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									      2010
Strategic Policy
   Statement
                  September 1, 2010




          Borough President

          Scott M. Stringer
          Manhattan Borough President
September 1, 2010


Dear Friend,

I am pleased to share with you the 2010 Strategic Policy Statement for the Office of the
Manhattan Borough President. This document outlines the borough’s most pressing
policy issues and how my administration plans to address them over the next four years.
This document is mandated by Section 82-14, Chapter Four of the New York City
Charter and will be presented to the Mayor, the New York City Council and Manhattan’s
twelve community boards.

Since taking office four and a half years ago, I have traveled to every neighborhood of
Manhattan to discern the most critical issues facing our borough. I have spoken with
residents, business owners, community and religious leaders, advocates and many others.
Every meeting confirmed that Manhattan has substantial challenges before it, including
access to affordable housing, healthy food and quality education, and the need to reform
the way City government works, to name a few. But these discussions also manifested
the dynamic spirit of Manhattan’s residents and their will to support their families and
their borough.

My office has already undertaken many borough-wide initiatives, including reforming
and empowering community boards, spearheading Manhattan’s first ever neighborhood-
focused sustainability initiative in Go Green East Harlem, exposing the City’s poor
planning for school construction and providing solutions for school overcrowding, and
convening food and sustainability experts from New York City and around the world for
two expansive conferences on food policy and climate change. We have accomplished
much in the last four years, but there is still plenty to do. I will continue to bring
attention to Manhattan’s vital issues – through my investigative reports, policy and
community initiatives, town hall meetings, policy conferences, and task forces – and
always with the goal of real results for our borough’s residents.

The attached analysis is not a rundown of each and every concern of the people of
Manhattan; rather, this document is a blueprint of what I hope to achieve in the coming
years. Each policy statement identifies critical issues and outlines how my office can
effectively address them. As we work towards the goals detailed herein, we welcome
your feedback.

Sincerely,




Scott M. Stringer
Manhattan Borough President
Manhattan Borough President’s Office                           2010 Strategic Policy Statement



                                TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary                                                                           3

Affordable Housing                                                                          7

Civic Engagement and Reform                                                                10

Domestic Violence                                                                          13

Economic Development                                                                       14

Education                                                                                  17

Food                                                                                       19

Health, Sustainability and the Environment                                                 21

Land Use, Planning and Development                                                         24

Transportation                                                                             29


                                             •

                              ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The Borough President would like to thank his staff for their hard work and dedication in
preparing this Strategic Policy Statement.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement



                               EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The following are policy goals to be accomplished by the Office of the Manhattan
Borough President Scott M. Stringer.


AFFORDABLE HOUSING

    •   Continue to work with public housing tenants and advocates to identify and
        remedy outstanding deficiencies with key public housing infrastructure;
    •   Advocate for a repeal of the Urstadt Law and restore New York City’s “home
        rule” legislative jurisdiction on rent and eviction protections;
    •   Work with the City Council to pass legislation that would require an annual count
        of all vacant property citywide;
    •   Continue to promote sensible tax policies to create new affordable housing;
    •   Seek post-foreclosure solutions in the borough’s affordable developments and
        complexes that place these buildings in responsible ownership and maintain
        affordability for regulated tenants; and
    •   Advocate for strengthened protections that will prevent the rapid turnover of
        affordable units in New York City’s housing stock.


CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND REFORM

    •   Continue to increase community board membership among under-represented
        segments of the community and professional groups through targeted outreach;
    •   Expand the workshops offered to community board members by creating a
        “Training Institute” that would offer detailed courses on a variety of subjects;
    •   Continue to advocate for necessary changes to the City Charter to ensure
        meaningful community-based planning; and
    •   Create a 1.0 version of the Speak Up New York website by the end of 2010 that
        provides: online tools to help community groups to self-organize, education
        materials on community building and navigating government and a platform for
        communities to connect with and learn from each other.


DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

    •   Continue to provide grant funding for vital programs that offer resources for
        survivors of domestic violence (DV) in Manhattan;
    •   Expand and tailor DV services to include groups shown to be statistically at-risk
        such as people with disabilities, immigrants and LGBTQ; and
    •   Continue to raise awareness about domestic violence, advocate for survivor
        support programs and initiatives and strategize ways to eliminate domestic
        violence as well as other forms of gender-based violence.


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                           2010 Strategic Policy Statement


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

    •   Bank On Manhattan has set the twin goals of opening 10,000 accounts and issuing
        120 Financial Education Mini-Grants by the summer of 2011;
    •   Continue to work with the small business community and advocates to advance
        the goals outlined in our “Saving the Mom and Pops” report;
    •   Continue to advocate for a paid sick leave policy for all workers in New York
        City as well as a paid parental and family leave policy for all municipal workers,
        setting a standard for other employers; and
    •   Continue to work with state legislators for comprehensive reform of the Industrial
        and Commercial Abatement Program upon its sunset in March 2011.


EDUCATION

    •   Monitor, evaluate and address ongoing school co-location issues;
    •   Advocate for enrollment projections to be independently calculated outside the
        Department of Education (DOE) by having the Department of City Planning
        (DCP) provide annual enrollment projections based on, but not limited to: birth
        rate data, residential development data, existing enrollment trends, surveys of
        local pre-Ks and day care centers, and census data showing changes in family in-
        migration and out-migration rates and have the DCP devise public input processes
        to ensure accurate enrollment projections;
    •   Work with the City Comptroller to periodically conduct a needs analysis of school
        capacity with goals to reduce class size and overcrowding;
    •   Advocate for the DOE to revise the “Blue Book” formula to take into account the
        need to provide sufficient cluster space and reduce class size. In determining
        levels of overcrowding, the new formula should count students assigned to trailers
        and annexes as part of total student enrollment in the main school building;
    •   Monitor, evaluate and address co-location and relocation issues impacting District
        75 schools; and
    •   Work with the District 75 Superintendent, parents, elected officials, members of
        the District 75 Citywide Council, Citywide Council on Special Education,
        Community Education Council, and other relevant stakeholders to establish and
        implement clear protocol for working with District 75 families around changes
        that impact their children’s schools.


