Meet the Candidates for City Council Speaker
Produced in partnership with City & State.
Robert Cornegy, District 36
Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. is the New York City Council Member for the 36th District, representing the vibrant communities of Bedford Stuyvesant and northern Crown Heights. He has spent his career in public service, fighting for policies and services that are vital to the lives of the residents of Central Brooklyn. Robert is the son of the late Reverend Dr. Robert E. Cornegy, Sr., pastor of Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Bedford Stuyvesant. He learned from his parents at an early age that a community is only as strong as its members.
As the current District Leader of Brooklyn’s 56th Assembly District and former Co-chair of the Committee on Health and Social Services for Community Board 3, Robert demonstrates the importance of community service. A longtime advocate for healthcare, Robert has been at the forefront of the efforts to retain the vital healthcare services provided by Interfaith Medical Center. His years of public service are based around his unwavering advocacy and belief in converting promise into channels to unite and empower. He has also championed small businesses, and addressed the health and well-being of seniors and public safety for all district residents.
Before his career in public service, he attended St John’s University, where he played backup center for the historic 1984-85 Final Four team. He then went on to play for the University of Alabama in Birmingham, AL, on full scholarship, after which he was drafted by The NBA. For ten seasons after leaving the NBA, he played professional basketball overseas and honed his own personal value system of discipline, inclusion, and teamwork across cultural lines while playing in countries including Israel and Turkey.
Robert returned to the United States and went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Organizational Management. After observing the effects of drugs on his community, he became a credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) and opened a successful residential treatment center for chemically-dependent men. His work leading this service agency propelled him further into a community organizing role. He served on several boards and task forces ensuring that numerous area projects benefiting the diverse population were funded.
Prior to being elected, Robert worked as a legislative policy analyst for the New York City Council serving the Aging and Veterans committees in the Human Services Division. He wrote and developed progressive legislative proposals and served as part of the Gun Violence Task Force. This Task Force’s report recommended a shooting incident crisis management system for five New York City neighborhoods. The report also called for working with young people who are most at risk of being involved in gun violence – and giving them the support they need. Council Member Cornegy has also served as an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Brooklyn College.
In the City Council, Council Member Cornegy serves as the Chair of the Committee on Small Business and a member of the Committees on Civil Service & Labor, Finance, Health, Housing; Buildings, and Public Safety. He is also co-Chair of the Council’s Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus (BLAC).
In his time on the Council, Council Member Cornegy has demonstrated his legislative acumen by successfully substantive bills that have positively impacted the lives of countless New Yorkers. Some of his legislative accomplishment include ‘Avonte’s Law’ (2014), which required the Department of Education to install audible alarms on exit doors at all elementary schools and District 75 schools; Local Law 77 (2016), which created a first-of- its-kind private cause of action for commercial tenants to protect against harassment by landlords; Local Law 94 (2016), which required certain City buildings to provide private, sanitary lactation rooms for nursing mothers; and Local Law 121 (2017) which requires the DOE to distribute information regarding Gifted and Talented programs and exam to all parents with a child enrolled in a DOE-administered universal pre-Kindergarten program.
Council Member Cornegy lives in Bedford Stuyvesant with his wife, Michelle. They are the proud parents of six children.
Corey Johnson, District 3
Corey Johnson was raised in a union household where his mother, a homeless services provider, and his father, a Teamster, instilled in him the values of community service and political engagement. He came to national attention in 1999 when, as the captain of his high school football team, he took the courageous step of coming out publicly as gay. Corey’s actions landed him on the front page of the New York Times and he began telling his story to audiences of young people across the country.
Since being elected to represent Council District 3 in 2013, Corey has earned a reputation as a tenacious advocate for his constituents and a prolific legislator at City Hall. He has passed 29 pieces of legislation, focusing on strengthening tenant rights, cracking down on labor abuses, safeguarding transgender rights, and more.
Corey has been able to forge consensus on tough issues to achieve long-sought goals in Council District 3. He won the creation of a new public park in Chelsea and negotiated a landmark land-use agreement to save Hudson River Park’s Pier 40 and its athletic fields, while creating nearly 500 units of affordable housing and a new South Village Historic District.
Corey is Chair of the Council’s Committee on Health, a member of the LGBT Caucus and Co-Chair of the Manhattan Delegation.
Mark Levine, District 7
New York City Council Member Mark Levine represents the 7th District in Upper Manhattan. Serving as the Chair of Council Committee on Parks and Recreation and as a member of the Progressive Caucus, he is a leader on many issues including housing, education, economic justice, transportation, the environment, and more.
Council Member Levine has been a lifelong advocate for addressing inequality in New York City. Earlier this year he declared victory in his fight to get legal representation for all tenants facing eviction in housing court by passing his historic “Right to Counsel” legislation, the first of its kind in the nation. As Parks Chair he has successfully fought for greater equity for parks in New York’s low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
Mark speaks three languages, including Spanish and Hebrew, and began his career as a bilingual math and science teacher in the South Bronx. He also went on to found the Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union which has provided over $25 million in loans to low-income New Yorkers in Upper Manhattan.
Mark is a long time Washington Heights resident with his wife, Ivelisse and their two sons, Alejandro and Daniel.
Donovan Richards, District 31
Council Member Donovan Richards Jr., a lifelong resident of Southeast Queens and the Rockaways, was elected to the New York City Council in March 2013. Richards was inspired to go into politics after he lost a childhood friend to gun violence at the age of 18. He worked his way up from an unpaid intern to Chief of Staff in his local City Council office.
