we have an opportunity to do just that with The Lirio, a newly proposed 112-unit affordable housing development, which will include affordable homes for long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City has been in an immense housing crisis for decades. Although our population and job demand have grown, we haven’t built enough housing to keep up. Now we have a substantial deficit of affordable housing, and especially deeply affordable housing. The pandemic exacerbated the need for housing as labor and supply chain constraints have further slowed construction. Many families have been forced to leave their homes due to high rents, and scores more may be set to follow them when eviction protections expire.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is especially true of more vulnerable populations, such as people living with HIV/AIDS, whose own position in their homes might already be tenuous. To fully recover, the city must build quality affordable housing to provide homes for families of all types who need them. That responsibility extends to all neighborhoods, especially wealthier enclaves in Manhattan like Hell’s Kitchen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the latest data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Chelsea-Clinton has the highest rate of reported persons living with HIV as a percent of its population of any neighborhood in New York City. It is also the neighborhood with the second-highest rate of HIV diagnoses in the city. As available services and medical care for this population have grown and improved, those afflicted are living longer, better lives, and need more services, including housing. It is our shared responsibility as a city to provide survivors of HIV/AIDS with affordable homes so that they can live full lives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Lirio will help combat the city’s housing crisis and serve as a model for the rest of the city. It is a newly-proposed mixed development by the city’s leading real estate development company Hudson Inc., and Housing Works. Located at the corner of 54th Street and 9th Avenue, the 112-unit Hell’s Kitchen project would include 59 units of supportive housing targeted at long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS, along with affordable housing, office space for the MTA, and neighborhood retail.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Housing Works, a well-respected social services organization founded by members of ACT UP focused on fighting AIDS and homelessness, will provide on-site services and access to HIV-specific primary and behavioral healthcare at a new Housing Works medical facility on West 48th Street. With the help of Housing Works, The Lirio is the right solution to bolster Hell’s Kitchen and protect affordability while providing the critical tools needed to fight HIV transmission and protect people living with HIV.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We must act quickly – each month that we delay this new housing is another month during which it doesn’t house the populations it can support.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We have the opportunity to make progress on the goal so many of us have been advocating over the years: to provide affordable housing for our most vulnerable populations in a neighborhood where rising rent makes it harder to live there every year. To make change in this community, we must do everything in our power to support The Lirio development and the people it will benefit.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">People living with HIV are instrumental to the fabric of our community, and have made these communities what they are today. We let down people living with HIV in the ’80s, we must not repeat our mistake.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">*** <br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Moses Nakamura is a member of Open New York and a resident of Chelsea. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/OpenNYForAll" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@OpenNYForAll</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/an-opp-progr2.jpg" /></p> <p>A rendering of The Lirio</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The ongoing affordable housing crisis in New York City requires bold solutions. We must house more people, especially in vulnerable populations. In Hell’s Kitchen we have an opportunity to do just that with The Lirio, a newly proposed 112-unit affordable housing development, which will include affordable homes for long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City has been in an immense housing crisis for decades. Although our population and job demand have grown, we haven’t built enough housing to keep up. Now we have a substantial deficit of affordable housing, and especially deeply affordable housing. The pandemic exacerbated the need for housing as labor and supply chain constraints have further slowed construction. Many families have been forced to leave their homes due to high rents, and scores more may be set to follow them when eviction protections expire.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is especially true of more vulnerable populations, such as people living with HIV/AIDS, whose own position in their homes might already be tenuous. To fully recover, the city must build quality affordable housing to provide homes for families of all types who need them. That responsibility extends to all neighborhoods, especially wealthier enclaves in Manhattan like Hell’s Kitchen.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the latest data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Chelsea-Clinton has the highest rate of reported persons living with HIV as a percent of its population of any neighborhood in New York City. It is also the neighborhood with the second-highest rate of HIV diagnoses in the city. As available services and medical care for this population have grown and improved, those afflicted are living longer, better lives, and need more services, including housing. It is our shared responsibility as a city to provide survivors of HIV/AIDS with affordable homes so that they can live full lives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Lirio will help combat the city’s housing crisis and serve as a model for the rest of the city. It is a newly-proposed mixed development by the city’s leading real estate development company Hudson Inc., and Housing Works. Located at the corner of 54th Street and 9th Avenue, the 112-unit Hell’s Kitchen project would include 59 units of supportive housing targeted at long-term survivors of HIV/AIDS, along with affordable housing, office space for the MTA, and neighborhood retail.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Housing Works, a well-respected social services organization founded by members of ACT UP focused on fighting AIDS and homelessness, will provide on-site services and access to HIV-specific primary and behavioral healthcare at a new Housing Works medical facility on West 48th Street. With the help of Housing Works, The Lirio is the right solution to bolster Hell’s Kitchen and protect affordability while providing the critical tools needed to fight HIV transmission and protect people living with HIV.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We must act quickly – each month that we delay this new housing is another month during which it doesn’t house the populations it can support.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We have the opportunity to make progress on the goal so many of us have been advocating over the years: to provide affordable housing for our most vulnerable populations in a neighborhood where rising rent makes it harder to live there every year. To make change in this community, we must do everything in our power to support The Lirio development and the people it will benefit.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">People living with HIV are instrumental to the fabric of our community, and have made these communities what they are today. We let down people living with HIV in the ’80s, we must not repeat our mistake.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">*** <br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Moses Nakamura is a member of Open New York and a resident of Chelsea. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/OpenNYForAll" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@OpenNYForAll</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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To Protect New York from the Climate Crisis, We Must Transform Our Streets 2022-08-09T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-09T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11507-protect-new-york-climate-crisis-transform-streets Guillermo Gomez & Martha Snow mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/EasternParkway_signature_CourtesyNYCParksRec.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Eastern Parkway (photo: NYC Parks)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s another record-breaking hot summer in New York, and we can all agree that the climate crisis is already here. Sweltering days, terrifying flash floods, and increasingly poor air quality are putting all New Yorkers at risk, </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/nyregion/climate-inequality-nyc.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">especially those living in historically underinvested communities</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">With no more time to waste, we can — and must — make major moves in the climate fight with our city’s streets. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Imagine what it would feel like to walk down a street in your neighborhood that’s climate resilient: shade from abundant trees protects you from the hot sun; colorful rain gardens attract bees and birds while also collecting stormwater; neighbors sit peacefully at a misting station in a plaza at the end of the block; </span><a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90268529/a-brilliant-hack-for-new-york-citys-water-hydrants" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">water features connected to fire hydrants</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> create a safe and cool game for kids nearby; and raised medians with lush plantings protect bikers from limited car traffic thanks to carefully designed streets.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This city is possible. So, how do we get there? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With over a quarter of New York City’s land area covered by streets, these dark, impervious surfaces can be the ticket to reducing emissions and creating new public spaces that fight climate change. Furthermore, climate investments on our streets are known to</span><a href="https://www.tpl.org/economic-benefits-nyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">boost local economies</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and drive the</span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/office-of-the-mayor/2022/Mayor-Adams-Economic-Recovery-Blueprint.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">recovery the city has set out for itself</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. With our streets completely government-controlled, we can act immediately to protect every neighborhood from the climate crisis. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If the administration of Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council want to leave a legacy in the climate action fight, they need to invest big in a swift overhaul of our streets. Here’s how we can accelerate the process: </span></p> <p><b>1. Cut emissions to combat the public health emergency.<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">To reduce the number of cars and trucks on our streets, we should pilot low-emissions zones in every borough. We can look to cities around the world — like Medellin,</span><a href="https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/low-emission-zone" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">London</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Paris, and Madrid — that have restricted carbon-emitting vehicles at certain times of the day. In New York, let’s enact these in neighborhoods suffering from the</span><a href="https://a816-dohbesp.nyc.gov/IndicatorPublic/AQHub/explorer.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">worst air quality</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> conditions and</span><a href="https://a816-dohbesp.nyc.gov/IndicatorPublic/HeatHub/hvi.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">highest heat vulnerability</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, especially in the outer boroughs, and treat climate change like the public health emergency it is. </span></p> <p><b>2. Set bold, citywide climate goals for every street project and stick to them.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br />The city should mandate that all new street projects are approached to counter the climate crisis. Every new street project in your neighborhood can be integrating resilient materials like cool and permeable pavements during routine streetscape upgrades, creating</span><a href="https://www.themayor.eu/en/a/view/the-green-stops-in-bialystok-receive-architecture-recognition-5142" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">green roofs on bus shelters</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and other structures, and expanding street trees through a next Million Trees program.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An interagency Street Climate Action Task Force could set the vision for an evaluation framework to review every project within the public Right of Way to ensure it supports and prioritizes adaptation and decarbonization goals. There’s no reason every new Vision Zero project can’t also serve as a way to fight climate change.</span></p> <p><b>3. Empower New Yorkers to support the climate fight from the grassroots.<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">To shape equitable and community-led transformation, the city should replicate and expand the DOT’s</span><a href="https://equity.nyc.gov/equity-stories/street-ambassador-program" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Street Ambassador program</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to account for barriers to participation like language or childcare. The city can honor community knowledge by providing neighborhoods with the technical expertise to design and steward public spaces that combat the climate crisis. Let's learn from successful community-led projects like the</span><a href="https://vimeo.com/429770523" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Clean Air Green Corridor</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on 182nd Street. Provide pathways to envision what’s possible, and</span><a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2021/12/29/opinion-reform-community-board-consultations-on-bike-lanes-now/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">not just opportunities to strike down</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> new plans.</span></p> <p><b>4. Invest, invest, invest.</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lastly, ideas without funding support won’t get us very far. New York City government can learn from cities like Montreal that are</span><a href="https://montreal.ca/en/articles/climate-test-to-help-fight-climate-change-8761" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">climate-testing their budget</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> so that every tax dollar spent is contributing to the fight against climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We should reprioritize the city budget and explore dedicated funding strategies through congestion pricing, toll roads, city-run parking garages, paid parking, and curb space fees to deeply invest in more accessible, climate-resilient, and livable public spaces. We can get creative by mobilizing federal investment, like the</span><a href="https://news.bloomberglaw.com/environment-and-energy/infrastructure-bill-boosts-equity-focus-for-urban-tree-plantings" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Healthy Streets program</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or accessing Community Development Block Grants to fund climate projects on our streets. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A decade ago, we decided we could redesign our streets to protect us from cars. Let's use this decade to protect New Yorkers from climate change too. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Guillermo Gomez is program director and Martha Snow is associate program director at the Urban Design Forum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing civic leaders to confront the defining issues in the built environment. They led the</span><a href="https://urbandesignforum.org/initiative/streets-ahead/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Streets Ahead initiative</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a platform to imagine more vibrant, equitable streetscapes in New York City. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/udfnyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@UDFNYC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/EasternParkway_signature_CourtesyNYCParksRec.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Eastern Parkway (photo: NYC Parks)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s another record-breaking hot summer in New York, and we can all agree that the climate crisis is already here. Sweltering days, terrifying flash floods, and increasingly poor air quality are putting all New Yorkers at risk, </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/20/nyregion/climate-inequality-nyc.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">especially those living in historically underinvested communities</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">With no more time to waste, we can — and must — make major moves in the climate fight with our city’s streets. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Imagine what it would feel like to walk down a street in your neighborhood that’s climate resilient: shade from abundant trees protects you from the hot sun; colorful rain gardens attract bees and birds while also collecting stormwater; neighbors sit peacefully at a misting station in a plaza at the end of the block; </span><a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90268529/a-brilliant-hack-for-new-york-citys-water-hydrants" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">water features connected to fire hydrants</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> create a safe and cool game for kids nearby; and raised medians with lush plantings protect bikers from limited car traffic thanks to carefully designed streets.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This city is possible. So, how do we get there? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With over a quarter of New York City’s land area covered by streets, these dark, impervious surfaces can be the ticket to reducing emissions and creating new public spaces that fight climate change. Furthermore, climate investments on our streets are known to</span><a href="https://www.tpl.org/economic-benefits-nyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">boost local economies</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and drive the</span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/office-of-the-mayor/2022/Mayor-Adams-Economic-Recovery-Blueprint.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">recovery the city has set out for itself</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. With our streets completely government-controlled, we can act immediately to protect every neighborhood from the climate crisis. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If the administration of Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council want to leave a legacy in the climate action fight, they need to invest big in a swift overhaul of our streets. Here’s how we can accelerate the process: </span></p> <p><b>1. Cut emissions to combat the public health emergency.<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">To reduce the number of cars and trucks on our streets, we should pilot low-emissions zones in every borough. We can look to cities around the world — like Medellin,</span><a href="https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/low-emission-zone" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">London</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, Paris, and Madrid — that have restricted carbon-emitting vehicles at certain times of the day. In New York, let’s enact these in neighborhoods suffering from the</span><a href="https://a816-dohbesp.nyc.gov/IndicatorPublic/AQHub/explorer.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">worst air quality</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> conditions and</span><a href="https://a816-dohbesp.nyc.gov/IndicatorPublic/HeatHub/hvi.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">highest heat vulnerability</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, especially in the outer boroughs, and treat climate change like the public health emergency it is. </span></p> <p><b>2. Set bold, citywide climate goals for every street project and stick to them.</b><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br />The city should mandate that all new street projects are approached to counter the climate crisis. Every new street project in your neighborhood can be integrating resilient materials like cool and permeable pavements during routine streetscape upgrades, creating</span><a href="https://www.themayor.eu/en/a/view/the-green-stops-in-bialystok-receive-architecture-recognition-5142" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">green roofs on bus shelters</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and other structures, and expanding street trees through a next Million Trees program.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An interagency Street Climate Action Task Force could set the vision for an evaluation framework to review every project within the public Right of Way to ensure it supports and prioritizes adaptation and decarbonization goals. There’s no reason every new Vision Zero project can’t also serve as a way to fight climate change.</span></p> <p><b>3. Empower New Yorkers to support the climate fight from the grassroots.<br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">To shape equitable and community-led transformation, the city should replicate and expand the DOT’s</span><a href="https://equity.nyc.gov/equity-stories/street-ambassador-program" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Street Ambassador program</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to account for barriers to participation like language or childcare. The city can honor community knowledge by providing neighborhoods with the technical expertise to design and steward public spaces that combat the climate crisis. Let's learn from successful community-led projects like the</span><a href="https://vimeo.com/429770523" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Clean Air Green Corridor</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on 182nd Street. Provide pathways to envision what’s possible, and</span><a href="https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2021/12/29/opinion-reform-community-board-consultations-on-bike-lanes-now/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">not just opportunities to strike down</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> new plans.</span></p> <p><b>4. Invest, invest, invest.</b><b><br /></b><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lastly, ideas without funding support won’t get us very far. New York City government can learn from cities like Montreal that are</span><a href="https://montreal.ca/en/articles/climate-test-to-help-fight-climate-change-8761" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">climate-testing their budget</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> so that every tax dollar spent is contributing to the fight against climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We should reprioritize the city budget and explore dedicated funding strategies through congestion pricing, toll roads, city-run parking garages, paid parking, and curb space fees to deeply invest in more accessible, climate-resilient, and livable public spaces. We can get creative by mobilizing federal investment, like the</span><a href="https://news.bloomberglaw.com/environment-and-energy/infrastructure-bill-boosts-equity-focus-for-urban-tree-plantings" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Healthy Streets program</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or accessing Community Development Block Grants to fund climate projects on our streets. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A decade ago, we decided we could redesign our streets to protect us from cars. Let's use this decade to protect New Yorkers from climate change too. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Guillermo Gomez is program director and Martha Snow is associate program director at the Urban Design Forum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing civic leaders to confront the defining issues in the built environment. They led the</span><a href="https://urbandesignforum.org/initiative/streets-ahead/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Streets Ahead initiative</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a platform to imagine more vibrant, equitable streetscapes in New York City. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/udfnyc" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@UDFNYC</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Our Obligation to Our Neighbors in NYCHA 2022-08-09T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-09T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11508-obligation-neighbors-nycha-carlina-rivera Carlina Rivera crivera@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/nycha-carlina.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>NYCHA recovery and resiliency (photo: NYCHA)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Growing up in Section 8 housing on the Lower East Side in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I saw how large an impact the city’s infrastructure investments could have. From the restoration of Hamilton Fish pool across the street from my apartment that gave us a place to cool off in the summer, to the major renovation of the Williamsburg Bridge that made it easier for us to visit our relatives in Brooklyn, to the much-needed renovations at Bellevue Hospital that improved the quality of healthcare for our neighborhood.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Given the limited resources of our diverse, vibrant community, infrastructure improvements like these went a long way towards making New York a more livable city for us. Unfortunately, all too often, the city has a history of neglecting the infrastructure that serves low-income communities, and this disinvestment feeds vicious cycles of poverty and struggle. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, in the face of a changing climate, there is consensus that the city’s infrastructure must adapt quickly, and it is critical that we do this without leaving the most vulnerable behind. As we enter the midpoint of hurricane season this month, and remember the devastation and destruction from Superstorm Sandy ten years ago this October, it is time that we make a real plan to double down on the resiliency efforts and infrastructure improvements of the last decade and make investments in the future, not just in our buildings but also in the people who live here. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In New York’s 10th Congressional District, which I am running to represent, there are more than 18,000 families living in public housing, 96% of which is located in </span><a href="https://maps.nyc.gov/hurricane/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">an Evacuation Flood Zone</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. These properties are home to tens of thousands of New Yorkers, all of whom are on the front line of the next major weather event and climate change more broadly. They will be the first to feel the destructive impacts of the next major storm whenever it arrives. The time is now for leadership at all levels of government to prioritize investing in at-risk NYCHA properties and their broader communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We must empower the New Yorkers who live in these low-lying areas and provide support to the strong community networks they’ve formed. We should be training individuals with the skills they need to create resilient neighborhoods and to ensure safety and security for themselves and their loved ones and neighbors in the event of a disaster. This means establishing and funding workforce training programs today that provide urgently needed skills such as retrofitting buildings and making other energy efficient improvements throughout neighborhoods.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We should put our young residents on a path of development to learn about the green building and construction jobs of tomorrow. By dedicating dollars to this pipeline now, we will begin to lay the foundation that future generations can build upon moving forward. We also need to invest in the backbone of our city, including our faith leaders, our teachers, our small business owners, and so many others who are grounded in our neighborhoods and are protectors of these communities. By supporting these local leaders and their institutions, we are ensuring safety for even our most vulnerable New Yorkers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In addition to the individuals who will collectively grow together to make our neighborhoods stronger and more resilient, it's imperative that leadership at all levels of government join together to put real money into infrastructure investment. Last November, President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes significant funding to make our infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change. I applaud these efforts, but our leadership in Congress must ensure some of this funding goes to protecting our NYCHA residents on the front lines of the climate threat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If coupled with meaningful action by New York City to center resilience in NYCHA’s capital improvements program, our efforts can do right by these communities that have historically been so wronged.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We must unlock NYCHA funding that was promised in the Build Back Better agenda, but Congress has not delivered. This funding is desperately needed for climate resilience as well as the $40 billion capital backlog for a wide variety of repairs in NYCHA, including water, heating, power, elevators, and more related to health, safety, and quality of life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Critically, no New York City congressional representative currently sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where so many of these decisions are made. If elected, I will ask to sit on that committee to give NYCHA residents a voice in that process.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I understand that a true resiliency plan anchored around public housing in New York City will cost billions and take years to build, but the investment is unequivocally necessary. As climate change progresses, extreme weather events like Sandy and Ida will become more frequent and more dangerous to our communities, especially those on the front lines like NYCHA. Our future depends on our investments right now, and our leadership at the federal, state, and city levels must prioritize these efforts and work together to ensure a strong and stable future for this city. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carlina Rivera is a City Council member and Democratic candidate for Congress in the 10th district. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/@CarlinaRivera" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@CarlinaRivera</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/nycha-carlina.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>NYCHA recovery and resiliency (photo: NYCHA)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Growing up in Section 8 housing on the Lower East Side in the ‘80s and ‘90s, I saw how large an impact the city’s infrastructure investments could have. From the restoration of Hamilton Fish pool across the street from my apartment that gave us a place to cool off in the summer, to the major renovation of the Williamsburg Bridge that made it easier for us to visit our relatives in Brooklyn, to the much-needed renovations at Bellevue Hospital that improved the quality of healthcare for our neighborhood.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Given the limited resources of our diverse, vibrant community, infrastructure improvements like these went a long way towards making New York a more livable city for us. Unfortunately, all too often, the city has a history of neglecting the infrastructure that serves low-income communities, and this disinvestment feeds vicious cycles of poverty and struggle. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, in the face of a changing climate, there is consensus that the city’s infrastructure must adapt quickly, and it is critical that we do this without leaving the most vulnerable behind. As we enter the midpoint of hurricane season this month, and remember the devastation and destruction from Superstorm Sandy ten years ago this October, it is time that we make a real plan to double down on the resiliency efforts and infrastructure improvements of the last decade and make investments in the future, not just in our buildings but also in the people who live here. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In New York’s 10th Congressional District, which I am running to represent, there are more than 18,000 families living in public housing, 96% of which is located in </span><a href="https://maps.nyc.gov/hurricane/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">an Evacuation Flood Zone</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. These properties are home to tens of thousands of New Yorkers, all of whom are on the front line of the next major weather event and climate change more broadly. They will be the first to feel the destructive impacts of the next major storm whenever it arrives. The time is now for leadership at all levels of government to prioritize investing in at-risk NYCHA properties and their broader communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We must empower the New Yorkers who live in these low-lying areas and provide support to the strong community networks they’ve formed. We should be training individuals with the skills they need to create resilient neighborhoods and to ensure safety and security for themselves and their loved ones and neighbors in the event of a disaster. This means establishing and funding workforce training programs today that provide urgently needed skills such as retrofitting buildings and making other energy efficient improvements throughout neighborhoods.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We should put our young residents on a path of development to learn about the green building and construction jobs of tomorrow. By dedicating dollars to this pipeline now, we will begin to lay the foundation that future generations can build upon moving forward. We also need to invest in the backbone of our city, including our faith leaders, our teachers, our small business owners, and so many others who are grounded in our neighborhoods and are protectors of these communities. By supporting these local leaders and their institutions, we are ensuring safety for even our most vulnerable New Yorkers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In addition to the individuals who will collectively grow together to make our neighborhoods stronger and more resilient, it's imperative that leadership at all levels of government join together to put real money into infrastructure investment. Last November, President Biden signed the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes significant funding to make our infrastructure resilient against the impacts of climate change. I applaud these efforts, but our leadership in Congress must ensure some of this funding goes to protecting our NYCHA residents on the front lines of the climate threat.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If coupled with meaningful action by New York City to center resilience in NYCHA’s capital improvements program, our efforts can do right by these communities that have historically been so wronged.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We must unlock NYCHA funding that was promised in the Build Back Better agenda, but Congress has not delivered. This funding is desperately needed for climate resilience as well as the $40 billion capital backlog for a wide variety of repairs in NYCHA, including water, heating, power, elevators, and more related to health, safety, and quality of life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Critically, no New York City congressional representative currently sits on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where so many of these decisions are made. If elected, I will ask to sit on that committee to give NYCHA residents a voice in that process.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I understand that a true resiliency plan anchored around public housing in New York City will cost billions and take years to build, but the investment is unequivocally necessary. As climate change progresses, extreme weather events like Sandy and Ida will become more frequent and more dangerous to our communities, especially those on the front lines like NYCHA. Our future depends on our investments right now, and our leadership at the federal, state, and city levels must prioritize these efforts and work together to ensure a strong and stable future for this city. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carlina Rivera is a City Council member and Democratic candidate for Congress in the 10th district. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/@CarlinaRivera" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@CarlinaRivera</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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The Mayor’s Mission and the Mess at Rikers 2022-08-05T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-05T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11503-mayor-adams-mission-mess-rikers-island-jails Dana Kaplan dkaplan@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/tours-fac-islands.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Mayor Adams visits Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The U.S. criminal justice system is at a crossroads. After the killing of George Floyd, there were </span><a href="https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Better-Path-Forward_Brookings-AEI-report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">bipartisan</span></a> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/interactive/2021/reimagine-safety/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">calls</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to address the failures of a historically </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/about:blank" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">unequal</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> justice system. Across the country, reform candidates won office for </span><a href="https://abcnews.go.com/US/progressive-prosecutors-aim-change-criminal-justice-system-inside/story?id=73371317" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">District Attorney</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><a href="https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/09/03/robert-saleem-holbrook-conservative-judges-criminal-justice-506966" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Judge</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and </span><a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/12/us/first-female-black-sheriff-orleans-parish/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sheriff</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. But the pandemic era uptick in crime has brought </span><a href="https://www.themarshallproject.org/records/11987-backlash-on-reform-due-to-concerns-about-crime" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">backlash</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The recent recall of San Francisco’s progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin is upheld as evidence of the decline of American support for justice reform, and one indicator that elected officials should slow their support for reforms.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The reality is more complicated: Most Americans are both worried about crime and safety, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">and</span></i> <a href="https://www.memphisflyer.com/vandy-poll-shows-support-for-criminal-justice-reform" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">support</span></a> <a href="https://www.davisvanguard.org/2022/06/sf-polling-shows-while-boudin-ousted-san-franciscans-appear-to-strongly-support-criminal-justice-reform/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">criminal justice reform</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This is true particularly for the communities of color who are </span><a href="https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/04/08/murders-rose-last-year-black-and-hispanic-neighborhoods-were-hit-hardest" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">disproportionately victims of crime</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/13/politics/black-latinx-incarcerated-more/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">overrepresented in America’s jails and prisons</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the words of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, “public safety and justice are the prerequisites to prosperity.. He is right – these concepts go hand in hand. Achieving both benefits everyone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In New York City, little exemplifies that more than closing the </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/opinion/closing-rikers-island-is-a-moral-imperative.html?_r=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">irredeemable</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> jails on Rikers Island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Half of the people jailed at Rikers Island have a mental illness, including over 80% of women. 27 people jailed at Rikers have died in the past year and a half, and an improving but still profound staffing crisis has denied </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/nyregion/rikers-island-medical-care.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">people access even to basic medical care.</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The dilapidated jails themselves provide the main source </span><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/reports/Slashings_stabbings_CRP_2015_04_27_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">of weapons</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in the facilities</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. It is no wonder that people who spent time at Rikers have a </span><a href="https://www.courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/documents/NYC_Path_Analysis_Final%20Report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">higher rate of rearrest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> than similarly situated individuals; exposure to violence has real repercussions – for all of us.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This crisis is </span><a href="https://apnews.com/article/new-york-archive-1d49c8ea13ac4a57bdb1a75e1ba3e827" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">not new</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, but as Mayor Adams </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/235-22/mayor-adams-on-reforming-rikers-island" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">recognizes</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, addressing it could not be more urgent.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These considerations led to the </span><a href="https://www.foxnews.com/us/new-york-city-to-close-rikers-island" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">decision to close Rikers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in 2017. It was a realization made after heeding the calls of people who had been incarcerated at Rikers, families of those whose loved ones had died inside, people who worked there, and countless officials, including former Commissioners of Correction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Transformation cannot occur on an island isolated from public transit, families, attorneys, and the courts. Nor would staying on Rikers make fiscal sense: trying to rebuild jails on the decaying landfill that makes up three-quarters of Rikers Island would </span><a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b6de4731aef1de914f43628/t/5b96c6f81ae6cf5e9c5f186d/1536607993842/Lippman%2BCommission%2BReport%2BFINAL%2BSingles.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">cost significantly more and take far longer</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> than the new system of borough facilities being built to replace Rikers and other existing jails.   </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mayor Adams and Correction Commissioner Louis Molina have embraced </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/235-22/mayor-adams-on-reforming-rikers-island" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the moral imperative</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">to make change in the jails. The mayor has visited Rikers Island four times since taking office, reflecting this as a serious personal priority. Work is underway to demonstrate progress regarding staff absenteeism, violence, and broken cell doors.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mayor and commissioner have also endorsed closing Rikers for good. They now have the historic opportunity to demonstrate that they can do both of these things – address the crisis at Rikers today, and execute on the mission to close it altogether. With a jail population and correctional staff that is over 90% Black and Latino, this is a matter of not just safety, but also of racial justice. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A key piece of the answer is ensuring that the new system of borough facilities is not limited by the de facto practice of U.S. correctional agencies, or vulnerable to</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the same failures. New York City can draw inspiration from international models such as </span><a href="https://magazine.ucsf.edu/norways-humane-approach-prisons-can-work-here-too" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Norway</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, places demonstrating that it is possible to have secure buildings that are humane and dignified while minimizing violence. Commissioner Tom Foley of the Department of Design and Construction has </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/nyregion/nyc-rikers-norway.