FOOD

    •   Continue to work with food advocates to advance the goals outlined in the
        “FoodNYC” report to create a more sustainable, integrated local food policy and
        system.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement


HEALTH, SUSTAINABILITY AND THE ENVIRONMENT

    •   Expand the Go Green Youthbucks program to all three Go Green neighborhoods
        and other parts of the borough where obesity and lack of access to affordable and
        fresh produce are obstacles to a healthy lifestyle;
    •   Increase the number of participating businesses in the Go Green Cooking Oil
        Recycling Program by 30%;
    •   Expand the Green Loan Fund for Small Businesses in East Harlem, after the
        pilot’s successful completion, to other Go Green neighborhoods and borough-
        wide;
    •   Reduce number of asthma related child hospitalizations in East Harlem by 50%
        over the next five years;
    •   Increase asthma awareness and education for residents of East Harlem;
    •   Create a comprehensive waste management and recycling program for the
        borough in partnership with the Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB),
        Department of Sanitation, and the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education
        (OROE) at GrowNYC;
    •   Initiate a survey to better assess which neighborhoods in the borough create the
        most waste or have the highest recycling rates;
    •   Analyze trash collection data to determine if a triage system for sanitation pickups
        is necessary and which neighborhoods require increased recycling education
        programs;
    •   Conduct a study to determine the feasibility and impacts of waste reduction
        measures for commercial waste below 59th Street;
    •   Work with not-for-profit recycling entities such as Wearable Collections, the
        Lower East Side Ecology Center, and OROE to create convenient locations for
        recycling in more neighborhoods; and
    •   Continue to develop partnerships and seek solutions to reduce Manhattan’s waste
        and increase recycling to its fullest capacity.


LAND USE, PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

    •   Advocate for a new Independent Planning Office, which would allow New York
        to retain its competitive edge by coordinating agency agendas and setting
        citywide development goals;
    •   Continue to research and enact proactive planning initiatives that will assist the
        City in understanding the impacts of development, areas in need of critical focus,
        and ways to connect progressive ideals to practical planning;
    •   Advocate for the strengthening of 197-a plans and for the City Charter to mandate
        a professional Urban Planner in each of New York City’s community boards;
    •   Continue empowering community boards and communities to play a proactive
        role in the City’s Land Use approval process through the Manhattan Borough
        President’s education initiatives;



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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                           2010 Strategic Policy Statement


    •   Advance the role of borough presidents in bridging community needs and large
        scale developments by advocating for the reform of the ULURP;
    •   Ensure that proposed developments move forward in a way that meets citywide
        and community planning goals by continuing to bring together stakeholders in a
        collaborative dialogue; and
    •   Continue to balance the needs of preservation and the needs of growth in
        Manhattan.


TRANSPORTATION

    •   Continue to advance a culture of cooperation between local transportation
        officials and community members;
    •   Assist the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) in mobilizing
        community members for a new Community Advisory Council on proposed
        changes to the 34th Street streetscape;
    •   Assist the City in its ambitious efforts to bring our streets and transportation
        infrastructure into the 21st century;
    •   Help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) fund its operations by
        pushing the State legislature to restore the Commuter Tax;
    •   Oppose service cuts and fare increases that will have a regressive effect on
        Manhattan’s most vulnerable populations;
    •   Ensure that Access-A-Ride continues to effectively serve New York City’s para-
        transit riders;
    •   Create a new set of best practices for the 21st century that will ensure that MTA
        capital construction projects are delivered on time and on budget;
    •   Promote accountability measures that will prevent waste and mismanagement on
        future transportation mega-projects;
    •   Continue to lobby the State legislature to pass bills requiring bus mounted
        enforcement cameras; and
    •   Continue to work with the DOT to develop physical street barriers to improve the
        flow of bus traffic.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement



                              AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Accessing affordable housing is one of the biggest challenges facing our borough and our
city. Across incomes and populations, residents are struggling to find and maintain
affordable housing. Mitchell-Lama housing units, created by New York’s most
successful affordable housing initiative, are by and large no longer affordable for low-
and middle-income tenants. New York City’s public housing developments continue to
bear the long-term consequences of chronic under-funding during the former presidential
administration.

New York is a magnet city. People from around the world come to Manhattan in
particular to pursue opportunities as teachers, actors, entrepreneurs, financiers, and
artists. It is imperative that Manhattan be a place where people of all backgrounds can
live and work, rather than an island exclusively for the affluent.

Keeping Public Housing Safe
On August 19, 2008, five-year-old Jacob Neuman was killed when the elevator in his
family’s New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) building stalled between doors.
His tragic death, along with the steady stream of elevator-related injuries and strandings,
highlighted what Borough President Stringer called “a culture of neglect” during Housing
Authority safety inspections. In a comprehensive report “Dangerous Neglect” released in
September 2008, the Borough President brought to light for the first time that over a three
year span, 75 percent of the elevators in Housing Authority buildings were classified as
“unsatisfactory” by the Authority’s own inspectors. He called for an immediate review
of all 3,300 Housing Authority elevators and the installation of door zone restrictors
system-wide. In a report later released by the Department of Buildings (DOB)
investigating the death of Jacob Neuman, the elevator’s technical problems were tied to
faulty maintenance by NYCHA. Safety experts indicated that the accident could have
been avoided had the elevator been equipped with door zone restrictors.

In April 2009, the New York Legal Assistance Group and the law firm Paul, Weiss,
Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, working with the Borough President, announced the
filing of a class-action suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act to force NYCHA to
repair and maintain its elevators. As a result of advocacy by the Borough President,
Senator Schumer, and community allies, NYCHA will dedicate over $182 million to
repair and replace elevators in the coming years.

Goal:

    •   Continue to work with public housing tenants and advocates to identify and
        remedy outstanding deficiencies with key public housing infrastructure.

Maintaining a Robust Stock of Rent-Regulated Housing
Our citywide vacancy rate stands at a paltry 2.91 percent. In 2009 alone, New York City
experienced a net loss of 10,052 rent stabilized apartments. A total of 73,459 rent
stabilized apartments have been removed from the system since 1994. Borough President


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement


Stringer called on the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) to freeze rents and fought the RGB’s
egregious “poor tax” policy. The Borough President has also lent his support to a suite of
housing reform legislation in Albany that would keep housing affordable for low- and
moderate-income tenants and protect our precious rent-regulated housing stock.

In order to preserve the remaining stock of rent-regulated housing, it is essential that the
City have control over its rent laws. It makes no sense for non-City legislators to decide
New York City rents while our borough faces a growing housing crisis. Our office will
be a presence at Rent Guidelines Board hearings and will testify in support of Home Rule
when possible. Additionally, the Borough President will lend his voice and use his bully
pulpit to fight for City control over rent regulation.

