Too many people do not believe that government works for them. Faith in institutions at an all-time low. We need to fix that.
As City Council Member, I will:
Reform the Board of Elections
We saw the long lines during the 2020 Election, countless Brooklynites who got another person’s absentee ballot, and scanners breaking down because it was raining. However, nothing has ever changed in how the city’s elections are run. It is long past time to professionalize the New York City Board of Elections.
Unfortunately, the City Council cannot force any changes to the BOE because its organization is enshrined in the state law and the New York State Constitution.
When I am in the Council, I will sponsor a home rule message for the leadership and operations of the Board of Elections to be transferred from the party bosses to the city government. With that, the BOE will be accountable to the Mayor and the City Council for any future mishaps.
Reform the Council Itself
Nothing in the City Council happens unless the Speaker gives their blessing. I will fight for common-sense reforms to Council Rules so that bills that have an overwhelming number of members in support can come to the floor without the Speaker giving permission, each member should be given equitable member-item allotments, and any member seeking additional member-item funds would need to appeal to an independent committee for approval.
Many Council hearings happen during the same times that many people work. People can submit written testimonies and, during the pandemic, we have seen people being allowed to Zoom-into hearings. I would like to make virtual attendance permanent and expand on it by allowing people to submit pre-recorded video testimonies and for hearings to happen outside regular business hours so people who are working can testify.
Grow Our Democracy
There is no reason why undocumented New Yorkers cannot vote in municipal elections. We all use the same water, schools, and police and so we all should have a say in it. I pledge that I will cosponsor the municipal voting bill so everyone has a say in how our government runs.
Participatory Budgeting is a great program that gets people engaged in the needs of the community. I applaud Councilmember Lander in being a pioneer in its implementation and I pledge to continue it.