Op-Ed | On housing, Ron Kim is all talk, no action

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Housing affordability is the biggest issue in our state. In Flushing and the surrounding parts of Queens comprising  Assembly District 40, over half of renters are drowning in high rents, yet our current representative, Ron Kim, has done little to alleviate this burden. 

According to a Cornell University study, 56.5% of renters in our district are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on rent. Even 36% of homeowners face similar struggles. The solution to this housing crisis is clear: we need more supply. Unfortunately, my opponent, Ron Kim, has been in office for a decade and seems to oppose every housing proposal that doesn’t require a revolution to happen first.

Flushing West Rezoning

One of the most significant missed opportunities for new housing was the Flushing West rezoning proposal in 2016. This plan would have created 3,316 new apartments, including as many as 619 affordable units. Kim opposed this plan, citing “existing transit congestion” and the limitations of mandatory inclusionary housing to provide deeply affordable units (City Limits).

When the rezoning proposal came back with his first round of complaints addressed, Kim still opposed it. This opposition highlights a pattern: Kim criticizes plans but doesn’t offer viable solutions. His stance has led to missed opportunities for creating much-needed housing, leaving many residents struggling with high rent and limited options.

Transitional Housing Proposal for 39-03 College Point Blvd

Given Kim’s criticisms of the Special Flushing Waterfront District, you might expect him to support a 100% affordable transitional housing project proposed by Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) at 39-03 College Point Boulevard. 

However, Kim also opposed this project (QNS). To be fair, I also had reservations about this project because I prefer permanent affordable housing over transitional units (Twitter). But Kim’s consistent pattern of opposition without pushing for better alternatives is troubling.

This project was designed to provide temporary housing for those in need, offering a crucial safety net for vulnerable populations. Despite this, Kim’s opposition meant that the project could not move forward, leaving many without the support they desperately needed. This reluctance to support even temporary solutions demonstrates a lack of commitment to addressing the housing crisis effectively.

Hochul’s Housing Compact

Kim often says he doesn’t want private interests to dictate land use. Yet, he also opposed Governor Hochul’s Housing Compact, which would have pushed places like Flushing to build more homes. This plan could have helped alleviate the housing crisis in Flushing and across the city by ensuring that every neighborhood contributes its fair share to solving the problem. Instead, Kim’s opposition means continued stagnation.

The Housing Compact was a bold initiative aimed at increasing housing supply across the state. It required local governments to either meet specific housing targets or face state intervention. Kim’s opposition to this plan showed a preference for maintaining the high rent status quo rather than embracing necessary changes to address the housing shortage. His resistance, again without proposing viable local alternatives, further exemplifies his failure to prioritize Flushing’s needs.

The evidence is clear: More homes mean lower rents for everyone. By opposing every project, Kim has singlehandedly let rents in every part of our district skyrocket.

It’s okay to criticize individual proposals, but that criticism rings hollow unless you’re also truly supportive of alternatives. 

Ron Kim has had 10 years to address Flushing’s housing crisis and has never found a project he actually supports. 

Flushing needs an Assemblymember focused on generating housing, not headlines. As your representative, I will champion practical and effective housing solutions, ensuring every resident has access to affordable and stable housing. It’s time for leadership that can prioritize solutions over soundbites, ensuring that everyone in our community can afford a place to call home.


Photo provided by Yi Andy Chen for New York

* Yi Andy Chen is a Democratic candidate for the New York State 40th Assembly district, which covers portions of Whitestone, Flushing, College Point, and Murray Hill. Chen is an immigrant who came to Queens at age 13 and grew up in a working-class family, benefiting from the city’s public schools and CUNY. He previously served as an auxiliary police officer and member of the Queens District Attorney’s Asian Advisory Council. Chen has also served as Executive Director of Asian American Community Empowerment and the Coalition for Asian American Civil Rights. Today, Andy is running for office to address housing, education, and quality of life issues, aiming to ensure fiscal responsibility and equitable opportunities for all New Yorkers.