Goal:

    •    Continue to advocate for a repeal of the Urstadt Law and restore New York City’s
         “home rule” legislative jurisdiction on rent and eviction protections.

Maximizing Available Land
In 2007, the Borough President’s Office, in collaboration with Picture the Homeless,
initiated and conducted the first-ever survey of Manhattan’s vacant property documented
in “No Vacancy? The Role of Underutilized Properties in Meeting Manhattan’s
Affordable Housing Needs.” The survey found enough vacant space to create almost
24,000 housing units. Based on findings from the report, Borough President Stringer,
working with other elected officials, created a city and state legislative agenda aimed at
encouraging the development of Manhattan’s vacant property. In July 2008, legislation
passed the Assembly and Senate and was signed into law by Governor Paterson. This
change will encourage the development of new affordable housing in Northern
Manhattan by eliminating the tax advantage for allowing usable land to lie vacant.

Goals:

    •    Work to pass City Council legislation that would require an annual count of all
         vacant property citywide; and
    •    Continue to promote sensible tax policies to create new affordable housing.

The Borough President aims to foster dialogue between the New York City Department
of Finance and tax policy advocates to ensure that New York City is at the cutting edge
of smart new policies that will spur growth and create new opportunities for
neighborhoods that desperately need safe, affordable housing.

Mitigating the effects of “predatory equity”
New York City has experienced a wave of predatory investment in its affordable housing
stock. Deep pocketed investors have acquired large affordable housing developments
and portfolios and used various strategies to deregulate units or prevent the rightful
regulation of affordable housing units.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                              2010 Strategic Policy Statement


In 2007, tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village filed suit alleging that the
landlord had improperly removed apartments from rent-stabilization and raised apartment
rents despite accepting government subsidies that required keeping the apartments rent-
stabilized and affordable. Borough President Stringer was the first elected official to file
an amicus brief in support of the tenants, eventually filing three briefs throughout the trial
court and appeals process. The Appellate Division in their decision in favor of the
tenants recognized the amicus briefs, which presented unique legal research, as pivotal.
During the Court of Appeals process, the Borough President’s legal arguments
contributed to upholding the tenant’s victory and expanding protection for rent
stabilization throughout the city. In late 2009, the deregulated Stuyvesant Town and
Peter Cooper Village apartments were returned to rent stabilized rates. The Borough
President continues to work with impacted tenants, informing them of the legal
ramifications of the case and the next steps as the complex defaults on its loans and is
turned over to its creditors.

Working together with Buyers and Renters United to Save Harlem (BRUSH), Borough
President Stringer launched an effort to identify tenants who could qualify as plaintiffs in
a class action lawsuit against the Pinnacle Group LLC. The lawsuit alleges that Pinnacle
fraudulently inflated rents, failed to make needed repairs and groundlessly harassed
tenants out of rent-regulated apartments throughout New York City. The lawsuit also
charges that the Pinnacle Group’s conduct violates the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organizations Act (RICO) as well as the New York State Consumer Protection Act and
seeks payments for overcharged rents, immediate injunctive relief to restrain unlawful
behavior and the creation of an independent body to ensure lawful management of the
buildings.

Goals:

    •    Continue to fight for tenants who are being harassed out of affordable housing
         units by unscrupulous landlords;
    •    Fight for post-foreclosure solutions in the borough’s affordable developments and
         complexes that place these buildings in responsible ownership and maintain
         affordability for regulated tenants; and
    •    Advocate for strengthened protections that will prevent the rapid turnover of
         affordable units in New York City’s housing stock.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                           2010 Strategic Policy Statement



                     CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND REFORM
Reforming Manhattan’s Community Boards
Shortly upon taking office, Borough President Stringer conducted an examination of
Manhattan’s community boards that found:
   • The community board appointment process was overly politicized and
       unsystematic;
   • Community boards operated with ongoing vacancies;
   • Minority communities and professional skill sets were under-represented;
   • Conflicts of interest law was not enforced; and
   • Community boards operated without any external requirement of assessment and
       evaluation.

The 2006 Manhattan Borough President’s Strategic Policy Statement outlined an
ambitious model for reforming and empowering Manhattan’s community boards that has
proven successful. Over the past five years the Borough President’s Office achieved the
following reforms:
    • Created the Community Board Reform Committee to act as a screening panel for
       all new applications and to advise the Borough President’s Office on developing a
       transparent and comprehensive appointment process;
    • Established a timeline for applicant outreach and a merit-based process for
       selecting members;
    • Conducted targeted outreach based on each community board’s demographic and
       professional needs, including holding a series of information sessions, mass
       mailings and meeting with local community groups;
    • Required that all applicants, including re-applying members, submit formal
       applications and participate in an interview process;
    • Made annual appointments in advance of the City Charter mandated deadline of
       April 1 and ended the practice of ad-hoc removals; and
    • Required that community boards submit annual reports by April 1, as required by
       the City Charter.

This process has yielded remarkable results. Since 2006 the Manhattan Borough
President’s Office has:
   • Received over 1,700 new applications and interviewed over 1,400 new applicants;
   • Appointed nearly 500 new members; and
   • Significantly increased African American, Latino, Asian American and LGBT
       representation on community boards across the borough.

To assist community boards in fulfilling their charter-mandated planning responsibilities,
the Borough President’s office launched the Community Planning Fellowship Program in
2006. The fellowship supports community-based planning activities by placing a second
year graduate student from the region’s urban planning schools in each Manhattan
community board office. The planning students help the boards to better understand local
planning issues and navigate public discussions about development more effectively.



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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                              2010 Strategic Policy Statement




Fellows have conducted integral work including assessing affordable housing conditions
to inform policy decisions, formulating workforce hiring strategies to secure jobs for
local residents, creating evaluation tools for reviewing and encouraging more sustainable
development projects, and preparing zoning applications to encourage development that
meets community goals. Specific accomplishments by fellows include:
    • An analysis of residential conversion of Class B office space in Community
        Board 5;
    • The updating and refining of Community Board 10’s 197-a proposal for Central
        Harlem; and
    • An assessment of the development potential of underused properties in
        Community Board 12.

The program has been widely regarded as enhancing the performance of community
boards in their core responsibilities. Mayor Bloomberg has recognized the benefits and
potential of the Community Planning Fellowship Program by agreeing to work with all of
the program’s partners to expand the program citywide.