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">visited European facilities</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">; there is reason to be heartened about the possibility for change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A path to both safety and justice in New York also includes continuing to reduce the jail population. Since the high point of incarceration in New York City in the 1990s, the city has witnessed a significant decline in </span><a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/opinion/2018/03/how-new-york-city-reduced-crime-and-incarceration/178700/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">both</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the crime rate and the jail population</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, making it both the safest large city in the country and the one with the lowest rate of incarceration. We can build on and continue this legacy. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Almost 1,400 people have been at Rikers more than a year waiting to go to trial, keeping both them and victims in limbo waiting for resolution of their cases, including accountability and justice. </span><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-rikers-justice-20220517-ywnhe6ze3jgwjb6fce7now2hqi-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Case processing reforms</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> alone, some of which are underway, could reduce the jail population in New York City by well over a thousand people.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sufficient funding for supportive housing (affordable housing and wrap-around services for people with serious mental illness and substance use disorders) and enhancing diversion programs like supervised release would cut waitlists, boost effectiveness, and increase safety. This would also give judges better options for people who lack stable housing, who often feel they </span><a href="https://citylimits.org/2021/09/20/as-nycs-jail-crisis-worsens-stable-housing-could-be-the-difference-between-rikers-and-release/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">lack safe alternatives to the streets or Rikers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stopping violence, and gun violence in particular, of course goes beyond Rikers Island. But there is no path to a safer New York City, and no path to a city that is more racially just and fair, that does not include ending the incubator of violence that is Rikers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the recent words of Mayor Adams, “If we get it right in New York City, it gets right across the whole country.” Now is the time to demonstrate that in New York City and nationally, justice and safety can go hand in hand. And on the urgent task of closing Rikers Island, safely reducing the jail population, and transforming the city’s jails, New Yorkers must support the mayor’s leadership in getting this done.  </span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dana Kaplan is senior adviser to the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, is an Art for Justice Fund fellow and former deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/tours-fac-islands.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Mayor Adams visits Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The U.S. criminal justice system is at a crossroads. After the killing of George Floyd, there were </span><a href="https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Better-Path-Forward_Brookings-AEI-report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">bipartisan</span></a> <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/interactive/2021/reimagine-safety/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">calls</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to address the failures of a historically </span><a href="https://www.gothamgazette.com/about:blank" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">unequal</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> justice system. Across the country, reform candidates won office for </span><a href="https://abcnews.go.com/US/progressive-prosecutors-aim-change-criminal-justice-system-inside/story?id=73371317" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">District Attorney</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><a href="https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2021/09/03/robert-saleem-holbrook-conservative-judges-criminal-justice-506966" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Judge</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and </span><a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/12/us/first-female-black-sheriff-orleans-parish/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sheriff</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. But the pandemic era uptick in crime has brought </span><a href="https://www.themarshallproject.org/records/11987-backlash-on-reform-due-to-concerns-about-crime" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">backlash</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. The recent recall of San Francisco’s progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin is upheld as evidence of the decline of American support for justice reform, and one indicator that elected officials should slow their support for reforms.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The reality is more complicated: Most Americans are both worried about crime and safety, </span><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">and</span></i> <a href="https://www.memphisflyer.com/vandy-poll-shows-support-for-criminal-justice-reform" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">support</span></a> <a href="https://www.davisvanguard.org/2022/06/sf-polling-shows-while-boudin-ousted-san-franciscans-appear-to-strongly-support-criminal-justice-reform/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">criminal justice reform</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This is true particularly for the communities of color who are </span><a href="https://www.themarshallproject.org/2021/04/08/murders-rose-last-year-black-and-hispanic-neighborhoods-were-hit-hardest" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">disproportionately victims of crime</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><a href="https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/13/politics/black-latinx-incarcerated-more/index.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">overrepresented in America’s jails and prisons</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the words of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, “public safety and justice are the prerequisites to prosperity.. He is right – these concepts go hand in hand. Achieving both benefits everyone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In New York City, little exemplifies that more than closing the </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/opinion/closing-rikers-island-is-a-moral-imperative.html?_r=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">irredeemable</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> jails on Rikers Island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Half of the people jailed at Rikers Island have a mental illness, including over 80% of women. 27 people jailed at Rikers have died in the past year and a half, and an improving but still profound staffing crisis has denied </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/nyregion/rikers-island-medical-care.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">people access even to basic medical care.</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The dilapidated jails themselves provide the main source </span><a href="http://www.nyc.gov/html/boc/downloads/pdf/reports/Slashings_stabbings_CRP_2015_04_27_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">of weapons</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in the facilities</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. It is no wonder that people who spent time at Rikers have a </span><a href="https://www.courtinnovation.org/sites/default/files/documents/NYC_Path_Analysis_Final%20Report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">higher rate of rearrest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> than similarly situated individuals; exposure to violence has real repercussions – for all of us.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This crisis is </span><a href="https://apnews.com/article/new-york-archive-1d49c8ea13ac4a57bdb1a75e1ba3e827" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">not new</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, but as Mayor Adams </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/235-22/mayor-adams-on-reforming-rikers-island" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">recognizes</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, addressing it could not be more urgent.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These considerations led to the </span><a href="https://www.foxnews.com/us/new-york-city-to-close-rikers-island" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">decision to close Rikers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in 2017. It was a realization made after heeding the calls of people who had been incarcerated at Rikers, families of those whose loved ones had died inside, people who worked there, and countless officials, including former Commissioners of Correction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Transformation cannot occur on an island isolated from public transit, families, attorneys, and the courts. Nor would staying on Rikers make fiscal sense: trying to rebuild jails on the decaying landfill that makes up three-quarters of Rikers Island would </span><a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b6de4731aef1de914f43628/t/5b96c6f81ae6cf5e9c5f186d/1536607993842/Lippman%2BCommission%2BReport%2BFINAL%2BSingles.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">cost significantly more and take far longer</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> than the new system of borough facilities being built to replace Rikers and other existing jails.   </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mayor Adams and Correction Commissioner Louis Molina have embraced </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/office-of-the-mayor/news/235-22/mayor-adams-on-reforming-rikers-island" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the moral imperative</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">to make change in the jails. The mayor has visited Rikers Island four times since taking office, reflecting this as a serious personal priority. Work is underway to demonstrate progress regarding staff absenteeism, violence, and broken cell doors.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mayor and commissioner have also endorsed closing Rikers for good. They now have the historic opportunity to demonstrate that they can do both of these things – address the crisis at Rikers today, and execute on the mission to close it altogether. With a jail population and correctional staff that is over 90% Black and Latino, this is a matter of not just safety, but also of racial justice. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A key piece of the answer is ensuring that the new system of borough facilities is not limited by the de facto practice of U.S. correctional agencies, or vulnerable to</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the same failures. New York City can draw inspiration from international models such as </span><a href="https://magazine.ucsf.edu/norways-humane-approach-prisons-can-work-here-too" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Norway</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, places demonstrating that it is possible to have secure buildings that are humane and dignified while minimizing violence. Commissioner Tom Foley of the Department of Design and Construction has </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/12/nyregion/nyc-rikers-norway.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">visited European facilities</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">; there is reason to be heartened about the possibility for change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A path to both safety and justice in New York also includes continuing to reduce the jail population. Since the high point of incarceration in New York City in the 1990s, the city has witnessed a significant decline in </span><a href="https://www.cityandstateny.com/opinion/2018/03/how-new-york-city-reduced-crime-and-incarceration/178700/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">both</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the crime rate and the jail population</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, making it both the safest large city in the country and the one with the lowest rate of incarceration. We can build on and continue this legacy. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Almost 1,400 people have been at Rikers more than a year waiting to go to trial, keeping both them and victims in limbo waiting for resolution of their cases, including accountability and justice. </span><a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-rikers-justice-20220517-ywnhe6ze3jgwjb6fce7now2hqi-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Case processing reforms</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> alone, some of which are underway, could reduce the jail population in New York City by well over a thousand people.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sufficient funding for supportive housing (affordable housing and wrap-around services for people with serious mental illness and substance use disorders) and enhancing diversion programs like supervised release would cut waitlists, boost effectiveness, and increase safety. This would also give judges better options for people who lack stable housing, who often feel they </span><a href="https://citylimits.org/2021/09/20/as-nycs-jail-crisis-worsens-stable-housing-could-be-the-difference-between-rikers-and-release/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">lack safe alternatives to the streets or Rikers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stopping violence, and gun violence in particular, of course goes beyond Rikers Island. But there is no path to a safer New York City, and no path to a city that is more racially just and fair, that does not include ending the incubator of violence that is Rikers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the recent words of Mayor Adams, “If we get it right in New York City, it gets right across the whole country.” Now is the time to demonstrate that in New York City and nationally, justice and safety can go hand in hand. And on the urgent task of closing Rikers Island, safely reducing the jail population, and transforming the city’s jails, New Yorkers must support the mayor’s leadership in getting this done.  </span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dana Kaplan is senior adviser to the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform, is an Art for Justice Fund fellow and former deputy director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.</span></p> <p>

