Based on my lived experience, education is an issue I care deeply about. My brother is severely autistic, and there were no programs for him in the public school system when he was a child. And as a single mother, I struggled and sacrificed to ensure my son attended schools that gave him a solid education.
Having been a small business owner, I’ve had to ride out a recession or two when business dried up. But no Mom & Pop could’ve prepared for the prolonged, forced closure of their business that abruptly cut off all revenue without pausing fixed expenses like rent, utilities and business taxes—which forced them to furlough or fire employees.
No matter how much, or how little, you pay in rent, you have the right to a safe and habitable home. I am focused on fixing a variety of housing-related issues in our district, such as the ongoing disrepair and dangerous conditions in NYCHA developments and multi-family properties owned by absentee Section 8 landlords.
Many two and three family homes throughout District 15 are rented out to tenants. An owner-occupied landlord lives in one of the apartments, and rents the other(s) out. A landlord who owns rental property, but lives outside the neighborhood—even, out-of-state or in another country—is referred to as an “absentee landlord.”
My brother is autistic, and I’m concerned about police interactions with those who have cognitive or mental health issues. If an LEO shouts an order, people with these challenges may react unpredictably, “shut down,” or get agitated. A tragedy could occur if such responses are misinterpreted. I’d address this problem, if elected.
The Bronx has the highest effective property tax rate in New York City—the 0.83% tax we pay is higher relative to the value of our homes than residential homeowners pay in Brooklyn (0.6%), Manhattan (0.72%), Queens (0.75%) and Staten Island (0.8%). And systemic errors in assessments are pushing homeowners out of District 15.
There are 900,000 disabled people in NYC—larger than the population of many U.S. cities. Yet, they are invisible to city planners when it comes to everything from mass transit to disaster planning, and the City Council must ensure the MTA, Parks Department, Department of Education and other agencies accommodate those with disabilities.
District 15 lacks basic amenities that make life safer and more pleasant. It isn't easy getting around The Bronx by mass transit—and fares are too damn high—so having to leave one’s neighborhood to go to a large supermarket or to a community center with recreational facilities for kids is a burden on elders, the disabled and families.
When it comes to animal rights, I don’t just talk the talk, I walk the walk: Walking the streets of Van Nest and other Bronx neighborhoods for more than 17 years as a TNR (Trap-Neuter-Release) Certified Animal Rescuer. I will bring this experience to the City Council to create policies that will protect pets and stray/feral animals.