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In the months leading up to the citywide primary and general elections, the Times Newsweekly/Ridgewood Times will feature in this column press releases and statements sent by the campaigns of the candidates on the ballot.

The statements in this column do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Times Newsweekly/Ridgewood Times or its staff. Mud-slinging statements which include personal attacks on candidates are omitted.

Mayoral Race de Blasio Unveils Housing Plan

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today called for a major overhaul of the City’s affordable housing strategy, announcing a plan to build over 100,000 new affordable units and preserve nearly 90,000 more over the next eight years. De Blasio presented his plan, “Foundation for an Affordable City,” at a press conference in Brooklyn, labeling the rapid rise in rent and falling incomes for working New Yorkers as a “full-blown crisis.” De Blasio urged a new approach that demands more from real estate interests and secures greater support for tenants and small landlords.

The plan calls for transitioning from the voluntary “inclusionary zoning” program to mandatory requirements to build permanently affordable housing. It proposes new incentives to convert vacant lots and abandoned buildings into safe, affordable units and bring undocumented dwellings like those in basements into the legal, rent-regulated system. And it lays out strong new protections for tenants and seniors.

“Letting the real estate industry keep calling all the shots with our housing policy isn’t going to deliver what working people need. We need a new direction: hard and fast rules that mandate truly affordable housing, and innovative ways to tap the latent potential of everything from vacant lots to pension funds to bring more units online,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “If we don’t act swiftly and decisively, we’re consigning ourselves to a ‘Tale of Two Cities,’ where mixed-income neighborhoods will be a thing of the past.”

De Blasio’s plan would dramatically accelerate the pace of affordable construction and preservation, largely by converting incentives into hard and fast standards for builders. The 8-year plan calls for:

– Mandating developers include affordable housing in large developments, spurring the creation of up to 50,000 new affordable units. De Blasio called for a tiered system that mixes low, moderate and middle-income units into the same developments.

– Closing the vacant land tax loophole that encourages developers to keep land idle for prolonged periods, and creating a City registry and land bank to accelerate construction. Revenue from the vacant land loophole would support additional affordable housing development.

– Investing $1 billion from the City’s public pension funds in revitalizing and rehabilitating aging affordable housing developments. De Blasio also highlighted other avenues to bring additional capital to bear to create and preserve units.

Bringing basement and other unconventional units like “granny flats” into the legal regulated system, while establishing firm health and safety standards. De Blasio also urged more aid for landlords who need to renovate aging properties.

– Allowing development rights to be transferred not just to adjacent properties, but within a neighborhood, in order to encourage more affordable construction.

– Launching a national coalition of mayors and governors to secure more federal investment in affordable housing.

– Expanding free legal resources to help tenants fight unlawful evictions.

De Blasio also urged the repeal of Albany’s Urstadt Law so New York City can better preserve affordability and have greater power to protect housing tracts like Stuyvesant Town and Mitchel Lama buildings. Increase enrollment in senior and disability rent support programs through outreach and by raising the income threshold to qualify.

Quinn Makes Safety Proposals

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn presented a series of proposals. Apr. 24, that will build upon the public safety gains the City has made over the past two decades and further reduce crime. The Speaker’s proposals were part of a five-point plan to implement forward-thinking policies and ideas that will better protect New York City including: Speaker Quinn’s proposals were presented in a speech delivered at Hunter College.

– Devote More Resources to Policing and Crime Prevention

– Increase NYPD by 1,600 Officers

– More Security/Mobile Cameras

– Recommit to Operation Impact

– Expand Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program and Other Proven Focused Deterrent Models

– Expand a Focused Deterrence Model to the five neighborhoods that account for 22% of all citywide shootings.

– Better Engage High-Risk Communities

– Increase NYPD Community Relations Training

– Legislative Oversight of the NYPD

– Increase Resources for Strategic Prosecution and Reduce Youth Incarceration:

– Establish Adult Courts Dedicated to Handling Cases of 16-17 Year olds

– Expand on Intelligence Driven Prosecution Increase Funding to Alternatives to Incarceration Programs Embrace New Technologies to Fight 21st Century Crimes

– Equip Police Officers with Mobile Devices

– Develop Mobile Panic Button App

– Redouble Counterterrorism Efforts

– Expand Counterterrorism training

– Develop Mobile App to More Easily Report Suspicious Activity

– Regular Review of Infrastructure Vulnerabilities

– Partner with Universities to create stronger counterterror and intelligence programs to get more top talent to NYPD

For more information on voting or to obtain a voting registration application, contact the New York City Board of Elections at 1-212-VOTENYC or visit www.vote.nyc.ny.us.

Press representatives of candidates may send their information to this paper by fax to 1-718-456-0120 or email to info@times newsweekly.com. All releases are subject to editing.

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