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To Beat Extreme Heat, New York City Needs to Look to the Streets 2022-08-05T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-05T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11504-beat-extreme-heat-new-york-city-cool-streets Yosif Zaki & Nancy Holt mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/daily-life-imagery.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Street heat (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It's summer in New York City, and the word on the street is heat – literally. Some of the hottest places are the pavement itself, </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nyc-streets-plan.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">including the city’s</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> 6,300 miles of streets and highways. To more effectively address urban heat islands, New York City would benefit from a cohesive, science-based approach that studies how to best integrate existing and emerging technologies for cooling these surfaces.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Two recently proposed laws by the City Council would require cool pavement pilots by the </span><a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5669053&amp;GUID=EDE242D5-EC59-48A2-A013-3D0152454C81" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Department of Transportation</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5725267&amp;GUID=495C2461-BF08-4C13-8488-185E6CE554B8&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=cool+pavement" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Department of Parks/Department of Environmental Protection</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Such studies would serve as an important piece of the puzzle, helping to address many key questions about the viability of urban heat island mitigation approaches in New York City. This includes issues not only directly related to heat reduction, but also </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/orr/pdf/Cool_Neighborhoods_NYC_Report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">matters</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of safety, durability, longevity and maintenance.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/image1.jpg" width="450" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our recent analysis using Landsat 8 satellite data from the past five summers (2017-2021) highlights the importance of including pavement in New York City’s extreme heat equation. The image above shows how much the temperature deviates at a given location compared to the citywide average. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of the hottest areas easily visible by eye on the map are largely covered in pavement, including JFK and LaGuardia Airports. While it’s challenging to see the individual streets and sidewalks here, we know they are made of the same types of materials that amplify the urban heat island. Environmental justice areas are </span><a href="https://www.weact.org/2021/07/report-reveals-inequities-in-the-exposure-to-the-urban-heat-island-in-new-york-city/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">disproportionately affected</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by heat due to their relatively high ratios of paved areas to greenspaces. As a result, they are particularly relevant to consider in this context.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In terms of absolute temperature, paved areas can reach </span><a href="https://www.epa.gov/heatislands/using-cool-pavements-reduce-heat-islands" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">120 - 150 ⁰F</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This is due to the fact that many of these surfaces are composed of asphalt, which is very effective at both absorbing (due to its dark color) and retaining heat. While less often discussed, heat retention by pavement can also </span><a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1817561116" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">adversely affect human health</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> at night by reducing people’s ability to recover during heat waves.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The coolest areas easily visible on the map are largely greenspaces, where tree cover and lack of pavement work </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/small-green-spaces-can-help-keep-cities-cool-during-heat-waves-183292"><span style="font-weight: 400;">in tandem</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> throughout the day to limit heat absorption and retention. While we should expand greenspace and green roofs as much as possible, we should think of these options as parts of a system. Additional heat-reduction benefits can be achieved if thoughtfully coupled with attempts to cool our pavement. Furthermore, in areas where we can’t realistically expand our greenspace, addressing street heat takes on increased importance. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One option for consideration is to reduce the solar reflectance of pavement, commonly referred to as </span><a href="https://heatisland.lbl.gov/coolscience/cool-pavements" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">cool pavement</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. These applied </span><a href="https://newscenter.lbl.gov/2012/09/13/parking-lot-science/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">coatings reflect</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> up to 30-50% of incoming solar energy, compared to 5-20% for untreated asphalt depending on its age. In a </span><a href="https://www.phoenix.gov/streets/coolpavement" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">one-year pilot</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in Phoenix, Arizona in 2020, streets treated with cool pavement showed average surface temperatures 10.5-12.0⁰F lower than standard asphalt during peak afternoon hours. Temperatures below the surface also averaged 4.8⁰F lower on the cool pavement. When planned carefully, such reductions in temperature not only limit urban heat islands directly, but can also reduce cooling needs of nearby buildings. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Los Angeles has undertaken its own </span><a href="https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-cool-pavement-climate-change-20190425-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ambitious efforts</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to reduce urban heat under the </span><a href="https://streetsla.lacity.org/cool-la-neighborhoods" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cool LA</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> program. By 2028, it plans to cover </span><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-03/reflective-pavement-may-be-less-cool-than-it-seems" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">250 lane-miles</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of city roads. One challenge they’ve encountered is that reflective pavement coatings can </span><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340522054_Solar_reflective_pavements-A_policy_panacea_to_heat_mitigation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">raise localized air temperatures</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, increasing the heat experienced by people using these surfaces. As a result, these coatings have been used more frequently to date on roofs or parking lots. For locally affected buildings, which may absorb heat from treated pavement, reflective coatings on their exteriors can minimize these effects.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These issues do not mean that cool pavement technology is unworkable in cities like New York. Rather, they indicate that it needs to be </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/lighter-pavement-really-does-cool-cities-when-its-done-right-162918" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">done thoughtfully</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, taking into account human health and equity concerns, as well as optimizing interactions with the local built infrastructure. In fact, LA is pressing ahead with its program due to the core need to address urban heat as temperatures rise, working with researchers to address these challenges. New York City can and should do the same evaluations, starting with the recently proposed cool pavement pilots.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While increasing the reflectance of pavement gets the most attention, there are a handful of newer, related </span><a href="https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-technology-arizona-bdd2b997ebdf976c22090eaf5b32bcb7" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">cool pavement technology</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> options that may be useful for New York City to consider as well. There are also lots of other cool ideas currently available or in the works, including using the energy from pavements to </span><a href="https://www.cnet.com/culture/dutch-tap-solar-heat-from-asphalt-roads/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">heat buildings</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Others focus on engineering a host of </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03911-8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">“super-cool” materials</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to increase the ability of structures to reflect and/or emit heat.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Finding the best ways to evaluate and apply all of this information will take expertise. Fortunately, a program already exists in New York City. Town + Gown (T +G) – a citywide research program within the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) – works to draw from knowledge in New York City’s academic institutions and practitioner city agencies to address challenges in the built environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Such efforts can help evaluate how and where cool pavement might be successfully integrated into </span><a href="https://www.nycstreetdesign.info/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City’s street designs</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, carefully weighing the multiple uses and maintenance considerations this important infrastructure system must meet. For example, there is already work underway in New York City on </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/orr/pdf/Cool_Neighborhoods_NYC_Report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">permeable/porous pavements</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which can help address stormwater management issues and also reduce the urban heat island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the conversation about urban heat, the trees overshadow the conversation. While they’re a key part of the equation, we need to branch out and give the streets more attention. With a bit of careful planning and scientific input, we may be able to make New York City an even cooler place.  </span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yosif Zaki is a graduate student with expertise in data analytics at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. He is also a volunteer for Science for New York (Sci4NY), an effort to have policymakers and scientists in NYC work together to address key challenges facing the City. Nancy Holt, PhD, leads Sci4NY. She holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry and formerly worked on climate change issues at the U.S. Department of State. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/sci4ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@Sci4NY</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/daily-life-imagery.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Street heat (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It's summer in New York City, and the word on the street is heat – literally. Some of the hottest places are the pavement itself, </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nyc-streets-plan.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">including the city’s</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> 6,300 miles of streets and highways. To more effectively address urban heat islands, New York City would benefit from a cohesive, science-based approach that studies how to best integrate existing and emerging technologies for cooling these surfaces.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Two recently proposed laws by the City Council would require cool pavement pilots by the </span><a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5669053&amp;GUID=EDE242D5-EC59-48A2-A013-3D0152454C81" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Department of Transportation</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><a href="https://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5725267&amp;GUID=495C2461-BF08-4C13-8488-185E6CE554B8&amp;Options=ID%7CText%7C&amp;Search=cool+pavement" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Department of Parks/Department of Environmental Protection</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Such studies would serve as an important piece of the puzzle, helping to address many key questions about the viability of urban heat island mitigation approaches in New York City. This includes issues not only directly related to heat reduction, but also </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/orr/pdf/Cool_Neighborhoods_NYC_Report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">matters</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of safety, durability, longevity and maintenance.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/image1.jpg" width="450" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our recent analysis using Landsat 8 satellite data from the past five summers (2017-2021) highlights the importance of including pavement in New York City’s extreme heat equation. The image above shows how much the temperature deviates at a given location compared to the citywide average. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of the hottest areas easily visible by eye on the map are largely covered in pavement, including JFK and LaGuardia Airports. While it’s challenging to see the individual streets and sidewalks here, we know they are made of the same types of materials that amplify the urban heat island. Environmental justice areas are </span><a href="https://www.weact.org/2021/07/report-reveals-inequities-in-the-exposure-to-the-urban-heat-island-in-new-york-city/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">disproportionately affected</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> by heat due to their relatively high ratios of paved areas to greenspaces. As a result, they are particularly relevant to consider in this context.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In terms of absolute temperature, paved areas can reach </span><a href="https://www.epa.gov/heatislands/using-cool-pavements-reduce-heat-islands" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">120 - 150 ⁰F</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. This is due to the fact that many of these surfaces are composed of asphalt, which is very effective at both absorbing (due to its dark color) and retaining heat. While less often discussed, heat retention by pavement can also </span><a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.1817561116" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">adversely affect human health</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> at night by reducing people’s ability to recover during heat waves.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The coolest areas easily visible on the map are largely greenspaces, where tree cover and lack of pavement work </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/small-green-spaces-can-help-keep-cities-cool-during-heat-waves-183292"><span style="font-weight: 400;">in tandem</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> throughout the day to limit heat absorption and retention. While we should expand greenspace and green roofs as much as possible, we should think of these options as parts of a system. Additional heat-reduction benefits can be achieved if thoughtfully coupled with attempts to cool our pavement. Furthermore, in areas where we can’t realistically expand our greenspace, addressing street heat takes on increased importance. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One option for consideration is to reduce the solar reflectance of pavement, commonly referred to as </span><a href="https://heatisland.lbl.gov/coolscience/cool-pavements" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">cool pavement</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. These applied </span><a href="https://newscenter.lbl.gov/2012/09/13/parking-lot-science/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">coatings reflect</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> up to 30-50% of incoming solar energy, compared to 5-20% for untreated asphalt depending on its age. In a </span><a href="https://www.phoenix.gov/streets/coolpavement" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">one-year pilot</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in Phoenix, Arizona in 2020, streets treated with cool pavement showed average surface temperatures 10.5-12.0⁰F lower than standard asphalt during peak afternoon hours. Temperatures below the surface also averaged 4.8⁰F lower on the cool pavement. When planned carefully, such reductions in temperature not only limit urban heat islands directly, but can also reduce cooling needs of nearby buildings. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Los Angeles has undertaken its own </span><a href="https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-cool-pavement-climate-change-20190425-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ambitious efforts</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to reduce urban heat under the </span><a href="https://streetsla.lacity.org/cool-la-neighborhoods" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cool LA</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> program. By 2028, it plans to cover </span><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-10-03/reflective-pavement-may-be-less-cool-than-it-seems" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">250 lane-miles</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of city roads. One challenge they’ve encountered is that reflective pavement coatings can </span><a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340522054_Solar_reflective_pavements-A_policy_panacea_to_heat_mitigation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">raise localized air temperatures</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, increasing the heat experienced by people using these surfaces. As a result, these coatings have been used more frequently to date on roofs or parking lots. For locally affected buildings, which may absorb heat from treated pavement, reflective coatings on their exteriors can minimize these effects.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These issues do not mean that cool pavement technology is unworkable in cities like New York. Rather, they indicate that it needs to be </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/lighter-pavement-really-does-cool-cities-when-its-done-right-162918" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">done thoughtfully</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, taking into account human health and equity concerns, as well as optimizing interactions with the local built infrastructure. In fact, LA is pressing ahead with its program due to the core need to address urban heat as temperatures rise, working with researchers to address these challenges. New York City can and should do the same evaluations, starting with the recently proposed cool pavement pilots.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While increasing the reflectance of pavement gets the most attention, there are a handful of newer, related </span><a href="https://apnews.com/article/virus-outbreak-technology-arizona-bdd2b997ebdf976c22090eaf5b32bcb7" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">cool pavement technology</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> options that may be useful for New York City to consider as well. There are also lots of other cool ideas currently available or in the works, including using the energy from pavements to </span><a href="https://www.cnet.com/culture/dutch-tap-solar-heat-from-asphalt-roads/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">heat buildings</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Others focus on engineering a host of </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03911-8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">“super-cool” materials</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to increase the ability of structures to reflect and/or emit heat.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Finding the best ways to evaluate and apply all of this information will take expertise. Fortunately, a program already exists in New York City. Town + Gown (T +G) – a citywide research program within the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) – works to draw from knowledge in New York City’s academic institutions and practitioner city agencies to address challenges in the built environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Such efforts can help evaluate how and where cool pavement might be successfully integrated into </span><a href="https://www.nycstreetdesign.info/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City’s street designs</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, carefully weighing the multiple uses and maintenance considerations this important infrastructure system must meet. For example, there is already work underway in New York City on </span><a href="https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/orr/pdf/Cool_Neighborhoods_NYC_Report.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">permeable/porous pavements</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which can help address stormwater management issues and also reduce the urban heat island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the conversation about urban heat, the trees overshadow the conversation. While they’re a key part of the equation, we need to branch out and give the streets more attention. With a bit of careful planning and scientific input, we may be able to make New York City an even cooler place.  </span></p> <p><i><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span></i><i><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span></i><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yosif Zaki is a graduate student with expertise in data analytics at the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. He is also a volunteer for Science for New York (Sci4NY), an effort to have policymakers and scientists in NYC work together to address key challenges facing the City. Nancy Holt, PhD, leads Sci4NY. She holds a PhD in Physical Chemistry and formerly worked on climate change issues at the U.S. Department of State. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/sci4ny" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@Sci4NY</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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Build a Workforce Pipeline for New Yorkers with Disabilities 2022-08-04T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-04T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11499-workforce-pipeline-new-yorkers-disabilities Diosdado Gica & Joseph McDonald III mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/build-aworkforce.jpg" /></p> <p>Mayor Adams visits the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (photo: @NYCDisabilities)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City has an historic opportunity to engage people with disabilities more fully in the workforce. With nearly </span><a href="https://nycfuture.org/pdf/CUF_AccessOpportunity_2.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">1 million</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> New Yorkers living with a disability, seizing the opportunity should be a top priority. It’s time to build a pipeline to address the needs of employers and New Yorkers with disabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The opportunity stems from three simultaneous dynamics: a low unemployment rate nationally; a high unemployment rate for people with disabilities in New York City; and more flexible working arrangements as a result of the remote working necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to a </span><a href="https://nycfuture.org/pdf/CUF_AccessOpportunity_2.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">recent report by Center for an Urban Future</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, nearly 17% of New Yorkers of working age with a disability were unemployed in 2021 – up from 7.4% in 2019. “This disastrously high unemployment rate has persisted for much of the past two years,” the report states, “even as the unemployment rate for New Yorkers without a disability has fallen sharply since the summer of 2020.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City’s unemployment rate was </span><a href="https://dol.ny.gov/labor-statistics-new-york-city-region" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">6.2%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in June. The U.S. unemployment rate was even lower at </span><a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">3.6%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in June. Job openings nationally totaled </span><a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">11.3 million</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> at the end of May.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The growing demand for workers, coupled with more flexible working conditions, creates a fertile environment. But preparing people with disabilities to meet the demand often requires training – and, in the case of high-school-age youth – pre-training. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We know that reality well, as we run a nonprofit organization, the Institute for Career Development (ICD), that trains and pre-trains people with disabilities in New York City for career opportunities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The training covers a broad range of jobs in such areas as building repair, custodial services, human services, retail, and information technology. ICD’s IT Academy, for instance, offers the first fully-accessible certification-based technology training programs for New Yorkers with disabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The challenge, however, is that public investments in career development for people with disabilities are declining even as the opportunity grows. As the report by Center for an Urban Future reveals, New York City funding for programs serving New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities has plunged 82% over the past two decades, from $70.7 million to $12.6 million. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What New York City needs is a robust pipeline to expand the number of individuals with disabilities in the workforce. That pipeline should have three key components.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First, it should provide specific funding to support the training and pre-training of individuals with disabilities. That funding needs to be earmarked specifically for people with disabilities. Too often workforce training funds include people with disabilities but never actually reach them. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pre-training is needed to support youth who might otherwise fall through the cracks between schooling and career development. Research recently conducted for the Institute for Career Development by the nonprofit consulting firm The Bridgespan Group identified a significant gap in serving people with disabilities in New York City. That gap is in the transition from school to career, during which school-based support ends and career opportunities – as distinct from job opportunities – have not yet arisen. Filling that gap through pre-training would substantially enhance career opportunities earlier in life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Second, the pipeline should fund apprenticeships for individuals with disabilities. All too often, interested potential employers have doubts about how well people with disabilities will fit into their work environment. The best way to remove those doubts is to give people with disabilities an opportunity to prove themselves. Let potential employers see for themselves how effectively individuals with disabilities can fulfill the specific job responsibilities required.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s especially appropriate to maximize opportunities for people with disabilities at a time when the work environment has adopted the more flexible working conditions – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – that people with disabilities have long advocated. For years, people with disabilities urged greater corporate consideration of work-life balance – with allowances to address family needs or visit a doctor during the day. In the wake of the pandemic, such considerations are now standard practice. It’s only right that people with disabilities should benefit from them as well.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Third, the pipeline should incentivize the hiring of individuals with disabilities. Incentives such as tax benefits for employers or public employment goals should provide the extra push to get employers to embrace the potential of New Yorkers with disabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The federal government, for instance, has a 7% goal for hiring individuals with disabilities. The City of New York should provide incentives to underscore its commitment as well.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York City workforce would benefit greatly from fuller engagement of people with disabilities. It’s time for New York City to build the pipeline needed to transport that human energy so that it can revitalize the economy as well as the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Diosdado G. Gica and Joseph T. McDonald III are Co-Presidents of the </span><a href="https://www.icdnyc.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Institute for Career Development</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, based in New York City.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/build-aworkforce.jpg" /></p> <p>Mayor Adams visits the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (photo: @NYCDisabilities)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City has an historic opportunity to engage people with disabilities more fully in the workforce. With nearly </span><a href="https://nycfuture.org/pdf/CUF_AccessOpportunity_2.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">1 million</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> New Yorkers living with a disability, seizing the opportunity should be a top priority. It’s time to build a pipeline to address the needs of employers and New Yorkers with disabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The opportunity stems from three simultaneous dynamics: a low unemployment rate nationally; a high unemployment rate for people with disabilities in New York City; and more flexible working arrangements as a result of the remote working necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to a </span><a href="https://nycfuture.org/pdf/CUF_AccessOpportunity_2.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">recent report by Center for an Urban Future</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, nearly 17% of New Yorkers of working age with a disability were unemployed in 2021 – up from 7.4% in 2019. “This disastrously high unemployment rate has persisted for much of the past two years,” the report states, “even as the unemployment rate for New Yorkers without a disability has fallen sharply since the summer of 2020.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">New York City’s unemployment rate was </span><a href="https://dol.ny.gov/labor-statistics-new-york-city-region" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">6.2%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in June. The U.S. unemployment rate was even lower at </span><a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">3.6%</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in June. Job openings nationally totaled </span><a href="https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">11.3 million</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> at the end of May.