Once elected, Richards was appointed to be the chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, which allowed him to address the decades-old systemic issue of flooding in Southeast Queens. As the first Black Council Member to chair the committee, Richards secured more than $1.7 billion to help fill the enormous sewer infrastructure hole in Southeast Queens. He co-chaired the Mayor’s One NYC plan as the only council member tapped to help coordinate the multi-agency citywide plan. He also passed the first update to the city’s Air Code in 40 years, contributing to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.
As he entered the second half of his term, Richards was appointed to be the chair of the Land Use Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises. While Richards vowed to remain a champion for environmental justice, the subcommittee was an opportunity to be at the center of Mayor de Blasio’s push for affordable housing across the City. On the day of the announcement of the new chairmanship, Politico New York said that “after only a year-and- a-half as chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection, Donovan Richards established something of a legacy.”
At his first committee meeting as chair, Richards proudly passed a text amendment to simplify and expedite the process of lifting and rebuilding homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy in the Rockaways, Southeast Queens, South Brooklyn and Staten Island. The Mayor’s Office on Recovery and Resiliency expects this amendment to help around 2,000 families rebuild their homes. As the chair of Zoning and Franchises, Richards works to ensure that the character of neighborhoods are preserved during the process while boosting density to create much-needed affordable housing, and invigorate the economies of local communities.
In March 2016, he negotiated a stronger, more inclusive affordable housing plan (MIH/ZQA) and made history when the Council passed the most aggressive affordable housing policy in the nation. Since its passage, Richards worked to usher in rezonings in East Midtown and East New York, and has secured $288 million in investments for his own local rezoning in Far Rockaway. Richards is also a member of the Committees on Economic Development; Environmental Protection; Land Use; Public Housing; Recovery and Resiliency; and Transportation. He sits on the Council’s Budget Negotiating Team and serves as a
Board member for the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, Habitat for Humanity and has a seat on NYCHA’s Smoking and Health Advisory Committee.
While Richards continues to work towards improving the lives of all New Yorkers, he maintains an emphasis on serving the local constituents in District 31 to ensure that the communities of Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens and Far Rockaway receive the resources they deserve. Richards lives in Rosedale with his wife, Tameeka, and two-year- old son, Donovan.
Ydanis Rodriguez, District 10
Ydanis Rodriguez was elected in 2009. His passion for social justice spans 40 years. After immigrating in 1983, he became involved in the student movement successfully fighting against tuition increases and budget cuts. Ydanis received a Masters in Bi-lingual education from CCNY. An educator for thirteen years, Ydanis co-founded Gregorio Luperon HS and Washington Heights Health Academy.
As a leading voice at the Council he has brought change in transportation, education, economic development, housing, police reform, healthcare, and environmental policy, ensuring low-income familieshave an equitable path to the middle class. He advocated for workforce development in underrepresented communities through increased subsidies for public and private partnerships. Ydanis has spearheaded forty-six bills in his tenure.
As Chairman of the Transportation Committee, he has passed sixteen bills improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists. He leads the charge for Fair Fares to make public transit affordable and started Car Free Day NYC. In 2015, he presented a plan to help MTA raise revenue and make our transit system safer and efficient. His proudest accomplishment is being a devoted father to his daughters. Ydanis envisions a New York City where all children can reach their potential, a New York City for all.
Ritchie Torres, District 15
Council Member Ritchie Torres was first elected in November 2013 and re-elected in November 2017 to represent the 15th Council District in the Central Bronx. He is a Deputy Leader of the City Council, making him the only Freshman Council Member to hold a leadership position. As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Public Housing, Council Member Torres oversees the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) which is the largest provider of affordable housing in the country. He has introduced and enacted legislation on a wide range of issues including expanding job opportunities for public housing residents; protecting the City’s affordable housing stock; improving mental health resources for the LGBT community; and establishing work standards for industrial laundromats. Council Member Torres is a leading voice on issues related to affordable and public housing, police reform, school integration and youth civic engagement.
Council Member Torres became active in politics at an early age, first as a fellow in the inaugural class of the Coro NY Exploring Leadership Program, and then going on to work as the Housing Director for Council Member Jimmy Vacca before running for office in 2013. The youngest member of the City Council, Council Member Torres is a rising star in City politics and has been profiled by numerous media outlets including New Yorker Magazine, New York Times, Newsweek, Observer, Daily News and others.
Jimmy Van Bramer, District 26
A life-long New Yorker, Jimmy Van Bramer was elected to the New York City Council on November 3, 2009. He was overwhelmingly re-elected to his third, four-year term on November 7, 2017.
On January 22nd, 2014 Council Member Van Bramer was elected Majority Leader of the New York City Council which is the second highest ranking member in the 51 member body. As part of his duties as Majority Leader, he was appointed to the Budget Negotiating Team (BNT) which plays an integral role in formulating the City’s budget to fund critical programs, projects and organizations citywide. Council Member Van Bramer also plays a key role is working with all members of the City Council, serving as a bridge between colleagues and the Speaker.
As Council Member, he has passed legislation on expanding access to library cards and to increasing penalties for hit-and-run drivers. Other legislative achievements include passing reforms to the Board of Standards of Appeals to make the decision making entity more responsive to community input, he passed legislation requiring commercial cyclists to wear reflective vests & helmets, and he authored the “Safe Routes to School Action Plan” which required the Department of Transportation to identify schools that were in particularly dangerous locations and make them safer.
