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2013 NYC Public Advocate Questionnaire

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

Instructions: Gothamist plans to interview all candidates for citywide office in 2013. This survey will give us and our readers an overview of each candidates 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 candidates 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

1. Why should young people in NYC vote for you for Public Advocate instead of the other
candidates? I am running to make the Public Advocates office a driver of services for the underserved, creating new opportunities for all New Yorkers and providing a voice for communities who have been left out of City Hall. As Public Advocate, I will work day and night to create new job opportunities, a quality education system in all of our neighborhoods, expanded affordable housing, and the empowerment of women. I have a proven track record in creating economic opportunities in all five boroughs for New Yorkers, particularly young New Yorkers. As Deputy Public Advocate, I created the DREAM Fellowship program to provide undocumented youth in New York City the means to attend college and launched the Urban Entrepreneurship Summit Series with the White House, which has developed new coalitions and relationships among young entrepreneurs. I am also the founder and executive director of Girls Who Code, an organization that empowers young women, many of whom are minorities and will be the first in their families to attend college, to close the technology gender gap and join the high-wage technology industry. I will build on my proven background of expanding opportunity and delivering real results for all of our residents as Public Advocate.

2. How would you distinguish your future office from the present one run by Bill De Blasio?
Having served as the Deputy Public Advocate, I know how to use the office to drive change and create better opportunities for all New Yorkers. As Public Advocate, I will build on Bill de Blasios work, with a specific focus of turning advocacy to action and delivering measurable results. On affordable housing, immigrant entrepreneurs, and helping undocumented youth attend college, I have specific plans for expanding the impact of the office, while continuing to be an ally and advocate for communities that do have a voice in city government to play a greater role in achieving systematic change in the city. I will build on my record on creating new initiatives that serve the needs of New Yorkers, and expand innovation throughout our city. Personal Questions

1. Do you rent or own your home? 2. Do you have a pet?

My husband and I live in a home he had purchased before we were married.

Yes, I have the cutest puppy in the world. His name is Stanley, and he tweets at https://

3. If you have children, do/did/will they attend public schools?

My husband and I currently do not have children, but when we do have do have children, they will attend public schools.

4. Have you ever been the victim of a crime?

Yes. I was a victim of a hate crime when I was young. Safety

1. What changes would you like to see in the NYPD's stop and frisk policies?
I support ending Stop and Frisk as it is currently practiced. The NYPDs current Stop and Frisk practice is misguided, racist and wrong. I believe it is an ongoing civil rights violation that is not only unjust, but also harms police community relations and undermines public safety. When I am Public Advocate, I will not only support comprehensive legislation to end the abuse of this practice, but will use the powers of my office to shine a light and agitate around all civil rights violations in this city.

2. Do you support the decriminalization or legalization of marijuana in New York City?

I support regulated medical marijuana distribution and usage in New York State. I also support decriminalizing the possession of marijuana to ensure that individuals do not face punitive measures, including imprisonment, for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

3. Do you support an independent inspector general for the NYPD?

Yes, I support an independent inspector general for the NYPD.

4. Would you lobby to change the way the NYPD handles protests in the city, including the
present "free speech zones"? Yes. For example, I believe that the NYPD should have handled its interactions with the OWS movement much more differently than what occurred. Protesters felt needlessly harassed for exercising their constitutional rights, and I believe the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg should have taken a more active role in trying to partner with protestors to address community and public safety concerns. As Public Advocate, I will work to bridge the gap between protestors and the NYPD to find better solutions that both uphold constitutional rights and legitimate public safety concerns.

5. Do you favor an increase in funding for the Accident Investigation Squad, and directing AIS to
investigate all accidents which include a serious injury (rather than just deaths)? Yes. I believe we need significant reforms in how the NYPD handles traffic accidents. We need more transparency about NYPD processes and much better enforcement of current traffic laws.

6. Should people be allowed to drink alcohol on their own stoops? What about in public parks?
Yes, I believe individuals should be able to responsibly drink alcohol on their private stoops. I do not support public consumption of alcohol in public parks, which I believe should remain familyfriendly public spaces. Transportation, Bikes and Bike Lanes

1. How often do you ride a bike?

I ride bikes recreationally around New York City, and it is one of my favorite summertime activities.

2. How will you change Mayor Bloomberg's bike lane policy?

I do not support changes to Mayor Bloombergs bike lane policies.

3. How often do you ride NYC subways and buses?

I use NYC public transportation daily.

4. Should livery cabs be allowed to pick up street hails in the outer boroughs?
Yes. I support reforms to allow regulated outer-borough street hails of livery cabs.

5. Do you support congestion pricing?

I support the idea of doing everything we can to reduce traffic congestion in our citys most congested areas. However, this must be part of a broader discussion of long-term infrastructure planning that also provides increased mass transit for underserved communities. Simply adding congestion pricing fees while leaving residents and businesses in many parts of our city with no alternative option but to drive is unfair and counterproductive.

6. Should the new Staten Island ferries be required to have outdoor decks?

7. Do you favor adding platform gates on New York City subways?

I believe we need to improve the safety of the NYC subways. I support exploring all options, including detection systems for individuals on tracks and platform gates. Health

1. Will you support the change or repeal any of the following Bloomberg administration policies? a) Salt ban: No. b) Soda size limits: No. c) Smoking in public parks: No.
d) Restaurant letter grades: I support restaurant letter grades in concept, but believe we need to be examining the process by which restaurant grades are issued to ensure transparency for restaurant owners and the public alike and to ensure there is an appeals system that is fair to owners and does not disrupt public safety concerns.

e) Styrofoam ban: No.

Disaster Preparedness

1. Should residents be allowed to rebuild their homes in flood-prone areas like The Rockaways?
Yes. I believe we need to find a balance between protecting public safety and restoring our neighborhoods that are vital to the identity of our city. I believe we need to determine where it is safe to rebuild and in what manner rebuilding should occur to ensure durability and safety for generations to come. There may be specific locations where rebuilding will not make sense from safety perspective, and there should be a robust discussion with the public and experts about what steps to take in those areas.

2. What specific measures should the City take to prevent widespread destruction from Sandy-

level storms? The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy continues to place undue burdens on too many of our families, businesses and communities. In the days following Hurricane Sandy, I organized hundreds of activists and everyday New Yorkers to provide relief in the Rockaways and I launched StartUp New York to provide small businesses with recovery resources. Without a doubt, more needs to be done. I will work to ensure that the voices of community members are heard not only in City Hall, but also in Albany and Washington. I will also help bring new partners into the rebuilding conversation to ensure that we are rebuilding in a smarter and more innovative way. A central part of the smarter rebuilding effort must be addressing both New Yorks role in global climate change and the effects global climate change will have on New York. We should explore the innovative projects being implemented across the world, and not just enter into a contracting process that repeats more short-term thinking. I look forward to helping lead that effort to engage new voices as Public Advocate. Development

1. Do you support a ban or limit on chain stores in New York City?

A complete ban on chain stores would be unworkable and economically unwise, but I believe we should require businesses, especially certain big box sores, to adhere to policies that protect workers and worker rights if they are going to locate here; and I believe that we can provide substantially more assistance to locally-owned small businesses to help them more effectively compete with chains.

2. Do you support Walmart building stores in the City?


3. Do you support NYCHA's recently announced plans to build market rate apartments on public
housing parking lots and playgrounds? No. I believe the plan as presented will disrupt vital community resources for NYCHA and other area residents, and should be reconsidered.

4. Do you support tax breaks to keep corporations in NYC? What about for movies being filmed
in NYC? I support limited tax incentives for economic growth in this city that are specifically tied to job creation, transparency standards and public benefits.

5. Do you support the "public-private" model of park development used under the Bloomberg
administration? Yes.

6. How would you lobby to modify the Bloomberg administration's waterfront development policy?
I believe further waterfront development must be done in accordance with expert consultation about the long-term effects of global climate change on the city and with greater input of community members to ensure clear public benefits, including affordable housing, living wages and local hiring requirements, and community spaces. I believe we cannot continue to rush to build without having a more deliberative process on each of these concerns. Education

1. How can the city reduce the number of teachers in "rubber rooms"?

I believe that we need to conduct more front-end screening of teacher candidates, particularly to determine prior acts of sexual misconduct. In addition, we need ensure that our current due process system for teachers is subject to reasonable inquiry and judgment timeframes.

2. Do you support schools distributing "morning after pills" without parental consent?

3. How would you lobby to change the present administration's Charter School policies?
I support a moratorium on school closing and co-location decisions until we have greater community and parent input in the process. I support public charter schools as part of our public school system, and believe they should be held to the same standards as public schools. Miscellaneous

1. Do you support or oppose term limits for NYC politicians?

I support term limits of two terms for NYC politicians.

2. Should short-term vacation rental services like AirBnB be legalized in New York City?
I believe we should re-examine city laws to both promote innovation and address legitimate public safety concerns. I am concerned that our current system and enforcement of laws does not adequately address either concern. 3. How would you increase transparency in New York City government for citizens and the press? I believe the Public Advocate should play a central role in both empowering underrepresented communities into city decision-making processes and improving transparency across city functions. As the Chair of the Commission on Public Information & Communication, I will work with technology entrepreneurs and government reform experts to develop new approaches for distributing city data in an accessible manner. I will also build on the efforts of the current Public Advocate to open up the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) response process across city agencies. I will also fully utilize the City Charter power of the Public Advocate to sue for access to important public documents that have been improperly hidden from public view.

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