Cecilia Cortez

Cecilia Cortez

Ceciliacortez.com

Twitter: CCORTEZ4NYC2021 Instagram: CCORTEZ4NYC2021

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 opposed the proposed up zoning of 1620 Cortelyou Rd. in my neighborhood  I feel it is out of context for Cortelyou Road, shooting a building that is 76% higher than any of the closest buildings up through our sidewalks.  The short-term and long-term harm of a project like this do not outweigh the perceived benefits. We had meetings and demostrations opposing this project.    Sadly, I report that the vote took place and it passed.

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? No

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

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)

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)

8. I believe the most pressing housing issue currently is the complete lack of accessible housing for unhoused people and the increasing rents that are pushing many black and brown families out of their own neighborhoods. City council must prioritize permanent housing for our growing unhoused population, and enact strict rent stabilization policies that protect families from the for-profit real estate market. Housing should be treated as an inalienable right and therefore should be separated from the fluctuations of the free-market in an effort to eradicate homelessness and many low-income families’ fears of possible eviction.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  8. I believe the most pressing housing issue currently is the complete lack of accessible housing for unhoused people and the increasing rents that are pushing many black and brown families out of their own neighborhoods. City council must prioritize permanent housing for our growing unhoused population, and enact strict rent stabilization policies that protect families from the for-profit real estate market. Housing should be treated as an inalienable right and therefore should be separated from the fluctuations of the free-market in an effort to eradicate homelessness and many low-income families’ fears of possible eviction.

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

No

10. Do you support the move to legalize basement apts?  No

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?

we must funded NYCHA fully and not privatize at all.

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? No

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)

For me to support any rezoning plan, the standards that need to be met have to be based on the specific and individual needs of the community it affects. Zoning laws need to reflect the needs of that community, whether it be for public housing, more grocery stores, or retail fronts for aspiring community businesses.

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

The reforms I would like to input would revolve around community elections which decide on the where and what types of rezoning is necessary in each community. Community boards elections need to be publicized more so that more community members become members. 

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 60% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers  40%

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

There was a proposal in my neighborhood. A developer asked  for an up zoning to a building 1620 Cortelyou  Rd in our neighborhood. He wanted a permit to build a  12 floor building . We don’t have 12 floor buildings in our neighborhood.   We worked with the community to stop the project.   I  called the Brooklyn  Borough president to oppose such up zoning.  I called the current City council.  I went on demostrations.  We wanted to stop the project.  The project went through.  We lost.

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 use my office to pass extremely strict tenants rights and landlord restrictions that make it impossible for landlords to enable loopholes in lease agreements. One example is to pass legislation that requires landlords to return security deposits after the lease ends regardless of previous property rules.

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)

We already have enough homeless shelters in District 40.  The best thing is to start investing in permanent afforable housing.  If you are going to invest money,  energy, time, resources in  homeless shelters why not better invest on permanent housing.  People need permanent housing not shelters.  When you create permanent afforable housing you create thriving secure communities.

32. Do you agree that all evictions are bad? Yes

32a. If no, why not?

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? No

35a. If yes, what will you do to influence the board to do so?  (500 characters)
I would influence the board to lower rents on rent-stabilized apartments by explaining how many low-income tenants do not meet the recommended rent responsibility that is ¼-⅓ of their income due to inflation and stagnant wages. By making rent lower and reducing the financial burden of providing for one’s very basic necessities, it will allow families to put more money back into their community.

36. Have you ever testified on behalf of tenants at a public hearing of the RGB? Yes

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? No