Toba Potosky

Toba Potosky

www.toba2021.com

Twitter: @tobapotosky Instagram: @toba2021

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)

In 2010 I initiated an amendment to the NY Private Housing Law to adjust the Mitchell-Lama regulations so that teachers, nurses, and city workers could once again qualify for Mitchell-Lama housing.

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

Limited Equity Coop

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)

My affordable housing plan centers around low to moderate-income homeownership, breaking the cycle of poverty. Our plan is to update and support HDFC housing for working class New Yorkers and their families. We can build 100% affordable co-op apartment buildings. In fact we did this all throughout the 1960s. With the right programs and leadership we can do it again.

We will ensure that NYCHA properties receive the funds allocated for them by introducing a NYCHA “Tenants Bill of Rights,” and creating scholarship funds and apprenticeship programs, alongside business opportunity seminars, adult education, and empowerment zones.

 We need to replace the current failed system with a Provisional Housing Program (PHP) that provides supportive services in a safe, well-maintained environment. PHP or Supportive Service Housing provides a roadmap to a better life for those among us who need our help.

9. Do you believe that housing should be de-commodified?  My affordable housing plan centers around low to moderate-income homeownership, breaking the cycle of poverty. Our plan is to update and support HDFC housing for working class New Yorkers and their families. We can build 100% affordable co-op apartment buildings. In fact we did this all throughout the 1960s. With the right programs and leadership we can do it again.

We will ensure that NYCHA properties receive the funds allocated for them by introducing a NYCHA “Tenants Bill of Rights,” and creating scholarship funds and apprenticeship programs, alongside business opportunity seminars, adult education, and empowerment zones.

 We need to replace the current failed system with a Provisional Housing Program (PHP) that provides supportive services in a safe, well-maintained environment. PHP or Supportive Service Housing provides a roadmap to a better life for those among us who need our help.

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?  Yes

11. Do you support the concept of rent regulation and eviction protections? Yes

12. Do you believe in publicly owned and controlled housing? No

13. NYCHA has suffered from chronic underfunding, neglect and disrepair. What do you see as the best strategies to rectify these problems?

As Mitchell-Lama President for 16 years, I’ve been responsible for an annual operations budget of $7 million, and a capital repair budget of over $40 million.

Starting with a “NYCHA – Tenants Bill of Rights” we will rebuild the relationship between residents and city, state, and federal agencies. We will fight for money that has been allocated for NYCHA. We will hold agencies accountable.

14. Do you support the NYCHA 2.0 Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD)/ PACT program and other privatization schemes? Depends

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? 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)

Anything that would mandate truly affordable housing.

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

We need to move community input earlier into the process.

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 40% Percentage of Unhoused New Yorkers  10%

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

In 2014, the Brooklyn Public Library offered sold our local branch, the Brooklyn Heights Library, to a developer. I was a local organizer against the sale and member of the Community Action Committee. In the end, the Library and the City of New York succeeded in the sale, however, in exchange we received 114 permanently affordable units, plus two state of the art libraries. The first on the same site as the original, the second in DUMBO. We also we provided with a STEM library for students.

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)

Depending on the case, if applicable, I would use eminent domain laws to acquire severely neglected properties, or properties where the landlord has been convicted of using illegal tactics to harass tenants. I would work with HPD to convert these properties to an HDFC (limited equity co-op), and sell them to their tenants at below market rate, and provide financial counseling services for up to 20 years (and beyond).

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)

Instead of investing in a program that has proved to contribute to the problem by not offering safety, stability and treatment. We should instead invest in more proven solutions such as Provision Housing Programs (PHP) with Supportive Services. PHP provides safety, stability and on-site treatment for addiction, mental health issues, addressing the many causes of homelessness. With the right leadership in place, we can once and for all address the problem and not just a symptom.

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

32a. If no, why not? All tenants are entitled to a safe environment. In cases where laws are being broken, eviction may sometimes be the only option.

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)
In a post COVID environment, it makes more sense to lower existing rent than to evict an individual or a family. We have to make that argument clear to RGB.

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? No

38. Will you commit to only vote for a budget that decreases funding to the NYPD? No