2017 City Council Screening Questionnaire
Candidate Name: Ede S. Fox
Council District 35
If there is a Campaign office(s), is it wheelchair accessible?Yes, 813 Nostrand Avenue
Campaign Address: 585 Vanderbilt Avenue
Political: New Kings Democrats; Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn & Former Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum
Community : Donna Mossman of Crown Heights Tenant Union & Alicia Boyd of Movement to Protect the People
Labor : Mason Tenders District Council, New York State Laborers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 9 & Iron Workers and Metallic Lathers Local 46
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 am deeply committed to the issues raised by the disability community. When elected, I will work with my colleagues in the City Council to ensure more transportation accessibility by advocating for more accessible subway stations, more accessible taxis, and better access to affordable accessible housing. Land use and affordable housing is a centerpiece of my campaign. I have spent much of my career working to create affordable housing for low income and middle class families. We must do everything we can to provide affordable housing for the disabled community and for senior citizens who are being forced out of the 35 th district by developers looking to make a way for others who will pay higher rent to increase their profits.
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
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
II. General Questions:
What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities? I developed a seizure disorder at the age of 24. Although well controlled on medication now, I remember the difficulties I experienced when my condition first developed. In addition, my mother has serious mobility issues so I am particularly sensitive to the issue of providing accessible transportation and facilities so she is able to get around. I have made sure that my campaign facilities are accessible so all would feel welcome in my office. I am committed to working with anyone who is qualified to do the job, regardless of his or her disability. Finally, I have worked with and managed staff with many disabilities (i.e. Tourette’s syndrome and sickle cell anemia) and worked hard to ensure the environment was supportive and productive.
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 work with the disability community to improve accessibility in our City. On a regular basis, I will meet with organizations representing the disabled community for help to identify problem areas and seek their advice on appropriate solutions, from introduction of legislation to advocacy with colleagues in the Council and public outreach on relevant initiatives to create a level playing field for every citizen.
How will you use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than weaken, civil rights protections for persons with disabilities ? I plan to identify a community liaison who has dedicated time to work on constituent services and advocacy for people with disabilities. I will help to identify and prevent violations of the Fair Housing Act in relations to accessible housing, especially with new construction in the district. My office will work to help constituents report discrimination against people with disabilities and work with disability advocacy organizations to provide “know your rights” workshops to educate our community.
W ill 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? We need more development of supported apartments and homes for people with disabilities. The required percentages for fully accessible apartments for vision and hearing impaired in affordable housing lotteries should be a baseline. As communities, we should be advocating for more fully accessible apartments in new developments. I would like to see more funding go to supported apartment and homes for people with disabilities, especially for seniors aging in place in the district and for young adults looking for affordable housing.
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? Absolutely, visitability should be incorporated in the building code and mandated for all newly constructed multi-family dwellings. I believe that it is important, healthier and more cost effective for the disabled to remain in their homes and for seniors to age in place rather than moving to a nursing home for long term care.
What will you do to expand affordable wheelchair accessible transportation in NYC, express buses, and shuttles, more accessible subway stations, etc.? I will advocate for increased accessibility to more subway stations by adding more elevators and escalators, more wheelchair accessible express buses and shuttles and more accessible taxis. I support the class action lawsuit against the MTA by the Disability Rights Advocates for excluding people from disabilities from using our city’s transportation system. It is unacceptable that the MTA is still unable to provide ADA-accessible subway stations.
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? The Council Transportation committee should meet with the Transit Authority on a regular basis to control this kind of inappropriate behavior. People who use Access A Ride should be educated on how to document misconduct so that the managers at the Transit Authority can rectify the problems with the contractors. We must advocate on behalf of its constituents to assist in bringing the problem to light. I would personally be willing to accompany a group to speak with the MTA about these problems and to demand an investigation.
VI. Community Boards:
a. 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? If elected, I will ensure that the disability community is adequately represented in my assignments to the local Community boards. It is important to have the voices of disabled persons represented on the board so that we make sound decisions when it comes to a number of vital issues, such as social services, safe streets, traffic problems and education. As a former Community Board member, representation by people with disabilities is very important to me.
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? Unfortunately, some business owners do not want to expend the money to make major infrastructure changes to make their businesses accessible. Others simply cannot afford to make needed capital expenditures. The City Council should conduct a study to determine the feasibility of mandating business owners to make changes to their facilities to accommodate accessibility and determine what, if any, financial mechanism is required to help those businesses that don’t have the money to do the work. Perhaps a loan interest program or grant program might work.
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 am concerned about emergency planning for the disabled and our seniors. We can expect more super storms each year and need better evacuation plans and more shelters. We need more training drills so that first responders are ready. The local community boards can be helpful by identifying locations in the community where disabled and older residents might go during a storm. The local community boards can also organize relief efforts if necessary. Our hospitals need disaster plans as well and should have working generators. I also support the formation of a coalition of nonprofits to develop a neighborhood disaster plan that coordinates the resources of our service providers with our first responders.
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? The Council should request that city department and agencies provide regular reporting on meeting the goals of the AccessibilityNYC report’s focus areas of Transportation, Employment, Access and Education.
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? The City Council has significant oversight responsibilities and the power to hold regular public hearings, ask questions and demand results from any municipal agency or Authority. If elected, I commit to being a voice for people with disabilities, calling such oversight hearings and seeking the answers MOPD needs to ensure that the disabled are treated fairly and that we do everything we can to become the most accessible City in the world.