Erik Bottcher

Erik Bottcher

Erikbottcher.com

Twitter: EBottcher Instagram: EBottcher

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)

One of the first campaigns I worked on in government in 2009 was the fight for a 30% rent cap for HASA clients. I’m proud to have worked with Speaker Johnson on numerous pieces of tenant legislation, including the bill banning ‘poor doors’. In 2015 I was arrested alongside tenant activists for demanding rent laws be strengthened. I’ve drafted countless letters to landlords on behalf of tenants, and I’ve worked closely with tenant advocacy groups on budgetary matters  and will continue to do so.

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

Regulated 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?  Yes

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)

In my twenties I was a realtor with the Corcoran Group. I was not involved with development, and helped working New Yorkers find rentals at affordable rates. I am a proud tenant activist and you can be sure that tenants will always come first to me.

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)

We must address the homelessness crisis. We need to create affordable and supportive housing for the tens of thousands of people living in our shelters and streets.  Additionally,  the housing crisis exacerbated by COVID-19 will be a priority for the foreseeable future. With hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers unable to pay rent through no fault of their own, the eviction moratorium needs to be extended and we need to cancel rent for those individuals. Additionally, the federal, state, and city government needs to step up and fully fund NYCHA and the agency needs to be revamped completely so it competently manages its properties and is respondent to tenant needs.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  We must address the homelessness crisis. We need to create affordable and supportive housing for the tens of thousands of people living in our shelters and streets.  Additionally,  the housing crisis exacerbated by COVID-19 will be a priority for the foreseeable future. With hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers unable to pay rent through no fault of their own, the eviction moratorium needs to be extended and we need to cancel rent for those individuals. Additionally, the federal, state, and city government needs to step up and fully fund NYCHA and the agency needs to be revamped completely so it competently manages its properties and is respondent to tenant needs.

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?

For decades our federal government has abdicated its responsibility to fund Section 9 housing  across the county. This is rooted in racism and classism. The federal, state, and city governments need to step up with funding and competent management. NYCHA should be dissolved and re-built as a professionalized public entity with management that is responsive to 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? Depends

16. Would you require that any housing built on public land be 100% permanently affordable to low- and extremely-low income New Yorkers? No

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)

The rezoning would have to be the result of a community-led and bottom-up process that delivers significant amounts of supportive and affordable housing and other community benefits, including upgrades to schools, parks, libraries, and more. Additionally, the rezoning would need to generate union, family sustaining jobs, with significant worker protections that are available to local residents.

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

The ULURP pre-planning process needs to be expanded significantly and include true community input. By the time a ULURP project is certified, the main contours of land use projects are already baked in, and the community only has the opportunity to make tweaks and changes at the edges. Community-based planning needs to happen much earlier and the ULURP definition of “environmental impact” must be expanded to include more vital services.

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  30%

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

At 550 Washington Street in the West Village we negotiated a land use action that won hundreds of units of deeply affordable senior housing, a new historic district in the South Village, accessibility for the Spring Street subway station, and over $100 million to repair the pilings on Pier 40, an important community resource.

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 will personally call landlords and make it clear to them that it is unacceptable to me for tenants to go without repairs or be harassed in any way. If harassment and neglect takes place I will martial the full power of the city, state, and federal government to enforce all laws and hold landlords accountable. Additionally, I will fund grassroots organizations such as Housing Conservation Coordinators and Met Council so they can continue organizing on the ground and keeping tenants safe.

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)

Housing is a human right and we currently have a humanitarian crisis unfolding on our streets in the form of thousands of New Yorkers who sleep on the streets every night, largely because our shelter system has failed them.  To make any meaningful progress we need to create housing all across the city to shelter them and no district should be exempt from being part of that solution.

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)?  No

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)
I will push the future mayor to appoint pro-tenant board members and help organize communities when the Rent Guidelines Board is holding public meetings.

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