2017 City Council Screening Questionnaire
Candidate Name: Kamillah Hanks
Council District: 49
If there is a Campaign office(s), is it wheelchair accessible? Yes
Campaign Address: 136 Bay Street, Staten Island, NY
Political: The Reform Party
Community: I am currently in the process of seeking the endorsement of numerous community organizations
Labor: I am currently in the process of seeking the endorsement of numerous labor unions.
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? While I have never held public office, I have been a part of assisting troubled youth reach graduate through the Youth Build program for several years now. Working with these students has been extremely rewarding and is the type of program I would look to implement and expand upon, to include those with other types of disabilities, as a member of City Council.
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, I will ensure that all events that I attend or sponsor are accessible to PWDs.
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 an amendment should be made to Local Law 28, and would voluntarily comply if such an amendment is not made in a timely manner.
II. General Questions:
What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities? I had the honor of presenting this year’s Staten Island Daffodil Award to the Richard H. Hungerford School in April. The school has begun the process of starting a garden for their students. These students with a wide range of disabilities planted over 500 daffodil bulbs last fall!
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 to liaise with the disability community to identify key issues or issues that have not been a focus of past Council Members so that I can be a better representative for all the people of my district.
How will you use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than weaken, civil rights protections for persons with disabilities? The North Shore needs major transportation fixes now, but delays in construction have set them back. I will work with the DOT to speed up construction, particularly updates of pedestrian ramps to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
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 completely support the development of supported apartments/homes for people with disabilities in Staten Island.
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.? I will support stricter enforcement of disability seating on subways, implement express buses for disabled passengers during rush hours, and maintain elevators in stations.
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 improve this service by collaborating with MTA to create better incentives for AAR drivers. These incentives will encourage drivers to arrive in a timely manner and stricter policies for absentee drivers or vehicles.
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
How many people with disabilities have/will you appoint to your local Community Board? I will ensure that the disabled population of North Shore is adequately represented on the Community Board through consultation with the disability community
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, I would work to allocate some of these funds for organizations and programs supporting PWDs.
What steps do you think NYC should take to encourage business owners to make their establishments more accessible? NYC should mandate ramps at entrances to ensure wheelchair accessibility and braille on all signs, and encourage disabled members of the community to suggest other means of support.
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 require property owners with building matching a certain capacity to submit evacuation plans for PWDs by a specific deadline with a penalty fine for lack of submission, and require plans before approving any additional construction permits.
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? Amongst his other responsibilities, the Commissioner advises city agencies. I would encourage the Commissioner and the MOPD to set up regular repeating meetings with representatives from each city department and agency to discuss how to improve accessibility as it concerns each individual 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? The City Council should oversee this work by asking the MOPD to submit monthly reports on its recent efforts, as well as progress updates for ongoing long-term projects with departments more relevant to PWDs, such as the Department of Transportation.