Preserve Our City

“Perhaps I don’t want to become like Ronald Reagan or like the President of General Motors. Perhaps I have another sense of life...Perhaps I have a judgment [on your institutions]. Perhaps I don’t want what you think I want...”   James Baldwin

                            

Knowledge Is Power

“The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” – Diogenes, Greek philosopher

                            

Think Big For The Future

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson

Act Locally

Q:  "Who takes care of us?"  A:  "We take care of us!"  – Activist chant                                                                                             

Diversity Of People


Queens has always been celebrated for its diverse people, but today it is in extreme danger of losing that diversity through gentrification and displacement as our electeds approve rezonings and privatization plans pushed by powerful special interests. We need to take immediate active measures to protect our diversity.

To start:

  • I will block any plan that jeopardizes our diverse public housing – 92% of whose residents are Black or Latinx – such as Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and Blueprint for Change and will commit funds to restore, maintain and improve this truly affordable housing.
  • I will work to repeal Mayor de Blasio’s MIH/ZQA rezoning plan which has caused record-breaking displacement, place a moratorium on luxury development, and pass stricter zoning laws to discourage speculative building.
  • I will work to create housing by “clawing back” buildings from bad landlords who purchased them from the city for $1 and will utilize Article 7A of NY’s Real Property Law to take over poorly-maintained buildings.
  • I will work to convert empty hotels, offices and vacant luxury apartments to truly affordable housing and subsidize rents to levels closer to 20% of one’s income, not the current 30%, which has been proven to be too high.
  • I will work to reduce property taxes for mom-and-pop homeowners who rent their basement or attic apartments to individuals and families at permanently reasonable rents that low-income tenants can afford.




Small Businesses


The diversity of our small businesses is what makes Queens rise above every city in the world, attracting residents and tourist alike. What’s more, these small businesses often support generations of families, and letting them wither and die makes no sense, economic or otherwise.

To start:

  • I will work to pass the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), a stronger commercial rent control law, and enact a “blight fine” for landlords who purposely keep storefronts empty.
  • I will work to strengthen manufacturing zoning laws to save our industrial spaces in LIC and beyond so they can be used to manufacture PPE, textiles, solar panels, wind turbines and other goods that will usher us into the future and keep Queens residents working.
  • I will work to dissolve the NYC Economic Development Corporation and use its $1 billion budget that siphons money from Small Business Services to support actual small business and reduce their property taxes.
  • I will work to see that gig workers and others without a safety net receive benefits that other workers do.




Our Urban Environment


Overdevelopment of our urban spaces disconnects us from our past, causes displacement and damages the environment. We must acknowledge that reliance on the “growth model” is not progress, it is destruction and waste being sold to us as a good thing by those who profit from endless construction and gentrification. Instead, we should practice preservation of our urban environment by building sparingly and organically in a community-driven way.

To start:

  • I will work to save New York’s unique spaces by making sure our Landmark Preservations Commission is run by bone fide preservationists and art historians, not realtors or those who have a profit motive for change, and to require automatic stricter scrutiny for older buildings of historic value for purposes of allowing modifications or destruction.
  • I will work to prevent developers from razing buildings to rebuild for luxury or fake affordable housing, especially those that house truly affordable units. Instead these units should be repaired and retrofitted as necessary by small, local builders.
  • I will work to adequately fund our parks department and restore jobs there – 80% of which were slashed under Bloomberg – and discontinue the private-public partnerships that gentrify our parks and harm residents and the environment by such things as making plans to pull-up old-growth trees in Ft. Greene Park that currently absorb carbon and reduce rates of asthma especially in low-income communities.





World-Class Education


If you’re like me, you’re extraordinarily impressed by the maturity and leadership of today’s youth, and it’s our job as adults to see that they reach their fullest potential in order to be happy and move our society forward. That means we must make funding our public schools a budgetary priority so that our students can step into any job that NYC offers without the need for employers to look elsewhere.

To start:

  • I will work to make all schools commensurate with Stuyvesant High School in funding, infrastructure, reputation and opportunity. I will work to consolidate schools into larger ones that serve their local areas, eliminate exclusive “neighborhood schools” and programs of micro-segregation like G&T, and make the specialized test for high school unnecessary so that children won’t need to spend their formative years studying for a high-stakes test and those who cannot afford to will not be shut out of high-paying jobs.
  • I will work to ensure that all schools have a robust on-line program, training and broadband infrastructure to ensure smooth transitions to working from home when necessary or desired.
  • I will work to ensure that all schools support and promote careers in the arts, history, language arts, social work, etc., equal to support for tech, finance and other Type-A personality careers.
  • I will work to ensure parent fundraising efforts benefit all schools by placing all monies raised in a general fund to be distributed evenly, and to build solidarity city-wide by encouraging groups to work together.
  • I will work to mandate that all middle and high schools start at a later time, as California recently mandated, so that our teens will be healthier, happier and more productive in the classroom.




