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Name of Council Member: Donovan Richards Name and Title of Person Completing Questionnaire: Franck D. Joseph

Name of Council Member: Donovan Richards

Name and Title of Person Completing Questionnaire: Franck D. Joseph II; Community Liaison

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  • 1. Many in the United States think of international affairs when they think of human rights. Our work

emphasizes the applicability of the human rights framework here in the United States. Please share your thoughts on the domestic applicability of human rights, and discuss why human rights are important to you in the context of New York City and the City Council.

Human rights should be viewed in a framework that includes New York City because often times we focus on global issues, and thought they are important, there are certain conditions here at home that we must address as well. I believe government should try to assist those in need and help create a high quality level of live; I also strongly believe that this should not only apply for situations we see overseas but also similar conditions here as well.

  • 2. Please share briefly how you have used your role in Council to advance human rights.

During the first weeks of my tenure in City Council, I fought diligently for paid sick leave. To me this is a basic human right. I remember stories of persons who were affected by Hurricane Sandy, yet had to leave their families behind because they were not able to take the day off. I also heard stories of persons who were sick or had a child that was sick, but they had to make a business decision due to the fact that a day off meant no groceries for the week. This should not be the case in the best city in the United States, so that is why I have been an advocate in favor of paid sick leave.

  • 3. Legislative priorities:

Please list your top 3 legislative priorities for 2013.

  • 1. Paid sick leave

  • 2. The NYPD Inspector General Bill

  • 3. Living wages for New Yorkers

  • 4. What will be your top 3 legislative priorities as a Council Member in the upcoming legislative session?

    • 1. Legislation that will help track Hurricane Sandy funds, thus creating a transparent form of government.

  • 3. Legislation on zoning as it pertains to Department of Transportation and the federal mandate which they must follow.

  • 4. Budget priorities:

Please list your top three budget priorities of 2013.

  • 1. Job creation

  • 2. Increasing wages for New Yorkers

  • 3. Improving the Citys library service

  • 4. What will your top 3 budget priorities be as a Council member in the upcoming legislative session?

    • 1. Additional funding to our schools, to increase technologies and update the academic books.

    • 2. Additional funding to our libraries so that we can better the services given to our communities. I would also like to expand the libraries in my district.

    • 3. Look for opportunities which include job creation for New Yorkers.

  • 5. Have you used participatory budgeting to allocate your discretionary funds? Why or why not?

  • Yes, I have used participatory budgeting to allocate my discretionary funds. The reason is simply because I believe taxpayers should have a voice in how their monies are distributed and used.

    • 6. Please provide examples of recent legislation in Council that you believe promotes human rights.

    Recent legislation in the Council which I believe promotes human rights is the paid sick leave bill. It ensures that people no longer have to decide between restoration and a paycheck. Paid sick leave is not only a human right, but also a public health issue.

    • 7. Legislation is only one of many ways in which Council Members can work to advance human rights. What

    ways other than through legislation will you advance the human rights of New Yorkers as a City Council Member?

    The best way to advance human rights other than through legislation is by way of ones lifestyle. The way that you treat a person, whether it is family, co-workers, friends, neighbors, or strangers, all show the value which you place on human life. That is what human rights are about, the way which you believe all human beings should be treated.

    • 8. Some advocates contend that the position of the Council Speaker has too much power over the

    progression of legislation. Please use this space to respond to that critique.

    I believe that the Council Speaker should be open to hearing what legislation each Council Member believes their constituents feel is important to them. As a body, the Council is here to serve the entire New York City, and an effective Council Speaker will respect the right for legislation to be heard.