Gale Brewer has done a lot. But there's still lots to do.

Saving Small Businesses

  • As a Council member, when new Upper West Side developments started to open with huge ground floor retail spaces, Gale wrote and passed a rezoning of Columbus and Amsterdam Ave. storefronts in 2012, capping them to a maximum frontage of 40 feet—curbing the spread of national chains and banks which were forcing out smaller shops.

  • This spring, the Wall St. Journal reported some results: “On the stretch of Amsterdam between 72nd and 86th streets [there were] just 10 national chains amid the 176 storefronts. The same stretch of Broadway a block west—which escaped the zoning restrictions—has three times as many national chains and more than double the vacancy rate…” (WSJ, 4/20/21) 

  • As Borough President, when empty storefronts started plaguing neighborhoods across Manhattan, Gale sponsored and passed a bill to establish an official citywide vacancy database—so that land- lords and the public can have solid information about when and where vacancies are occurring.

  • Rollout of the database has been delayed by the pandemic, but once it’s up and running Gale will explore the data and work to prevent occupied storefronts from emptying, to repopulate empty stores, and rejuvenate our streetscapes. 

  • And Gale will fight for a system of lease mediation between small businesses and landlords as part of the Storefront Business Bill of Rights she just introduced.

  • Mainstream Manhattan supermarkets are closing at a record pace. Gale has already introduced a bill with Council Speaker Corey Johnson to suspend the city’s Commercial Rent Tax to help keep them open. If she can’t pass it this year, Gale will reintroduce it on the Council next year. 

  • Sidewalk scaffolding (some- times called “sheds”) helps protect pedestrians from exterior building work, but they hurt small businesses underneath that depend on pedes- trian traffic; Gale will work to set expiration dates on the scaffold permits.

  • Gale will work to pass a property tax cut for small businesses to put them on an evening playing field with national chains, and help them rebuild after the pandemic.

  • She wants to pilot new programs like pop-up stores or retail markets to temporarily fill vacancies to help new entrepreneurs to test their businesses and add vibrancy to our blocks.

  • Gale convened a Small Business Task Force, made of small business owners, real estate professionals, Community Board members, zoning experts, tenant advocacy groups, lawyers and electeds resulting in a report, Small Business Recovery Roadmap. 

A Marshall Plan for New York City Workers

  • To help rebuild from the Pandemic, Gale thinks New York City needs a Marshall Plan for training and jobs aligned to industries projected to have significant growth over the next 10 years, including training for shovel ready infrastructure projects. 

  • There is a radical shift in the kind of jobs available, such as in technology, innovation, and health care, and any NYC administration must provide training for jobs that will grow in the next decade.

  • Any Marshall Plan must include training for jobs in infrastructure, especially if the Federal infrastructure bill passes. NYC must invest in infrastructure in order to rebuild our city after this pandemic that had such a major impact on all 5 boroughs and every resident and every sector of the economy. The Charles B. Rangel Center at CCNY is going to focus on this issue; currently the Center advances research and academics on issues related to diversity in public service. 

  • Gale wants to map the workforce development system to provide a skills bank/tool for workers, training providers, and employers to increase effectiveness and access. She’ll make sure the NYC Employment and Training Coalition is funded to undertake this project.

 She wants to make sure the next NYC administration matchs the training with the need for specific jobs. Tech jobs are just one example but there are many others. 

  • She wants to collect, communicate, and use data to align the real-time talent needs of employers across industries to investments in training programs throughout the city that are funded by government and philanthropy.This dataset should determine how funds are allocated and spent.

  • In just two months of spring 2020, more than 900,000 of the city’s jobs disappeared, wiping out nearly all of the employment gains racked up during a record-length expansion that started in 2009. New York City has added back about 375,000 of the jobs it lost last spring, or about 40 percent of the total. Economists forecast that it will take at least a couple of years to gain back the balance of those lost jobs — still more than 500,000. More New Yorkers will lose their jobs if their skills are not upgraded. The future of work is changing.

