Bo’s Views on NYC Issues 2017-10-26T21:36:24+00:00

Bo’s Views on Key NYC Issues That Matter

Bo recognizes the difference between housing homeless families with children, single individuals  without homes, chemically dependent homeless, and homeless with violent criminal records.  Each category of the homeless require specific policy initiatives.


Homeless Families

Bo has a three point plan to address the needs of homeless families:

Bo is deeply saddened by the countless New York City families with young children who are forced to live in cramped hotels without adequate play space or nutritional alternatives. Homeless families in hotels are often forced to rely on take-out and delivery services or fast food because they have no access to kitchens for nutritious meals.  

Under Mayor de Blasio, the cost for these hotels has exploded to $130,000 per day, according to Comptroller Stringer. That works out to a staggering $50 million per year.  Under Mayor de Blasio, the city spends as much as $600 per night (per room) to house homeless families, even though lower cost rooms could be booked through online travel agencies like Hotels.com

First, Bo will assess the inventory of all available NYCHA housing to ensure it is being  allocated efficiently and effectively for as many families as possible.  This will “free-up” under-occupied space so that homeless families can be better served.


Long time single residents who are “empty nesters”, whose children have grown up and moved out, and who are divorced, widowed, or never married but who occupy multi-bedroom apartments, will be offered alternative one-bedroom and/or studio apartments at significantly lower rents.  Those who choose to continue occupying multi-family apartments, as single individuals, will be charged an additional, higher, rent fee.  Those choosing to move will be given up to a year to decide if they want to downsize, and, if they choose to move, will be offered vouchers to cover moving expenses.

Second, Bo will adopt a review policy for residents of NYCHA and low-income housing who are, and have been, “over-income”, and whose incomes have exceeded the rules for more than three years by at least 30% of the maximum allowable income.   Thousands of “over-income” tenants were identified by the 2015 audit of the HUD inspector general.  

The New York Post recently identified a city council candidate who, while originally qualifying for low-income housing due to her work as a staffer for a city councilmember,  had married a well-to-do, entrepreneur husband who owned his own apartment that he rented out.    

People who started in low-wage jobs, either in government or the not-for-profit sector, and who have advanced their careers to much higher wage positions or acquired substantial assets, should not be residing in low-income housing.  

Bo will periodically evaluate low-income housing to ensure that these homes are not used as pied-á-terres or a device to accumulate personal savings by people who can afford to pay market rate rents.  Those homes will be offered to homeless poor families.  

Third,  Bo will move families out of cramped, costly, hotels by repurposing one or more of the large institutional shelters for men to accommodate families, remove them from cramped, costly  hotels, and allow children to have study areas, play space, and wholesome institutional dining.  

Homeless parents need childcare while they work, go to job interviews, or meet social services appointments.  Each repurposed family homeless shelter will provide free or low cost 24 hour childcare.  

The men’s shelter at East 30th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan, for example, will be repurposed as the family shelter it was first intended to be when it was opened.  The men’s shelter would be moved cross-town, to the West Side, near existing social services agencies that cater to single adults.  The location is near transient hotels and other commercial facilities, and was originally proposed by community advocates.

Family -oriented shelters should substantially reduce the need for expensive, cramped, hotels that are not suitable for lengthy stays by families with children.

To the extent hotels may ultimately be required to house homeless families, Bo will work assiduously to ensure that these families spend no more than 90 days in a hotel.  They currently spend more than 400 days in hotels, on average.

Homeless Individuals

Bo will work to engage and house homeless individuals in dormitory-style settings where they can receive Social Services, job training, and placement assistance.

Homeless individuals who are chemical or alcohol dependent or mentally ill will be housed separately in dormitory-style wings where their health issues and disabilities can be treated.   

Every New Yorker has seen unstable, helpless, unmedicated, mentally ill individuals living on the street, often sitting in their own bodily waste, eating rotten food (or worse) from garbage cans and mumbling to themselves. As someone who dealt with such individuals as a detective, Bo has seen the horrific outcomes that await these poor souls first hand and is ready to immediately address the problem.

