No mayor can save a city by themselves, especially in a direct democracy. These are my ideas and why I'm running in the Democratic Primary for mayor of New York, but what’s more important to me is what you have to add. Let’s start the discussion here and build.
Without democracy we have no means for equality. Without democracy capitalism leaves us with chaos. I propose putting democracy first by:
Decentralizing political voting power - power corrupts, so to eliminate corruption we need to spread the power as thinly as possible by moving towards direct democracy. Direct democracy is a system of government where every law goes to public referendum - one voice, one vote on every single issue. Fewer representatives voting on our behalf, less centralized power.
Creating an online voting system where any registered nyc voter can propose legislation - let’s use technology to make passing legislation easier by enabling every New Yorker to propose and vote on legislation.
Adding any proposal that has more than 100,000 votes and 60% support to the next paper ballot - if an idea gains enough support we’ll put it on the next paper ballot to ensure a paper-trail when we vote on it! If at least 60% of the votes cast are in support, I as mayor promise to sign the initiative into law with whatever power I have. I will sign nothing that does not get approved by the people in this fashion, with the only exception being decisions in emergencies and preliminary cabinet picks, all of which will go to referendum as quickly as feasible.
The Earth is our home, let’s start treating it that way. To fight climate change and pollution I propose:
A carbon and pollution tax that goes directly to all clean-up efforts - however much it costs the government to sequester one ton of CO2 emissions/any pollutant (air, water, e-waste, or otherwise) will be charged to the user at purchase. This revenue will go directly to clean-up or to subsidize businesses and institutions that are actively involved with sequestering carbon/cleanup (like green roofs, parks, and other innovative solutions of the future).
Blue lives matter. A discussion about police reform cannot start without saying unambiguously that the safety of officers and the public equally are the utmost priority. With that being said many changes need to be made for the benefit of the police and public alike such as:
Financial bonuses for officers who live where they work - too often officers are not living in the communities or even the city that they serve. Let’s give them a reason to fully become one with the fabric they serve.
Never hiring another police officer without a full background check at previous departments
Never disconnecting from another 911 call without offering the option to dispatch an armed officer and/or a social worker
Black lives matter. Violence is unequivocally wrong and never the answer. Together we will build a city that is not only safe for New Yorkers of every race, but rich with opportunity. Let’s start by:
Never letting anyone get treated as less than ever again - after a full review of the nyc budget every dollar that is not critical for daily city operations should be reinvested into the social safety net that will guarantee New Yorkers a universal basic income (at an amount I’d love to discuss), coverage for medical emergencies and preventative care (see below for details), and guaranteed affordable housing (see below for details).
Implementing police, education, and criminal justice reform - never again will we let the institutions built to protect us serve us unequally (see below for details).
Moratoriums on all practices that have systemically racist outcomes - these include initiatives like stop-and-frisk in the past and spot checking tickets along the Select Bus Service as is currently in place (among many many other examples).
Equal opportunity means making sure the economy is strong enough so that there are jobs for everyone, but unfortunately the current bidding process for public contracts is corrupt. We spend 100s of millions of dolllars more per mile than the other cities of the world for our subway extensions, and other government contracts are similar. The best way the city can create jobs is by:
Never signing another corrupt contract and making the bidding process truly open - this will make bids more competitive, drive down the price for city works, and leave more funds for more projects and more jobs. The cheaper the bids the higher the percentage of city dollars that will go to workers rather than executives.
Cut down on city bureaucracy and administration by decentralizing education, police, and sanitation budgets - this will allow principals and precincts to have more control over spending and cut down bloat in a way that a centralized system never could.
Constantly reviewing the city budget to evaluate how money can be better spent to create more jobs and make life in New York better for everyone
Sound mind and sound bodies call for a sound healthcare system starting with:
Budgeting for mental health services at every Urgent Care center
Getting insurance middle people out of Emergency Departments - an incredible amount of hospital budgets go to trying to collect from patients and insurance, let’s cut them out and take on this emergency financial burden like we do with paying for police and fire. This will bring down costs for everyone in the long-term.
Preventative care for all - everyone saves money when we catch cancer at stage one instead of stage four. New York can only get stronger when everyone has free check-ups and dental cleanings every year. Again, no more insurance for care that we all know we will always need - insurance should be in place for catastrophic medical events like cancer diagnoses, not regular care that we should all expect to get annually.
Criminal Justice Reform
No longer will we be complicit in splitting up families after we destroyed their communities with bad legislation. I propose we:
Rebrand the Department of Corrections as the Department of Incarceration and actually create a Department of Corrections - leaving prisons in charge of rehabilitation is like asking slave owners to close down their plantations. Let’s remove the incentive for the DOC to not provide adequate rehabilitation and create a new department that will be incentivized to actually get inmates and ex-cons back on their feet.
