NY City Crime rates, anti-business sentiment and poverty is increasing, while our quality of life and prospect for affordable housing and jobs have been decreasing over the past half decade. Much of this erosion was caused by inexperienced, irrational and unpragmatic politicians with bigger goals than managing our City.
We need to refocus the energy of our great community to the following areas:
Foster a Pro-Business Environment in NYC
The loss of Amazon shall have a lasting negative impact on our City. We need to turn around this anti-business sentiment via showing the world that New York is a business-friendly destination for capital. I fear a return to the 70s and 80s, if we have a Mayor and City Council that fears development and panders to an overly vocal miniscule minority that is harming the reputation of our great City.
The reality is we need businesses large and small to make this City and its people prosper. The top 5% of taxpayer pay 65% of income taxes in this City and this base is eroding quickly.
When Amazon was scared out of the City, we, immediately, were labeled by many companies as a City that is anti-business. I understand the sentiment of those that fear development. The fear is real, but the answer to the fear is balance, not a winner-take-all approach. It is true, real estate prices in these neighborhoods targeted for development shall rise. We can balance this impact with good paying jobs for those in the community, public-private housing partnerships, loans to small businesses and more affordable housing built alongside these developments. We do not need a winner-take-all mentality.
The chasing out of real estate developers and businesses is occurring all over the City. In my district, numerous candidates for City Council are opposed to the Two Bridges Project. This project shall not harm the community. It shall bring in more jobs, restaurants and customers to local establishments, while bringing in more affordable housing within the project. However, it is true that we have a housing affordability issue. However, development does not mean that housing needs to be unaffordable. Some of the housing being built, as was done in the World Trade Center Project, can be affordable housing choices.
The reality is we need businesses large and small to make this City prosper. Our economy is fueled by the wheels of commerce and if we continue on this track we shall see more companies moving South.
Improve the Quality of Life for all New Yorkers
Over the past half decade the harassment of pedestrians, panhandling, petty crimes and homelessness has increased in the City. The police are not well trained to handle these issues and we need more social workers and mental health experts working in cooperation with the police. Shifting some funds from the police to social services and mental health professionals must be considered.
The homeless and mentally ill deserve much better as does residents of our City.
Decrease the Crime Rate for All of New York
New York has, gradually, experienced an uptick in crime over the past half decade with the pandemic leading to a drastic increase in violent crimes. The targeting of the police, as a whole, led to numerous police to take early retirement, quit the force or sit down on the job. The morale in the police force, in New York, is at an all-time low.
Police must be held accountable when bad actors in the police go astray, but all cops should not be labeled as bad actors. We should thank our cops for their service and appreciate the service they provide to the community. The police are not the enemy, certain bad actors within the police are the enemy and we should never let their unions protect these bad actors.
Increase Amount and Quality of Affordable Housing in the City
The anti-development crowd rightfully fears that they may be priced out of the City. Many of us feel the pinch. However, fear of development is not the answer. We must have a larger stock of quality low and middle-income housing. This housing stock is most efficiently built through public-private partnerships. We need to stream-line regulatory approvals for those that are willing to work hand-in-hand with the community and the City to build low income and affordable housing choices.
Fight Fraud, Waste & Abuse in the City
Fraud, waste & abuse coupled with the City's thirst for more, often wasteful spending, may bankrupt this City and lead to the erosion of our tax base. We must fight fraud, waste & abuse and tax & spend politicians by the creation of a truly independent and non-political oversight board (ombudsperson) and budget office. We, additionally, need a mayor and City Council with some semblance of restraint.
Bring our Criminals Back into the Workforce Let us wipe clean criminal records of convicts after five years without a criminal charge, however, increase sentences for repeat offenders. Reality is few decent employment opportunities are available for those with criminal records. We are a country that respects the underdog and believes in second chances, allow our young adults a second chance. A bad choice when young, should not lead to a ruined future. Let us help our men and woman with criminal records to become productive members of society.
Provide World-Class Education & Work-Study Opportunities for our Youth
We should be proud of the progress our school have made over the last three decades, but recently our politicians have pushed our school curriculums too far, while trying to break down what made our educational systems great. We need to open our schools and not make radical changes to our school's entrance exam systems.
We are, though, sadly leaving too many of our at risk youth out to dry. This issue is a tough issue that requires balance, the integration of the community and families into the schools, return to value-based education along with work-study opportunities.
I shall push to see the less fortunate interning at law firms, banks, tech companies and startups. Integration in the business world, as occurred in the military, shall bring us together. We need to show our less fortunate youth that various options exist in our great City and business is not the enemy.
Sean Hayes (Candidate for New York City Council in District 1)
Pragmatic Solutions through Experienced Leadership
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