  • Gale will focus on “the three C’s” to accomplish this workforce plan: community colleges, community-based organizations, and the Career and Technical Education/CTE high schools.

Protecting Workers Rights

  • Gale wrote the city’s original Paid Sick Leave law in 2009 and worked for four years to pass it, over the veto of Mayor Bloomberg, in 2013. It required that employers with 15+ employees provide their workers with five days’ paid sick time each year; it formed the basis for expansions of the law during the de Blasio administration.
  • In 2003, Gale wrote and passed a law to protect domestic workers placed by agencies from exploitation, paving the way for the state’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights guaranteeing them overtime pay and protection from discrimination and harassment.
  • Gale has supported organizing drives by graduate workers at NYU and Columbia, airport workers, and even staffers at The New Yorker.

  • The city has to meet the needs of New Yorkers for job training—“workforce development”—that will be crucial for for the city’s economic recovery. With funding, CUNY’s community colleges are the perfect places to do it—and Gale will work to accomplish that goal.  

  • Gale is proud to have been endorsed by over thirty labor unions, including the New York City Central Labor Council, the United Federation of Teachers, and the 2021 Labor Strong coalition.

Harnassing Data to move our City forward

  • Gale is a data nerd at heart. As the Chair of the Council’s Technology Committee, Gale wrote and passed the city’s Open Data law, requiring that most data collected by the city be posted to an online portal, where residents and civic technologists (ok, data geeks) can use the information to help manage and solve city problems.
  • Gale knows we have got to start treating high-speed internet access as a public utility, like water or electricity. Students shouldn’t have to huddle outside a library to do homework, and doctors need to be able to do much more telemedicine. 

  • As Borough President and on the City Council, she prioritized building a tech-savvy staff, and worked tirelessly to harness data and technology to make government work better for everyone.

  • She wants to keep harnessing the power of the city’s data to help us recover from the Pandemic and help solve problems from climate change adaptation to safer streets. 

  • She is also committed to ensuring every new york has the right to digital privacy, and can protect their own personal data and digital activity from covert government and commercial surveillance and intrusions. 

Protecting Tenants

  • On the City Council, Gale will work toward expanding funding for anti-eviction and legal services programs to ensure everyone has access to good legal counsel. 

  • Expanding these services can help us stem the tide of evictions, keep families in their homes, and ensure we stop losing rent-regulated apartments across the West Side.  

  • She will fight back against real estate speculators who try and take advantage of tenants through predatory techniques. 

  • She will keep working with the West Side’s state representatives to pass stronger tenant protections to preserve, stabilize and expand the stock of affordable housing in our neighborhood and citywide. 

  • Gale passed the bill to force landlords to fix underlying conditions — not just patch a leak, but replace an aging roof if necessary — protecting housing stock and helping tenants live better and more safely. She will keep working to improve this law and make sure it’s fully enforced.

  • Gale also passed a law tackling heat inadequate heat and enforcement issues  – amending the minimum required overnight temperature for residential buildings from 55 degrees to 65 degrees between 10pm and 6am during the City’s heating season, removing the triggering temperature.

  • Gale is proud to have been endorsed by MET Council Action and by the Tenants PAC.

Defending LGBTQ+ Rights

  • Gale is proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with the LGBTQ+ community to fight for comprehensive civil rights protections. 
  • She is focused on helping to extend protections for Transgender New Yorkers, and LGBTQ+ young people expereicing homelessness. 

  • She also wants to fund organizations like SAGE NYC to ensure LGBTQ+ seniors have the support to age in place. 

  • She wont stop fighting until equality under the law truly means equality under the law for everyone in our city. 

  • Gale has been endorsed by the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York, the oldest LGBTQ+ democratic club in the City. 

