What the Bronx Wants From De Blasio

Print More
Mayor de Blasio delivers his inaugural address.

Photo by: Adi Talwar

Mayor de Blasio delivers his inaugural address.

Bill de Blasio has been mayor since Wednesday, but he already seeks New Yorkers’ input and activism.

“We will succeed as One City,” he said at his inaugural. “We know this won’t be easy; it will require all that we can muster. And it won’t be accomplished only by me; it will be accomplished by all of us — those of us here today, and millions of everyday New Yorkers in every corner of our city. You must continue to make your voices heard. You must be at the center of this debate. And our work begins now.”

Following every issue de Blasio addressed — expanding the paid sick leave law, reforming a “broken” stop-and-frisk policy, providing universal pre-K to every child, and more — he said, “We won’t wait. We’ll do it now!”

So we asked active Bronxites what other issues they want de Blasio’s help with “now!” Here’s what 13 had to say:

“As a mother and grandmother, I have seen how harsh discipline in Bronx schools has created a school-to-prison pipeline, leaving students with limited choices and no correction of their behaviors. Until last year, the Bronx had the highest number of school-based arrests and summonses in the city. Now, arrests are down, but the Bronx leads in summonses. Mayor de Blasio needs to fund programs that will resolve conflict constructively and make sure students graduate.”
Michelle Reyes, Parent Leader
New Settlement Parent Action Committee

“The South Bronx has suffered far too long. Stop the proposed $127 million to FreshDirect, which relies on a 20-year-old EIS to bring 1,000 more daily diesel truck trips through our neighborhood where asthma hospitalization rates are 21-times higher than more affluent neighborhoods. Support the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan.”
A. Mychal Johnson
South Bronx Unite

“New York City attracted record numbers of tourists in 2013. Unfortunately, 99 percent of them never left Manhattan. Unless the new mayor comes up with a comprehensive plan to bring tourism dollars to The Bronx and the other boroughs, the City will be missing out on a huge growth opportunity.”
Anthony Ramirez II, President
Mainland Media

“Free Wi-Fi is already available in many public parks, airports and libraries. To reduce the ‘Digital Divide’ in communities of color, government and companies scheduled a pilot program in East Harlem that can be replicated in the South Bronx and other poor areas. In keeping with Mayor de Blasio’s campaign pledge to end inequality, providing free Wi-Fi to low-income communities is a good first step towards bridging the technology gap and improving socio-economic outcomes.”
Angel Molina, MPA
National Urban Fellow

“Mr. Mayor: Please revamp the Medicaid system in regard to home care services. I see plenty of people getting excess benefits as I go about my daily job as a health-care provider, just because they qualify for Medicaid. Meanwhile seniors on Medicare are denied. Hire real people from the trenches — not just people who are good at policymaking but have no real life experience on what really goes on out there.”
Diane Valcarcel
A registered nurse who lives and works in the Bronx

“What are the obstacles to community plans for the South Bronx waterfront to gain amenities and become accessible to them? What’s happened to the land there and how do developers get to impose their power plants, trucking companies, and other unwanted projects there while the community has no access to the waterfront? This is something the de Blasio administration must focus on.”
Robert Jereski
South Bronx youth mentor

“Safe, affordable housing and living wages are two issues that go hand-in-hand and most impact the lives of people in the Bronx. Until wages rise alongside the cost of living, working people will continue to struggle to pay the rent, put food on the table, and make ends meet at the end of each month.”
Sandra Lobo-Jost, President
Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition

  • Stop the subsidies to Fresh Direct.
  • Spearhead a waterfront plan like the Armory or the Cornell campus on Roosevelt Island here on the 96 acres of NYSDOT land on the waterfront.
  • Create the Port Morris Gantries environmental climate change resiliency center, on city owned land with local community leadership.
  • Preserve all community gardens.
  • Create jobs for youth who have encountered the criminal justice system.”
    Harry J. Bubbins, Director
    Friends of Brook Park

    “The Bronx needs safer streets which feature the same amenities that have saved the lives and improved transportation for New Yorkers in other parts of the city, including protected bike lanes and pedestrian plazas. Streets like Boston Road, Westchester Avenue, and the Grand Concourse should prioritize people over cars.”
    Elizabeth Hamby, Co-Chair
    Transportation Alternatives Bronx Activist Committee
    (and Boogie Down Rides co-founder)

    “It would make a huge difference for the Bronx if the new mayor takes a multi-pronged approach to the affordability crisis. In addition to higher wages and new appointments to the Rent Guidelines Board, it’s imperative that de Blasio creates a new policy for permanently housing homeless families that does not threaten existing permanent housing or fatten the wallets of slumlords and former DHS commissioners.”
    Gregory Lobo-Jost, Deputy Director
    University Neighborhood Housing Program

    “Bronx politics has begun to change, with new progressive voices, but more is needed. The mayor should support open, transparent elections, and policies that support greater political engagement by Bronx residents. We want ballots that are easy for voters to read, and certain to be accurately counted. We want a political system that is competitive and open to progressive voices.”
    Margaret Groarke, Associate Professor, Government
    Manhattan College

    “The mayor should focus on preserving affordable housing in addition to building it. That means supporting legislation that bans non-rent fees, changing the way the Rent Guidelines Board works, and ending the tale of two cities in our city’s housing courts. Forty-three percent of evicted tenants went into the shelter system in 2011.Tenants are much less likely to get evicted if they are represented and that should be a right in NYC.
    Susanna Blankley, Director of Housing Organizing
    CASA (Community Action for Safe Apartments)

    “We ask that your administration help us make the community-driven Mott Haven Port/Morris Waterfront Plan a reality. We would like for you to work with us to bring public waterfront access and green space to the South Bronx.”
    Leah Hozak
    South Bronx Unite

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *