2017 City Council Screening Questionnaire
Candidate Name: _Carlina Rivera__ Council District 02 firstname.lastname@example.org_ www.CarlinaRivera.nyc
If there is a Campaign office(s), is it wheelchair accessible? ____ Ted Finkelstein of NYC Commission on Human Rights has assisted us in specs for a ramp to make the office ADA compliant ___ Campaign Address: ______149 Avenue C, storefront_____________
Political: ___Working Families Party, Planned Parenthood NYC Votes, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Congresswomen Maloney and Velazquez, Congressman Nadler, Senators Hoylman and Squadron, Assemblywoman Glick and Niou, Councilwoman Rosie Mendez ___________________________________________
Community: Make the Road Action, League of Independent Theater, NYS Immigration Action Fund, Planned Parenthood NYC Votes
Labor: ___TWU, CWA, 32BJ, AFM Local 802, UFCW, PSC-CUNY, 1199SEIU, UAW, Doctors Council SEIU_________
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? As a community organizer and board member of Community Board 3, advocating for disability rights has always been a priority. As a former employee for the current Councilwoman for District 2, I worked on a project to install ramps in Lillian Wald Houses. This development of over 1,800 families contains buildings with a step to enter the premises. I have also assisted residents with individual cases requesting transfers and retrofitting apartments to be ADA-compliant and accommodate their needs. I have also advocated for more elevators at our MTA stops, including stops at Delancey/Essex, 14 th Street/1 st Ave. My good friend Michael Schweinsburg has accompanied me over the years to many of the forums on disaster preparedness, transportation and other disability issues, so I have had a long-time ally in the community that understands my commitment to those that have traditionally been disenfranchised.
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 would do as much as possible to include all people with disabilities in my events. Within the parameters of what my Council office budget would allow, I would fund every accommodation possible to create an accessible space for every constituent. I also hope to rely on the 504 Club and other leaders in the disability advocate community for volunteers that could supplement these efforts.
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? I do believe that this local law should be expanded to include electeds and community boards. I commit to coordinating events with appropriate advisories and invite partners in the disability community to assist us with proper protocol.
II. General Questions:
What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities? I have personally had people in my life who have physical and developmental disabilities and whose ages range from child to senior. Navigating these spaces include having fair and equitable systems including accessible education and transportation. I’ve experienced problems within our classrooms and transit, with insufficient support. I’ve experienced long waits in inclement weather and on holidays for Access-a-Ride, as well as challenging ventures into indoor and outdoor venues and theaters to enjoy what NYC has to offer. Having a blind uncle has also allowed me a perspective on navigating city services, residences and commuter layouts. I also know that not all disabilities are physical or easily seen, and developmental disabilities has also been something in my life that has pushed me to be involved and advocate for great programs for our communities.
What would be your strategy to work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the City Council? I have always worked on organizing people around issues and policy in coalition with community partners. I believe policy can be advanced most effectively when an elected official works with all groups that can be affected and who stand for justice– I would include people with disabilities at the table when crafting legislation that I sponsor or co-sponsor, as they would represent the largest minority group in the U.S.
How will you use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than weaken, civil rights protections for persons with disabilities? The PWD community must be included in drafting legislation in the Council to ensure this large community is affected positively and supported by new legislation, zoning and funding.
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, where applicable I would include the right notifications on materials distributed for events.
What is your position on the development of supported apartments/homes for people with disabled in your borough? I believe that commitments made by the state and city to funding supportive housing units must be expedited and that considerations be made for people with disabilities. For housing overall, considering the old housing stock of our city, we must consider set-asides of more new units that would be appropriate for those with disabilities, especially where developers receive abatements and subsidies from government.
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 should look at expanding the original list of target stations for accessibility improvements. We should also codify required maintenance and timelines for such regarding elevators and other accessible equipment, particularly when stations are subcontracted to large building owners. Public transit should be supplemented with spontaneous transportation options that are accessible. The Council would ideally work with the TLC to ensure that a greater percentage of new licenses granted to for-hire or e-hail cars be granted based on accessibility.
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 in cooperation with the PWD community and transportation-related agencies must explore new technology that creates more efficient point-to-point service times and routes for Access-a-Ride. It would be beneficial to have a panel explore the use of smartcards that help those without severe mobility impairments use private transportation options at a Metrocard-level or reduced rate. Increasing the accessibility rates of e-hail/for-hire licenses may also serve to supplement Access-a-Ride use.
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? I would support increased funding for community boards to engage the proper resources to make sure meetings are fully accessible .
b How many people with disabilities have/will you appoint to your local Community Board? I would work with community boards and the Borough President in exploring a threshold we can target of new appointments for people with disabilities.
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? Building code and zoning is the best tool we have to ensure that alterations are made going forward consider PWD. I would encourage local BIDs and business associations to consider the benefits of fully accessible businesses and promote campaigns to educate business owners on the subject. Organizations like CIDNY would make excellent partners in this effort.
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 was directly involved in relief efforts after Hurricane Sandy and the 2 nd Avenue Explosion, and saw firsthand the unique challenges crisis situations present to PWDs. I have learned after attending forums over the years that housing providers, such as NYCHA, register people with disabilities so that they might be attended to quickly in these events, however, it is almost always the community that responds first. I would like to work with organizations representing this community to encourage voluntary registration so that first responders are aware of residents in need of special assistance.
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?It is my understanding that all internal policy SHOULD currently be vetted by MOPD. We should give MOPD designation as a full department.
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? By elevating MOPD to full departmental status, the Council can have enhanced oversight requirements and not just oversight by the Mayor’s office. This can allow a more robust discussion on the resources needed to give MOPD what they need for our growing city.