He has been chair of the Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee since 2010 and has expanded the “Percent for Art” Law to increase public art throughout the City, increased reporting requirements Cultural Institutions throughout the City and worked to create the City’s first ever Cultural Plan. Through the leadership in his Committee, he has seen investments of well over $1 billion in improving the capital footprint of cultural organizations and libraries Citywide.
Following the election of President Trump, Council Member Van Bramer organized and led a march of 5,000 people over the Queensborough Bridge from Long Island City to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. Furthermore, he has lead a rally against hate groups and Nazis that included more than 1000 residents and held community outreach events encouraging civic and community participation to resist the Presidency of Donald Trump for literally thousands of local community residents.
He is the son of union parents and was the first person in his family to attend and graduate college. He graduated from St. John’s University in 1994 and worked for the Queens Library as their Director of External Relations from 1999 to 2009. He is married to his husband, Dan Hendrick, and lives in Sunnyside.
Jumaane Williams, District 45
Council Member Jumaane D. Williams represents the 45th Council District in Brooklyn. He was elected in 2009, and re-elected in 2013. Williams currently serves as Deputy Leader of the New York City Council, and chair of the council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings. He is also co-chair of the Council’s Task Force to Combat Gun Violence, and a founding member of the Progressive Caucus, and is a member of the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus.
Council Member Williams is a first-generation Brooklynite of Grenadian heritage. He is a proud product of the City’s public school system. He attended Philippa Schuyler Middle School for the Gifted and Talented and Brooklyn Technical High School. He earned his bachelor’s in political science, and master’s in urban policy and administration at Brooklyn College. He began his career as assistant director for the Greater Flatbush Beacon School, and later went on to serve as the executive director of New York State Tenants & Neighbors. Council Member Williams is an advocate for affordable housing, anti-gun violence measures, fair policing, equity, and social justice. His major successes as Council Member include; the Community Safety Act, which created the Office of Inspector General for the New York Police Department, the Fair Chance Act and co-chairing the taskforce, which created New York’s Crisis Management System and Cure Violence Groups to combat gun violence.
Aired on November 21, 2017.
> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS' THE RACE IS ON FOR WHAT IS ARGUABLY THE SECOND MOST IMPORTANT ELECTED POST IN NEW YORK CITY GOVERNMENT, THE CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER.
TONIGHT THE FIRST OF A SPECIAL TWO-PART FORUM WITH CITY AND STATE.
THE CANDIDATES ARE HERE TO SHARE THEIR POSITIONS AND TO TELL US WHY THEY SHOULD LEAD THE CITY COUNCIL.
ALL THAT AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.
> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS.'
FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY --
> HELLO, I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.
TONIGHT A SPECIAL EDITION OF 'METROFOCUS' LOOKING AT THE RACE FOR THE NEW YORK CITY CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER.
WE HAVE TEAMED UP WITH CITY AND STATE, A WEEKLY MAGAZINE COVERING NEW YORK POLICY AND POLITICS FOR TONIGHT'S PROGRAM, A FORUM FEATURING CANDIDATES.
EIGHT COUNCIL MEMBERS ARE VYING TO SUCCEED THE CURRENT SPEAKER.
IN JANUARY THE 51-MEMBER COUNCIL WILL ELECT A NEW SPEAKER WHO WILL SET COUNCIL'S POLICY AGENDA AND PRESIDE OVER THE CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS.
OVER THE COURSE OF THE NEXT HALF HOUR THE EIGHT CANDIDATES WILL SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS ON TOP ISSUES FACING THE CITY.
I AM JOINED BY NATE POWELL TO MODERATE THE FORUM.
WE HAVE GROUND RULES TO ENSURE THAT EACH COUNCIL MEMBER HAS A FAIR AND EQUAL CHANCE TO ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS WE ARE ENFORCING TIME LIMITS.
IF YOU EXCEED YOUR LIMIT NICK OR I WILL INTERRUPT YOU AND MOVE ON TO THE NEXT CANDIDATE.
TONIGHT WE ARE FOCUSSING ON ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES FACING NEW YORK CITY, PUBLIC SAFETY.
FIRST OPENING STATEMENTS BEGINNING WITH COUNCILMAN WILLIAMS AND THEN MOVE LEFT.
IN ONE MINUTE, HOW DO YOU DEFINE THE ROLE OF THE CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER?
WHAT PARTICULAR CHALLENGES DO YOU THINK THE JOB ENTAILS AND WHY ARE YOU UNIQUELY QUALIFIED?
I REPRESENT THE 45th DISTRICT.
I VIEW THIS JOB AS BEING A STEWARD OF THE BODY AND HELP PROVIDE THE LEADERSHIP THAT IS NEEDED TO BE THE PROPER BALANCE FOR THE MAYOR.
THAT IS PRIMARILY WHAT THE JOB IS.
I BELIEVE I'M THE BEST PERSON BECAUSE I'M BATTLE TESTED AND COLLABORATIVE AND I PROVIDE SO MUCH PRODUCTION ON THE LEADING ISSUES THAT ARE GOING ON WITH THE CITY RIGHT NOW.
AND I THINK THIS IS A TYPE OF LEADERSHIP THAT WE NEED RIGHT NOW, SOMEONE WHO CAN STEWARD THROUGH CONVERSATIONS THAT ARE DIFFICULT PARTICULARLY IN A TIME OF TRUMP WHERE WE NEED NEW YORK CITY TO BE THE BEACON THAT PEOPLE ARE EXPECTING US TO BE.
THANK YOU FOR HOSTING.
INCITY COUNCIL SPEAKERSHIP IS AN AMAZING POSITION BECAUSE YOU GET TO HELP LEAD THE MOST DIVERSE MUNICIPAL LEGISLATIVE BODY IN THE UNITED STATES.
