Of what appears to be six current candidates for the Borough President primary for Manhattan only one stands out. I’ve known Brad Hoylman personally for nearly twenty years. He’s a difficult opponent, as I found out in my Community Board days, and he knows the ropes. He’s shown us that in Albany. Few politicians Do as well as Talk about what they intend to accomplish. We should be impressed with the fact that before, during, and after the Shelly Silver imbroglio he managed to support rent-stabilized tenants and assist in putting teeth in the most recent attempt at holding landlords accountable for abuse and harassment. While Christine Quinn pushed that particular envelope, the ugly events of Bloomberg’s third term City Council ploy and her surreptitious approval of Trump SoHo overshadowed that meager attempt. Perhaps, we’ll cross that bridge again soon and put a few landlords in jail instead of tenants and journalists. But, don’t get me started. My own tenancy has been decades from Hell and no amount of arm-twisting got me anywhere. Except a judgment of $250,000 for losing a case in Supreme Court, Talk about tenant abuse! Try that on for size, folks! A legal bill for $500,000 just to stay in your apartment — while also being required to pay rent?
So, knowing that Brad is an openly gay politician with a great family and a husband in the film business (he was the director of the film about Valerie Plame) I decided to just ask him a couple of questions. Since he has a brilliant education I’ve always avoided picking fight with him. But, I must say — among all of the politicians in Manhattan — he was the only one who responded to one of my letters as I was rotting in prison for writing about the Truth in my articles and blogs. (Hamptons D.A. Thomas Spota will be sentenced next month). He has a phenomenal education and intellect which includeed being an Oxford scholar, if I’m not mistaken.
I already knew he did a great job on the Community Board and outshone most of the people in Albany that were supposed to be fighting for us. He was, and is, sharp and is a politician worth keeping an eye on. So, I asked him about his focus for the BP office and his plans for the Community Boards. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Borough President’s role, that individual oversees all of Boards in his or her borough.
Hoylman on the BP: “I see the Borough President as the planner-in-chief, and my focus will be to create a community-led planning effort. The City can’t delay on studying and implementing a comprehensive city-wide plan. This administration has sent communities half-baked rezonings that create division. We need a city-wide, equitable and community-led planning process within the first 100 days of a new administration. All development should be guided by community plans, instead of by developers. I plan to implement a Manhattan Marshall Plan, instituting community-led plans (197a) with every single community board within the first year of my office. We need to build more affordable and supporting housing to tackle our affordability and homelessness crisis, and we need to do it in a way that doesn’t displace communities and small businesses in order to line the pockets of developers.”
Hoylman on the Community Boards: “We need to further reform community boards to make them more diverse, more accessible, and fair. First, we need to remove elected official staff and lobbyists for community boards. Second, we need to ensure community board meetings are accessible to people with disabilities. And third, we should invest in training for our community board members, on conflict of interest avoidance, land use, etc. as well as diversity and inclusion and leadership, to get them up to speed quickly and ensure they’re equipped to tackle challenges facing their communities. And I think it’s more important than ever that our neighborhoods have a say in their needs. The Borough President has a huge capital budget, and I’m proposing what I call Community Board Budgeting. I want to divest the Borough President’s broad discretion over capital dollars by delegating substantial authority for capital funding to local community boards.”
Stay Tuned. And Vote in the upcoming Primary