Additionally, the Borough President’s office provides support for community board
members through workshops on topics including Land Use, Budget, Conflicts of Interest,
Parliamentary Procedure, Resolution Writing and Equal Employment Opportunity.

In 2010, the Borough President’s office issued a series of recommendations to the City’s
Charter Revision Commission to enhance the roles of community boards, including:
    • Set citywide standards for community board outreach and appointments including
       a written application, interviews, public outreach, and a timeline;
    • Provide community boards with a full-time urban planner as part of their paid
       staff; and
    • Define operational, administrative, and legal support to be provided by borough
       presidents and other entities to community boards, along with necessary funding
       to ensure the support.

Goals:

    •    Continue to increase community board membership among under-represented
         segments of the community and professional groups through targeted outreach;
    •    Expand the workshops offered to community board members by creating a
         “Training Institute” that would offer detailed courses on a variety of subjects; and
    •    Continue to advocate for necessary changes to the City Charter to ensure
         meaningful community-based planning.

Encouraging Greater Civic Participation
In June 2010, Borough President Stringer and Open Plans launched Speak Up New York,
an initiative to create the first government supported web-based platform in the city to
use online technology to provide communities with tools for self-organizing and
encourage greater civic participation.


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement




A working group consisting of digital experts and community stakeholders was convened
to advise on the creation of the platform and identify short-term projects to create better
online tools for civic engagement.

Goal:

    •   Create a 1.0 version of the website by the end of 2010 that provides:

            •   Online tools to help community groups self-organize. Speak Up New
                York will integrate the best online communication and participation tools
                (blogs, discussion forums, issue reporting tools) to offer a solid starting
                point for citizens looking to get engaged online.
            •   Education materials on community building and navigating government.
                The new web platform will make local government more accessible and
                promote civic awareness through online workshops and trainings on topics
                such as: "What community groups are around me?" or "How to start a
                tenant association" or "Understanding the land use process."
            •   A platform for communities to connect with and learn from each other.
                Speak Up will leverage the expertise and commitment of community
                boards and civic associations while also opening up local government to
                new voices by aggregating the most relevant news, commentary, events,
                groups, and other civic information related to neighborhoods (e.g.,
                community board votes, neighborhood blog posts, topical discussion
                groups).




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                             2010 Strategic Policy Statement



                                DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
Gender-based violence, including domestic violence (DV), is pervasive throughout the
United States and the borough of Manhattan. Despite a reduction in the City’s overall
crime levels in recent years, domestic violence remains a serious public safety threat and
criminal justice concern. Drawing from statistics released by the NYPD and Safe
Horizon, the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence estimates that
NYPD responded to 250,349 instances of domestic violence in 2009, averaging about
650 incidences per day citywide. Sixty-seven percent of these cases had no prior contact
with the NYPD and 87 percent did not have a protective order in place. Additionally,
NYPD’s Domestic Violence Unit conducted 69,188 home visits, a 79 percent increase
since 2002.

Shining a Light on Domestic Violence
These statistics are staggering, yet due to its delicate and private nature DV is widely
underreported, especially among people with disabilities as well as immigrant and
LGBTQ communities where cultural and stereotypical perceptions about DV victims
pose hindrances for survivors to obtain available services. Some research indicates that
the underreporting problem is greater in New York City. The New York Women’s
Foundation estimates that all calls for help to the police and DV hotlines account for as
little as 10 percent of all actual violence in the home citywide.

Borough President Stringer has a strong record on alleviating misperceptions of gender-
based/domestic violence since the beginning of his administration and remains dedicated
to domestic violence prevention. During his tenure, the Borough President created a
Domestic Violence Task Force, which convenes monthly with advocates, attorneys, and
domestic violence survivors to address the burgeoning problem of domestic violence,
stalking, and gender-based violence in New York City. In addition to the DV Task
Force, the Borough President has established several partnerships to promote DV
awareness and provide assistance to DV victims. On October 14, 2009, with the
Governor’s Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the Borough President lit the
Empire State Building purple as part of a campaign to bring more awareness to domestic
violence. Through a partnership with the New York County District Attorney’s Office,
New York Police Department, and two domestic violence advocacy groups, the Borough
President’s Office administers a $2 million U.S. Department of Justice Office of Violence
Against Women grant to encourage intimate partner domestic violence arrests.

Goals:

    •    Continue to provide grant funding for vital programs that offer resources for
         survivors of domestic violence in Manhattan;
    •    Expand and tailor DV services to include groups shown to be statistically at-risk
         such as people with disabilities, immigrants and LGBTQ; and
    •    Continue to raise awareness about domestic violence, advocate for survivor
         support programs and initiatives and strategize ways to eliminate domestic
         violence as well as other forms of gender-based violence.


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement



                           ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Promoting Financial Empowerment
In the borough of Manhattan, thousands of households lack bank accounts. In the
neighborhoods of Inwood and Washington Heights high percentages of households are
unbanked. In Harlem, similarly high numbers of families have neither a checking, nor a
savings account.

These Manhattan families spend hundreds of dollars every year on check cashing fees,
bill payments, and money orders, putting an even greater strain on their ability to make
ends meet during these tough economic times. A secondary, but equally significant cost
of being unbanked, is that families miss the opportunity to accumulate assets and build
the banking history essential to prosperity and financial success. Finally, without a bank
account, it is harder to keep one’s money safe and easier to become a victim of robbery or
theft.

Bank On Manhattan, led by Borough President Stringer, is a public/private partnership
based on a successful national model. The initiative is dedicated to increasing access to
safe, low-cost checking accounts for unbanked New Yorkers and to creating
opportunities for financial education in the community.

In the summer of 2009, the Borough President invited commercial banks, credit unions,
not-for-profits, labor, and religious groups to join him at the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation (FDIC) for an initial discussion about how to address this problem and how
to adapt a national program model to the needs of New York City. Over the next six
months, the Borough President’s Office created several subcommittees, comprised of
representatives from the financial, public and not-for profit sectors. These committees
created the baseline criteria for the Bank On Manhattan checking account, the content of
a financial education mini-grant program, the model for evaluating our impact, and the
strategy for reaching the unbanked in our borough. With the support and technical
assistance of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the FDIC, and the New York State
Banking Department, the coalition created a multifaceted program to help unbanked New
Yorkers achieve safe, simple means for managing their income and developing financial
literacy.