Expanding access to Healthcare

  • Gale believes in Universal Healthcare for all, and believes the New York Legislature should pass the NY Health Act as a means to move our state towards this vital goal.

  • She believes we must fully fund New York City Health and Hospitals, including community health centers across the City, which provide critical care to New Yorkers regardless of income, race or immigration status. 

  • Gale opposes Hospital consolidations and mergers, which drive up the cost of healthcare and deprive neighborhoods of essential healthcare services facilities. 

  • Gale knows that the pandemic has left thousands of New Yorkers out of work, without health insurance, and unable to afford outrageously-priced prescription drugs. She supports federal legislation to stem the rise of drug prices, to make sure no New Yorkers have to choose between buying insulin and paying rent. 

  • Gale is proud to have been endorsed by a number of unions representing essential healthcare workers, including the Committee of Interns and Residents SEIU, Home Healthcare Workers of America, and the New York State Nursing Association.

Quality of Life and improving Public Safety

  • Public safety is at the top of Gale’s recovery list—everyone needs to feel safe in our community. That means tackling hate crimes against Asian Americans and Jews, and working with community groups and the police to keep our neighborhood safe. 

  • Gale also believes we must provide permanent supportive housing for New Yorkers suffering from mental illness or substance abuse disorder — not more overcrowded, unsafe shelters. She believes new supportive housing must be small so that non-profit providers can give residents the high quality services they deserve. 

  • Many of the things we love about living in Manhattan are the same things that attract tourists. But the scores of sightseeing helicopter trips each week ruin the quality of life for those of us who live in their flight paths. Gale fought for restrictions in flight patterns, stopped takeoffs from West Side Heliport, and blocked non-essential flights over Manhattan itself. But now the problem is takeoffs based in Northern New Jersey. 

  • Gale will work with the NY and NJ congressional delegations to pressure the FAA to implement a no-sightseeing rule for helicopters in the NYC airspace.

Preserving and Expanding Affordable Housing

 

  • Gale has spent her entire career working to build and preserve affordable housing in New York City.

  • As Borough President, she has fought for affordable housing in every single development proceeding she has overseen to ensure we are building homes for low income New Yorkers. 

  • Gale strongly supports supportive housing programs that provide homes for mentally ill new yorkers.  She believes that they must be appropriately sized so that providers can give residents the high quality services they deserve. 

  • She knows we must do more to help our neighbors who live in NYCHA housing across the West Side.

  • On the council, Gale will fight to make sure  that the next  Mayor makes the  long term viability and affordability of NYCHA a top priority. 

  • That means keeping the current affordable rent structure in place and overhauling the maintenance system and its oversight to ensure that essential  repairs and upgrades to apartments are completed in a timely and efficient way.

  • She also believes that New York should renegotiate the nearly $100 million NYCHA transfers to the City in payments-in-lieu-of taxes, to ensure these funds are invested in repairs to fix the horrible conditions too many of NYCHA residents must endure. 

  • Gale believes we must listen to NYCHA tenants and ensure their voices are always at the table when changes are being discussed. These resident leaders are on the front line fighting to protect one of our city’s great assets — a huge stock of permanently affordable housing we cannot afford to lose. 

Expanding our Democracy

 

  • Gale believes there is much we can be doing to bring more people into our City’s democracy. She has a proven record of taking good ideas like Ranked Choice Voting and making them a reality to make our democracy work for everyone. 

  • She introduced the original legislation to bring Ranked Choice Voting to New York City back in 2010. It was a hard fight — and she is proud that New Yorkers adopted it because she believes it is a fair system that strengthens our democracy, saves us money, and ensures that our election winners have majority support.

  • Gale believes we need to do more to bring more of our community into the political process in New York 

  • She believes we need to start by expanding the franchise to more teenagers.  Next year, she will bring legislation that would allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in City elections, an idea she has been pursuing for years. 

  • Gale passed a law to allow Teenagers to serve on Community Boards to bring young people’s voices into the civic process, which has been a big success. The expansion of the franchise to 16 and 17 year olds is a natural extension that would strengthen our democracy. 