NYC’s shortage of affordable housing has reached a crisis point. Causes include:

  • The erosion of New Yorkers’ purchasing power in the skyrocketing housing marketplace
  • Wages for the City’s renters have stagnated over the last 20 years, increasing by less than 15%, after adjusting for inflation during the same period, the average monthly rent for an apartment in New York City increased by almost 40%
  • Most New Yorkers now have limited options for housing and have to spend an unacceptably high share of their income just to put a roof over their heads, which means having too little left over for other basic needs
  • High rent-burden affects nearly every income group in every neighborhood across the five boroughs
  • Since 2000, NYC has lost over 400,000 apartments renting for $1,000 a month or less, while the city has sat on over 1,300 vacant properties that could be used to develop affordable housing

Bo’s Answers to increase Affordable Housing:

  • Bo has already tapped into connections with real estate developers in the city and they have begun to formulate a plan to create incentives for affordable housing
  • Create a land bank administered by local religious and non-profit organizations; government created, privately administered land bank responsible for developing city-owned, tax delinquent, or abandoned land into permanent mix of market-rate, work-force & affordable housing across all five boroughs;
  • Religious & non-profit oversight insure NYC communities benefit; not real estate
    developers;
  • New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer issued a report in February 2016 indicating that there are over 1,700 city-owned or persistently tax-delinquent development sites that could be developed into over 57,000 units of workforce or affordable housing.  This land is currently sitting vacant.
  • Incentivize private developers by alleviating unnecessary statutory limits on development
  • Utilizing tax incentives and zero-coupon bond funds
  • Maintain and build upon the existing incentives in place for affordable housing
  • More construction work directed to the Woman and Minority Owned Business Enterprise, not only as sub-contractors, but as general contractors as well. Too much work is going to a mere handful of large developers

Bo’s education agenda will adhere to a single principle: “One City, One Standard: EXCELLENCE!”

Bo sees education as critical to the societal infrastructure and quality of life of New York City. As the father of a public school teacher who never had the opportunity to attend college, but who believes it is critical to allow individuals to fulfill their highest personal potential, Bo will hold public schools to the same high standards that are imposed upon successful charter schools. Failing performance will simply not be tolerated in New York City schools and those schools that fail will be closed, the same as if they were failed charter schools.

City schools will adopt a uniform basic curriculum administered on the same basis as so that students in Bedford Stuyvesant, the Upper West Side, and Staten Island are all given the same lesson plans covering the same material within a week or two.

That said, as that father of New York City public school teacher, Bo understands and respects the talents of professional educators to enhance the standard curriculum.  Bo will maintain the quality of the city’s premier specialized high schools to continue their curriculum beyond the sound basic education that a New York City high school diploma should represent.

Bo will organize and fund free tutorials for children whose teachers and principals recommend them to attend the city’s elite city high schools, like Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Brooklyn Tech and Staten Island Tech to ensure that these elite schools maintain their high standards while expanding their ethnic and racial diversity. 

Compstat for Schools

Under de Blasio, parents, and particularly poor parents, learn that their child or school is failing or not meeting standards only after a semester or even an entire school year, after the child has failed.


Bo’s vision is to create a school data model that will allow principals, district superintendents, and Board of Education executives to drill down to the classroom and student level to measure performance of students on a weekly, monthly, and semester basis.   

If there is a failure, either in individual schools, individual classrooms, or by individual instructors, Bo would have the DOE assign additional assistance for teacher training or other assistance.  

The data set would include details of individual children, including parents’ education level, home environment, language spoken at home, and eligibility for public assistance.  These details will ensure that those children whose parents are incapable of assisting with things like homework, special school projects or tests, are assigned additional help from tutors, reading instructors, or such other assistance as may be necessary throughout the year so that they have the opportunity to achieve their ultimate personal potential.

Parental Involvement

Bo would allow parents whose schedules do not permit them to attend teachers nights to, instead, meet with teachers on a weekend alternative day to “teachers’ night”,  or via teleconference (by telephone, smart phone or computer).  

He would also enlist interpreters for children whose parents may not have a strong command of English to assist in parent/teacher conferences upon prior request of the parent.

Finally, Bo would insist that all New York City Public Schools have a standard, written, policy to remove children whose behavioral, intellectual, or emotional issues inhibit the education of their classmates. These children would be assigned to special education classrooms where teachers who are specially trained to deal with such students can ensure that they can receive the best sound, basic, education as other children they can.

