Community Centered Economic Recovery
As we face the greatest economic threat to our city in decades, many of us are feeling the weight of financial insecurity. We must ensure that our economic recovery protects and nurtures small businesses and that New Yorkers have access to well-paid, family-sustaining jobs.
High and ever-increasing rent is a constant challenge facing small businesses in Western Queens, resulting in shuttered businesses and depressed wages. Julie wants to finally pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act which would provide more fairness and stability in the commercial lease renewal process. Julie would go even further and pass the Commercial Rent Stabilization Act, which would allow the city to limit rent hikes on small businesses.
We must also reduce unnecessary fees and fines placed on businesses. The city should provide support, such as breaking down language barriers, so that businesses can comply with regulations and not treat them as a source of revenue. Julie will fight to lift the cap on street vendor permits and end the city’s ticketing and harassment of these small businesses that provide services to New Yorkers.
We must strengthen the competitiveness of our local businesses that face increasingly steep online competition. Julie will employ her years of experience in change management, business strategy, and start-up entrepreneurship to set up a support system to help local businesses with marketing and lower the cost of digitization in order to remain competitive in an increasingly digital market. Julie would expand and extend the Open Restaurants and Open Storefronts programs to create destination corridors to further the ability of restaurants and retail stores to recover, as well as expand the Open Culture program to support organizations and jobs in the arts. We must promote shared commercial kitchens and cooperative maker spaces that lower the overhead for the next generation of restaurants, artists, and manufacturers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the pressing need for better labor protections for many workers. Julie will fight to extend the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act to gig workers and independent contractors who are currently excluded from the law. We must ensure that all workers have proper personal protective equipment and safe workplaces. Julie will work for local access to affordable health care and unemployment benefits for all workers. The city must do a better job of overcoming language barriers and making sure immigrant workers are receiving the protections to which they are entitled.
Union membership in New York City, especially in the private sector, has fallen to historic lows in recent years. As our economy recovers, we must ensure that our unions are able to bounce back and expand their membership. We must expand apprenticeship opportunities and programs that mentor high school students in high-skill, high-wage work. Julie will push city policies that incentivise and require employers to sign labor peace agreements to facilitate unionization. Julie will champion an expansion of prevailing wage legislation, and will support development projects that utilize union and community labor. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated just how valuable unions are in their ability to protect their workers’ health and well-being.
Housing For All
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed New York City’s housing crisis into a full blown catastrophe. Up to 800,000 New Yorkers could face eviction in 2021, while over 50,000 New Yorkers and 17,000 children struggle with homelessness. After decades of neglect, our public housing is in dire disrepair and countless New Yorkers are forced to choose between living with dignity and putting a roof over their heads. It doesn’t have to be like this. In 2021 we have an opportunity to make affordable housing the backbone of our economic recovery, and guarantee dignity and stability for all New Yorkers. If elected Julie will:
Preserve and Protect our waterfront and local communities. Julie will stop the sale of public lands to luxury real estate developers and hotel magnates, while raising the bar for affordable housing. She will fight for a tenant’s bill of rights, rent relief for local families and businesses, and a new boroughwide benchmark for affordable housing to ensure local families are not priced out by new development.
Innovate & Expand public land trusts and cooperative housing. Julie will fight to use public land for public good. Julie will invest in cooperative housing and community based development, creating paths to home ownership for working class New Yorkers and building community for families, artists, and small businesses.
Repair & Restructure NYCHA. Julie will push for $2 billion annual investment in the maintenance and rehabilitation of New York public housing along with an audit and overhaul of NYCHA operations and management that puts residents and families first. Additionally, she will join with other community leaders and council members to establish a city-wide task force on housing descrimination to evaluate the impact of decades of racist housing policy and sponsor legislation based on their recommendations.
Julie wants to return our streets to people. Since the days of Robert Moses, New York City has committed a quarter of its public land to automobiles, destroying families, communities, public health, the environment, and New Yorkers’ ability to get around quickly and affordably. With congestion pricing on the way, New York City needs to reimagine how we allocate public space to promote mobility, equity, justice, and vibrant neighborhoods.
New Yorkers should not have to take on car debt just to access good jobs. Julie believes that affordable and efficient public transit is the backbone of Queens economy and community. We must expand the Fair Fares program and ensure that all low-income New Yorkers receive heavily discounted or free Metrocards. We need to make sure bus service is frequent and reliable by adding dedicated bus lanes, busways, and system-wide all-door-boarding. Only four subway stations in our district have even partial elevator access; Julie won’t stop fighting until all stations are ADA accessible with functioning elevators. Julie supports comprehensive curb reform with an expansion of loading zones, a reduction of city parking placards and enforcement against placard abuse, and an end to the Stipulated Fine Program, which allows just ten companies to shirk nearly $30 million in parking tickets every year.
