2013 NYC MBP Questionnaire

20 Jay Street, Suite 830 • Brooklyn, NY 11201 • Tel (212) 796-4200 • Fax (646) 349-3893 website: www.gothamist.com

Instructions: Gothamist plans to interview all candidates for citywide and boroughwide office in 2013. This survey will give us and our readers an overview of each candidate’s positions on issues of particular import to our audience of young New York voters. For each question, please give a a short response outlining your candidate’s position. You may include a link to longer position statements at the bottom of each response, which we will include when we publish the piece. If you do not wish to answer any question, please specify “no comment”. If you have any questions, please contact us.

Candidate Overview What are the top challenges facing Manhattan right now? How will you use the limited power of the Manhattan Borough Presidency to solve these problems? I was born and raised in New York City and have always been inspired by the New York spirit. Time and again, we have overcome tough challenges and emerged ever stronger. But success breeds new challenges, like how we keep Manhattan affordable and livable for poor and middle-class families. The way I see it, the top challenges facing our borough stem from the basic question of how do we grow and evolve while still maintaining the things that make us unique— our tolerance and diversity, thriving arts and culture, mom-andpop shops, and safe streets. We also have to ensure that no matter where you live, you can send your child to a good public school, have access to parks, and find a job that pays a living wage. How would you distinguish your future administration from the present one run by MBP Scott Stringer? I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Scott Stringer has done as Manhattan Borough President. For example, when he was first elected, the vacancy rate at the community boards was upwards of 20%. He professionalized the boards, diversified them, and instituted an independent review panel that I would keep. But there is still more we can do to modernize our boards and ensure they are the proactive planning forums they were always meant to be. First off, the boards should move from the analog to the digital age. I have proposed creating a Community Stat software program to help make that happen. I have also suggested that we should create mentoring partnerships between community boards and tech companies and students to teach board staff and volunteers how to harness the tools that already exist to make boards more transparent and interactive. You can read other ideas on this suggest in my policy paper about community


board reform on my website here: http://www.jessicalappin.com/images/ FE/chain160siteType6/site112/client/COMMUNITY%20BOARD%20REFORM %20WHITE%20PAPER.pdf

Personal Questions Do you rent or own your home? We own our apartment. Do you have a pet? Sadly, my husband is allergic. So we are the only ones in our families without either a dog or cat. If you have children, do/did they attend public schools? I am a graduate of Stuyvesant High School and proud public school mom. I have two young boys, ages 6 and 2. The older one is a kindergarten student at a public school on the East Side. Have you ever been the victim of a crime? I was mugged on Mother’s Day in 2002 a few blocks from City Hall.

Safety and Crime What changes would you like to see in the NYPD's stop and frisk policies? The New York City Police Department has helped make us the safest big city in America. However, I am concerned that hundreds of thousands of innocent New Yorkers are stopped each year in violation of their constitutional rights. That’s why I am co-sponsoring the Community Safety Act, a package of City Council legislation that would reform stop and frisk by protecting against racial profiling, ending unlawful searches, and creating the office of NYPD Inspector General. I also marched with the NAACP, labor leaders, and members of clergy last year to advocate for changes in this policy.

Do you support the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana in New York City? I support the decriminalization of low-level marijuana possession so that we stop saddling young people with criminal records that can destroy their lives. It’s also clear that summons for marijuana possession are disproportionately issued to African-Americans and Latinos. Do you support an independent inspector general for the NYPD?


I do support the establishment of an NYPD Inspector General. Inspectors General monitor the FBI, CIA, LAPD and every major New York City agency except for the NYPD. The NYPD deserves credit for dramatically reducing crime rates in recent years, and the IG can help ensure this progress continues under a new administration.

Transportation, Bikes and Bike Lanes How often do you ride a bike? Occasionally, and I have members of my staff who bike commute regularly. Do you support expanding or reducing the number of current bike lanes in Manhattan? I have supported establishing new bike lanes in Manhattan. What I often hear, however, is that many lanes were put in without sufficient community input. Some seem to have worked better than others. Changing our streetscape should be done in consultation with local businesses and residents. When you bring people together, and involve them in the planning process, you get a better outcome. If elected Borough President, I would focus on looking at our transportation network holistically, including pedestrian safety, increasing bike commuting, and supporting public transportation. Do you support congestion pricing? Yes, I voted in favor of congestion pricing.