In partnership with many of New York City’s leading retail banks, Bank On Manhattan
offers unbanked families safe and low-cost checking accounts. For organizations wishing
to offer financial education to their clients, Bank On Manhattan will provide a mini-grant
of up to $100 to cover the associated operational costs and a free financial trainer to lead
the workshop on-site at the grant recipient’s facilities. The workshop will cover topics
such as basic account management skills, saving, budgeting, and avoiding financial
pitfalls.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement


Goal:

    •   Bank On Manhattan has set the twin goals of opening 10,000 accounts and issuing
        120 Financial Education Mini-Grants by the summer of 2011.

Helping Small Business
The recession has hit retailers in New York with particular severity. But even before the
crash, the small independent retail stores in Manhattan were struggling, battered by a
range of problems including high rents, high energy costs, chain store encroachment, and
a lack of space. About half in a survey conducted by the Manhattan Borough President’s
Office in the summer of 2008 said they did not expect to be in business in five years.

In 2008, the Borough President convened a Small Business Task Force, made up of
business leaders, economists and public officials to bolster small independent retail stores
and keep Manhattan’s small business community afloat. The Borough President, along
with the Small Business Task Force, released the report, “Saving the Mom and Pops,”
which laid out steps the City can take to help small businesses:
    • Perform a survey of retail stock in order to close the gap in our knowledge of
       Manhattan’s independent retailers;
    • Encourage space for small, independent stores in new developments;
    • Use zoning to discourage storefront hogs;
    • Double the pool of micro-loans available to small independent retailers;
    • Make the day-to-day concerns of independent retailers the concerns of City Hall;
    • Encourage business assistance;
    • Help retailers reduce energy costs;
    • Consider tax relief for struggling retailers; and
    • Connect our smaller businesses to federal, state and city economic recovery
       programs.

Goal:

    •   Continue to work with the small business community and advocates to advance
        the goals outlined in the “Saving the Mom and Pops” report described above.

Advancing Workers Rights
American workforce demographics have changed significantly over the past several
decades. Women have entered the workforce in increasing numbers and, as a matter of
necessity, many households with children under the age of six have two full-time
working parents. National policies, however, have failed to adjust accordingly by
requiring workplace policies that support the needs of working parents and their families.
The United States is alone among developed countries and virtually alone in the world in
its failure to support working parents and their families through flexible time and leave
policies.

Unfortunately, New York City is not among the ranks of cities taking steps to reverse this
national trend. For too many New Yorkers, caring for themselves or for their sick


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement


children is simply not an option. For a worker without paid sick leave, staying home
means loss of pay and sometimes even loss of a job. Millions of workers in New York
City receive no paid sick leave. Not surprisingly, the burden of balancing home and
work without paid leave does not fall equally across the workforce.

The Manhattan Borough President’s Office, in collaboration with A Better Balance,
organized two focus group sessions in October 2007 to examine employees’ and
employers’ experiences of the benefits and challenges of paid leave policies and to
understand how these policies impact working adults’ ability to make decisions regarding
the necessary trade-offs between work and family. Out of this came a report entitled “A
Working Balance” that outlined the benefits of flexible family leave policies and concrete
recommendations for implementation. In addition to authoring this report, Borough
President Stringer has been an outspoken advocate for paid sick leave legislation at the
local level.

Goal:

    •   Continue to advocate for a paid sick leave policy for all workers in New York
        City as well as a paid parental and family leave policy for all municipal workers,
        setting a standard for other employers.

Promoting Efficiency in Public Subsidies
In May, 2008, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office released a report, “Senseless
Subsidies” which found that in Fiscal Year 2007 the City provided fast food restaurants,
gas stations and chain retailers with nearly $9.5 million in tax breaks through the
Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program (ICIP).

Citing these problems, the Borough President called on the State legislature to enact
sweeping reforms of the program. In June 2008, the legislature passed the Industrial and
Commercial Abatement Program (ICAP) bill that eliminated subsidies for utility
companies and other businesses that do not need them. However, fast food chains and gas
stations continue to receive benefits.

It is counter-intuitive for New York City government to promote public health initiatives
that would help reduce obesity, diabetes, air pollution and asthma while concurrently
subsidizing the businesses that contribute to these problems.

Goal:

    •   Continue to work with state legislators for comprehensive reform of the ICAP
        program upon its sunset in March 2011.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                           2010 Strategic Policy Statement



                                       EDUCATION
A Growing Student Population and a Failure to Plan
From 2000 to 2008, new buildings alone have added at least 40,000 new apartments to
Manhattan. The fastest growing population segment in Manhattan is children under the
age of five, which has increased by 32 percent since 2000 according to the U.S. Census.
With widespread agreement that nearly a million residents will come to New York in the
next two decades, there is every reason to expect this upward trend in school-age
population to continue. For the past two years, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office
has been actively calling attention to how the City’s planning process for new school
construction fails to address this growing population and as a result, our public school
students are faced with overcrowded classrooms, growing waitlists, and at times no seats
in their neighborhood schools.

In April 2008, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office released the first
comprehensive borough-wide analysis of residential development and its relationship to
local school capacity in a report entitled “Crowded Out.” The report’s findings show that
in four Manhattan neighborhoods at critical risk for serious overcrowding, the City issued
permits for enough new buildings between 2000 and 2007 to add more than 2,300 new
elementary and middle school students to neighborhood schools, while increasing school
capacity in these neighborhoods by only 143 seats.

An updated report, “Still Crowded Out,” issued by the Manhattan Borough President’s
Office in September 2008 addressed new buildings approved by the City between
January and August 2008. The report found that new development had continued to add
hundreds of new public school students to neighborhood schools over the course of 2008,
but the City had still not planned to meet this expected demand.
In September 2009, the office released “School Daze,” a report focusing on the accuracy
of the ten-year enrollment projections between 2007 to 2016, which provided the basis
for the Capital Plan developed by the New York City School Construction Authority
(“SCA”) and adopted by the City Council and the Mayor in 2009. The report sharply
disagreed with the ten-year enrollment projections used by the Department of Education
(“DOE”), finding a substantial increase in the borough’s school-aged population over the
coming decade, while SCA forecasts small declines.

