SD 31 Manhattan (Upper West Side-Washington Heights-Inwood)

District 31—Manhattan (Upper West Side-Washington Heights-Inwood)

Published: 
August 2018

Welcome to this special election issue of Tenant/Inquilino.

Many crucial issues about New York City housing are determined at the state level, from the strength of our rent-regulation laws to funding for public housing. Therefore, we have taken the step of sending questionnaires to all candidates for governor, lieutenant governor, and for the state Senate in the 20 districts with the highest numbers of rent-regulated tenants.

The primaries will be held on Thursday, Sept. 13, and the general election Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Find your polling place here: https://nyc.pollsitelocator.com/search

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Marisol Alcantara, incumbent—Democrat/IDC, Women's Equality, Independence

Robert Jackson—Democrat, Working Families

Tirso Santiago Pina (Democrat) and Melinda Crump (Republican, Reform) did not respond.


Marisol Alcantara, incumbent—Democrat/IDC, Women's Equality, Independence

https://www.marisolalcantarany.com/

What is your position on rent regulation, what work have you done in the past to further that position, and if elected, what would you do in 2019?

I strongly support rent regulations, which is why I sponsor bills to require a landlord to provide a rental history to new tenants, ban surcharges for a tenant-installed appliance if the tenant pays the electric bills, and many more. I have provided funding for nonprofit housing organizations to help tenants stay in their apartments. In 2019 I would fight for pro-tenant changes like ending vacancy decontrol and ending the preferential-rent loophole.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the New York City Housing Authority, and how would you address it?

The long-running deterioration of buildings and apartments due to underfunding that endangers NYCHA’s residents is the biggest issue. I believe the state and city must provide more capital and operational support to NYCHA, and NYCHA’s leadership must be held accountable for how this money is used to repair buildings and remove hazardous situations like lead paint, which plagues many buildings and threatens the development of thousands of children.

Do you believe that there is a need for more affordable housing in New York, and if so, what would you do to meet that need?

There is a chronic shortage of affordable housing in this city, which can only be solved by a combination of saving affordable units, bringing units back into affordability, and building new units. We must protect the rent-stabilization laws, ensure that units taken out of rent stabilization are brought back in, and allow for new construction in a way that minimizes the disruption to existing communities.

What would you do to address the homelessness in New York State?

I support the Home Stability Support program, which aims to provide effective rent support to keep people from ending up homeless in the first place. By increasing the shelter allowance to a level capable of helping people stay in their apartments, we can prevent the huge cost of placing people in shelters.

What is your position regarding campaign-finance reform?  

I support campaign-finance reform, including closing the LLC loophole, which enables those who set up multiple limited-liability companies to make huge donations.


Robert Jackson—Democrat, Working Families

https://www.voterobertjackson.com/

What is your position on rent regulation, what work have you done in the past to further that position, and if elected, what would you do in 2019?

Rent regulations are the biggest provider of affordable housing. Eliminating rent and eviction protections would have a disastrous effect on our city and result in a windfall for landlords. We need to defend—in fact, strengthen—protections for tenants to maintain affordability and security. It is good for tenants, and good for the city. I’ve continuously supported repeal of the Urstadt Law and rent destabilization, and testified for tenants at the Rent Guidelines Board.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the New York City Housing Authority, and how would you address it?

Neglect. NYCHA residents deserve a decent place to live, free of mold, with good indoor air quality, basic amenities like working toilets and stoves, and safety features to ensure children are protected. While clearly there needs to be better management at NYCHA, it is also clear the state and city need to provide additional money. To this end, the state should match the city’s capital investment in NYCHA.

Do you believe that there is a need for more affordable housing in New York, and if so, what would you do to meet that need?

The lack of affordable housing is one of biggest problems facing New York City. Hard-working New Yorkers who built their neighborhoods and have lived there for years must be able to continue to live here. Unfortunately, the Independent Democratic Conference has joined with Republicans and their real-estate funders to block all needed rent reforms and fixing our landlord-written rent laws. We must repeal the Urstadt Law and vacancy destabilization and close the “preferential rent” loophole.

What would you do to address the homelessness in New York State?

With the lack of affordable housing and people squeezed beyond their means by rising rents, many are just a lost job, illness, addiction, or domestic violence from being a homeless family in the shelter system or on the street. We need to protect and create affordable housing, renovate NYCHA, deal with mental-health issues, and create a statewide rental subsidy to help families on public assistance stay in their homes.

What is your position regarding campaign-finance reform?  

Big money has corrupted our government, and we must fundamentally change the way we run campaigns. It’s time to take campaigns away from the special interests and put them in the hands of the people where they belong. To do that, we must change our pay-to-play system, including: establishing a public financing program, setting sensible limits on contributions, closing the corporate subsidiary and LLC loopholes, and restricting fundraising during the legislative session.