2017 City Council Screening Questionnaire
Candidate Name: Michael Beltzer
City Council District 18
Contact Person: Samelys Lopez
If there is a Campaign office(s), is it wheelchair accessible? Our meeting space is accessible.
Campaign Address: 213 Husson Ave, Apt 2, Bronx NY 10473 Website: Beltzer.NYC
Political: I have not yet received endorsements and am still currently screening.
Community: Most of the community groups in the district do not endorse.
Labor: I have not yet received endorsements and am still currently screening.
Action Shows Commitment!
What have you accomplished in regard to advancing disability rights? This can include work towards accessible housing, transportation, employment, health care, education, and including people with disabilities in the political process? I have made sure to fix the infrastructure in our communities that make it easier for the most vulnerable to get around—things like sidewalks, pedestrian ramps and traffic lights. I have also worked with your member Dustin to do some political work in The Bronx.
Will you only attend / sponsor events that are accessible to people with disabilities (PWDs including providing written materials in alternate formats, providing assistive listening systems, and sign language interpreters as well as ensuring that locations are physically accessible? Yes and I have made sure to push for these on the Community Board and other public meetings and have been dismayed it never occurred.
Local Law 28 requires City department and agency “advertising and other materials pertaining to public events to include information regarding accessibility for people with disabilities” but it does not include elected officials or Community Boards. Do you believe the law should be amended to include electeds and Community Boards? In the absence of an amendment to Local Law 28, would you voluntarily comply? Yes and I would love to learn more about how I could comply.
II. General Questions:
What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities? I have worked closely with people of different abilities in prior roles. I also have members of my family who are blind and suffer from ailments like MS.
What would be your strategy to work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the City Council? I will make sure to have forums with the disabled in my community to stay apprised of their needs and work with groups like Disabled in Action and your club to support action and initiatives that are being taken.
How will you use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than weaken, civil rights protections for persons with disabilities? I will make sure our office is doing all we can to support PWDs and advocate fiercely if they are being discriminated against.
Will all events planned by your office be accessible with all material including the appropriate accessibility symbols (such as the wheelchair, ASL CART, etc)? Yes.
What is your position on the development of supported apartments/homes for people with disabled in your borough? This will be included in the comprehensive community plan I started on the local community board.
Visitability sets guidelines to ensure newly constructed multi-family dwellings have basic accessible/adaptable features to permit people with disabilities can visit, and for residents to "age in place," without having to move out when age and/or disability set in. Do you support incorporating the concept of “visitability” in the Building Code? Yes.
What will you do to expand affordable wheelchair accessible transportation in NYC, express buses, and shuttles, more accessible subway stations, etc.? With the 3rd busiest train station in The Bronx, I am dismayed Parkchester does not have an elevator. I believe new development should help fund accessibility projects.
Access-A-Ride (AAR) users experience unnecessarily long trips, causing users to be late for work and appointments. Users have been stranded and penalized as a "no-show" when the vehicle never arrived. Riders who complain report they have been subject to retaliation. What would you do to improve the quality of service? I will work with the Comptroller’s office to hold the agency accountable. I would also like to incorporate better tracking and dispatch systems for the vehicles.
VI. Community Boards:
Do you support requiring all Community Board meetings and functions to be accessible, including requiring sign language interpreters and large print format material? Yes.
b How many people with disabilities have/will you appoint to your local Community Board? We have one very active member who I would love to reappoint and would love to appoint any qualified individual.
VII. Discretionary Funds:
Will you use your discretionary funds to support organizations serving PWDS or service organizations seeking to make their programs accessible to PWDS? Yes
a. What steps do you think NYC should take to encourage business owners to make their establishments more accessible? First we must plan for all our citizens during the development process and I will ensure that our disabled residents have a voice in that process.
b. How would you ensure that emergency evacuation for PWDS provisions are put in place to improve survival rates of PWDs in the event of fire, attack, blackout, or other emergency situation? I would work with NYCEM to make sure residents are apprised of the Ready New York: My Emergency Plan.
X. Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)
a. Mayor Bloomberg elevated the Director of the (MOPD) to a Commissioner without any increase in budget. How would you ensure that city departments/agencies coordinate through MOPD? By increasing funding and work with the Committee for Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Drug Abuse and Disability Services
How do you believe the City Council should enforce and do oversight regarding the work of the office and be certain of the implementation and its efforts? Absolutely.