Finally, in April of 2010, a catalogue of firsthand experiences reported to the Manhattan
Borough President’s Office found that more than four out of ten (43 percent) of
Manhattan elementary and middle schools suffer the negative consequences of DOE’s
inadequate planning for public school space needs. Borough President Stringer submitted
this catalogue to NYC schools Chancellor Joel Klein, calling for a moratorium on co-
locations until the Department had implemented a set of best practices for co-locating
schools.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                             2010 Strategic Policy Statement


Goals:

    •    Monitor, evaluate and address ongoing school co-location issues;
    •    Advocate for enrollment projections to be independently calculated outside the
         DOE by having the Department of City Planning (DCP) provide annual
         enrollment projections based on, but not limited to: birth rate data, residential
         development data, existing enrollment trends, surveys of local pre-Ks and day
         care centers, and census data showing changes in family in-migration and out-
         migration rates and have the DCP devise public input processes to ensure accurate
         enrollment projections;
    •    Work with the City Comptroller to periodically conduct a needs analysis of school
         capacity with goals to reduce class size and overcrowding; and
    •    Advocate for the DOE to revise the “Blue Book” formula to take into account the
         need to provide sufficient cluster space and reduce class size. In determining
         levels of overcrowding, the new formula should count students assigned to trailers
         and annexes as part of total student enrollment in the main school building.

Advocating for the City’s Highest Needs Students
District 75 serves 23,000 of the City’s public school system’s highest needs students.
According to the DOE website, “District 75 provides citywide educational, vocational
and, behavior support programs for students who are on the autism spectrum, have
significant cognitive delays, are severely emotionally challenged, sensory impaired
and/or multiply disabled.” Yet DOE has failed to give District 75 students and their
families adequate consideration under reauthorized school governance law when
proposing changes to schools. Given the setbacks that change can produce for these
students, and the steep climb their families face in helping navigate their children safely
through the system, it is crucial that DOE find better means of planning for space and
changes that impact District 75 communities.

Borough President Stringer has been closely involved in tracking relocation and co-
location issues impacting District 75 students since the reauthorization of the school
governance law. Between December 2009 and August 2010, the Borough President has
intervened in three separate DOE proposals affecting District 75 schools. Borough
President Stringer has also brought DOE and District 75 officials to the table in the past
six months, to discuss improving protocol and procedures for proposed changes to
District 75 schools, students and families.

Goals:

    •    Monitor, evaluate and address co-location and relocation issues impacting District
         75 schools; and
    •    Work with the District 75 Superintendent, parents, elected officials, members of
         the District 75 Citywide Council, Citywide Council on Special Education,
         Community Education Council, and other relevant stakeholders to establish and
         implement clear protocol for working with District 75 families around changes
         that impact their children’s schools.


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement



                                         FOOD
Problems associated with obesity have reached epidemic proportions in the United States.
New York City is outpacing the nation in obesity and its related health issues. A rise in
the risk of heart disease, hypertension, depression, type II diabetes, among other health
problems, often accompanies a rise in obesity and being overweight. Residents of low-
income neighborhoods and communities of color are disproportionately affected, and are
thus overburdened by the related health, social, and economic problems.

However, the prevalence of unhealthy food is related to larger systemic problems that
affect more than just health outcomes. Industrialized food systems are forever damaging
our planet, and the world’s poorest countries are the ones paying the highest price. The
production, distribution, and consumption of food are responsible for a tremendous
amount of the man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which cause global warming.
We see these impacts in the developing world, but we also see the differential impact on
our own poorest communities.

There is currently a dearth of stores selling fresh fruits and vegetables in many of the
City’s poor neighborhoods. The Department of City Planning recently found that three-
quarters of a million New Yorkers live in areas with limited access to fresh produce.
Many of these same neighborhoods have an overabundance of fast food options. These
unhealthy options often cost less on a calorie-to-calorie basis. Public health advocates
believe that this trend may be reversed through increased availability of healthy food,
nutrition education, physical exercise, and healthcare.

It is clear from the impact on our health to the impact on our environment that our current
food policies and system are failing us.

The Politics of Food
Traditionally, food policy has largely been determined by decision-makers in the federal
government and private sector. To create a paradigm shift that results in empowering the
city and state to expand their role in food policy, every relevant government agency’s
policies must be informed by and strategically focused on a shared goal: to create a
sustainable food system which provides economic, social, environmental, and health
benefits. Towards this goal, Borough President Stringer hosted two pivotal conferences
bringing together experts, advocates, and concerned citizens to create a local progressive
food policy agenda.

In November 2008, Borough President Stringer organized “The Politics of Food,” a
conference co-sponsored by the Urban Design Lab at Columbia University’s School of
International and Public Affairs. President of the United Nations General Assembly
Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and advocate Maya
Wiley were among those who addressed a gathering of more than 600 people. In
February of 2009 the Borough President released “Food in the Public Interest,” a report
with 48 recommendations aimed at making food more healthy, sustainable, and equitable
for all New Yorkers.


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement


NYC Food and Climate Summit
In partnership with Just Food and New York University, the Borough President hosted
his second annual urban food conference, “The New York City Food and Climate
Summit,” on December 12, 2009.

The event, which had over 1,000 participants, was designed to inform individuals of our
current food and climate crisis, and to provide them with ways by which they could go
about making changes that would lead to a more sustainable future. From healthy eating
habits, to purchasing local foods, to Urban Agriculture, a myriad of topics were discussed
in 29 carefully constructed sessions. Attendees were encouraged to sign the Borough
President’s Sustainable Food Charter, an agreement to eat in a manner that honors the
environmental, economic and health impacts of our everyday food choices. Following
the conference, The Borough President released “FoodNYC,” a report with ten goals
intended to set forth a bold and comprehensive agenda that will spark systemic change in
New York’s regional food system and build on efforts initiated by “Food in the Public
Interest.”
    • Establish urban food production as a priority in New York City for personal,
        community, or commercial use by the year 2030;
    • Promote and support regional agriculture by connecting upstate and Long Island
        farms with downstate consumers, and by mapping the food grown and sourced
        from the region within approximately 200 miles of New York City;
    • Increase the sale and consumption of regionally grown foods by expanding
        regional distribution and local processing capacity;
    • Increase the number and type of retail food outlets that deviate from the
        traditional grocery store model by identifying spaces for use as “alternative” food
        markets;
    • Incorporate preferences for locally-sourced food in New York City’s procurement
        rules;
    • Educate New York City’s children to become a new generation of healthy and
        environmentally aware eaters;
    • Launch twin composting initiatives: (a) support for large-scale composting
        through creation of a municipal facility; and (b) support for small-scale
        composting through education, decentralized composting bins, and more pick-up
        locations;
    • Increase access to drinking water fountains while reducing the consumption of
        disposable plastic water bottles in New York City;
    • Cultivate the food economy by creating a focused economic development
        strategy; and
    • Create a Department of Food and Markets to coordinate and lead systemic reform
        of the City’s food and agricultural policies and programs.

