Roosevelt Coalition

Rebuilding New York

Chi Ossé

Candidate for City Council District 36

How will you get New Yorker’s back to work?

Getting New Yorkers back to work will require bold steps that begins with understanding how we operate during and after the pandemic.
As we transition out of this health crisis and our fiscal outlook becomes clearer, we will have to finally have an honest, transparent conversation about the socio-economic issues plaguing our city.
Armed with the federal relief package, the federal infrastructure package, and the recent state tax bill, we do not have to tighten our belts.
The impact of COVID has created difficulties that require frugality, but next year has immense potential to stimulate growth: 1) Union job and increased apprenticeship. 2) Tech employment, emerging tech and support. 3) Ancillary services will grow and reemerge to parallel the packages. 4) The President has made an effort to encourage Green Jobs and tech, Brooklyn and NYC are ready!
But… We have to prepare ourselves to make this jump. Our City and borough have to be progressive with our community thinking.
Acknowledging and working to reduce identity based bias in the workplace through legislation such as the Fair Shot Bill, which I advocated for will reduce bias in the hiring process through the regulation of automated employment tools. Legislate and support SBS (and other agencies) commitment to expanding access to M/WBE and localized businesses.
In office, my priority will be to not only get New Yorkers back to work, but to do it better than we have.
The creation of a public bank will lead to another tool to aid in our inevitable investment in a number of areas, chief among them being small businesses. We must assess licensing and permits, specifically the duration it takes to acquire official documents in an effort to allow new businesses to arise in an expeditious manner. Giving out low interest loans, administering grants and rebates for infrastructure upgrades will go a long way for these businesses who are and will be the backbones of our communities.
We must partner with community based organizations to create intra-community development and job opportunities for youth. This is also co-governance at play.
We will lobby for the creation of well-paying jobs for NYCHA properties that hire from within the community itself. Encouraging better opportunities for our creative community and 1099 employees who throughout the pandemic have kept us fed, given us creative content to alleviate our stress amongst other things.

How will you make our city’s streets safer?

Public Safety brought me to the election cycle. Making our streets safer is an issue that links our usage of our public safety apparatus and the economic needs of our communities. We need to empower our residents to not only love their neighbors but to protect their neighbors.
The City must then do its part.
We must craft smart legislation and amplify initiatives that focus on stemming gun violence, job readiness and quality of life improvements for residents. This will involve increased funding for schools and afterschool programs, an expansion of the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), and community food programs.
Continuing the arduous process of ending the war on drugs, recognizing gun violence as a public health crisis, decriminalizing aspects of our society that have been overtly criminalized and changing the rules of engagement for our officers all aid in stemming violence and keeping everyone more safe.
The current slate of NYPD reforms are important moments in history. I want the police to catch criminals, not criminalize communities. I want communities to have resources not be pipelines to fuel prisons and graves.

How will you address the city’s increasing budget deficit?

We must first eliminate waste.
Ardently, I support auditing a number of our agencies, beginning with the NYPD. Next I would suggest a freeze on certain types of contract work in favor of our city workforce. That will save us hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars in cost. This should work in concert with prioritizing the city worker majority on all city projects. Also, looking at the assets we hold as a city and reporpurse them for economic use instead of letting them sit there.
Further, with additional funding coming from new federal and state legislation, we have an opportunity to invest in long term income-positive projects. While I support cutting waste, I resist spending cuts that eliminate jobs and programs, and suppress long run economic activity.
Lastly, we need to bring more funding to underprivileged districts and build the economic opportunities in those districts. From new revenue streams such as recreationally legal marijuana and the raising of taxes among high net worth individuals.
Note: Cannabis growth is not just retail. I am working with industry experts to ensure our communities are participating in all the aspects of the industry: production, distribution, ancillary service… We must be sure to be industry leaders not just retailers.

How will you stop the exodus of residents from New York City?

A large number of New Yorkers left due to the pandemic shining a light on issues that many of us were already familiar with. On the one hand, rising rents, the lack of rent stabilization that leads to displacement, inefficient agency services and overall cost of living contributed to an overall cynicism about this city.
On the other hand, New Yorkers with enough money and flexibility left when their work became remote. We need to raise revenue, and the wealthy can afford to pay their fair share, but high-income workers who already left the city run the risk of not coming back if we raise their tax burden too substantially. I support raising the top income tax rate.
But I also want to focus on implementing a more progressive property tax system, with rates scaling up significantly on non-rental properties valued at over $25 million. A sales tax on property sales over $5 million, as well as potentially a flip tax on high-value short-term property ownership would help secure our budget without pushing taxpayers out of the city.
So much of the value of this property is location. That value is preserved and improved if the city is preserved and improved. This additional revenue will help keep businesses open, keep crime rates low via additional school funding, and keep the streets clean. The additional taxes will be both fair, logical, and necessary. Escalated taxation ensures equity, which in turn builds a better society. Equitable taxation ensures that the community stakeholders who can afford to contribute more do so, to the elevation of our shared society.
We should also cancel or adjust rents for tenants and create relief for small businesses and homeowners. Programs like the One Shot Deal should be expanded to aid in this effort. I also support lowering the cost of public transportation, if not eliminating it outright.

How will you bring back tourism?

We must create and reach our vaccination thresholds. From there we can go further than our current reopening efforts. I am confident that as soon as our exemplary services and amenities return to the city return to a semblance of normalcy, tourism will resume and for sometime, be bigger than ever.
However, much of what made our city attractive, like our restaurants and other small businesses, is falling to the economic damage of the pandemic. We must continue advocating for shopping at these businesses, extending low interest loans, and considering tax abatement to keep them going until we reach the end of the Covid crisis.

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