Christopher Marte

Christopher Marte

www.votemarte.com

Twitter: @chrismarteles Instagram: @chrismarteles

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 worked with my community to stop the development of luxury towers, which could displace thousands of tenants and small businesses. In addition, I helped organize the 85 Bowery tenants after they got evicted and supported them through two hunger strikes. They were able to finally return because we made a strong case to our elected officials and agencies that anything less would lead to homelessness.

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

Unregulated Rental Apt

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)

New York City has taken a site-by-site or issue-by-issue based approach to housing, but has yet to connect the dots to create a comprehensive plan. This is why I support plans like the Chinatown Working Group Plan, a community-based rezoning plan that helps keep rent-stabilized tenants in their homes by disincentivizing speculation and a profit-driven approach to housing. We have seen how the immense land use power of the City Council can be weaponized against working people. With electeds in office who are supported by the community instead of real estate we have an immense opportunity to systemically address our profit-driven housing crisis. After 9/11, abandoned office space in the Financial District was converted into housing — mostly market rate, but some of it affordable. There is precedent for office to housing conversion in this district. Now that we have so much vacant office space, I will advocate for funding and pass any bill or zoning changes to do this.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  New York City has taken a site-by-site or issue-by-issue based approach to housing, but has yet to connect the dots to create a comprehensive plan. This is why I support plans like the Chinatown Working Group Plan, a community-based rezoning plan that helps keep rent-stabilized tenants in their homes by disincentivizing speculation and a profit-driven approach to housing. We have seen how the immense land use power of the City Council can be weaponized against working people. With electeds in office who are supported by the community instead of real estate we have an immense opportunity to systemically address our profit-driven housing crisis. After 9/11, abandoned office space in the Financial District was converted into housing — mostly market rate, but some of it affordable. There is precedent for office to housing conversion in this district. Now that we have so much vacant office space, I will advocate for funding and pass any bill or zoning changes to do this.

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?

NYCHA works. We need federal funds to create a green new deal for NYCHA that will not only create thousands of green new jobs, but make NYCHA sustainable for the next few decades. By including it to an infrastructure jobs program it will make it easier to gain broader support and investments.

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? Yes

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

Every rezoning must create an affordable housing overlay on any new construction. Rezoning must include a comprehensive displacement study before it’s introduced to the ULURP process. In addition, it has to eliminate any loophole that would allow developers to increase their building’s FAR, without creating affordable housing. All rezoning must have real community engagement and buy in. Also there should be levels of what gets developed based on their environmental impact.

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

The City needs to create a new department of engagement solely for outreach in regards to landuse changes. Every rezoning must start with a six months process with 3D-modeling structures, translation services and done both in-person and virtual during non work hours, so we can have a complete understanding of what these developments would look like and so we can make sure that everyone in the community has a say.

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  50%

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

The most important fight in our District has been about the 4 luxury towers the City wants to approve on the Two Bridge’s waterfront. These developments are symbolic of the City’s developer driven projects in the working class communities. I have been in the forefront of organizing the community to file a lawsuit against them. This fight is so important because we already have seen how much displacement the Extell tower has created and adding four more will change this neighborhood drastically.

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)

We will use our council office to organize tenants and hold the Dept of Buildings accountable. We will tell tenants to send us photos and email communications with their landlord and we will use this information to make sure that the DOB does not close tickets.

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? Yes

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

Housing is a right. If we need to build more homeless shelters to house people that are experiencing homelessness than that’s what we need to do.

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? Yes

35a. If yes, what will you do to influence the board to do so?  (500 characters)
We will organize with tenant advocates to put public pressure on the Mayor and board members. This strategy has worked in the past and I will be a champion in organizing councilmembers to show their support.

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