OUR CHARTER GIVES THE COUNCIL FOUR MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES, LAND USE, LEGISLATION, OVERSIGHT AND BUDGET.
AND EACH ONE OF THOSE ISSUES THE COUNCIL NEEDS TO CARVE OUT ITS OWN UNIQUE IMPORTANT ROLE AS IT RELATES TO THE MAYOR AND AS IT RELATES TO BE RESPONSIVE TO 8.5 MILLION NEW YORKERS.
NEW YORK CITY REALLY RELIES UPON THEIR LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS.
WE COUNCIL MEMBERS SEE IT EVERY DAY.
I THINK I BRING UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE TO THE POSITION.
I HAVE PASSED ALMOST 29 PIECES OF LEGISLATION OVER THE LAST FOUR YEARS ON A VARIETY OF ISSUES AND IN THE AGE OF DONALD TRUMP AND D.C. REPUBLICANS WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT THIS COUNCIL REMAINS A FORWARD THINKING PROGRESSIVE BODY THAT MOVES FORWARD.
> IT'S BEEN AN HONOR TO BE IN THE COUNCIL FOR THE PAST FOUR YEARS.
I IN PARTICULAR AM GRATEFUL THAT I HAVE THIS EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING FOR SPEAKER.
I HAVE LED ON TWO BIG ISSUES, ONE CLIMATE CHANGE AND ALSO HOUSING WHICH HAS ALSO BEEN TWO CRITICAL ISSUES.
NEXT SPEAKER WILL HAVE TO ADDRESS.
NEW YORK CITY IS GROWING.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS CERTAINLY HAVING ITS CHALLENGES.
I SHEPHERDED IN THE CITY 80 BY 50 PLAN.
IN MY LATER HALF IN THE COUNCIL BECAME THE CHAIR OF ZONING COMMITTEE WHERE I SHEPHERDED IN THE STRONGEST HOUSING PLAN IN THE COUNTRY QUITE FRANKLY, MANDATORY INCLUSIONARY HOUSING WHICH ENABLED ME TO GAIN AN EXPER TEES OF WORKING WITH PEOPLE FROM EAST NEW YORK TO EAST MID TOWN AND AFFORDED ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK WITH DIFFERENT CONSTITUENCIES WHETHER BUSINESS COMMUNITY, NONPROFITS.
I WANT TO BRING THAT EXPERTISE TO ALL 51 DISTRICTS TO REALLY IMPROVE TRANSIT, TO WORK ON MORE PERMANENT AFFORDABLE HOUSING.
THAT WILL BE AN IMPORTANT ISSUE.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
MY NAME IS JIMMY VAN BRAMER.
I THINK THE SPEAKER OF THE CITY COUNCIL NEEDS TO BE A FIGHTER AND ORGANIZER.
I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN A UNION HOUSEHOLD IN QUEENS.
MY STEP FATHER WAS A JANITOR AND MY MOTHER WORKED AT LOCAL MARKETS.
I REALIZED I WAS GAY WHEN I WAS ABOUT 10 YEARS OLD.
I WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE HERE IN MANY WAYS.
I AM A FIGHTER AND THAT IS WHY I AM HERE TODAY.
NOWHERE ELSE BUT IN QUEENS AND THE CITY OF NEW YORK CAN SOMEONE WITH MY STORY BE HERE AMONG THESE GENTLEMEN AS A CANDIDATE FOR SPEAKER.
THAT IS WHY I AM RUNNING BECAUSE I WANT OTHER PEOPLE TO HAVE THAT CHANCE, THAT FIGHTING CHANCE.
I AM ALSO AN ORGANIZER WHO HAS LED AGAINST THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WITH A MARCH OF 5,000 PEOPLE OVER THE TRUMP TOWER.
I WANT TOBRING THE SKILLS AS A FIGHTER AND ORGANIZER TO THIS OFFICE TO HELP THE PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK.
NEXT FOUR YEARS OUR CITY FACES TREMENDOUS CHALLENGES.
WE HAVE UNDER FUNDED MASS TRANSIT, RECORD LEVELS OF HOMELESSNESS.
WE NEED THE CITY COUNCIL TO STEP UP AND LEAD TO BE A UNITED AND INDEPENDENT BODY.
THAT IS THE KIND OF LEADER I HAVE BEEN.
AMONG OTHER THINGS PASSING LANDMARK LEGISLATION WHICH ESTABLISHES RIGHT TO COUNSEL FOR ALL TENANTS FACING EVICTION SO THAT NEVER AGAIN WILL A FAMILY LAND IN A HOMELESS SHELTER BECAUSE THEY COULDN'T AFFORD A LAWYER IN HOUSING COURT.
IT'S ABOUT GETTING THINGS DONE.
THAT'S THE KIND OF LEADER I HAVE BEEN IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS, THE KIND OF LEADER WE NEED AND THE KIND I WOULD BE AS SPEAKER.
WHEN I THINK ABOUT THE FUNCTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL I DON'T THINK ABOUT THE LIMITS OF LEGISLATION.
I THINK ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES OF ADVOCACY.
THE COUNCIL IS AN ADVOCACY INSTITUTION.
I WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH AN EXAMPLE.
WHEN I FIRST BECAME THE PUBLIC HOUSING CHAIR I CAME TO REALIZE THAT THERE WERE SCORES OF DEVELOPMENTS THAT HAD BEEN RAVAGED BY SUPERSTORM SANDY.