Julie experienced traffic violence first hand when she was hit by a car while biking in an unprotected bike lane. Julie will fight for proactive redesigns for our neighborhood streets so that the DOT takes action before a life is lost to a crash. The DOT must install bike lanes that are physically separated from traffic by concrete barriers and design intersections to protect bike riders from turning vehicles. The city needs a fully connected network of protected bike lanes and should open the South Outer Roadway to pedestrians on the Queensboro Bridge. NYSERDA should expand its direct, point of sale rebate on electric vehicles to include ebikes, an essential tool for Queens’ delivery workers and an affordable alternative to car trips. Julie will ensure that we design sidewalks, intersections, and streets to be community and human-centered with safety and accessibility in mind.
New Pathways to Education
The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our public school system, leaving an uncertain educational future for our students, parents, and teachers. Julie believes that in the modern age, parents and teachers should not have to choose between a high-quality education and their physical health. In particular, current remote learning tools are insufficient for students with disabilities, language accessibility issues, and special needs. In order to facilitate an engaging online learning experience for all, Julie will champion free broadband internet access, learning devices for all public school students and teachers, and remote learning tools that are accessible to all.
For working families, the cost of childcare in New York City is unaffordable. Many have to choose between working a shift, and caring for their child. Julie will fight to protect funding for Universal Pre-K, as well as fight for citywide, universal childcare.
We need to support teachers, ensure safe classrooms, healthy remote learning environments with additional well-rounded services (e.g. primary health, mental health, multi-lingual learning, ADA accessibility, special education programs), and reinvest in industry driven paths to success in the modern workplace. Julie will work with union leaders to expand union apprenticeship programs for essential jobs, invest in public adult education programs for proactive reskilling of the current workforce, and demand the resources and funding Western Queens schools are owed. For students pursuing higher education, Julie will fight on behalf of CUNY and its founding mission of providing a free, high quality, public education. As Council member, Julie will stand with CUNY students and faculty in lobbying the state legislature to close the Tuition Assistance Gap, and in the long term, fight to provide the funding necessary to eliminate the need for any tuition and fees for New York City students.
HealthCare Access for ALL
The coronavirus pandemic has placed a massive strain on our city’s already broken and unfair hospital system. Queens is the borough with the highest number of COVID-19 cases, and also, the fewest hospital beds by population. In the past five years, three public hospitals in Queens have been closed. While private hospitals in Manhattan provide state of the art care to their well-insured patients, public hospitals in Queens have had to scramble to find the beds and respirators needed to fight this pandemic. Julie believes that in a fair and just city, your zip code should not determine your quality of care.
Our city should allocate life-saving resources, treatments, and doctors to people based on need, not based on wealth. As a council member, Julie will fight to protect funding for public hospitals and maintain minimum staffing ratios to make it safer for healthcare workers and patients. She will also ensure funding and procurement of adequate PPE for all hospitals. Julie will also work to establish a co-governance model that includes healthcare workers and community leaders to weigh in on healthcare policy decisions regarding resource allocation, funding, pandemic and emergency contingency plans, and hospital closures.
With the city-wide unemployment rate at 16%, New Yorkers are losing their income and access to healthcare simultaneously. Julie will advocate for automatic enrollment in NYC Care health access programs for New Yorkers who qualify for unemployments benefits to ensure healthcare for all. Julie will also work to expand rapid testing centers, fund free COVID-19 tests, and fight against overcrowding and closures of public hospitals.
Community LED Public safety
We need to completely reevaluate the role the police play in our city and how we spend taxpayer resources to promote public safety. New York City is facing a $9 billion budget deficit. We cannot continue to maintain a militarized police force that harasses black and brown New Yorkers, immigrant communities, delivery workers, street vendors, and people without housing. We must make real cuts to the NYPD in order to promote public safety and preserve essential services and jobs.
We must invest in proven strategies of crime prevention and crisis management rooted in care and empathy, not violence and brutality. Julie will:
Invest in community anti-violence organizations that employ cure violence and restorative justice models, like 696 Build Queensbridge.
Expand access to free, quality mental health care and create a new type of unarmed public safety professional to respond to mental health crises. Fund public health-based initiatives to combat addiction.
Provide social services for those struggling to make ends meet. Expand youth employment programs.
Create jobs and improve services in public housing, education, sanitation, transportation, libraries, parks, and healthcare—especially in neighborhoods that have been historically disinvested.
To pay for these public safety programs, Julie supports cutting an additional $1.3 billion next year from the NYPD budget by:
Reducing overtime and invasive surveillance technology use, as well as eliminating procurements of military-grade weapons and equipment.
Terminating abusive officers, cutting “modified duty,” and deducting settlement payments from the NYPD budget.
Canceling new cadet classes, cadet training, and freezing all new hires. Return the headcount to 2014 levels, about a 5% reduction.
Removing all officers from transit, schools, homeless outreach, and mental health crisis response.