  • Many city agencies are failing under de Blasio’s leadership, but the problems currently facing ACS are critical
  • The ACS has been plagued with mismanagement and is seriously understaffed, and our current administration is only making more cuts
  • de Blasio appointed the current head of ACS, whose gross incompetence cost the lives of so many children that she is being forced to resign. Most troubling, she is now in charge of choosing her successor
  • The victims in these cases are the most innocent among us and deserve the most protection

Bo’s Answers to improve the ACS:

  • Immediately assign or create an NYPD officer unit to assist investigators in handling these cases
  • Work with current ACS staff to complete revamping of the ACS, its management structure and leadership
  • Offer adequate staffing and streamlining of caseloads for efficiency
  • Implement technologies to upgrade ACS’ efficiency and ability to facilitate its caseload

I want to improve the mismanaged and neglected A.C.S by assigning NYPD officers to assist in investigators on cases. Also I believe that as mayor, I could waive retired officers pension rules, so after retiring from the NYPD, they can get jobs at the A.C.S. (The same as we do with our Five Borough District Attorney Squads with retired NYPD cops). These cops can carry their weapons and feel safe when investigating abuses of children in high crime areas. My main initiative is to build a relationship of mutual respect between inner city areas and the NYPD.

  • While the mayor and the governor point fingers at each other over the transit crisis, both are denying what really needs to be done. Bo has a three-point plan to address the current crisis and ensure the operational integrity of the subways and other mass transit until the end of this century:

    1. Freeze expansion and capital spending until the subways are at least 95% reliable.  
    Unless and until the MTA can ensure that it can manage its current operations with a 95% on-time record on all lines in normal operations (i.e, excluding delays due to police, EMT, or suspected terrorist activity), over a three-month period, and certifies that level of success to the mayor and the governor, Bo would support a freeze on all new capital investment on new lines and, instead, devote the capital and managerial resources to ensure consistent, efficient, operations of existing lines, such as railbed repairs and a new, modern, more technologically reliable signal system.


    2. Create a dedicated, secure, and growing funding source to ensure ongoing maintenance.
    Subways are costly to operate, maintain, and repair.  It’s disingenuous to tell New Yorkers that money will magically appear or to bond ongoing operational expenses.  Real leadership, like Bo’s, puts the cards on the table and tells people what needs to be done, like properly funding our subway operations, repairs, and maintenance.    

    There are several alternative funding sources that should be considered by the city council and the state legislature, separately or together, to ensure a viable, continuing, and dedicated funding source for NYC transit.

    Among other things, Bo would consider:

    • Applying the city sales tax to financial, professional, management and security services rendered to New York City residents or businesses where gross billings can reasonably be expected to exceed, $1,000,000 in any calendar year.    Thus, architectural services, accounting services, legal services, security services and financial services, where the fees exceed one million dollars, would be taxed at 4.5%.  Bo would also lobby the New York State Legislature to impose the state portion or some of the state portion of the sales tax, at 4%, to similar services rendered to residents and businesses in the Metropolitan Transportation District (i.e., New York (Manhattan), Bronx, Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Rockland, Nassau, Suffolk, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, and Westchester.)  All of the funds would be dedicated entirely to transit operations, maintenance, and repair.

    2. Imposing an additional non-resident owner tax on property owned by non-residents.  

    A “pied-á-terre” tax would be imposed to compensate New York for the costs of fire and police protection, as well as sanitation that New York City residents pay already through their income tax.

    Restore the Commuter Transportation Tax at 25% of the tax rate paid by NYC Residents.

    Nearly everyone who works in New York City avails themselves of our public transit system, our police and fire protection, and our waste removal services. Nonresidents’ interests are served as much as residents.  Therefore, it is not at all unreasonable to assess them tax at a lower rate than residents on their earnings from the city.  
     

    3. Fund all further expansions of the NYC subway with 100-year callable “green” revenue bonds.

    While uncommon, several states, municipalities, and companies have issued 100-year debentures. The market for so-called “green” bonds, that appeal to socially conscious investors and mutual funds, is estimated to be in excess of $30 billion and remains largely untapped.  

    New Yorks “green” bonds, dedicated entirely to capital investment in tunnels, rails, stations and signals for new lines, would fit well within the parameters required for environmentally friendly “green” bonds, which are mostly used to finance water and transportation infrastructure.  

    Fares collected from the newly built stations would be dedicated 100% to the bonds’ interest and principal repayment, while day-to-day operations would be financed as part of the MTA operating budget.  The funds collected could be used to retire portions of the bonds to ensure the debt is repaid as promptly as possible and further revenues can be added to the NYC MTA operating budget.   