Development Do you support a ban or limit on chain stores in Manhattan, including Walmart? Small mom-and-pop shops are a vital part of our economy and employ a vast number of New Yorkers. We should be doing what we can to help them succeed here. And I certainly don’t support bring Walmart into Manhattan, or subsidizing companies who do not treat or pay their workers fairly. Do you support NYCHA's recently announced plans to build market rate apartments on public housing parking lots and playgrounds? NYCHA represents a significant portion of our city’s affordable stock and has serious fiscal challenges. Unfortunately, the federal government has walked away from its responsibility to reimburse the city dollar for dollar for what it spends. Right now, we get roughly 70 cents on the dollar. The state and city should also fund NYCHA at a higher level. While I fully appreciate the financial problems facing NYCHA, an initiative like this should be done with the buy in, input, and support of local tenants.


Otherwise, it shouldn’t be done. Do you support the "public-private" model of park development used under the Bloomberg administration? I support creative solutions like public-private partnerships for park development as long as the process is transparent and the expectations for both the city and the private funding are clear. We need to make sure we’re asking who is responsible for funding the park 10, 20, 30 years from now? Who is responsible for maintaining the park? Who is responsible in the event of damage from a serious weather event? If there are answers to these kinds of questions, then I think public-private partnerships can be a real force for good. The new FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island is a successful example of public-private park development. Forty years after the idea was conceived, this world-class memorial opened last October thanks to a determined group of citizens, $11million in City Council funding, and private donations. That said, most parks aren’t ripe for a public-private partnership like the one we built around the FDR Memorial. And private money should never be absolutely required to build or maintain a public park. How would your development policy differ from the one put forward by Scott Stringer? In particular, please comment on your position regarding: a. East Midtown Rezoning Midtown Manhattan needs to maintain its iconic status as one of the best business addresses in the world. To do that, we need more modern class A office space. To that end, the city should be working with the stakeholders in our East Midtown Community to collaboratively rezone parts of the central business district. Unfortunately, this process is moving too fast and without the input of these stakeholders. City Planning shouldn’t rush to action without a full and detailed examination of this proposal. If it does move forward, it has to be done in a way that preserves residential neighborhoods adjacent to the central business district. The newly created Grand Central Subarea boundaries should be moved. More details are needed on the District Improvement Bonus. Which projects would be funded and in what order? The rezoned area needs more open space. A thorough transportation study should be done to address impacts. And lastly, important landmarks should be protected. b. Hudson Yards Redevelopment

Borough President Stringer approved this project, which is expected to generate 23,000 jobs and 5,000 affordable housing units. c. SPURA Redevelopment


I think SPURA is a great model because the community was involved early on in the process, which makes all the difference in the world. d. Chelsea Market Expansion I voted in favor of the revised project when it came before the City Council. The original plan was scaled down and will create 1,200 local jobs, 150 units of affordable housing, and preserves space for food vendors. 5. Columbia and NYU, among other schools, have launched large expansion projects affecting large swaths of Manhattan. What changes, if any, would you like to see in their plans, and what restrictions, if any, should be put on the ability of schools to acquire and redevelop land? Manhattan’s universities are economic drivers that keep our city at the cutting-edge of academics, innovation, and cultural development. I was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the Cornell-Technion project in my district on Roosevelt Island. They had a choice of where they could go and I wanted them in Manhattan, because this project is a $2 billion investment that will bring 30,000 new jobs and incubate hundreds of new tech start-ups. It’s also been largely uncontroversial, because the surrounding community was involved from the very beginning of the process and I think has had an opportunity to have their concerns and questions listened to and addressed. I think it’s important for institutions like Columbia and NYU who want to expand to view the surrounding community as a partner in the process. 6. Where do you stand on the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station project? Should it move forward? I have been a longstanding opponent of the proposal to reopen the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station for commercial and residential waste. This site is not only situated in the heart of a residential community, but it would cut through Asphalt Green - a park and recreational facility that sees 675,000 visits a year. I voted against this in the City Council and last year became a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit to prevent it from moving forward.

Transparency and Good Government

1. Scott Stringer made transparency and good government signature issues for his administration- what will you do to further increase performance in these areas? I have always been a reform-minded progressive Democrat and believe the drive for greater transparency requires all of us in government to lead by example. That’s why I created a uniform application process for discretionary funding, supported member item reform, and put my budget allocations up online before the City Council did it as an institution. I would continue to bring sunlight and greater transparency to the budget


process and to our community boards by standardizing term limits for board leadership, and having boards livestream their meetings online. You can read my recommendations for community board reform here: http://www.jessicalappin.com/images/FE/chain160siteType6/site112/ client/COMMUNITY%20BOARD%20REFORM%20WHITE%20PAPER.pdf 2. Should New York judges continue to be selected by Democratic Party bosses in each borough? I support moving to a well constructed merit selection system for judges. Ultimately, that’s the best way to ensure we get the highest caliber, and least political, judiciary.


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