2017 City Council Screening Questionnaire
Candidate Name: Mark Gjonaj
Council District 13 Joseph Cooper
Phone: 941- 807- 0469
If there is a Campaign office(s), is it wheelchair accessible? Yes, Yes. 4018 Williamsbridge Road Bronx, NY 10467 Website: MarkGjonaj.com
Political: Rep. Joe Crowley, Sen. Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Mayor Mike Spano, Bronx Democratic Party
Labor: 32BJ SEIU, Steamfitters,
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? In the Assembly I have sponsored and voted for numerous pieces of legislation aimed at protecting the disabled including increasing penalties against those who commit crimes against the disabled, increasing funding for non-profits that service the disabled, funding for capital improvements to make public spaces handicap accessible and more.
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? I will do my best to ensure that events put on by the city as well as my office are fully accessible .
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, yes I voluntarily comply.
II. General Questions:
What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities?
What would be your strategy to work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the City Council? I plan on having a regular dialogue with disability advocates to ensure that my office is doing everything possible to advocate for people with disabilities .
How will you use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than weaken, civil rights protections for persons with disabilities? I will not support any proposed legislation that would weaken civil rights protections for persons with disabilities.
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? I support the expansion of supported apartments/homes for people with disabilities.
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.? We need additional capital funding with a plan to make our entire public transportation system 100% accessible. This should be part of the MTA capital plan.
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? We need to expand the access-a-ride fleet to have more cars on the road so we can reduce wait times and improve the quality of service for riders. In addition, we need to make the routing more efficient so riders carpooling are pooling with other riders who are on the same route. Uber and other ride sharing platforms already use such software.
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? I plan on conducting a thorough review of the make up of the community board and pledge to include at least 2 appointments to those who are disabled .
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? There should be requirements in place to make establishments more accessible and incentives should be offered as a means to facilitate the work in a timelier manner.
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 the disability community, our emergency responders, and entities like the Red Cross to come up with guidelines that should be enacted .
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? I would talk with the Mayor’s office and see what can be done to increase communication and coordination between agencies.
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? MOPD should have a larger budget to increase oversight capabilities.