Arthur Schwartz

Arthur Schwartz

https://www.arthurfornyc.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/advocat4justice Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/advocat4justice/

Do you believe housing is a human right? Yes

What type of action have you taken in the past around issues of housing justice? (500 characters)

I have represented scores of tenants, pro-bono, as a lawyer, including rent strikers, and NYCHA tenants, and the Fulton Houses Tenents Assoc. In 2014 I actually got arrested and charged with grand larceny for taking down surveillance cameras pointed at the door of a 94 year old woman who I was guardian for. I have participated in lobbying trips to Albany to support renewal of and expansion of rent laws.

3. What type of housing do you currently live in?              

Own a co-op, condo or private home

4. Are you, or have you ever been, a landlord? Yes

4a. If yes, where & how many apts. did you own? 2

5. Does your campaign accept contributions from real estate developers (including related individuals), corporate lobbyists, organizations that participate in the carceral system, and/or landlords? No

6. Have you ever worked in, or had another affiliation with, the Real Estate industry?  No

7. Have any of your campaign or advisory staff held a position as a corporate lobbyist or an executive role with the Real Estate industry? No

6. & 7. If so, how can we be assured you will have tenants’ interests in mind?  (250 characters)

N/A

8. What do you think are the most pressing Housing issues & what action would you take to address them as a City Council Member?  (1000 characters)

Affordable housing. Dismantling the MIH program and use of AMI. I propose a $10billion capital program to build genuinely affordable housing. No more upzoning or relyiing on the private sector to build housing. Part of that program can involve reuse of closed hotels and commercial spaces. I also support proposals to use Section 8 at NYCHA, BUT with tenants wholly in control of the Trust which has been proposed, funded, in large part through Nydia Velazquez’ bill. I oppose RAD. I also support programs involving co-operative tenant ownership like those managed by MHANY (formerly ACORN Housing)

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  Affordable housing. Dismantling the MIH program and use of AMI. I propose a $10billion capital program to build genuinely affordable housing. No more upzoning or relyiing on the private sector to build housing. Part of that program can involve reuse of closed hotels and commercial spaces. I also support proposals to use Section 8 at NYCHA, BUT with tenants wholly in control of the Trust which has been proposed, funded, in large part through Nydia Velazquez’ bill. I oppose RAD. I also support programs involving co-operative tenant ownership like those managed by MHANY (formerly ACORN Housing)

9a. What would you do as an elected representative to move that vision forward? (500 characters)

Yes

10. Do you support the move to legalize basement apts?  Yes

11. Do you support the concept of rent regulation and eviction protections? Yes

12. Do you believe in publicly owned and controlled housing? Yes

13. NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?

I think the NYCHA Trust proposal shows promise since it uses vouchers to support bonds and does not involve developers. But Majority control of the Board must be NYCHA tenants

14. Do you support the NYCHA 2.0 Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD)/ PACT program and other privatization schemes? No

15. Would you support an immediate moratorium on the sale or lease of all City-owned land and air rights to for-profit developers? Yes

16. Would you require that any housing built on public land be 100% permanently affordable to low- and extremely-low income New Yorkers? Yes

17. Would you aggressively use City programs and eminent domain to take ownership of distressed properties and transfer them to community control such as Community Land Trusts?      Yes

18. Would you end the custom of deferring to local council members on land use decisions? No

19. What standards would a rezoning need to meet for you to support it? (500 characters)

I would not support any additional luxury development through zoning changes in my district. Changes from manufacturing or commercial use to housing I would approve only of the apartments were 100% affordable, based on local income measurements not AMI

20. What reforms to zoning would you propose to increase community input into development?  (500 characters)

I support increased power to community boards, and expanded requirements of public hearings at each step in the zoning process

21. Would you pass and enforce a true racial impact study as part of any rezoning?  Yes

Percentage of people who are below 200% of the poverty line 50% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers  25%

23. What is/has been the most important land use fight in your district and what position did you take on it?  (500 characters)

Air rights were transferred to the St Johns Building from Pier 40 with a promise, with a zoning change,  to build 500 units of affordable housing, one third for seniors. After getting the air rights the owners switched almost entirely to as-of-right commercial development because of loophole left by Corey Johnson. I have publicly denounced the project. I have also opposed the Soho Rezoning, and was the first public official speaker at the City Planning hearing (as Demoratic District leader)

24. Would you support increased funding and oversight of NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and Mayor’s Tenant Protection Unit to educate tenants on their rights to organize in NYC rental buildings? YesYes

25. Will you support the City seeking injunctions against the landlords on the Right to Counsel’s “worst evictors list,” barring worst evictors from bringing eviction cases while under investigation, and implementing good cause evictions protections? Yes

26. Do you support expanding funding and oversight of the City’s emergency repair program to correct hazardous violations and send the owner the bill? Yes

27. How would you use your office to put pressure on landlords to make repairs and stop harassing tenants?  (500 characters)

I would operate a free tenant’s clinic and provide counsel. I would also work to expand the current program providing counsel to some tenants. Every tenant should have the right to counsel

28. Do you support the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA—Int 0737-2018) and Commercial Rent Stabilization bill (Int 1796-2019) currently in committee in the City Council?Yes

29. Do you support converting hotel rooms into permanently affordable apts? Yes

30. Would you end the practice of police responding to people who are homeless?  Yes

31. Would you oppose homeless shelters being built in your district? No

31a. Why or why not?  (500 characters)

I think that if homeless shelters are run properly, with mental health, drug treatment, nutritional, and other health services on premises, and assistance with employment and job training, integrating homeless families into residential communities helps lead to recovery

32. Do you agree that all evictions are bad? No

32a. If no, why not? 99% are bad. Occasionally tenants are physically violent to other tenants, or to spouses and children. Such evictions are ok. So are evictions tied to use of an apartment used for drug trade, or to store ammunition for militias.

33. Are you committed to making sure every tenant has free access to counsel in Housing Court? Yes

34. Would you support an eviction moratorium every winter (Heat Season Oct. 1-May 31)?  Yes

35. Do you believe that the Rent Guidelines Board should lower rents for rent stabilized tenants? Yes

35a. If yes, what will you do to influence the board to do so?  (500 characters)
Testify and demonstrate, and organize constituents to do the same.

36. Have you ever testified on behalf of tenants at a public hearing of the RGB? No

37. Do you support restricting the ability of landlords to discriminate and surveil tenants through the use of technologies such as key fobs, smartphone apps, and facial recognition to gain entry into their apartment units and/or buildings? Yes

38. Will you commit to only vote for a budget that decreases funding to the NYPD? Yes