MANY HAD TEMPORARY BOILERS.
SO I HELD TO HOLD THE FIRST EVER PUBLIC HOUSING HEARING.
CREATING A PLATFORM FOR RESIDENTS TO TELL THEIR STORIES.
WE WERE ABLE TO CREATE ENOUGH PUBLIC PRESSURE AND OUTCRY TO LAY THE GROUND WORK FOR A $3 BILLION INVESTMENT WHICH WAS THE LARGEST OF ITS KIND IN THE HISTORY OF NEW YORK CITY.
THAT SHOWCASES THE POSSIBILITIES OF WHAT THE COUNCIL CAN DO.
SO INSTEAD OF THINKING OF OURSELVES OF LEGISLATIVE BODY WE SHOULD IMAGINE OUR SELVE AS ADVOCACY INSTITUTION.
EMPOWER THE MEMBERS WHO RESIDE THE CITY AGENCIES.
MY YEARS ALLOW ME TO DEVELOP THE SKILLS, SOMEONE THAT WOULD WORK WITH ADMINISTRATION WHEN WE AGREE AND FIGHT THE ADMINISTRATION WHEN WE HAVE TO.
AS THE SPEAKER I WOULD BE SOMEONE THAT WOULD BE SURE WE FIGHT DONALD TRUMP.
WE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING DONALD TRUMP BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN ATTACKING WOMEN.
I WILL BE FIGHTING FOR ALL NEW YORKERS BUILDING A NEW YORK CITY FOR ALL.
I REPRESENT THE COMMUNITIES IN NORTHERN CROWN HEIGHTS.
I BELIEVE THAT THIS BODY SHOULD BE LED IN AN EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT MANNER AS A COUNTER BALANCE TO WHAT IS IN THE ADMINISTRATION TODAY.
I THINK I'M UNIQUELY QUALIFIED BECAUSE I BEGAN NIGH CAREER IN POLITICS FOR THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL AND SERVED IN THAT CAPACITY FOR SEVERAL YEARS.
I THINK THAT MY LEGISLATIVE POLICY ACUMEN AND LEADERSHIP STYLE MAKE ME A REALLY GOOD CHOICE.
I CURRENTLY CHAIR THE COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS AND LOOK FORWARD TO BRINGING THE CITY BACK TO PROMINENCE AS SMALL BUSINESS CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.
CRIME IN NEW YORK CITY HAS BEEN ON A RECORD DOWNWARD TREND.
SHOOTINGS ARE DOWN BY JUST OVER 20% AND THE CITY IS ON TRACK TO HAVE THE FEWEST NUMBER OF HOMICIDES.
THE FUTURE IS ALWAYS UNCERTAIN AND SEEING MORE AND MORE INCIDENTS OF DOMESTIC TERRORISM.
HOW WILL YOU USE POSITION AS CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER TO KEEP NEW YORK CITY SAFE?
USING TECHNOLOGY IN AN EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT MANNER AND MAKING SURE RESOURCES AVAILABLE.
WE HAVE THE GREATEST POLICE FORCE IN THE COUNTRY, ARGUABLY.
WE HAVE SOME MEN AND WOMEN WHO EVERY DAY PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE AND NEED THE EQUIPMENT NECESSARY EVERYTHING FROM HOW THE CITY COUNCIL HAS STOOD UP TO PROVIDE BULLET PROOF GLASS AND BODY CAMS.
I THINK WE JUST NEED TO BE PREPARED AS A CITY COUNCIL TO DO MORE OF MAKING SURE THAT WE UNDER GIRD THE GREATEST POLICE FORCE IN THE COUNTRY WITH THE TOOLS NECESSARY NOT ONLY IN EQUIPMENT BUT ALSO IN TECHNOLOGY.
THE '80s AND THE '90s WERE EPIDEMIC IN WASHINGTON HEIGHTS.
WE HAD 105 HOMICIDES EVERY YEAR.
WORKING TOGETHER THE POLICE AND THE COMMUNITY WE FOUGHT CRIME.
THAT IS THE SAME THING WE WILL CONTINUE DOING IN NEW YORK CITY.
WE WILL CONTINUE PROVIDING THE NYPD ALL THE RESOURCES THAT THEY NEED AND MAKE NYPD ACCOUNTABLE DEVELOPING TRUST BETWEEN POLICE AND THE COMMUNITY SO THAT THE COMMUNITY KNOWS THEY ARE SAFE BECAUSE MEN AND WOMEN DO THEIR JOB BUT POLICE SHOULD KNOW THAT WE HAVE THEIR BACK.
ON THE SUBJECT OF COUNTER TERRORISM WE ARE FORTUNATE TO HAVE THE FINEST POLICE FORCE WITH THE MOST SOPHISTICATED COUNTER TERRORISM CAPABILITIES.
AT THE HEART IS CRITICAL RESPONSE COMMAND.
HAVE TO ENSURE THERE ARE ENOUGH OFFICERS THAT HAVE THE BEST TRAINING AND THE MOST ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY TO DETECT NUCLEAR DEVICES THAT COULD BE DEPLOYED IN THE EVENT OF AN ATTACK AND WE HAVE -- ONE CHALLENGE WE HAVE SEEN WITH TERRORISM IS INCREASINGLY DECENTRALIZED NATURE OF THE TERROR THREAT.
THERE ARE LONE WOLVES WHO HAVE BEEN RADICALIZED AND WHO HAVE TAKEN UPON THEMSELVES TO PLOT AGAINST NEW YORK CITY.