  • Gale also believes we should expand the voting in local elections to the many immigrants who are key parts of our community here in New York. I believe we should pass a new law to allow people with green cards to vote so they too have a voice in how our City functions.

Open Streets for Everyone

 

  • Gale has been a leader in reclaiming public space in our neighborhood to make our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists. She knows we can create vibrant open space for our communities and streets that allow everyone to safely travel.

  • Gale led the fight to ban cars permanently from Central Park, our cities crown jewel, which was finally completed in 2018.

  • She has fought to make Broadway, the heart of Manhattan, more pedestrian friendly, and championed a plan to expand pedestrian sections along the road, and to convert other areas into shared streets that are safe for all users. 

  • She supported congestion pricing to reduce the terrible traffic in midtown Manhattan’s business district, to increase travel speeds for MTA bus riders, to boost street safety for everyone, and to improve air quality by reducing automobile pollution. 

  • Gale has pushed to make permanent the Open Streets program that has brought new life to communities across the city.

  • To make Open Streets a thriving fixture in our city, Gale will fight for sufficient funding to be directed to Community groups so they can bring vibrant programming and essential staffing to keep these shared spaces safe and welcoming for all. 

  • As Borough President, Gale has fought to make our streets safer as a champion for Vision Zero, the fight to end traffic fatalities. She’s worked to use data to target dangerous intersections and press the Department of Transportation for action. 

  • Gale has fought to reduce the number of trucks on our roads, to reduce noise and pollution. She supports expanding the number of cargo delivery bikes on the West Side and across New York to improve safety and quality of life for everyone.  

Expanding Public Transportation

  • The Upper West Side is blessed with tremendous subway access — but many of our neighborhood stations are not accessible to do those requiring an elevator. To remedy this, Gale has been fighting to expand elevators at stations city wide and hold the City accountable for overseeing properly constructed pedestrian ramps near accessible subway stations and intersections throughout the City.

  • Gale has also been a champion for bus riders — helping to bring the first ever busway to New York City on 14th street, and working tirelessly to expand efforts to speed up our city buses borough wide.

  • She believes we must increase overall bus service, and implement more dedicated bus lanes with increased enforcement to ensure riders can get across town with ease.

  • For Gale this means more Select Bus Services in Manhattan, and more dedicated bus lanes like the recently opened one on 181st. 

  • Gale has also fought unnecessary MTA fare hikes — she believes riders should not be paying more for less service. 

  • Over the years, Gale has been a champion of the Citi Bike program, working to expand access to the bike share program to every neighborhood in Manhattan, and into the other boroughs.  

Disability Justice

  • Gale has long fought to ensure Manhattan is accessible for all.

  • As Borough President, Gale formed an Accessibility Task Force to make sure mobility impaired stakeholders had a real seat at the table to help transform our city. 

  • She has been leading the effort to force the MTA to make all subway stations 100% accessible, pushing them to set a firm timeline and to revamp their elevator maintenance practices.

  • Gale has fought to make our streets safer for mobility impaired individuals — including by passing a bill to expand Accessible Pedestrian Signals across the City, and pushing to make curbs cuts across Manhattan ADA-compliant.

  • She has pushed to make sure people with disabilities who must rely on vehicles for transportation are exempted from congestion pricing. 

  • Gale is proud to have endorsed in this race by the 504 Democratic Club, which is a New York City-based coalition of Democrats working towards inclusion of people with disabilities in the political and social fabric of society

Development on the West Side

  • Gale believes that new developments constructed on the West Side should include more than the 25% affordable units currently called for by Mandatory Inclusionary Housing rules.

  • On the City Council, Gale will continue her career-long fight to preserve and expand affordable housing throughout the West Side. 

