Mike Scala

Mike Scala

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Twitter: Twitter.com/mikegscala Instagram: Instagram.com/scalavision

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)

As an attorney, I’ve been involved in litigation over the city’s mishandling of the homelessness and affordable housing crises. During this battle, I’ve spoken out vocally about the need to shift the focus to subsidizing housing. I have a personal understanding of the importance of affordable housing in New York after working with staffers with housing insecurity.

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)

Quality housing is a human right. There must be a shift in the priority from dangerous warehouse style homeless shelters to assistance with sustainable housing. The affordable housing that is offered to New Yorkers should not be poorly made and cramped units. Instead we need to create units that are made to be sustainable and quality homes for people. I am open to ideas as we need to do everything we can to make housing available to everyone, but we must also keep safety and habitability in mind while ensuring we do not place too much strain on neighborhoods. Additionally, we must make sure our rezoning practices are benefiting the people in the community and not private developers. I will ensure that ULURP is properly utilized to allow for the input of my constituents and those being directly affected by possible rezonings.  Further, City Council must make sure that the rights of tenants are being upheld and respected.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  Quality housing is a human right. There must be a shift in the priority from dangerous warehouse style homeless shelters to assistance with sustainable housing. The affordable housing that is offered to New Yorkers should not be poorly made and cramped units. Instead we need to create units that are made to be sustainable and quality homes for people. I am open to ideas as we need to do everything we can to make housing available to everyone, but we must also keep safety and habitability in mind while ensuring we do not place too much strain on neighborhoods. Additionally, we must make sure our rezoning practices are benefiting the people in the community and not private developers. I will ensure that ULURP is properly utilized to allow for the input of my constituents and those being directly affected by possible rezonings.  Further, City Council must make sure that the rights of tenants are being upheld and respected.

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?  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 ensure NYCHA is fully funded and the City Council uses its oversight authority to put an end to the agency’s mismanagement issues.

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? 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)

We must make sure our rezoning practices are benefiting the people in the community and not private developers. I will ensure that ULURP is properly utilized to allow for the input of my constituents and those being directly affected by possible rezonings.

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

I would ensure that the integrity of ULURP is upheld in cases of zoning to ensure that there is proper community input. Residents in the community should have a voice in how their neighborhoods are being developed and the concerns of residents need to be taken seriously by City officials and developers.  I’ve written legislation to give community boards more input in the process. We should also consider expanding the scope of projects subject to ULURP.

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 25% 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)

N/A

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 be a strong advocate for tenants, both in cases of evictions and making sure landlords are creating acceptable living conditions for their tenants. I believe housing should be sustainable and affordable, and that it is the landlord’s responsibility to keep units safe and habitable.

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)

The city should end the dangerous and illegal practice of warehousing people in large scale homeless shelters without adequate support services and individualized attention. We should introduce more empathy into the process and focus on sustainable housing and the support our most vulnerable need.

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

32a. If no, why not? Not a no, but rather a more nuanced question.

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 believe we should expand the range of services a 911 call can provide our residents.

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