Mayoral candidates Adams, Donovan and McGuire issued detailed reports on farming, health and policing, respectively.
Policy Shop is a weekly look at some of the policy proposals being advanced by candidates in the city’s 2021 elections:
Ray McGuire Targets Crime and Cop Misconduct
The NYPD has sometimes seemed like a city unto itself, only loosely connected to the mechanisms of civilian, elected government—something businessman Ray McGuire plans to end if he’s elected mayor. In a criminal justice plan released last week, he promises to play “a direct role in the management of the department” as well as appoint “a deputy mayor for public safety with direct oversight of the NYPD and other criminal justice agencies.” McGuire would hold commanding officers accountable for misconduct by the people under their command and end qualified immunity for police officers. He also wants to start a new Emergency Social Services system to respond to 911 calls, give community policing another shot and have Compstat measure the NYPD’s public engagement, as well as criminal activity. Another part of the detailed plan: McGuire wants to increase the number of cops doing anti-gun work in the 10 precincts with the most serious shooting problems. McGuire is certainly not the candidate of defunding policing, but from affordable housing to restorative justice to violence interruption, there’s a lot in his plan that we’d have been shocked to see five years ago from the candidate of Wall Street.
Donovan on Health During and After COVID-19
In discussing COVID-19, former federal housing secretary and Obama administration budget director Shaun Donovan often refers to his work on the federal response to the 2014 Ebola outbreak. As scary as Ebola is, that episode involved 28,600 cases and 11,325 deaths in 11 countries, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—a far cry from the pandemic scope and truly global reach of everyone’s least-favorite coronavirus. Still, Donovan relies on his federal experience in crafting a health policy plan that centers the continuing response to COVID-19 that the next mayor is likely to take over. Among Donovan’s ideas: shifting money from contact tracing to vaccine distribution, and going grassroots with vaccine efforts to include “education and vaccination events at NYCHA developments, naturally occurring retirement communities, and senior centers.” His plan shifts from the COVID-19 focus to the underlying health inequities the pandemic has exposed, calling for broader health coverage, prioritizing access to neighborhood health facilities, addressing maternal mortality and developing more public-health practitioners from communities of color.
Adams Sees a Farm Future for NYC
Wearing his Brooklyn borough president hat, mayoral candidate Eric Adams is out with an extremely detailed report on the case for expanding urban agriculture in New York City, and a set of policy proposals for how to to do. Adams, who credits a shift to a plant-based diet for radically improving his own health, sees a local agrarian economy as central to efforts to improve public health, reduce carbon pollution, enhance economic justice and create living-wage jobs. In fact, his plan is as much about channeling a forthcoming agrarian New York City to serve public health and economic justice as it is about facilitating that shift to agriculture in the first place. “Our urban agricultural economy is multiplying and advancing at a thrilling pace. As its new technologies develop fast, it is crucial that this economy maintain a similarly furious commitment to social justice,” the Adams report reads. “To build equity from the ground up and ensure it truly benefits all New Yorkers, the new agrarian economy must fulfill and maintain a rigorous commitment to racial justice, food sovereignty, and community growth.”
Iscol: Comptroller as Investor, and Advocate
Mayoral-candidate-turned-comptroller-candidate Zach Iscol last week released a broad plan for New York City’s recovery from COVID. Reflecting the limited policymaking power of the No. 3 citywide post, much of the plan positions Comptroller Iscol as an advocate—for empowering community leaders to re-imagine public safety, allowing for principals to be the CEOs of their own schools, changes to New York City’s affordable housing system that reconfigure income requirements that make units unaffordable to those who need it, changes to New York City property taxes, seamless transitions for continuity of city services, and clear guidelines that allow business to adapt to keep the economy moving. However, Iscol does propose ways to use the comptroller’s powers directly: expanding the number and scope of the pension funds’ local, targeted investments; and using his audit powers to ensure the taxpayers are getting bang for their recovery bucks, issuing Social Bonds to attract private investment for efforts to address homelessness and other issues and serving as an “anchor investor” in funds that support “business, art and cultural institutions.”
Lang: Cracking Down on Hate Needn’t Mean More Jail Time for Haters
Manhattan district attorney candidate Lucy Lang is pledging to crack down on hate crimes, which have spiked in recent years. Like many DA candidates’ plans for many issues this campaign season, her approach begins with devoting a portion of her staff to focusing on this topic—in Lang’s words, that means “designating leadership whose sole responsibility is supervising and handling hate crime cases.” She also pledges to do aggressive outreach to vulnerable communities in an effort to encourage more reporting of such crimes, and require “trauma-informed cultural humility training for all ADAs who handle hate crimes.” As with any crackdown proposed in a race dominated by progressives who want to turn away from incarceration, Lang’s raises the question of whether people convicted of hate crimes might be sent to jail or prison for them. She says she “firmly believes that being serious about hate crimes does not mean abandoning the principles of using incarceration as a last resort, and with the consent of victims, will use responsive sentencing, including restorative justice, as possible resolutions to address harm and ensure accountability in appropriate cases.”