Live-stream a controlled demolition of Rikers Island for the world to see and rebuild a 21st century prison built for restorative justice - Rikers is ugly, but more disgracefully it is a symbol of prison brutality and our failure as a city to safely get everyone justice. Let’s rebuild a facility that is designed for reentry, let’s show each other that no one is beyond redemption.
Never lock someone up for the sole charge of drug use ever ever again - addiction is a medical problem not a criminal issue, let’s start treating it that way.
It’s time to get school out of the way of education by:
Decentralizing the education budget - before covid nyc spent $34k per pupil per year but teachers are not being paid accordingly. It’s time to investigate where this money is going and reallocate that budget; I believe the most qualified people to oversee that spending is our principals.
Prioritizing tutoring and learning disability services in every school - the best type of instruction is one-on-one, especially when a student falls behind. Let’s show students not only that we understand this but that we care by making the budget available for these services in every school for every student.
Working with the Teachers Union to raise salaries and make it easier for principals to fire bad teachers - we need to make it easier for schools to attract and retain the best in field; that means paying higher salaries and removing ineffective teachers.
Life in Quarantine
New York was tragically unprepared last March, let's never ever let that happen again by:
Testing not shutting down - shut downs do not work, they just divide us at a time where we must be united. The best way to stop the spread is for the city to constantly be updating our best practices and paying for universal testing/vaccinations. The more information we all have, the safer we will all be.
Life Beyond Quarantine
If you think New York is dead you’ve got a second thing coming because we’re going to:
Appoint a director of health who will monitor coronavirus and health outbreaks around the world so we are never unprepared again
Take the opportunity to fix signaling for our mass transit system so we come back stronger and with a more sanitary system
Make sure everyone has access to a coronavirus vaccine each year like we do for the flu
Affordable Housing Reform
Housing is unaffordable on design, and the vast majority of the problem can be solved with one word - supply. We’re going to build until housing is affordable for everyone, and then we’re going to keep building to bring as many people into the New York family as possible. Let’s start by:
Making all zoning laws optional and enforced at a local level so to allow neighborhoods that want to build the freedom to do so while maintaining control - zoning laws as distinct from housing codes which keep us safe. Zoning laws are arbitrary obstacles put up to make development difficult without offering much value for the community. The value that they do offer should stay in local control.
Building 21st century pubic housing that will be designed for income levels that are rent burdened by the options offered by the private sector. Living in these facilities will continue to be offered on a sliding scale so there is never an incentive to not work!
Building enough supply to eradicate homelessness - housing should be free to neighbors suffering from mental illness if needed.
The right to bear arms is hard-wired into our Bill of Rights and our history, to deny that is to deny our heritage and DNA. That doesn’t mean we can’t fix the epidemic of gun violence by:
Making sure every gun sold in nyc has a thorough background check and mental health evaluations to follow at least every three years
Making licensing progressively more demanding as weapons get closer to military-grade with more frequent mental health testing too
Implementing a three day latency between sales and receiving a weapon
A dollar earned should be a dollar taxed. No more loopholes, no more exceptions, and certainly no more exemptions for the rich. New York will:
Host a full review of all expenditures every year. No more taxes until spending is reigned in and optimized!
Move towards more consumption taxes on carbon/pollution in addition to luxury items and lower income taxes
Add tax brackets - there is no reason why the first $90,000 of income for family/joint filing should be taxed in nyc at four different rates, but the next $90,000 is taxed at the same rate, and the next $90,000, and the $90,000 after that… While taxes do not need to excessively target millionaires and billionaires, there should still be graduated rates beyond where they are today.
While not all explicitly local issues, I believe in:
Access to abortions up until the point where we define life medically - heartbeat and neurological activity.
Free immigration between states and countries - nyc and New York state can change many licensing restricitions to make it easier for people to move freely. The US at large should be building closed borders and open ports, especially between states.
No more baking garbage on the streets - all garbage will go out to the street in bins and no more than twelve hours before pick-up.
21st century infrastructure
No more wars
A balanced budget
A free market and an economy that works for everyone - the government’s job is to get involved when safety and public services would otherwise be in jeopardy. The best way the government can make this happen is through implementing a better tax code (see above) and smarter subsidies/regulation (see above).
Leaders who love their neighbors - never again will we let ourselves be divided.
Please come out to my weekly Speakers' Corner campaign events. I host these on Sundays in parks around New York where all are welcome to speak with me and other neighbors about what's most important for you in this city politically. Please also feel free to email me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or just book an analysis if you would like to video conference.
I Do Not Accept Campaign Donations
The best use for campaign donations is ads to get the word out, but if I have you I don’t need your money. If you believe in me and my message and truly want to donate please use your voice to spread the message. These are my expenses to date:
Campaign Flag and Shipping
Preliminary Document Printing
Two Folding Chairs
Business Card Printing
Business Card Printing
Subway to Date
Gas/Tolls/Parking to Date
Subway since 3/12
Gas/Tolls/Parking since 3/12
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