Goal:

    •   Continue to work with food advocates to advance the goals outlined in the
        “FoodNYC” report to create a more sustainable integrated local food policy and
        system.


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                             2010 Strategic Policy Statement



       HEALTH, SUSTAINABILITY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Public health, sustainability, and the environment are interrelated issues critical to the
success of creating a happy and healthy New York. The City must develop a
comprehensive strategy to integrate action around public health and environmental needs.

Manhattan residents are some of the healthiest and most environmentally friendly citizens
in the country. They tend not to drive cars; instead choosing to walk, ride bikes, or utilize
public transportation to get around. However, there are many disparities within
Manhattan and New York City as a whole with regard to public health and environmental
justice that still need to be addressed.

Increase Impact of Go Green Initiative
The Go Green Initiative was started in 2007 to provide community formulated solutions
to environmental and health problems in Manhattan’s most under-served communities. It
is a partnership of community leaders, government agencies, and private institutions that
operate in three of Manhattan’s high need neighborhoods to develop a community
focused agenda around health and the environment. It currently operates in East Harlem,
Washington Heights & Inwood, and the Lower East Side.

Go Green started with plans for a state-of-the-art standalone asthma center in East
Harlem, which through a partnership with Mayor Bloomberg was opened in August
2010, and the planting of hundreds of street trees. Through three years of work with local
greenmarket purveyors, members of the Go Green Steering Committees have been able
to coordinate more than 20 new greenmarkets, many in neighborhoods that have never
had access to one. The 106th Street Harvest Home Farmers Market now accepts food
stamps, and is the first-ever weekend market for the community.

In 2008, advocates and community members celebrated the publication of the bilingual
“Go Green East Harlem Cookbook,” filled with healthy recipes contributed by local
residents and chefs. By that time, Go Green chapters had taken root in Washington
Heights, Inwood, and the Lower East Side. Each chapter spearheaded its own programs
to encourage sustainability, including a textile swap event in Washington Heights that
collected nearly two tons of clothing and materials, a cooking oil recycling program in all
three Go Green neighborhoods that coordinates with local restaurants to donate used
cooking oil for recycling into cleaner burning bio-diesel fuel and a highly successful
Youthbucks program, modeled after the City’s Department of Health Healthbucks
program which provides students with two Youthbucks coupons each, totaling $4, to
spend at a local Farmer’s Market in East Harlem.

A major obstacle to sustainability for small businesses is a lack of startup funding to
initiate the necessary changes. To mitigate this hurdle, Go Green has partnered with
ACCION to create the Green Loan Fund for Small Business, a low interest loan program
for small businesses to make green improvements. The initial pilot will be working with
five to ten bodegas in East Harlem and will provide one-on-one financial evaluation,
review of their financial system, evaluation of credit needs, and information about low


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                             2010 Strategic Policy Statement


interest loan investments. Businesses will also receive an energy audit to determine what
changes can be made to their equipment and operating system to maximize the benefits
from any green upgrades.

Goals:

    •    Expand the Go Green Youthbucks program to all three Go Green neighborhoods
         and other parts of the borough where obesity and lack of access to affordable and
         fresh produce are obstacles to a healthy lifestyle;
    •    Increase the number of participating businesses in the Go Green Cooking Oil
         Recycling Program by 30%; and
    •    Expand the Green Loan Fund for Small Businesses in East Harlem, after the
         pilot’s successful completion, to other Go Green neighborhoods and borough-
         wide.

Tackling Asthma in East Harlem
East Harlem has one of the highest asthma rates of any neighborhood in the country.
This particular health disparity is critically linked to environmental disparities, such as
poor air quality, that plague the neighborhood. Asthma is a main cause of child
hospitalization. Children who are hospitalized miss school, often cause a parent or
guardian to miss work, and require special medical care – an increasingly expensive and
scarce resource.

To address the health disparity in East Harlem, Borough President Stringer, in
collaboration with Mayor Bloomberg and the City Department of Health & Mental
Hygiene, opened a $3.5 million stand-alone, 10,000 square foot, state of the art East
Harlem Asthma Center of Excellence on August 12th, 2010. The Center of Excellence
provides asthma and health education for all East Harlem community residents as well as
bilingual coordinated referrals and counseling for children and families with this
condition.

In addition, to improve the air quality and help lower asthma risk in the Go Green
neighborhoods, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office partnered with the New York
Restoration Project to plant thousands of trees on streets and public housing projects in
East Harlem, Washington Heights, Inwood, and the Lower East Side creating a tree
canopy and helping to reduce Manhattan’s heat island effect and reforest East Harlem in
four to five years.

Goals:

    •    Reduce number of asthma related child hospitalizations in East Harlem by 50%
         over the next five years; and
    •    Increase asthma awareness and education for residents of East Harlem.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                             2010 Strategic Policy Statement


Addressing Solid Waste Management Issues & Recycling
With the closing of Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island in 2001, New York City has been
exporting its garbage via truck outside of the city at a cost of $1 billion per year. As
budget cuts continue to come down the pipeline and talk of privatizing trash pickups gain
traction in City Hall; a strategy to reduce, reuse, and recycle in the borough of Manhattan
is desperately needed. Recent legislation passed by the City Council to improve
recycling opportunities in the City provides ample room to create a comprehensive and
strategic waste management and recycling plan for the borough.

