2017 City Council Screening Questionnaire

Candidate Name: Sara M. Gonzalez
City Council District 38

If there is a Campaign office(s), is it wheelchair accessible? 2 offices, One is, One isn’t Campaign Address: 478 58 Street

Action Shows Commitment!

  1. 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? Much of my history is well known to the 504 Democratic Club. Together, we organized a successful demonstration to protest the treatment of Capt Luis Montalvan and his dog Tuesday by staff at McDonalds in my District. In addition, I employed a disability rights specialist who handled countless cases involving all of the above areas more. Your President will remember how we advocated together to make the IKEA ferries and buses more accessible. I renovated every park in my district and insisted in the design process that every park would be fully accessible.

  2. 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? Because Sunset Park is built in a hilly region and most of the architecture is a century old, accessibility is often impossible to achieve. There are many issues and organizations that would require my attention and I cannot promise to withhold my support because they might be physically or financially unable to provide all necessary accommodations. I will commit to suggesting ways or alternatives for them to do so, when appropriate and my events have always been accessible when I was in office. Again, Council budgets are restrictive and I can only commit to providing as much service as possible. All notices will include info on how PWDs can request accommodations and will pledge to do my utmost to provide.

  3. 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 to both

II. General Questions:

  1. What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities? As a Clinician, I served scores of mental health consumers with great success. As you know, your Vice President, Mike Schweinsburg worked in my office for eight years. Recently, I served as an administrator at a Brooklyn Adult Day Care Center

  2. What would be your strategy to work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the City Council? I would work with members of 504

  3. How will you use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than 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)?

III. Housing:

  1. What is your position on the development of supported apartments/homes for people with disabled in your borough? I am fully supportive. I worked with the Fifth Avenue Committee to get approval for a large supportive and affordable housing development in my District. Recently, I was happy to work with them again on a new project in the District.

  2. 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?

IV. Transportation:

  1. What will you do to expand affordable wheelchair accessible transportation in NYC, express buses, and shuttles, more accessible subway stations, etc.?

  2. 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?

VI. Community Boards:

  1. Do you support requiring all Community Board meetings and functions to be accessible, including requiring sign language interpreters and large print format material?

b How many people with disabilities have/will you appoint to your local Community Board?

VII. Discretionary Funds:

  1. Will you use your discretionary funds to support organizations serving PWDS or service organizations seeking to make their programs accessible to PWDS?

IX. Accessibility:

a. What steps do you think NYC should take to encourage business owners to make their establishments more accessible?

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?

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?

  1. 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?