    As an example, the newly built portion of the Second Avenue subway has about 175,000 riders per day.  Assuming all those riders pay the full fare, and excluding payments of interest, the $4.5 billion cost of the line could be paid off is in less than 30 years, at current fares.

    While interest payments on the 100-year “green” bonds, is slightly higher than shorter term bonds, the 100-year tenor allows future mayors the most flexibility (i.e., to pay off the bond, to refinance it, or to let it reach maturity.) Moreover, given that green bonds are environmentally friendly, a future Congress might provide even greater tax incentives (e.g., a tax credit) to holders.

In a recent survey conducted by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the NYPD it was found:

  • The level of morale among New York City police officers ranked 2.49 out of 10
  • 87% of members said NYC has become “less safe” in the past two years and the majority, 55%, say it is “a lot less safe”
  • 96% of members feel the relationship between the NYPD and the public has worsened in recent years, with 70% saying it has “greatly worsened”
  • 96% of members agree that suspects are now more likely to actively resist arrest
  • 91% of members agree that graffiti, public urination, panhandlers, and other signs of disorder are growing more prevalent
  • These deteriorating conditions have led to more than 89% of members being willing to leave the NYPD for another job with better pay, either elsewhere in law enforcement or within the City, and 85% would leave the New York City area if offered better pay
  • More than 86% of members are less likely to recommend the NYPD as a career to relatives and children than compared to years past
  • Additionally, the majority of members felt they lacked equipment and training they need and they feel the NYPD is understaffed.

Bo’s Answers to improve the NYPD:

  • Implement continuous physical fitness requirements and training of non-lethal force arrests
  • Reevaluate the use of body cams
  • Waive the college requirement that is currently needed to join the force. Make it easier for kids from low income communities to join the NYPD by waiving the college requirement and allowing them to earn their degree within a 5 year period while working on the force. This gets kids off the street and creates a more diverse police force that will understand troubles of the people they are policing
  • Improve the morale of the NYPD. Police are highly underpaid and need more than the current deal mayor is offering
  • Implement programs to help bridge the divide between the community and the NYPD. Open up high schools and gyms so kids can go there after school to interact with police casually and develop mutual respect for each other. Police can act as mentors and introduce the importance of vocational training
  • Despite significant improvements over the last decade, air pollution in New York City is still a significant environmental threat
  • Air pollution poses serious health risks for city dwellers, including heart disease, lung cancer and asthma
  • The city recently estimated that up to 2,700 premature deaths a year could be attributed to fine particulate matter and ozone in the air—more than eight times the number of murders that took place in 2013
  • NYC facilitates the highest mass transit use in the United States, which also concentrates pollution
  • In September 2012, New York was named the #1 “America’s Dirtiest City,” by a Travel+Leisure readership survey that rated the environmental quality of 35 prominent cities in the United States
  • Concentrated pollution in NYC leads to high incidence of asthma and other respiratory conditions among the City’s residents

Bo’s Answers to Cleaning Up NYC:

  • Convert all taxis and buses to electric energy
  • Implement a tax on plastic bags
  • Tax incentives for businesses that use renewable energy
  • Implement programs to inform New Yorkers what they can do to combat pollution
  • Work with leaders in energy and pollution control to create oversight and sustainable plans to combat congestion
  • Increase the minimum wage to create economic prosperity
  • Provide MTA subsidies to full-time employed New Yorkers making less than 20k per year
  • Offer tax incentives for Wall Street and private business participation in a super fund to privatize college tuition grants to New Yorkers making under $100,000. Students will graduate with less debt therefore they will be able to enter the workforce and start contributing to our economy
  • Introduce more vocational schools. People will learn practical skills to actually succeed in work force. Pay members of the NYPD to introduce the importance of vocational training to the youth they interact with. This solution is twofold in that it provides beneficial direction to our youth while also helping with the problem of not enough overtime for our NYPD
  • Create better health care, support programs and general assistance for our veterans; we owe them!
  • Get more minority involvement with Unions. Unions are very important for guaranteeing safe working conditions. There have been 4 non-union worker deaths in the last two weeks. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA regulations are so important and make sure workers know they are protected
  • Develop programs to employ those in need of a job to clean and improve our City
  • Reevaluate current infrastructure to get traffic running more efficiently

Bo is of the view that management of the city has suffered considerably under Bill de Blasio. Bo will undertake several initiatives to ensure the city runs better, with a view toward making New York City a model of efficient, timely, cost-effective municipal management.