Julie also strongly supports reducing the city’s prison population and closing Rikers Island, without the costly construction of any new jails. Mayor de Blasio’s current plan lacks specific benchmarks and policies to meaningfully reduce the prison population. Julie would put the city’s investment toward treatment, housing, public services, and community organizations proven to reduce crime and recidivism.
Closing the Digital Divide
Over 1 million families in New York City lack the high speed internet they need to obtain government services, learn remotely, or look for a job. Half of these families access the internet exclusively though their phones or frustratingly slow dial-up connections; meanwhile the other half do not have internet access at all. As our libraries and coffee shops remain closed, using free wifi networks is no longer an option for those without internet service at home. The digital divide continues to grow, and these families are being denied access to services and opportunities that others take for granted.
Julie will draw on her experience from a career in technology to close the digital divide in NYC. To start, Julie will fight for increased funding to amplify programs such as Queensbridge Connected, so that all NYCHA residents have access to reliable, fast WiFi, as well as NYC Mesh, which is striving to provide internet access to underserved communities. Large internet service providers such as Verizon have been passing over low income neighborhoods in their installation of vital fiber optic internet infrastructure. They must be held accountable for relegating our neighbors to outdated dial-up connections, or no internet access at all.
All NYC residents deserve equal access to high speed, broadband internet access, and Julie will fight to provide free wifi for all. Wifi has become a matter of digital survival in a rapidly changing digital world. Affordability is at the heart of the issue, as broadband internet plans cost upwards of $70 per month. As Council member, Julie will introduce legislation to provide universal broadband internet citywide. Julie’s legislation would create a subsidy for the City to pay the bill for families who cannot afford high speed internet, and provide a tax credit for those who can. In the long term, Julie will advocate for the creation of a city-owned fiber optic internet infrastructure, to substantially bring down the cost of high-speed internet for all New Yorkers. To ensure digital equity for all, we must treat high speed internet as a utility, not a luxury.
combating climate change
Climate change is an imminent threat to the life and livelihood of New Yorkers. Julie will fight to make New York City carbon-neutral by 2030. That means big, systemic changes, including a rapid transition to wind and solar energy, smart grid infrastructure, and public ownership of our power supply.
As we no longer have the luxury of preventing a climate crisis, we now must respond to it in ways that achieve equity and justice. Julie will fight environmental racism by closing fossil-fuel powered ‘peaker’ plants that devastate the health of black and brown communities for profit. Plans for our next climate disaster should not only protect our coastlines from flooding, but we must also ensure reliable heating and cooling for all New Yorkers and create Community Resilience Centers to protect our most vulnerable neighbors.
Julie believes a Green New Deal for Housing is necessary to provide healthy and safe homes for all New Yorkers and meet our goal of carbon-neutrality. New York City needs to build new, green social housing and retrofit NYCHA with sustainable technologies that reduce energy costs and improve livability, accessibility, and equity. Julie will fight for reinvestment in NYC Zero Waste initiatives, so that by 2030, NYC will not send any waste to landfills. The city needs to invest in an organics recycling program and community compost sites so that composting is accessible to all New Yorkers. Instead of viewing these initiatives as a financial burden, the city should take this opportunity to create fulfilling, family-sustaining jobs for decades to come.
Revitalizing Arts and Culture
New York City’s art scene has made our city a hotbed for artists and performers from all cities and nations around the world. The prominence of our music, theater, live performers, and artists has drawn millions of tourists and new residents over the past century. However, in the aftermath of the COVID-19, our venues and artists alike are struggling to make ends meet. Julie has a four-point program to help protect local artists, venues, and community centers, and ensure that all artists have the opportunity to thrive in NYC.
Public Land for Public Art: Julie will prioritize the use of public land for community arts centers by eliminating zoning barriers that inhibit the construction of mixed use spaces for hybrid residential and artistic development, and by establishing a property tax credit for arts spaces that operate within a half mile of subsidized or public housing. Locally, Julie will partner with small businesses and community organizations to commission local artists within our neighborhoods to perform and provide artwork during summer Open Streets and other public spaces.
Recovery and Reopening: Julie will champion commercial rent relief for theaters, concert halls, and art galleries struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic and advocate for a “Safe Stage” pilot program that will allow venues and performance spaces to open alongside restaurants and retailers at a limited capacity. Julie will advocate for tax credits and other City subsidies for NYC’s performing arts venues and galleries to revitalize their prominence, which has historically generated tremendous revenue and cultural value for our City.
Education and Opportunity: Julie will protect funding for arts and after school programs in public schools and advocate to establish a Public School Portfolio Program that enables schools to opt out of standardized testing in the humanities and instead submit portfolios of student works within the written, visual, and performing arts. The importance of arts education in schools cannot be overstated, and so, Julie will increase funding for local artists, musicians, and performers to teach in our public schools, both remote and in-person.
Benefits and Collective Bargaining: Julie will offer fast track enrollment in NYC Care for artists and other gig workers and protect the right of performers, crew, and production staff to unionize.