You are here: Home/Uncategorized/ The BroadsheetDAILY ~ 6/23/20 ~ Five Questions for Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou An Agenda Driven By Public Health, Economic Justice, and Bottom-Up Constituent Concerns
The BroadsheetDAILY ~ 6/23/20 ~ Five Questions for Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou An Agenda Driven By Public Health, Economic Justice, and Bottom-Up Constituent Concerns
An Agenda Driven By Public Health, Economic Justice, and Bottom-Up Constituent Concerns
State Assembly member Yuh-Line Niou
Editor’s Note: Tomorrow (Tuesday, June 23) voters in the Democratic primary will effectively decide the race for the State Assembly seat representing the 65th District in Lower Manhattan, which stretches from the Battery to Vesey Street on the West Side and traces a jagged line between Broadway and the East River, topping out just above Houston Street, on the East Side. There are two major candidates vying for the Democratic nomination: incumbent Yuh-Line Niou, and aspirant Grace Lee. The Broadsheet asked both candidates to answer the same five questions. Ms. Lee’s responses appeared in this space on Friday. Ms. Niou’s answers are appended below.
Broadsheet: What specific goals do you hope to accomplish—or at least help to advance—during the next two years in the Assembly?
Yuh-Line Niou: This current public health crisis has shined a light on the ways in which our system has been designed to fail working families and communities of color, and how we must fight for truly progressive structural change. I am calling for a “New Deal” recovery from this pandemic by implementing comprehensive measures to address our public health crisis, bolster our social safety net, and help individuals and small businesses recover. We need to suspend rent and implement a rent freeze for tenants and small businesses. We also need to fight to provide free medical essentials to frontline workers and to eliminate co-pays on treatment and medication.
In this next legislative session, I hope to further my equity agenda and budget-justice work by focusing on three areas: on building community wealth, divesting from destructive industries and instead investing in grassroots, non-profit organizations that uplift working families, and ending predatory lending that preys on low-income communities. Most importantly, we need to fight back against decades of austerity budgeting that has led to our system collapsing on working families, by passing progressive revenue-generating bills such as the Millionaires Tax and the Stock Buyback Tax to ensure the wealthy pay their fair share. I’ve spent my career working in public service on issues such as budget justice and anti-poverty advocacy, and I hope to continue fighting for truly transformative systems in our community and beyond.
Broadsheet: In your view, what are the three most important issues facing Lower Manhattan in the immediate future?
Ms. Niou: The three most important issues facing Lower Manhattan in the immediate future as we recover from the pandemic include:
Economic Justice: ensuring a prevailing and living wage for workers (including public utility workers); closing the racial wealth gap by increasing access to financial services and ending redlining; ensuring that public money works for public good by ending public financing of the fossil fuel industry, enforcing the Community Reinvestment Act, and creating a public banking system; fighting for fair and equitable e-bike legislation; supporting a cost-of-living adjusted, universal basic income program, and removing the barriers that keep people in poverty by removing asset limits on public assistance programs to ensure people can save up instead of forcing people to spend down.
Education: including getting schools the Campaign for Fiscal Equity [CFE] funding they are owed; ending the barriers and inequalities (including those with regards to foundation aid/CFE funding) that have led to such deeply segregated schools; fully funding our public schools; making CUNY and SUNY and other public schools truly free and for the public, and combating the school-to-prison pipeline.
Housing: including fully funding public housing and having more oversight over the New York City Housing Authority, in order to address the horrifying conditions in New York’s public housing; fighting for permanent and deeply affordable housing; working to end homelessness holistically by addressing the increased costs of living/housing while also treating cycles of addiction and violence and ensuring that people are not becoming homeless in the first place; furthering the last session’s progress by further passing tenant protections and rent reforms.
Broadsheet: What are the three most serious dangers facing this community?
Ms. Niou: The three most serious dangers include not being prepared with resiliency measures in advance of the next big climate disaster; predatory business practices and the lack of consumer protections during economic recovery that result in a cycle of poverty, debt traps, and widespread unemployment; and housing affordability including private real-estate developers exacerbating our housing crisis.
There is no doubt that there will be another severe weather event like Superstorm Sandy. This is why I’ve been focusing on advocating for environmental justice and strengthening resiliency to make sure we’re proactively protecting our green space, climate, and planet. Environmental justice is also critical to protecting our most vulnerable communities, which is why I’ve been proud to pass the most comprehensive climate change legislation in the nation.
As we work on economic recovery, we must also push to outlaw and regulate predatory business practices by passing consumer protection laws, including an end to redlining. Consumer protection is important right now as we face price-gouging throughout the district. With so many people in need, predatory products have taken advantage of this dire situation.
Last, we need to keep fighting for permanent and deeply affordable housing to resolve our housing crisis. We all deserve access to quality and affordable housing, and until we make commitments towards building this infrastructure and fighting back against real estate developers and corporations, we will never progress in our fight for better government that works for the needs of the many rather than the interests of the wealthy few.
