Campaign Digital Newsletter: Week 6
We are pleased to present to you, our campaign website:
We will be adding more content and expanding the policy platform in the weeks and months to come. But, for now, this will give you an idea of some (not all) of the issues I care about and my thoughts about them. The "News" section will contain my weekly campaign newsletter and all of the 50 million candidate questionnaires and pledges that various groups have asked me to fill out. This page will have the most dynamic content, so check back regularly.
If you would like to make a donation to our campaign, I promise you that I will spend your money carefully and wisely. Initial funds will be spent on expanding my digital media platform and paying for the physical necessities of a campaign (flyers, yard signs, etc.). Once these needs are met, I will most likely spend the funds on direct mail to voters closer to the election. Any material I put out will seek to inform voters about at least the top three issues on my campaign platform (campaign finance reform, environmental issues/solar energy, and the city-wide up-zoning overlay). Therefore, any money you donate will simultaneously go towards furthering our campaign and raising awareness of these issues. It's a twofer. Lastly, if I am able to raise significant funding, I may hire some real staff to replace the imaginary staff that is currently manning the desks and answering the phones here at campaign headquarters.
I would like to give a huge shout out to my friend Duane Andrews, who built the website. Mr. Andrews is a civil rights lawyer and digital media consultant based in NYC and the founder of the Andrews Technology Group. Everyone deserves an "I.T. Guy" in their pocket.
AHO (Overlay) Update - Ordinance Committee 8/8
The ordinance committee continued their second meeting on the Affordable Housing Overlay. This 7.5 hour meeting ended with a continuance and was itself a continuance of the 5 hour meeting on 8/1. There was no public comment at this meeting, the purpose of which was to work through 28 pages of proposed amendments to the AHO. The meeting was a contentious and unsightly affair, though in my opinion not as unsightly as the last planning board meeting on the AHO. It does not inspire confidence in this legislative process that the council is holding 7-hour long marathon sessions in order to meet a self-imposed September deadline for policy as important as this. It is clear from watching this hearing that several of the council members stop functioning at peak capacity around hour 3 or 4.
The committee worked through approximately half of the proposed amendments, almost all of which engendered some level of contention or disagreement. One exchange that stood out occurred near the end of the meeting. Because the AHO lacks any site selection criteria at all, Councilor Carlone proposed an amendment which said:
"Due to the above regulations, each site will offer different opportunities and constraints for the affordable housing developer as well as impacts on the abutting neighbors. The priority of site selection shall be organized by the degree that the selected location enhances affordable housing renters' mobility, social interactions, and retail/services access, as well as generates a greater number of units. Therefore, Priority 1 locations are in or immediately adjacent to city squares and smaller neighborhood retail/services districts (BA, BA-1, BA-2). Priority 2 sites are those that the city already controls or owns (empty lots, parking lots, storage areas, etc.). The next three priorities are in the lower density neighborhoods: Priority 3 is on major streets and avenues, especially those with mass transit access; Priority 4 are corner locations (traditional locations for most apartment buildings in residential neighborhoods); and Priority 5 are residential properties that are not on corners."
This amendment would seem like a common sense proposal, and standard urban design philosophy, to build larger, denser developments near public transit and retail along major corridors. However, the strong proponents of the AHO took this as an opportunity to attack and portrayed this amendment as classist. In particular, Councilor Mallon said that she believed the order of priority should essentially be the opposite of the proposed text and that AHO developments should be built in residential neighborhoods first. She made this comment after voting for reduced yard setbacks on AHO developments, reduced open space, no minimum parking requirements, and, at an earlier committee meeting on June 4, speaking against the need for tree protections for AHO developments.
I will add the pdf with all the proposed amendments to the "Housing Overlay" page of my website. The video from this meeting is not yet available. When it is, I will link to it on the website. I think that every person in the city should see the manner in which this policy is being written and these decisions are being made.
That's it for this update, have a good week everyone.