WE HAVE TO ENSURE THAT WE CAN STOP THEM BEFORE THEY ARE ABLE TO EXECUTE ANY ATTACKS.
WHAT AN INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT IT IS THAT OUR CITY HAS REDUCED STOP AND FRISK OVER 90% AND CONTINUED TO REDUCE CRIME.
WE ARE NOW THE SAFEST BIG CITY IN AMERICA.
COUNTER TERRORISM SPACE IS NO LESS REMARKABLE.
NO MAJOR ATTACK ON THE SCALE OF 911.
THAT IS PARTLY DRIVEN BY FEDERAL FUNDING.
THAT IS FUNDING WHICH HAS BEEN THREATENED BY THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BECAUSE OF AEROSTATUS AS A SANCTUARY CITY.
IT WOULD BE A TERRIBLE INJUSTICE IF NEW YORK LOST THE FUNDING SIMPLY BECAUSE WE EMBRACE THE IMMIGRANTS OF THE CITY WHICH DO SO MUCH TO MAKE US SAFER.
WE NEED A CITY COUNCIL AND CITY GOVERNMENT WHICH FIGHTS BACK TO PROTECT OUR RESOURCES AND STAND UP FOR IMMIGRANTS AND KEEP OUR STRONG COUNTER TERRORISM WORK GOING.
SO I AGREE WITH MY COLLEAGUES.
WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO ALL WE CAN TO SUPPORT THE NYPD IN ITS EFFORTS TO KEEP US SAFE.
AS COUNCIL MEMBER LUVINE WAS SAYING NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE TO MAINTAIN OUR STATUS AS A SANCTUARY CITY BUT HAVE TO MAINTAIN OURSELVES AS -- MAKING SURE WE ARE NOT SCAPEGOATING, ISOLATING AND REALLY PUNISHING OUR IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES BECAUSE WHEN WE DO SO WE MAKE EVERYONE LESS SAFE.
WE ABSOLUTELY NEED TO CONTINUE TO DO ALL WE CAN AS A CITY TO MAKE SURE THAT WE MAINTAIN OUR VALUES AND THAT WE PROTECT IMMIGRANTS AND WHEN WE DO SO WE MAKE EVERYONE SAFER IN THE CITY.
WE HAVE A ROBUST POLICE FORCE IN PART BECAUSE OF WORK THAT ALL OF US HAVE DONE AS A COUNCIL BY INCREASING THE POLICE FORCE BY OVER 1,000.
THAT WORK MUST CONTINUE BUT MORE SO WE NEED TO MAINTAIN OUR VALUES.
WHO WE ARE CAN NEVER BE WHO DONALD TRUMP IS.
OUR VALUES CAN NEVER BE HIS VALUES.
I THINK THERE ARE THREE AREAS.
I THINK CYBER SECURITY IS SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO STRENGTHEN OUR CAPABILITIES AROUND.
THERE IS ALSO A BILL FLOATING AROUND IN D.C. THAT I THINK THE CITY HAS TO FIGHT FORCEFULLY, THE SHARE ACT WHICH ENABLES PEOPLE TO COME OVER STATE LINES WITH WEAPONS, GUN OWNERS COME ACROSS LINES WITH THEIR WEAPONS.
THIRD IS MAKING SURE WE IDENTIFY SOFT SPOTS THAT WE KNOW WERE MOST VULNERABLE AND MASS TRANSIT INCLUDED WHICH IS VERY WORRISOME.
MAKING SURE THERE ARE RESOURCES FOR THE NYPD TO IDENTIFY SOME OF THE MOST SOFTEST SPOTS IN THE CITY ARE CRITICAL.
PUBLIC SAFETY IS ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL AND IMPORTANT THINGS THAT GOVERNMENT HAS TO TAKE CARE OF EVERY SINGLE DAY.
IN MY DISTRICT OVER THE LAST YEAR, ACTUALLY, WE SAW THE BOMBING ON WEST 23rd STREET DONE BY A LONE WOLF JUST CONVICTED OF A CRIME.
STARTING IN MY DISTRICT WE SAW A GENTLEMAN TAKE A CAR AND MOW DOWN CYCLISTS AND PEDESTRIANS.
SO FIGHTING AGAINST TERRORISM IS A CRUCIAL THING.
I THINK MY COLLEAGUE SPELLED OUT THE WAY THE CITY IS DOING THAT, MAKING SURE WE HAVE A LARGE ENOUGH COUNTER TERRORISM UNIT.
THE COUNCIL PLAYED A BIG ROLE IN THAT AND THE NUMBER OF OFFICERS WAS PART OF THE COUNTER TERRORISM OPERATION.
CRIME IS AT AN ALL-TIME LOW.
THAT SHOWS YOU CAN WORK WITH COMMUNITIES AND DO COMMUNITY POLICING WITHOUT TARGETING YOUNG MEN OF COLOR AND YOU CAN STILL HAVE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE CITY.
POLICE DESERVE CREDIT FOR THAT AND THE FOLKS THAT HAVE SEEN THIS THROUGH DESERVE CREDIT FOR THAT.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING ISSUES, THIS IS AN AREA WHERE I AM JUST PROUD TO HAVE BEEN A LEADING VOICE IN BRINGING US TO WHERE WE ARE AS A CITY.
WE ALWAYS SAID THAT YOU CAN PROVIDE BETTER POLICING.
THAT'S NOT BIASSED AND MAKE THE CITY SAFER.
SO I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE WE CONTINUE TO DO THAT.
WHEN IT COMES TO GUN VIOLENCE IN PARTICULAR IT HAS BEEN A PARTICULAR ISSUE OF MINE.