Broadsheet: What aspect of the Lower Manhattan community (and the 65th Assembly District in particular) presents the greatest challenge to leading or governing effectively?
Ms. Niou: As an Assembly member, I’ve been focused on stanching the bleed of the district, and working with grassroots organizations, community leaders, and national efforts to support our communities. The biggest challenge, and one that I’ve been immensely vocal on, is fighting against the State’s austerity budget, which continues to cut healthcare, education, and funding for critical, essential services. I am strongly opposed to the State’s “global cap” on Medicaid spending, the property tax cap, and the Governor’s policy of limiting spending growth in the state budget each year to two percent. These are artificial limits—and they hold us back from being able to pass the kind of necessary programs that will change the lives of New Yorkers, programs that will go towards developing our future economy and growth. The State needs to fully fund the foundation aid formula for Pre-K to 12 public schools through CFE funding in order to prepare the next generation of leaders who will generate long-term economic growth, rather than cutting funding for these critical programs. These problems have plagued Lower Manhattan and in particular, the 65th Assembly District, by eroding the people’s trust in government leadership that continues to neglect and fail working families. The greatest challenge to leading and governing effectively is fighting against these special interests and building people power to fight back against a government that does not serve the people.
Broadsheet: How do you see politics on the local level in Lower Manhattan intersecting with, and connecting to, priorities at the regional and national levels?
Ms. Niou: All policy is intersectional and local issues intersect closely with regional and national issues. Housing, criminal justice reform, economic justice, education, quality of life, immigration, climate change and resiliency—all of these issues boil down to the local, lived effect of good and bad policy. Additionally, all issues are intersectional. We can’t address our housing crisis without also addressing climate change. We can’t protect vulnerable and marginalized communities without also passing criminal justice reforms. This is particularly true when we’re talking about local issues and their immediate effects on constituents. Now, with the national spotlight on COVID-19 recovery and the fight against police brutality, I think it’s crucial that policymakers take a comprehensive and intersectional approach to governance, and that our policy is actually reflective of our communities’ concerns.
Lower Manhattan has some of the nation’s richest and poorest zip codes. This inequality is reflective of our nation’s economy, with wealth inequality at an all time high.
Furthermore, my community’s Chinatown has been hit hard by the pandemic, and as we fight both the virus and racism, it’s clear that there is much to be done on all levels of government. What we do locally, and as a State, can ignite change nationwide. We need to pass progressive policies locally in order to fight for working families nationally. Every piece of legislation that I support comes directly from a constituent, and I believe that every piece of national legislation needs to reflect this same level of commitment to our communities.
Five Questions for Assembly Candidate Grace Lee
An Emphasis on Reform, Recovery, and Relief
Editor’s Note: On Tuesday, June 23, voters in the Democratic primary will effectively decide the race for the State Assembly seat representing the 65th District in Lower Manhattan, which stretches from the Battery to Vesey Street on the West Side and traces a jagged line between Broadway and the East River, topping out just above Houston Street, on the East Side. There are two major candidates vying for the Democratic nomination: incumbent Yuh-Line Niou, and aspirant Grace Lee. Here are Ms. Lee’s responses.
Broadsheet: What specific goals do you hope to accomplish—or at least help to advance—during the next two years in the Assembly?
Grace Lee: Today, we face a public health and economic crisis beyond anything we have ever seen. As a New Yorker and Lower Manhattan resident, I’ve lived through multiple crises in our city — 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis and Superstorm Sandy. I’ve raised my family here, I built a successful small business here and I’ve led the charge against greedy developers and corporate interests.
Fine artist and long time Downtown resident Adele H. Rahte has spent the stay-at-home period designing and creating these fabric collages representing the people in our community as a special form of thank you to the essential workers of our community and city for keeping us safe.
On display during the month of July at the Tribeca Community Window Gallery located at 160 West Broadway.
Race and Class
A Lower Manhattan Community Leader Considers How Much Has Changed and How Much Still Needs To Change
“I’m a lot older than many of the young people now protesting in the streets,” reflects Pat Moore, 67, who chairs the Quality of Life Committee on Community Board 1. “And my father, who died last January, was a police officer at a time when there were very few black men on the NYPD. So I have a slightly more complicated perspective about all this.”
“I was born in 1953, and my family is from Louisiana,” she recalls, “so I’m old enough to remember traveling to the South as a little girl, and sitting at the back of the bus, or visiting the public pool, where nobody who looked like me was allowed to go in.”
to receive a special Virtual BPC Community Field Day e-mail on June 26th!
After Officers Are Accidentally Sickened at Downtown Shake Shack, Police Unions Allege Deliberate Poisoning
Three NYPD officers were hospitalized on Monday evening, after ingesting what they believed was a toxic substance at the Shake Shack within the Fulton Transit Center in Lower Manhattan.
At approximately 8:30 pm, the officers (whose names have not been released) were taking a meal break at the popular burger emporium when they noticed a strange taste and smell coming from the milk shakes they had ordered.
