About Democracy for NYC

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.

EndorsedLogo PlasticWe work both locally and nationally to ensure that fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates are elected at all levels of government. We develop innovative ways to advocate for the issues that matter to our members and support legislation which has a positive effect in our communities.  We promote transparency and ethical practices in government.  We engage people in the political process and give them the tools to organize, communicate, mobilize, and enact change on the local, state, and national level.

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Bill de Blasio Answers to DFNYC Candidate Questionnaire


Bill de Blasio is running for mayor of New York City.  BilldeBlasio.com


(1) Money in NYC Politics.  Large donors, specifically real estate developers and landlords, have a huge amount of influence in NYC politics due to their campaign contributions. While NYC’s matching funds programs is seen as one of the most innovative public funding campaigns in the country, many DFNYC members feel that big money donors still have too much influence and candidates still spend too much time fundraising.  Would you support a change to full public financing of campaigns, similar to the Clean Money Clean Elections programs in Arizona, Connecticut and Maine?

I've supported campaign finance reform, public financing of elections, and CMCE at the state level. I've also been a champion for campaign finance improvements locally, including the recent charter revision ensuring disclosure of independent spending. I'll continue to be a strong voice against the corrupting influence of secret dark money in elections and a crusader against Citizens United.

(2) Tenant Protection & Cost of Housing.  Do you support rent stabilization and rent control laws? What will you do to crack down on landlords that break the law?  Would you call on the state legislature to repeal vacancy decontrol and more generally, the Urstadt Law, so that New York City – and not Albany – can enact its own housing laws?

Yes, I believe in promoting affordable housing options through a variety of tools and cracking down on unscrupulous landlords that take advantage of tenants.  I've pushed for the repeal of the Urstadt Law and believe we must continue to hold landlords responsible for housing maintenance. As Public Advocate, I launnched a "NYC Worst Landlords Watchlist" to keep tabs on landlords who aren't meeting their end of the bargain.

(3) Paid Sick Leave.  There is currently a bill in the city council that would require companies in NYC with 5 or more employees to give 5 paid sick days per year to each employee (if they do not already). While many council members support this, it has not been brought to a vote. Supporters feel this is much needed public health legislation that would only raise labor costs by 2%, while opponents say that it would be an unfair financial burden to small business. Do you support the bill and will you actively work to get it passed?

I fully support passage of uncompromising paid sick days legislation that leaves no New Yorker behind. Sadly, the watered-down compromise version recently supported by Speaker Quinn leaves out over 300,000 New Yorkers. As mayor, I promise to continue fighting until all New Yorkers receive this critical measure of economic security for themselves and their families.

(4) Fair Police Practices & Occupy Wall Street:  The New York City Police Department has been highly criticized for its Stop & Frisk policy, which disproportionally affects racial minorities and poor and working class New Yorkers. The NYPD has also been criticized for its treatment of activists in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Do you support ending or modifying Stop & Frisk? If running for mayor, will you keep Ray Kelly or appoint a new police commissioner?  Do you think Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD should have handled events in the OWS movement differently and what measures will you take to protect political demonstrations? 

I support serious reforms to the current stop and frisk policies.  We need to bring down the number of stop and frisks across the city, the vast of majority of which are targeting innocent New Yorkers and worsening police-community relations at a time we need to be strengthening these relationships. 

As mayor, I would bring in new leadership for the NYPD by naming a different police commissioner. It's time for new era of respectful and effective community policing policy that requires a different vision at the helm of the NYPD.

I believe in everyone's right to free speech and the right to assembly. Sadly, Mayor Bloomberg has adopted an attitude of an "imperial mayoralty" that shuts out everyday New Yorkers from having a say in how things should be run in our city. I was appalled by the city's infringement of rights around OWS and believe the city badly mishandled the situation.