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The growing demand for workers, coupled with more flexible working conditions, creates a fertile environment. But preparing people with disabilities to meet the demand often requires training – and, in the case of high-school-age youth – pre-training. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We know that reality well, as we run a nonprofit organization, the Institute for Career Development (ICD), that trains and pre-trains people with disabilities in New York City for career opportunities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The training covers a broad range of jobs in such areas as building repair, custodial services, human services, retail, and information technology. ICD’s IT Academy, for instance, offers the first fully-accessible certification-based technology training programs for New Yorkers with disabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The challenge, however, is that public investments in career development for people with disabilities are declining even as the opportunity grows. As the report by Center for an Urban Future reveals, New York City funding for programs serving New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities has plunged 82% over the past two decades, from $70.7 million to $12.6 million. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What New York City needs is a robust pipeline to expand the number of individuals with disabilities in the workforce. That pipeline should have three key components.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First, it should provide specific funding to support the training and pre-training of individuals with disabilities. That funding needs to be earmarked specifically for people with disabilities. Too often workforce training funds include people with disabilities but never actually reach them. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pre-training is needed to support youth who might otherwise fall through the cracks between schooling and career development. Research recently conducted for the Institute for Career Development by the nonprofit consulting firm The Bridgespan Group identified a significant gap in serving people with disabilities in New York City. That gap is in the transition from school to career, during which school-based support ends and career opportunities – as distinct from job opportunities – have not yet arisen. Filling that gap through pre-training would substantially enhance career opportunities earlier in life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Second, the pipeline should fund apprenticeships for individuals with disabilities. All too often, interested potential employers have doubts about how well people with disabilities will fit into their work environment. The best way to remove those doubts is to give people with disabilities an opportunity to prove themselves. Let potential employers see for themselves how effectively individuals with disabilities can fulfill the specific job responsibilities required.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s especially appropriate to maximize opportunities for people with disabilities at a time when the work environment has adopted the more flexible working conditions – due to the COVID-19 pandemic – that people with disabilities have long advocated. For years, people with disabilities urged greater corporate consideration of work-life balance – with allowances to address family needs or visit a doctor during the day. In the wake of the pandemic, such considerations are now standard practice. It’s only right that people with disabilities should benefit from them as well.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Third, the pipeline should incentivize the hiring of individuals with disabilities. Incentives such as tax benefits for employers or public employment goals should provide the extra push to get employers to embrace the potential of New Yorkers with disabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The federal government, for instance, has a 7% goal for hiring individuals with disabilities. The City of New York should provide incentives to underscore its commitment as well.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New York City workforce would benefit greatly from fuller engagement of people with disabilities. It’s time for New York City to build the pipeline needed to transport that human energy so that it can revitalize the economy as well as the lives of New Yorkers with disabilities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***<br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Diosdado G. Gica and Joseph T. McDonald III are Co-Presidents of the </span><a href="https://www.icdnyc.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Institute for Career Development</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, based in New York City.</span></p> <p>

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The Decimation of Roe Makes the Need for Affordable Housing More Urgent Than Ever 2022-08-01T04:00:00+00:00 2022-08-01T04:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11491-roe-wade-abortion-need-affordable-housing-urgently Alicia Glen aglen@gg.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/1-roe-makes-aff.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>An abortion rights rally in New York (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The Supreme Court’s horrific decision to overturn Roe is not only a severe blow to women’s autonomy over their bodies, it is a powerful reminder that addressing the real impacts of sexism and gender inequality is not on the national agenda as much as it should be.</p> <p>Right now, women — especially women already living paycheck to paycheck — are at serious risk of falling off the economic cliff, resulting in dire consequences not just for them, but for their families and communities. For most people, including women, housing is their single biggest expense. And <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/consumer-expenditures/2020/pdf/home.pdf">it’s increasing</a>.</p> <p>That is why with the economy slowing, inflation rising, and the pay equity gap exacerbated by covid, developing housing that is affordable and sustainable is more important than ever.</p> <p>Women <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/article/women-of-color-and-the-wage-gap/">are paid less than men</a>. Way less. White women fair best, making roughly 79 cents for every dollar a white man makes. Women of color make even less. Black women earn just 63 cents for every dollar white men earn, and Latinas fare even worse, making just half of what white men make.</p> <p>Women are also <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/article/breadwinning-mothers-continue-u-s-norm/">increasingly likely</a> to be the sole or primary breadwinner in their families. And the economic impact of covid has <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/essay/why-has-covid-19-been-especially-harmful-for-working-women/">disproportionately hit women</a>, either by forcing them out of the workforce because of caretaking duties or by putting women out of work in industries like teaching and healthcare, where women are overrepresented. This is on top of the fact that women-headed households <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/cost-of-living-crisis-women-hit-harder-than-men-rent-energy-bills-national-insurance-000138020.html">are already having more trouble making rent</a>.</p> <p>Now, the Supreme Court has added forced childbearing to this already financially toxic sea. Women will be forced to spend hard-won savings or borrow money to travel for abortion. They will lose jobs because they have to be absent from work as they seek care. Others will be forced to have children they can’t afford.</p> <p>All these things together mean women are at great risk of losing their housing.</p> <p>To help mitigate the growing economic challenges women face, we need more housing that is affordable. That means two things need to happen, and they need to happen quickly.</p> <p>First, we need new housing models. “Affordable housing” is often defined as housing that a) costs less than one-third of someone’s gross income and b) is available only for families who earn well below the median income of a geographically defined area. Avoiding “rent burden” is a good financial metric, and it is also fair to target lower- and moderate-income families in jurisdictions where the cost of market-rate housing would make them rent-burdened.</p> <p>But that’s far too narrow of a definition of affordability. Housing isn’t “affordable” if it requires a mean and expensive two-hour commute or saying ‘no’ to a new job because it’s too difficult to get to and moving’s not on the table. It’s not “affordable” if it means forcing a child to change schools or moving to a neighborhood that feels unsafe.</p> <p>For decades, the prevailing policy and financing approach has been to segregate market-rate housing from affordable housing. In practice, it means wealthier people generally find housing that meets that financial metric — and that also preserves their quality of life. We haven’t given those with fewer financial resources those same options.</p> <p>Beyond that fairness issue, dividing families on the basis of income is one of the things that exacerbates social inequities, leading to significant differences in economic, education, and health outcomes. </p> <p>It’s time to do it differently. We need a true mixed-income housing approach that brings people together and gives them the same access to quality schools, healthcare, economic opportunity, and social infrastructure.</p> <p>Second, we need private investors to be a larger part of the solution and invest in these different models. </p> <p>Providing affordable housing can’t just be the job of the public sector. We need private investors to understand the financial and social benefits of mixed-income housing and for the public sector to establish policies and programs that incentivize and reward investors to think outside the box. </p> <p>By forging true public-private partnerships that are predictable but flexible, we can increase housing production and provide more affordable homes to the people who need them.</p> <p>The need for housing that is safe and affordable for women is only going to grow. We know from experience that to address women’s needs, women have to be at the table. Gender does matter. So let’s make a concerted effort to direct capital and opportunities to firms that are run by women — whether that’s architects, developers, or in my case, real estate fund managers. Let’s give them a chance to do it differently and do it better.</p> <p>To be clear: Building housing that works for women isn’t the answer to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The answer to that is to keep fighting until those rights are restored. </p> <p>In the meantime we have to do everything we can to make sure women have the support they need to stay afloat economically in stable, affordable housing.</p> <p>***<br />Alicia Glen is a national housing expert and the former deputy mayor for housing and economic development for New York City. She is the founder and managing principal of MSquared, a women-owned real estate development and impact investing platform building mixed-income housing that is affordable. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/AliciaGlen">@AliciaGlen</a>.</p> <p>

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</p>
<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/1-roe-makes-aff.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>An abortion rights rally in New York (photo: Mike Groll/Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>The Supreme Court’s horrific decision to overturn Roe is not only a severe blow to women’s autonomy over their bodies, it is a powerful reminder that addressing the real impacts of sexism and gender inequality is not on the national agenda as much as it should be.</p> <p>Right now, women — especially women already living paycheck to paycheck — are at serious risk of falling off the economic cliff, resulting in dire consequences not just for them, but for their families and communities. For most people, including women, housing is their single biggest expense. And <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/consumer-expenditures/2020/pdf/home.pdf">it’s increasing</a>.</p> <p>That is why with the economy slowing, inflation rising, and the pay equity gap exacerbated by covid, developing housing that is affordable and sustainable is more important than ever.</p> <p>Women <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/article/women-of-color-and-the-wage-gap/">are paid less than men</a>. Way less. White women fair best, making roughly 79 cents for every dollar a white man makes. Women of color make even less. Black women earn just 63 cents for every dollar white men earn, and Latinas fare even worse, making just half of what white men make.</p> <p>Women are also <a href="https://www.americanprogress.org/article/breadwinning-mothers-continue-u-s-norm/">increasingly likely</a> to be the sole or primary breadwinner in their families. And the economic impact of covid has <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/essay/why-has-covid-19-been-especially-harmful-for-working-women/">disproportionately hit women</a>, either by forcing them out of the workforce because of caretaking duties or by putting women out of work in industries like teaching and healthcare, where women are overrepresented. This is on top of the fact that women-headed households <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/cost-of-living-crisis-women-hit-harder-than-men-rent-energy-bills-national-insurance-000138020.html">are already having more trouble making rent</a>.</p> <p>Now, the Supreme Court has added forced childbearing to this already financially toxic sea. Women will be forced to spend hard-won savings or borrow money to travel for abortion. They will lose jobs because they have to be absent from work as they seek care. Others will be forced to have children they can’t afford.</p> <p>All these things together mean women are at great risk of losing their housing.</p> <p>To help mitigate the growing economic challenges women face, we need more housing that is affordable. That means two things need to happen, and they need to happen quickly.</p> <p>First, we need new housing models. “Affordable housing” is often defined as housing that a) costs less than one-third of someone’s gross income and b) is available only for families who earn well below the median income of a geographically defined area. Avoiding “rent burden” is a good financial metric, and it is also fair to target lower- and moderate-income families in jurisdictions where the cost of market-rate housing would make them rent-burdened.</p> <p>But that’s far too narrow of a definition of affordability. Housing isn’t “affordable” if it requires a mean and expensive two-hour commute or saying ‘no’ to a new job because it’s too difficult to get to and moving’s not on the table. It’s not “affordable” if it means forcing a child to change schools or moving to a neighborhood that feels unsafe.</p> <p>For decades, the prevailing policy and financing approach has been to segregate market-rate housing from affordable housing. In practice, it means wealthier people generally find housing that meets that financial metric — and that also preserves their quality of life. We haven’t given those with fewer financial resources those same options.</p> <p>Beyond that fairness issue, dividing families on the basis of income is one of the things that exacerbates social inequities, leading to significant differences in economic, education, and health outcomes. </p> <p>It’s time to do it differently. We need a true mixed-income housing approach that brings people together and gives them the same access to quality schools, healthcare, economic opportunity, and social infrastructure.</p> <p>Second, we need private investors to be a larger part of the solution and invest in these different models. </p> <p>Providing affordable housing can’t just be the job of the public sector. We need private investors to understand the financial and social benefits of mixed-income housing and for the public sector to establish policies and programs that incentivize and reward investors to think outside the box. </p> <p>By forging true public-private partnerships that are predictable but flexible, we can increase housing production and provide more affordable homes to the people who need them.</p> <p>The need for housing that is safe and affordable for women is only going to grow. We know from experience that to address women’s needs, women have to be at the table. Gender does matter. So let’s make a concerted effort to direct capital and opportunities to firms that are run by women — whether that’s architects, developers, or in my case, real estate fund managers. Let’s give them a chance to do it differently and do it better.</p> <p>To be clear: Building housing that works for women isn’t the answer to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The answer to that is to keep fighting until those rights are restored. </p> <p>In the meantime we have to do everything we can to make sure women have the support they need to stay afloat economically in stable, affordable housing.</p> <p>***<br />Alicia Glen is a national housing expert and the former deputy mayor for housing and economic development for New York City. She is the founder and managing principal of MSquared, a women-owned real estate development and impact investing platform building mixed-income housing that is affordable. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/AliciaGlen">@AliciaGlen</a>.</p> <p>