WE HAVE TO REMEMBER TO SEPARATE OUT SUPPLY AND DEMAND.
GUN CONTROL IS IMPORTANT FOR THE SUPPLY COMING INTO THE CITY.
DEMAND IS ALSO IMPORTANT.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE TO TAKE AWAY SOME OF THE DEMAND DEALING WITH THE CHRONIC PROBLEMS THAT ARE CAUSING VIOLENCE.
WE ARE TOO OFTEN USING SOLUTIONS.
WHEN IT COMES TO TERRORISM WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT WE GIVE THE POLICE CREDIT FOR WHERE WE ARE AND MAKE SURE WE DON'T TAKE AWAY TOO MUCH LIBERTY IN EXCHANGE FOR FREEDOM.
IT IS IMPORTANT WE HAVE TO INCLUDE OUR MUSLIM COMMUNITIES BECAUSE THEY ARE AN IMPORTANT PART TO MAKE SURE WE DEAL WITH TERRORISM EFFECTIVELY.
> THIS NEXT QUESTION, THE MAYOR'S PROPOSAL, THE JAIL POPULATION INTO SMALLER JAILS -- HOW WOULD YOU MAKE SURE THAT THIS PLAN WOULD NOT THREATEN PUBLIC SAFETY AND HOW WOULD YOU MAKE SURE THAT NEW SMALLER JAILS WOULD BE FAIRLY ALLOCATED?
YOU HAVE BEEN SO DISCIPLINED YOU HAVE A WHOLE MINUTE FOR THIS.
FEEL FREE TO USE IT ALL.
THE PLAN WILL NOT THREATEN PUBLIC SAFETY BUT ENHANCE PUBLIC SAFETY BY MOVING US TO A 21st CENTURY JAIL SYSTEM WITH SMALL FACILITIES THAT ARE DESIGNED FOR THE SAFETY BOTH OF DETAINEES AND OF THE CORRECTION OFFICER.
WE CAN DO THIS AND WE CAN DO IT IN LESS THAN TEN YEARS.
WE HAVE COUNCIL MEMBERS ALREADY STANDING UP IN NEIGHBORHOODS AROUND THE CITY SAYING THEY WOULD SUPPORT THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A NEW JAIL NEAR THEIR COURTHOUSE.
SO THE POLITICAL DYNAMIC IS POSITIVE BUT WE ALSO HAVE TO REDUCE THE POPULATION OF PEOPLE THAT WE ARE DETAINING SO WE CAN PUT THEM INTO SMALLER JAILS.
THAT REQUIRES MORE EXPEDITIOUS TRIALS SO THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT LANGUISHING FOR MONTHS IN DETENTION.
WE WILL DO THIS IN LESS THAN TEN YEARS IT WOULD BE TOP PRIORITY OF MINE.
CLOSING AS MOST TRANSFORMATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT UNDER CURRENT SPEAKER.
WHETHER THE CRIMINALIZATION OF POVERTY AND MENTAL ILLNESS OR DISCRIMINATION OR FAILURE TO GUARANTEE SPEEDY TRIAL, EVERYTHING WAS INCAPSULATED IN THE EXPERIENCE OF RYKERS ISLAND SO CLOSING IT --
REMINDS US EVERY DAY THAT SEGREGATION IS NOT OVER.
WE HAVE 87% OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS BEING BLACK AND LATINO.
LACK OF SERVICES, LACK OF EDUCATION.
WE CAN REDUCE THE POPULATION BY 4,000 OR 5,000 ONLY BY TAKING OUT THOSE THAT ARE WAITING THERE BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T HAVE $300 TO PAY THEIR BAIL.
BY RAISING MONEY AND COVERING BAIL TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS THEY HAVE PROVEN THEY DON'T HAVE TO BE IN RIEKERS ISLAND.
WE CAN REDUCE IT AND THEN WORKING TOGETHER WE CAN BUILD THOSE SMALL DETENTION CENTERS.
UNFORTUNATELY FOR US THE CLOSING IS ONLY ONE SMALL STEP IN A LARGER AGENDA FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM.
I FEEL LIKE UNTIL WE REALLY DECIDE TO ADDRESS AND CHANGE THE CULTURE ON RYKERS ISLAND MOVING TO SMALLER JAILS MAY NOT GET THE RESULT THAT WE ANTICIPATE.
WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY IN THIS LONG SPAN OF TEN YEARS TO MAKE SOME SIGNIFICANT REFORMS THAT WILL CHANGE THE WAY THAT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM OPERATES.
I THINK WE HAVE TO NOT LOOK AT THIS LARGER PICTURE BUT TAKE THIS IN SMALL BITES AND MAKE SURE WE ARE CHANGING AND EFFECTING CHANGE IN THE CULTURE OF INCARCERATION AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM IN THAT CONTEXT.
WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT THE PRIMARY DIFFICULTY HAS BEEN WHAT PEOPLE THINK PUBLIC SAFETY IS.
TOO OFTEN IT HAS BEEN LOCK UP USUALLY AS MANY BLACK BODIES AS POSSIBLE.
WE HAVE SEEN THAT DOES NOT WORK AND THERE IS NOTHING CORRECTIVE ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS.
WE HAVE SEEN THERE IS A BETTER WAY AND WE ARE PROVING THAT NOW.
THE EXISTENCE OF RYKERS ISLAND CONTINUES TO DEHUMANIZE PEOPLE.
WE CONTINUE TO DEHUMANIZE PEOPLE WHO ARE SONS, DAUGHTERS AND COUSINS AND PUT THEM IN ISLANDS AWAY.
IT IS UNFIT FOR THEM AND THE CORRECTIONS OFFICERS BECAUSE IT IS DESIGNED TO CREATE THE VIOLENT ATMOSPHERE.
WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO CHANGE.
WE ALSO HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT WE CAN'T VIEW THESE PEOPLE AS JUST CRIMINALS.
80% OF THE PEOPLE THERE HAVEN'T BEEN CONVICTED OF A CRIME.
BETTER WAYS OF DOING THIS WHILE PEOPLE ARE WAITING FOR TRIAL.
THERE ARE THINGS THAT CAN BE DONE.
WE ARE NOT SAYING GET RID OF JAIL.
WE ARE SAYING GET RID OF HOW WE DO THIS.
I THINK THE SPEAKER DESERVES AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF CREDIT FOR HER LEADERSHIP.
IT'S A LEGACY ITEM FOR HER.
HER CHARGE IN GETTING RYKERS ISLAND CLOSED.
NOW THE ISSUE IS HOW DO WE DO IT AND MAKE SURE IT IS DONE IN A MEANINGFUL WAY.
I SUPPORT PUTTING THE JAILS IN CERTAIN COMMUNITIES.
WE SAW COUNCIL MEMBER SAY IT IS FINE IN HER DISTRICT IN QUEENS NEAR THE COURTHOUSE.
WE SAW COUNCIL MEMBER CHIN SAY IT IS FINE.
WE SAW DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN SAY IT SHOULD BE EXPANDED TO BE ONE OF THOSE FACILITIES.
WE HAVE TO WORK WITH INDIVIDUAL COUNCIL MEMBERS AND GET THIS DONE ON A MUCH QUICKER TIMEFRAME THAN TEN YEARS.
I'M PROUD IN THE LAST THREE MONTHS I PASSED A BILL REQUIRING UNIVERSAL DISCHARGE PLANNING.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE DISCHARGED YOU ARE NOT JUST GIVEN YOUR CLOTHES AND PUT ON A BUS AND SENT BACK BUT YOU ARE GIVEN A DISCHARGE PLAN.
YOU ARE SET UP WITH FOLKS WHO HELP WITH EMPLOYMENT AND JOBS AND OTHER ISSUES LIKE THAT.
TALK ABOUT CREATING AN UNDER CAST SYSTEM.
WE ARE SPENDING $270,000 THAT WAS REPORTED TODAY FOR PRISONER.
QUITE FRANKLY A CRIME.
THE NEXT SPEAKER IS GOING TO HAVE TO CARRY ON THE VISION AND THE LEGACY.
WE CAN GET THERE BEFORE TEN YEARS.
THE BIG QUESTION MARK IS -- I'M HAPPY TO BE AMONG THE SET OF QUEENS MEMBERS WHO HAVE SIGNED ON AND SAID TO THE MAYOR WE SHOULD USE THE DETENTION CENTER RIGHT NEXT TO THE COURTHOUSE.
I HAVE A FEDERAL PRISON IN MY DISTRICT.
WE HAVE NOT HAD A PROBLEM THERE.
IT IS REALLY ABOUT LAND USE.
WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO GO TO COMMUNITIES AND EDUCATE COMMUNITIES ON THESE ARE YOUR BROTHERS AND PEOPLE FROM YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY WHO IF THEY ARE NOT GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE REAL REFORM WILL NOT EVER BE ABLE TO RE-ENTER SOCIETY IN A PRODUCTIVE MANNER.
> THE ERA OF MASS INCARCERATION REALLY IS THE NEW JIM CROW AND REPRESENTS INJUSTICE AFTER INJUSTICE AFTER INJUSTICE SO ENDING THAT INJUSTICE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IS ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE.
I SIGNED THAT LETTER SUPPORTING THE LOCATION IN QUEENS AND IN TERMS OF HOW WE GET IT DONE MORE QUICKLY OBVIOUSLY MAKING SURE THAT THERE IS MEANINGFUL BAIL REFORM, ENDING CASH BAIL MAKING SURE THE AMOUNT OF JUSTICE YOU GET ISN'T DEPENDENT ON THE AMOUNT OF MONEY IN YOUR FAMILY'S BANK ACCOUNT.
WE CAN DO THIS BUT START THE LAND USE PROCESS AS SOON AS WE POSSIBLY CAN PARTICULARLY IN THE AREAS WHERE THERE IS BROAD SUPPORT AND WHERE THE LOCAL MEMBER SUPPORTS IT WE SHOULD START NOW IF WE ARE GOING TO MAKE SURE WE DO THIS BEFORE TEN YEARS WHICH I THINK EVERYONE HERE BASICALLY SUPPORTS.
THANK YOU ALL.
THAT'S IT FOR PART ONE OF OUR NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL SPEAKER FORUM.
NICK AND I AND COUNCIL MEMBERS WILL BE BACK TOMORROW WITH PART TWO OF OUR DISCUSSION WHERE WE WILL BE FOCUSSING ON MORE TOP ISSUES FACING NEW YORKERS AND WHAT ACTIONS THE NEXT COUNCIL SPEAKER WILL TAKE WHEN IT COMES TO EDUCATION, TRANSPORTATION AND HOUSING.
AND YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THE EIGHT COUNCIL MEMBERS RUNNING FOR THE SPEAKERSHIP ON METRO FOCUS.ORG.
I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.
THANKS FOR WATCHING.
> FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.
AND BY PSE&G SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.