(5) Mayoral Control of Education.  Mayoral Control of NYC schools is set to expire in 2016, but the state legislature can renew it. If elected to city government, you will not directly vote on mayoral control, but you will have a ‘bully pulpit’ as renewal is discussed in the next 3 years. Do you support keeping Mayoral Control as is, letting it expire, or making changes, for example to the hearing process for controversial decisions?  (Examples: Co-locations of multiple schools in one building, providing district school space to charter schools, phasing out schools that have been labeled as “failing” due to high dropout rates, low test scores, or other factors.)

I do not support Mayor Bloomberg's heavy-handed vision of mayoral control of education. My vision is a much more "small d" democratic version of how our school system should be run. As mayor, I would finally bring parents and communities into the decision-making process and listen to their concerns. This is personal to me, as I'm a public school dad myself. My daughter attended NYC public schools and my son is a current high school sophomore.  We need to get mayoral control right.

(6) Teacher Evaluation.  A key area where the mayor has influence in public education is in the negotiation of a contract with NYC’s public school teachers.  Please give your opinion on the following proposed ways to evaluate teachers for the purpose of tenure, salary and other job benefits:  Improvement in student test scores, observations by other teachers, student surveys, whether the teacher has an advanced degree, a principal’s evaluation of a teacher.  Should principals be allowed to do unannounced observations of teachers?  Do you have any experience negotiating labor union contracts?

We need a much more holistic approach to how we deal with and promote meaningful learning for our children. I reject Mayor Bloomberg's over-emphasis on high-stakes testing and believe his approach to teacher evaluations is misguided.  

(7) Co-location of charter schools. City officials do not decide how many charter schools can exist, or grant requests to be a charter school.  However, the Department of Education - currently controlled by the Mayor - may decide to provide charter schools with space, usually by "co-location" with district public schools. While more than half of NYC schools (not just charters) are co-located, it is a controversial topic when a charter school is involved. Critics argue that cash-strapped district schools should not be forced to share resources with charter schools and that co-location creates a morale problem when students and parents see the contrast. Co-location advocates argue that charter schools are public schools and should have an equal right to publicly owned resources such as buildings, charter schools do not receive funding for space and therefore operate at a severe financial disadvantage if they have to find private space, and that differences between co-located schools result from decisions the principals make about how to spend their per-pupil funding.  Do you support the DOE giving public school space to charter schools?  

Sources:  Against - funding and space arguments.  In Favor - funding & space (pdf).

I have called on Mayor Bloomberg to halt all school closings and co-locations for the rest of the third term. These actions often lead to disruption instead of genuine progress, and disparities instead of equity for our children. I believe in an education agenda that promotes educational equity, parental engagement and improved academic outcomes for New York City’s one million students. My office has also issued a report which makes recommendation on ways to reduce future conflicts between charter and public schools over co-locations.

(8) The City Wage Tax.  New York City’s budget depends in large part on the city wage tax, which is only paid by residents, not everyone who works in NYC.  Would you call on the state legislature to allow NYC to collect the tax from people from the suburbs who work in NYC and benefit from our services (police, fire, etc.)? Would you support efforts to collect the tax from people who actually live in New York City but use a second home (a loophole not available to middle class New Yorkers with just one home) to avoid the city wage tax? If these efforts work, would you be willing to reduce the city wage tax so that workers would have more take home pay, and there would be less incentive for people to move to the suburbs, reducing our tax base? 

I support the "commuter tax" and believe it was wrong to repeal. The overall theme of tax fairness for NYC residents is a central pillar of my campaign.

(9) Other Taxes.  Do you support progressive taxation?  Do you support Governor Cuomo’s approach to the marginal tax rate on high incomes?  What is your opinion on the current property tax in NYC? Would you support a federal financial transaction tax to either raise revenue, reduce the practice of high frequency trading, or both?  

I am a firm believe in progressive taxation. In fact, I have proposed instituting a modest tax on the wealthy to fund truly universal Pre-K and after school programs for our city's children. I'm the only mayoral candidate who has a plan to pay for universal early education through progressive taxation.