Local Leaders Urge Heightened Federal Response to September 11 Mental Health Issues
Community Board 1 (CB1) is urging federal lawmakers to expand benefits offered by the World Trade Center Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to include more robust help for survivors of the terrorist attacks who are grappling with mental health issues.
‘A Fraudulent Scheme to Evade the Rent Stabilization Laws’
FiDi Renters Seek Recompense for Years of Rent Overcharges; U.S. Supreme Court Declines to Overturn Tenants’ Victory
More Financial District tenants are going to court to demand restitution from years of illegally high rent, on the heels of a 2019 ruling by New York State’s highest court, which found that as many as 5,000 Lower Manhattan apartments had been illegally deprived of rent stabilization benefits.
The most recent suit was filed on behalf of tenants at 90 Washington Street, a 397-unit rental building located between Rector and Joseph P. Ward Streets. This filing follows similar legal actions on behalf of tenants at 63-67 Wall Street, Ten Hanover Square, 50 Murray Street, 90 West Street, and 53 Park Place.
Every day is Sun day for the month of June, when the Sun is up for 15 hours plus a few minutes most days and darkness prevails, most days, for a few minutes less than 9 hours. The longest days of the year occur as Earth reaches the point in its orbit when the North Pole is tilted closest to the Sun, known as the summer solstice. This year, astronomers calculate that the solstice occurs on Saturday, June 20 at 5:44pm. According to my pencil on paper figuring from Starry Night* data, which is offered to a tenth of a second, day length at our location on Friday the 19this 3 seconds shorter than on the solstice and on the 20th day length is 2 seconds longer than on Sunday the 21st.
The inevitable has happened, and we, as a world, were unprepared. Even before the new coronavirus, the number and diversity of epidemics has grown in the last three decades. But the ability of governments, communities, and individuals to anticipate, detect, and effectively respond to epidemics with pandemic potential encountered several roadblocks. Gathering world-class leaders from the fields of public health, epidemiology, and national security, this meeting will cover the basic science that drives pandemics, the evolution of emerging pathogens, therapeutics and non-pharmaceutical countermeasures, hotspot prediction, and current weakness in global preparation strategies. Ultimately, this symposium will highlight lessons from both the near and distant past, and illuminate the measures needed to shore up the globe for next time. $15-$85
Each day, a different encore presentation from the company’s Live in HD series is available for free streaming on the Met website, with each performance available for 23 hours, from 7:30 p.m. EDT until 6:30 p.m. the following day. The schedule will include outstanding complete performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring all of opera’s greatest singers.
CB1 Wants to Claim Part of the Pike for Cyclists
Community Board 1 is calling upon City and State transportation officials to close—at least temporarily—the lane of Route 9A (also know as the West Side Highway) that adjoins the Hudson River Park, between Chambers and Canal Streets, to enable continued social distancing, as New York scales back quarantine measures in the wake of the pandemic coronavirus outbreak.
The plan would use concrete barriers to bar traffic from the westernmost lane of the eight-lane highway, for a half-mile stretch of the waterfront boulevard, in order to allow users of the Hudson River Park additional room for biking, jogging, and walking.
City Pushes Plan to Move Iconic Sculpture Away from Bowling Green
The City’s Public Design Commission is slated to consider on Monday a controversial plan that would move Charging Bull—the the iconic Arturo Di Modica bronze sculpture that has been snarling and pawing the ground just north of Bowling Green since 1989—to a new location in front of the New York Stock Exchange. Several local leaders are concerned that the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing this plan while ignoring community objections. To read more…
1633 – The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe in the form he presented it in, after heated controversy.
1839 – Cherokee leaders Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot are assassinated for signing the Treaty of New Echota, which had resulted in the Trail of Tears.
1870 – The United States Department of Justice is created by the U.S. Congress.
1918 – The Hammond Circus Train Wreck kills 86 and injures 127 near Hammond, Indiana.
1942 – The Pledge of Allegiance is formally adopted by US Congress.
1978 – Charon, the first of Pluto’s satellites to be discovered, was first seen at the United States Naval Observatory by James W. Christy.
1906 – Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American pilot and author (d. 2001)
1906 – Billy Wilder, Austrian-born American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2002)
1922 – Bill Blass, American fashion designer, founded Bill Blass Group (d. 2002)
1944 – Peter Asher, English singer, guitarist, and producer
1949 – Meryl Streep, American actress and singer
1965 – David O. Selznick, American screenwriter and producer (b. 1902)
1969 – Judy Garland, American actress and singer (b. 1922)
1987 – Fred Astaire, American actor and dancer (b. 1899)
Previously Published Downtown News
CB1 Endorses Push to Expand VCF Coverage to Pandemic Illness
Community Board 1 (CB1) has signed on to a campaign that aims to expand the eligibility criteria of the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund (VCF) to include illnesses related to the outbreak of the pandemic coronavirus.