Teachers


In order to give our children a world-class education, we will need lots of teachers and support staff! Teachers are some of the most important and influential people in our children’s lives and should be valued, respected and paid commensurately.

To start:

  • I will work to hire more full-time teachers, counselors and support staff and pay them well so that they can afford to live in the city, raise their own children here, and feel connected to the community. I will also require that a greater proportion of non-white teachers, more closely aligned with the student population is added.
  • I will work to hire adequate support staff so that all students will be able to learn the same high-level curriculum without falling behind or becoming discouraged. This will give teachers more time to focus on the most current curriculum as well as the most creative and effective ways to convey that knowledge.
  • I will work to require that colleges and universities receiving tax incentives from NYC hire a minimum number of full-time employees and pay them a living wage with benefits instead of á la carte employment where adjuncts are left scrambling for work at a poverty wage from numerous different institutions with no safety net.




Transparency


I love NYC, but it is structured and run in a way that is profoundly corrupt so that the moving parts of our democracy are stuck. To fix it, we need transformative transparency so that everyday New Yorkers – not only the most powerful – can learn how the wheels of government turn in order to make informed decision about their lives.

To start:

  • I will work to make all public records available for view online without needing to make a formal request as per the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). If there is any sensitive data, an independent, bipartisan FOIL committee will decide what can be released.
  • I will record and make meetings with constituents and others available for view by people in my district in an effort to end backroom deals that undermine confidence and lead to suspicion in the community about whose interests are being met. I will also commit to holding monthly Town Halls to address neighborhood concerns.
  • I will work to make civics training a requirement for all school children beginning in middle school where they will learn how to spot propaganda, how to recognize reputable news sources, and how to be engaged in the electoral process beginning with their borough’s county committee.
  • I will work to make information available to all by investing in infrastructure for high-speed internet at low or no cost starting in the most underserved areas.





Community


As an activist who has been to many rallies, my favorite chant is always: Q: “Who takes care of us?” A: “We take care of us!” What could be truer than this during the middle of a global pandemic? The need for the community to work together, think outside the box and act locally has been a necessity that has brought about many great things which we should build upon in District 26!

To start:

  • I will work to create more green spaces by activating NYC Parks’ “Schoolyards to Playgrounds” program for schoolyards so that after school hours, the community can share in this space. I will work to bring real grass and soft play structures to children in parks that do not have them.
  • I will work to support community-generated projects like book swaps, composting and gardening projects that have cropped up recently in our district, and will work to make the life-saving mutual aid networks unnecessary.
  • I will work to convert the metered parking used by Amtrak workers along Skillman Avenue at Sunnyside Yards to an abundant tree grove with a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • I will work to fund public alternatives to private enterprises in energy, banking, health care, and so on, starting with supporting a free-standing solar farm above the trains in Sunnyside Yards.
  • I will work to preserve our historic spaces in District 26 such as the Standard Motor Part Building, The Brewster Building, the Clarence Stein garage façade, and the Swingline Stapler Building.
  • I will work to bring equity to the neighborhoods in number of garbage receptacles, green space, dog runs, etc.





Community


As an activist who has been to many rallies, my favorite chant is always: Q: “Who takes care of us?” A: “We take care of us!” What could be truer than this during the middle of a global pandemic? The need for the community to work together, think outside the box and act locally has been a necessity that has brought about many great things which we should build upon in District 26!

To start:

  • I will work to create more green spaces by activating NYC Parks’ “Schoolyards to Playgrounds” program for schoolyards so that after school hours, the community can share in this space. I will work to bring real grass and soft play structures to children in parks that do not have them.
  • I will work to support community-generated projects like book swaps, composting and gardening projects that have cropped up recently in our district, and will work to make the life-saving mutual aid networks unnecessary.
  • I will work to convert the metered parking used by Amtrak workers along Skillman Avenue at Sunnyside Yards to an abundant tree grove with a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • I will work to fund public alternatives to private enterprises in energy, banking, health care, and so on, starting with supporting a free-standing solar farm above the trains in Sunnyside Yards.
  • I will work to preserve our historic spaces in District 26 such as the Standard Motor Part Building, The Brewster Building, the Clarence Stein garage façade, and the Swingline Stapler Building.
  • I will work to bring equity to the neighborhoods in number of garbage receptacles, green space, dog runs, etc.





Paid for by Emily Sharpe For Council 2021

Some Thoughts On Our Community