2017 City Council Screening Questionnaire
Candidate Name: Richard David
Council District 28
If there is a Campaign office(s), is it wheelchair accessible? Yes
133-04 Rockaway Blvd, South Ozone Park, NY 11420
Political: Still meeting with different Democratic Clubs
Community: Various religious and community leaders
Labor: Communication Workers of America District 1
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?
Locally, one of the biggest advocacy efforts was to get an elevator installed at the Lefferts Blvd station on the A train to allow individuals with disabilities to easily access the subway. The effort included working with various elected officials, the MTA, civic groups and neighbors. Over a three year period of fierce advocacy, the MTA committed to install an elevator which is scheduled to open later this year.
While at the NYC Economic Development Corporation, where I was Vice President for 8 years, I helped to finance and renovate the Jewish Braille Institute Library in Manhattan. This is a major institution for the hearing and visually impaired community. It also has particular significance for the Jewish community.
I have been involved in various other efforts to make my neighborhood more disability-friendly including at stores, restaurants, bathrooms, community centers and with housing.
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, I believe LL28 should include elected officials and Community Boards. I would voluntarily comply.
II. General Questions:
What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities?
My cousin is hearing impaired. She was the only person with this disability in our small village. I’m from the Caribbean, and having facilities for individuals with disabilities is rare. My cousin was unable to read and write in way. Now that she here in New York, she’s beginning to develop more familiarity with sign language.
I have worked with many individuals who have disabilities. While I was the Executive Director at the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs, I worked with all kinds of New Yorkers and we verified that our workplace with compliant and those of our community partners as well.
As Chief of Staff at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, we made sure our facilities were compliant and that we were serving all New Yorkers.
As a member of Community Board 9, we also made sure all our meetings were held in facilities that were ADA compliant.
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 listen to allies and work closely building partnerships across issues including language access, food diversity and religious accommodation. I believe these issues could broaden a natural coalition of political supporters, community groups and residents.
How will you use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than weaken, civil rights protections for persons with disabilities? - My office would be a model for the highest standards of civil rights and protections.
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? - We desperately need supportive housing for individuals with disabilities, and to find ways to lower the cost of making existing home ADA compliant.
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, highly supportive
What will you do to expand affordable wheelchair accessible transportation in NYC, express buses, and shuttles, more accessible subway stations, etc.? - I would be an advocate for more disability friendly accommodation in Southeast Queens. At the moment, we have few options in my district .
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? I would work with organizations like 504 Dems to develop a response to hold Aar accountable. I would also explore the feasibility of alternative transit options.
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 would make a conscious effort to seek out individuals with disabilities to encourage them to apply for appointment. We must have a least one person on each board.
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, especially those serving residents in my district
a. What steps do you think NYC should take to encourage business owners to make their establishments more accessible? - Tax credits, property tax incentives and/or legal mandates
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? - During Super Storm Sandy, a family friend passed away in Far Rockaway because he was wheel chair bound and could not escape fast enough. It is vital, life and death, for these provisions to be put in place. I would convene Council hearing to find solutions, and understand how zoning and Department of Buildings could help.
X. Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)
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 use City Council hearings to gain greater cooperation between MOPD and the City agencies especially the human service agencies.
b. 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? - Establishing benchmarks to measure performance and data to develop performance-based standards for outreach and implementation tasks. This is what I have done at three City agencies I have worked with and I know it works.
Date: June 16, 2017