  • She has deep expertise in City Planning, having led 200 ULURPs (Uniform Land Use Review Procedure) as Borough President. Gale has pushed for a pre-planning process to be added to re-zonings to allow for additional community input.

  • Gale will fight to restrict out of scale development like the super tall towers like 200 Amsterdam (which she fought) — particularly those without any affordable housing.

  • The West Side needs more affordable housing, and Gale believes the best program the City has ever had was the Mitchell-Lama program that built apartments for middle income and low income in one building. 

  • She believes it is a crime that the program allowed owners to pay off the mortgage and go private after a number of decades. She would support new efforts to create middle income and low income housing developments based on the Mitchell-Lama model — though her hope is they could be made permanently affordable.

  • She thinks that Section 8 vouchers or tax incentives should be part of any new residential structures that are slated for a zoning change in our neighborhood to ensure we are bringing more affordable housing to our community. If the laws allowed, Gale would support all new development to include affordable housing.

  • In her role as Council Member and Borough President, Gale has supported hundreds of landmark initiatives over the years, including advocating successfully for the Central Harlem Historic District in 2019. 

  • Gale believes that landmark districts benefit the city by preserving its physical history of neighborhoods; by acting as a social and cultural anchors for communities, and by enhancing the economic value of surrounding property

  • She has long supported the use of adaptive re-use to preserve historic buildings, as a proven and responsible tool to conserve the appearance as well as the continuity of historic structures.

An Age Friendly City

 

  • Gale has devoted her career to making New York City the best place to grow old in.

  • As Manhattan Borough President, she has been leading the effort to make Mayor DeBlasio reopen the city’s Senior Centers. 

  • During the worst days of the pandemic, Gale was on the front line to get food to homebound seniors, to improve the quality of the food they received (as well as to make sure they could get Halal, Kosher and vegetarian meals as needed). 

  • Gale will fight to allocate more of the City’s capital budget to build new senior housing and expand the NORC program so older adults can age in place across the West Side. 

  • Gale knows that ageism is evident in the work place, the media, and even in our families. Her priorities include initiating and supporting affordable opportunities at cultural institutions, academic institutions, restaurants, gyms and any other venue that gives older adults that ability to mix with different age groups, and others to mix with the older adults.

  • She wants to tackle ageism in the workplace, by promoting and incentivizing age-friendly employment practices, and expand enforcement of existing human rights protections for older workers.

  • Gale produced two Manhattan Age Friendly Supermarket Guides to identify each store’s senior-friendly policies and infrastructure throughout the borough. The companion mobile-friendly database includes which stores offer amenities like wheelchair accessibility, delivery, public restrooms, escalators or elevators (for stores not at ground-level), senior discounts, and acceptance of SNAP/EBT.

  • She created the Fresh Food for Seniors program which provides seniors with a bag of quality, locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables for $8.  Launched on the Upper West Side in 2012, she expanded this program into Northern Manhattan, Roosevelt Island, Lower Manhattan, the West Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen and wants to continue to expand neighborhood access. 

  • She has proposed new public incubators to assist older adults in starting small businesses and wants to expand access to mentorship programs for older adults. 

  • To help bridge the digital divide, Gale wants to create programs to provide more free in-person technology help for older adults, through OATS or the New York Public Library system.

  • She wants to create regular Department of Aging office hours at West Side public libraries and senior centers to share information about services and benefits available to older adults.

  • Gale believes New York needs more frequent and better paid home health aides for the growing senior population so they can stay in their homes; the infrastructure bill might produce the necessary funding. If seniors cannot stay at home, she thinks there is a desperate need in Manhattan for affordable assisted living; most of it is unaffordable to most New Yorkers.

  • To help seniors age in place, Gale continues to promote intergenerational home sharing, where older adults are matched with roommates, increasing affordable housing and keeping long time residents in their homes. 

  • She wants to expand programs -that help seniors pay for and make age-friendly changes to their homes, like widening doors or adding grab bars, to help them age safely in place.