SD 16 Queens (Elmhurst-Flushing-Kew Gardens)

Toby Ann Stavisky, incumbent—Democrat, Working Families, Women’s Equality

What is your position on rent regulation, what work have you done in the past to further that position, and if elected, what would you do in 2019?

I grew up in a rent-controlled apartment, so I know its importance. We need to close loopholes like vacancy decontrol, eviction bonuses and preferential rent. We need to see circuit-breaker legislation for property-tax relief. I am a cosponsor of many of these pro-tenant measures.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the New York City Housing Authority, and how would you address it?

There is a lack of leadership and accountability. Repairs are a serious problem. I would move staff out of the headquarters and into the field to improve repairs, mitigate mold and lead, and ensure faster responses for problems with elevators, gas, heat and hot water. I had allocated $200,000 for security cameras at Pomonok Houses. It took nearly 10 years for them to be installed. Letters to NYCHA are often ignored, and there is a total lack of accountability.

Do you believe that there is a need for more affordable housing in New York, and if so, what would you do to meet that need?

Of course. More than 600 units of affordable housing have been or are being built near and around Flushing. Some (e.g. One Flushing) are mixed-use, and some are for the elderly. Unfortunately tens of thousands apply. We should utilize the city Housing Development Corporation and private developers, and provide funds under LAMP, 80/20, mix and match, etc.

What would you do to address the homelessness in New York State?

I represent the Pan Am Shelter in Elmhurst, and I forced the city to install small kitchens, but this is a temporary solution. Many of the Pan Am residents work but cannot afford the rent. We need to work with developers to provide more affordable units. I am also a sponsor of the Home Stability Support legislation.

What is your position regarding campaign-finance reform?  

I have cosponsored bills that would close the LLC loophole, require disclosure of intermediaries, lower contribution limits, and establish public financing of campaigns. We also need to improve voter turnout by enacting early voting.