 

Zero Based Budgeting

By the completion of his first term, Bo will ensure that each city department has undergone a review to ensure that their mission is being completed efficiently, completely, at the least cost, and is not duplicative of another mission.   The process will be completed again when Bo is re-elected and will be implemented as a routine budget matter thereafter.

The review will assess the mission performed by each department, and across departments, determine who the stakeholders are for that mission and why that mission is required or important to them.   

The exercise, which will be completed approximately once every three years, is intended to eliminate redundancies, discover opportunities to consolidate services and functions, and to eliminate “deadwood” from city programs that are no longer (or never were) required.  

From there, stakeholders and managers will be charged with determining the best, least costly, and most efficient means by which the necessary missions can be completely fulfilled.  This will include a review of the departments vendor files, contracts, and other purchasing and services functions to ensure they are appropriate, that they are not available at a lower cost, whether they are done better by city employees or by contractors, whether they are better fulfilled by a different city department, etc..

The overarching, principal, objective will be to ensure that mission-critical functions of each department are achieved timely, efficiently, completely and correctly. It will not be to “cut spending”, though that is a likely outcome.  Ultimately, the ZBB review may result in a reduction of a departmental budget, no change to a departmental budget, or an increase in a departmental budget.

The Looming Dual Fiscal Crisis

Mayor de Blasio cites record budget reserves as his idea of “good management.”   But record reserves are simply a “rainy day” fund so that the city can keep spending in an economic downturn.  Reserves mean the city has taxed it’s residents too much and is holding on to the money.

New York City is facing a fiscal crisis from two huge looming liabilities, neither of which the mayor has even begun to address: pensions and infrastructure.  It’s not clear de Blasio even knows of these shortcomings

But Bo knows and wants to address them, not patch over them with slip-shod accounting.

As a successful businessman and entrepreneur, Bo has faced down fiscal challenges in his own business.  He’ll take steps to avert the kind of fiscal crisis the city faced in the 1970’s.

First, the New York City public employees’ pensions are significantly underfunded. Virtually all of them are below the 70% funding level that most municipal bond rating authorities use as their a threshold to define a viable pension plan.  

Moreover, the pension plans assume an unrealistic 7% compounded annual growth rate which would embarrass even Bernie Madoff.  Consequently, significant portions of the pension bond funds, ostensibly the safest element of the city pension investment portfolio, are invested in bonds rated BBB, just one step above “junk”.  (One of the bond raters gave the bonds of Argentina a BBB rating, to give you an idea of their risk.)

Second, the city’s municipal infrastructure –  highways, streets, pipelines, pumping stations and the like –  are stressed and old,  in some cases over 120 years old. The Lexington Avenue subway line, among the most heavily burdened in the city, is nearly 115 years old.  

Bo would address both elements of these looming fiscal catastrophes by first measuring the city’s estimated future costs.   

First, he would insist that the comptroller produce a supplemental actuarial report that shows a far more realistic compounded annual growth rate (around 3.5% to 4%) for pension assets to get a more realistic assessment of the city’s unfunded pension liability.  He would also use the mayor’s “bully pulpit” to insist that the safest portion of pension bond funds be invested in bonds rated AA or higher to reduce risk to principal

Second, Bo would have the Department of Environmental Conservation, Con Edison, the Water Board, the MTA and other overseers of city infrastructure engage engineers and financiers to assess the current value of the future costs that will be necessary to maintain, repair, or replace city infrastructure for the next 50 years.  

Once the costs are assessed, Bo would work with stakeholders, the state and the federal government to determine means to fund the future liabilities.  

Mayor de Blasio works for the elites, not for common man. He spent $19 million on 260 special assistants of which many of them are leaders of unions who endorsed him. In exchange, he protects these groups at the expense of the City and gives them jobs, contracts, perks and special access.  Approximately $11.6 million of the City’s money has gone to paying for his lawyers in defending the 6 Pay-for-play investigations surrounding his mayoral campaign in 2013. This is NYC’s money which should be used for housing, schools, our Veterans, etc. Rest assured You Cannot Corrupt Bo.  Bo will expose and clean up the corruption.  Bo wants the support of rank and file workers, not labor leaders.  Bo represents all people of New York City – Democrats, Republicans, Independents, the hard working common men and women.

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