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The Latest Education Budget Fiasco Shows We Must Scrap New York’s School Funding Formula 2022-07-29T15:00:00+00:00 2022-07-29T15:00:00+00:00 https://www.gothamgazette.com/government/130-opinion/11478-nyc-education-budget-scrap-school-funding-formula David C. Bloomfield cacciatore@hotmail.com <p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/edu-budget-shows.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks, and students (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Trojan Horse called “Fair Student Funding” that allocates $10 billion of city funds to our 1,700 public schools needs to be scrapped. The attractively alliterative system inadequately funds the real needs of schools and, according to an unreleased 2021 Fair Student Funding Task Force </span><a href="https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Qiov2tkU1ZA3PZ6k23S7q7ndwFcExqtX/edit" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, funnels </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“additional resources to high schools with “higher achievers” who are disproportionately whiter and wealthier than the overall school population. It concludes “this is not an equitable funding system.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fair Student Funding is at the heart of the current school budget crisis, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">with the mayor mired in debate with an abulic City Council and a lawsuit that may allay his $215 million cut to city schools but fails to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">address the long-term problems of declining student enrollment and erosion of federal pandemic relief funding.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fair Student Funding (FSF) was also central to temporary rejection of FSF-based school allocations by the Department of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), a usually docile mayor-controlled body, when it mutinied over the system’s inadequacies and inequities. In a hasty compromise in exchange for the PEP’s approval, Schools Chancellor David Banks agreed to look into FSF’s weighting of student needs including, for example, providing additional funds for students in temporary housing and foster care.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But nibbling around the edges of how FSF arbitrarily weights student-based expenses does nothing to get at the root problem of what Banks himself calls “this mess.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First, Fair Student Funding is based on district-wide assumptions out of touch with school realities. Mayor Adams based his budget reduction on total public school enrollment but individual schools don’t run on these gross totals. The bulk of a school’s budget is salaries and what matters to principals is not overall enrollment but how many teachers and others are needed for a given grade or class. Teachers and paraprofessionals and guidance counselors and others need to be hired based on these sub-groups.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Further, as New York Post </span><a href="https://nypost.com/2022/06/22/nyc-quietly-cuts-per-pupil-funds-under-controversial-formula/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">reporting showed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, when Mayor Adams promised to “fully fund” Fair Student Funding, fingers crossed behind his back, he knew he could save money by decreasing FSF’s per-student allocations by assuming an across-the-board average teacher salary reduction, irrespective of a school’s actual payroll.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Second, FSF only funds about 65% of school needs, so the chancellor’s focus on FSF is a distraction from the larger issue of how overall school budgets are allocated by the central administration.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Check the DOE budget </span><a href="https://www.nycenet.edu/offices/finance_schools/budget/DSBPO/allocationmemo/fy21_22/am_fy22_cat.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">website</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> where no less than five other large, highly-manipulable, opaque streams are listed. Add to this the countless off-budget grants and donations such as those from wealthy parents, which go 100% to their kids’ schools, and we see that the entire scheme of school funding needs an overhaul.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">No one trusts the DOE to fix this. Not only is Banks disregarding work already done by the ill-fated 2021 FSF Task Force. He compounded this disregard by designating First Deputy Chancellor Daniel Weisberg to lead the redesign effort. This is classic political rope-a-dope.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Weisberg is too busy to spend much time on the study and he played a leading role in the Bloomberg administration’s original design of FSF under Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. He can hardly be expected to kill his darling. Besides, he doesn’t seem to care how expenses are weighted, just minimizing the bottom line.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Testifying before the City Council last month and defending the $215 million cut to schools, Weisberg challenged the Council members to move money around, creating their own “winners and losers,” while he held fast to the widespread, devastating school staffing cuts by his own agency (that the mayor and Council have been negotiating to reverse).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead of  Banks’ suggestion of a new commission heavily weighted to administration personnel and interests, we need the non-mayoral PEP members including representatives of the borough presidents, city comptroller, and independent parent members to constitute their own task force using those officials’ staff resources along with the city’s Independent Budget Office to craft a new school allocation system based on professional expertise from across the country.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Banks’ idea of adding volunteer members from the PEP and community is a scam unworthy of someone committed to real change. These people have neither the time nor experience to design a complex budgeting system for the largest school district in the country with a budget in excess of $30 billion. The symbolism is both demeaning and offensive.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In keeping with good public policy and democratic procedures, the PEP will have the legally-mandated last word on approving the new system. But the technical design assuring fiscal equity and adequacy among almost 1 million public school students needs serious and objective expertise under non-mayoral PEP guidance, qualities the administration has yet to demonstrate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">David C. Bloomfield is Professor of Education Leadership, Law, and Policy at Brooklyn College and The CUNY Graduate Center. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/BloomfieldDavid" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@BloomfieldDavid</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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<p><img src="https://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/edu-budget-shows.jpg" width="600" /></p> <p>Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks, and students (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Trojan Horse called “Fair Student Funding” that allocates $10 billion of city funds to our 1,700 public schools needs to be scrapped. The attractively alliterative system inadequately funds the real needs of schools and, according to an unreleased 2021 Fair Student Funding Task Force </span><a href="https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Qiov2tkU1ZA3PZ6k23S7q7ndwFcExqtX/edit" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, funnels </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“additional resources to high schools with “higher achievers” who are disproportionately whiter and wealthier than the overall school population. It concludes “this is not an equitable funding system.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fair Student Funding is at the heart of the current school budget crisis, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">with the mayor mired in debate with an abulic City Council and a lawsuit that may allay his $215 million cut to city schools but fails to </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">address the long-term problems of declining student enrollment and erosion of federal pandemic relief funding.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fair Student Funding (FSF) was also central to temporary rejection of FSF-based school allocations by the Department of Education’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), a usually docile mayor-controlled body, when it mutinied over the system’s inadequacies and inequities. In a hasty compromise in exchange for the PEP’s approval, Schools Chancellor David Banks agreed to look into FSF’s weighting of student needs including, for example, providing additional funds for students in temporary housing and foster care.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But nibbling around the edges of how FSF arbitrarily weights student-based expenses does nothing to get at the root problem of what Banks himself calls “this mess.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First, Fair Student Funding is based on district-wide assumptions out of touch with school realities. Mayor Adams based his budget reduction on total public school enrollment but individual schools don’t run on these gross totals. The bulk of a school’s budget is salaries and what matters to principals is not overall enrollment but how many teachers and others are needed for a given grade or class. Teachers and paraprofessionals and guidance counselors and others need to be hired based on these sub-groups.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Further, as New York Post </span><a href="https://nypost.com/2022/06/22/nyc-quietly-cuts-per-pupil-funds-under-controversial-formula/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">reporting showed</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, when Mayor Adams promised to “fully fund” Fair Student Funding, fingers crossed behind his back, he knew he could save money by decreasing FSF’s per-student allocations by assuming an across-the-board average teacher salary reduction, irrespective of a school’s actual payroll.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Second, FSF only funds about 65% of school needs, so the chancellor’s focus on FSF is a distraction from the larger issue of how overall school budgets are allocated by the central administration.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Check the DOE budget </span><a href="https://www.nycenet.edu/offices/finance_schools/budget/DSBPO/allocationmemo/fy21_22/am_fy22_cat.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">website</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> where no less than five other large, highly-manipulable, opaque streams are listed. Add to this the countless off-budget grants and donations such as those from wealthy parents, which go 100% to their kids’ schools, and we see that the entire scheme of school funding needs an overhaul.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">No one trusts the DOE to fix this. Not only is Banks disregarding work already done by the ill-fated 2021 FSF Task Force. He compounded this disregard by designating First Deputy Chancellor Daniel Weisberg to lead the redesign effort. This is classic political rope-a-dope.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Weisberg is too busy to spend much time on the study and he played a leading role in the Bloomberg administration’s original design of FSF under Schools Chancellor Joel Klein. He can hardly be expected to kill his darling. Besides, he doesn’t seem to care how expenses are weighted, just minimizing the bottom line.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Testifying before the City Council last month and defending the $215 million cut to schools, Weisberg challenged the Council members to move money around, creating their own “winners and losers,” while he held fast to the widespread, devastating school staffing cuts by his own agency (that the mayor and Council have been negotiating to reverse).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Instead of  Banks’ suggestion of a new commission heavily weighted to administration personnel and interests, we need the non-mayoral PEP members including representatives of the borough presidents, city comptroller, and independent parent members to constitute their own task force using those officials’ staff resources along with the city’s Independent Budget Office to craft a new school allocation system based on professional expertise from across the country.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Banks’ idea of adding volunteer members from the PEP and community is a scam unworthy of someone committed to real change. These people have neither the time nor experience to design a complex budgeting system for the largest school district in the country with a budget in excess of $30 billion. The symbolism is both demeaning and offensive.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In keeping with good public policy and democratic procedures, the PEP will have the legally-mandated last word on approving the new system. But the technical design assuring fiscal equity and adequacy among almost 1 million public school students needs serious and objective expertise under non-mayoral PEP guidance, qualities the administration has yet to demonstrate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">***</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">David C. Bloomfield is Professor of Education Leadership, Law, and Policy at Brooklyn College and The CUNY Graduate Center. On Twitter </span><a href="https://twitter.com/BloomfieldDavid" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><span style="font-weight: 400;">@BloomfieldDavid</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p>

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