(10) Poverty & the Social Safety Net: According to a 2012 report by the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, many struggling New Yorkers are eligible for welfare, but have not been able to obtain it due to onerous application requirements, and the excessive and arbitrary use of “sanctions” by the City’s Human Resources Administration (HRA). These obstacles have caused very little increase in welfare cases during the recent recession, as contrasted with large increases in Food Stamps and Medicaid. Would you change HRA to make it easier for eligible families to obtain cash assistance, connect them to jobs or meaningful job training, and reform the improper use of sanctions? How would you manage New York City's social safety net programs to ensure that people get the help they need, while at the same time preventing fraud?

I believe it's important not to be overly punitive about critical social services. We need to lift New Yorkers up out of poverty, not create unnecessary barriers. Overall, we need to remove barriers for hardworking individuals and families seeking to access SNAP, general welfare, and child care.

(11) Homelessness. When Mayor Bloomberg first ran, he promised to introduce policies to drastically reduce the numbers of people who are homeless in our city.  But during the twelve years of his administration, the numbers of homeless have increased dramatically each year.  This is in addition to the approximately 50,000 people sleeping in shelters on an average night, according to a recent report by the Coalition for the Homeless.  What would you do to deal with this sad situation?

Despite the Mayor's promises to combat homelessness early in his Administration, his policies have been an abject failure. To fight this epidemic, we should expand preventive programs, like rental assistance for New Yorkers facing eviction, and renew our focus on affordable housing more generally. Combating homelessness was a priority of mine as NYC Public Advocate and as Chair of the City Council's General Welfare Committee, and would be a top priority for me as mayor.

(12) Hurricane Sandy & Environmental Protection. The devastating impact that Hurricane Sandy had on New York City poses short term and long term challenges, namely immediate support for those who lost their homes and businesses, and climate change, respectively.  What measures do you support for helping Sandy recovery efforts, as well as energy conservation and reducing the carbon footprint of New York City?  What is your position on hydraulic fracturing and the Spectra pipeline?

I support the two-year moratorium on fracking in New York state that recently passed the Assembly, and I hope the Senate will pass it too.  Questions about health and environmental safety remain unanswered, and we can't afford to get this wrong.

In terms of recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, our coastal areas need to be rebuilt for resiliency. This means that homes and businesses should be provided support in hardening their defenses against major weather events and climate change.  We must also support residents and businesses as they recover from damage from the storm. As we move forward, we need to amend our zoning regulations and Building Code to ensure future new construction meets the highest standards of resiliency.  We need to go even further in our natural defenses to prepare for the likelihood of future serious storms, I look forward to working with all levels of government - including the Army Corps of Engineers - to strengthen our resilience infrastructure to ensure all five boroughs of New York City rebound stronger.

(13) Gun Control.  While DFNYC members have long supported gun control, the December 14th shooting in Newtown, Connecticut seems to have changed the debate on the national level. Do you support the proposals President Obama made to (a) renew and fix the assault weapons ban, (b) ban high capacity magazines (limit the number of bullets that can be shot before reloading), and (c) improve the background check system?  Please indicate any other methods you would support to reduce gun violence, including how you would implement them, for example: gun buy-back programs, training programs for gun owners, improved access to mental health care, and involving the business community in gun safety.

I absolutely support strong gun control reforms. I have also been one of the leading national voices promoting gun divestment by initiating a process of divesting our public pension fund holdings in companies that manufacture military-grade assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines for sale on the civilian market. Investors have a choice to make -- profit off an industry that puts military-grade weapons on our streets, or become a force for change. You can learn more at my website: WallStreetforChange.com

(14) Choice & Marriage Equality. Please briefly state your position on the following three issues: marriage equality for gays & lesbians, a woman's right to choose, and access to birth control. (25 words or less)  

I support full marriage equality, a woman's right to choose, and access to birth control to promote women's health.

~ Bill de Blasio, candidate for mayor of New York City.  BilldeBlasio.com

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A local coalition group of Democracy for America since 2004

Democracy for NYC (DFNYC) is committed to the ideals espoused by Democracy for America, the organization founded by Howard Dean, and the national network of local coalition groups dedicated to the same.

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