Goals:

    •    Create a comprehensive waste management and recycling program for the
         borough in partnership with the Solid Waste Advisory Board (SWAB),
         Department of Sanitation, and the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education
         (OROE) at GrowNYC;
    •    Initiate a survey to better assess which neighborhoods in the borough create the
         most waste or have the highest recycling rates;
    •    Analyze trash collection data to determine if a triage system for sanitation pick-
         ups is necessary and which neighborhoods require increased recycling education
         programs;
    •    Conduct a study to determine the feasibility and impacts of waste reduction
         measures for commercial waste below 59th Street;
    •    Work with not-for-profit recycling entities such as Wearable Collections, the
         Lower East Side Ecology Center, and OROE to create convenient locations for
         recycling in more neighborhoods; and
    •    Continue to develop partnerships and seek solutions to reduce Manhattan’s waste
         and increase recycling to its fullest capacity.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement



               LAND USE, PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

As a center of the region’s economy and magnet for the world, Manhattan has
experienced tremendous development for more than a century. Over the last decade, the
city gained over a million new residents, and construction represented one of the largest
sectors of New York City’s economy. As in other times of rapid expansion,
communities, governmental bodies and elected officials have struggled to anticipate
changes in neighborhoods and appreciate the larger context in which these changes are
occurring.

The City lacks a comprehensive strategy to anticipate, mitigate and channel growth to
meet larger policies during expansion periods. Even during periods of slower growth, the
City lacks a comprehensive strategy for shaping development patterns and ensuring
adequate provision of necessary services. Smart urban planning and development holds
the key to balancing the needs to develop with the need to ensure that neighborhood
infrastructure is not overburdened or overwhelmed.

The future success of New York City will come from its government’s ability to
anticipate needs, coordinate services, plan comprehensively, and provide opportunities
for meaningful community involvement.

Comprehensive Planning
Comprehensive planning is a basic tool of local governments for assessing its needs,
providing a framework for growth and development, and informing public policy. Cities
like London, Seattle and every municipality in California perform comprehensive plans
to determine how to most appropriately allocate resources and channel growth.

If New York is to remain competitive on a national and global scale, it must perform
comprehensive planning work. Unfortunately, the City chooses not to undertake this
exercise even when aspects of comprehensive planning are required under the New York
City Charter, such as the City Planning Commission’s Zoning and Planning Report and
the Mayor’s Strategic Policy Statement. Rather, the City opts for a disjointed planning
process, where individual agencies make decisions without sufficient interagency
coordination and meaningful consultation from other stakeholders.

In recent years, the effect of the disjointed planning process has become increasingly
evident, particularly as it relates to the New York City public school system. In 2007, the
Manhattan Borough President released the first of a series of reports called “Crowded
Out,” which examined the overcrowding conditions in our neighborhood schools as
compared to the new developments being constructed. The reports identified
neighborhoods in need of immediate attention as well as neighborhoods at risk for
overcrowding. Between 2000 and 2007, the City permitted enough dwelling units to add
more than 2,400 elementary and intermediate students to Manhattan’s public schools,
while adding only 143 new school seats. Failure to adequately and proactively plan has
left many neighborhoods in a public school crisis with overcrowded schools and parents
unsure about their child’s educational future.


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                             2010 Strategic Policy Statement




Further, many agencies are undertaking planning efforts without disclosing to the public
the extent or the details of their plan. The Borough President’s “Land Rich, Pocket Poor”
report examined New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) plans to use revenue
from new developments to plug their funding gaps and maintain existing buildings. The
report revealed that NYCHA owns enough development rights to build 11 Empire State
Buildings. Despite this vast resource, the Authority does not have a systematic plan for
the use of these rights – and no formal process for community input and review of
development proposals when it does use them. To date NYCHA has been unwilling to
disclose the extent or the details of the development it anticipates. This makes it nearly
impossible to integrate NYCHA’s developments with any larger City goals or to prevent
the proposed developments from overwhelming local resources.

Continuing down this path will result in deteriorating environmental conditions in New
York’s neighborhoods. For this reason the Manhattan Borough President’s Office has
undertaken several initiatives aimed at encouraging comprehensive planning including
calling for the creation of a new Independent Planning Office to undertake citywide
comprehensive planning.

Goals:

    •    Advocate for a new Independent Planning Office, which would allow New York
         to retain its competitive edge by coordinating agency agendas and setting
         citywide development goals; and
    •    Continue to research and enact proactive planning initiatives that will assist the
         City in understanding the impacts of development, areas in need of critical focus,
         and ways to connect progressive ideals to practical planning.

Empowering Community Boards and Local Communities
The New York City Charter currently envisions a role for community planning.
Primarily the community is provided the opportunity to proactively plan through 197-a
plans. These plans enable community boards to evaluate and set policies for their
districts. Unfortunately, community boards seldom have the resources and time required
to produce the detailed analysis necessary to complete these plans. Further, merely
completing a 197-a plan does not ensure that the community’s priorities are taken
consideration, as there is no regulatory mechanism to ensure that the City uses it in its
planning process.

The Charter also provides community boards with a role in the Uniform Land Use
Review Procedure (ULURP). However, many boards lack the expertise to evaluate the
technical merits of proposals. While the 1989 Charter Revision authorized community
boards to hire staff to help conduct this work, it provided no dedicated staff funding, no
access to agency data to assess service delivery or perform proactive planning analyses,
and no additional resources to ensure high quality, substantive planning.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                           2010 Strategic Policy Statement


The Manhattan Borough President has taken steps to rectify this situation. In 2006,
Borough President Stringer established an Urban Planning Fellowship program with New
York City universities that placed graduate level urban planning students in all of
Manhattan’s community boards. With training and supervision from the Borough
President’s Office as well as their respective universities, the fellows worked on
community planning projects identified as priorities by their community boards. The
program has been a successful model for community engagement in proactive planning
and is currently being expanded citywide under the leadership of the Fund for the City of
New York.

Further, the Borough President has implemented a series of land use training seminars for
community board members and community leaders. These seminars provide a basic
guide to the history and mechanism of zoning, environmental review and the City’s land
use process, and are a first step towards equipping communities with the tools they need
to “speak the language” of planning and zoning. Since 2006, trainings have been
provided for every new community board member. In addition, the Borough President
has implemented a series of land use trainings for communities facing large development
proposals such as Riverside Center, NYU, and Fordham University.

These steps are only the beginning to fully empower communities in the planning
process. The City Charter needs to mandate an Urban Planner on staff at every
community board to undertake planning exercises and enhance existing board
responsibilities. Further, community based plans, such as 197-a plans need be
strengthened in the City Charter to ensure their enforcement.

Goals:

    •    Advocate for the strengthening of 197-a plans and for the City Charter to mandate
         a professional Urban Planner in each of New York City’s community boards; and
    •    Continue empowering community boards and communities to play a proactive
         role in the City’s Land Use approval process through the Manhattan Borough
         President’s education initiatives.

Balance Citywide and Community Goals for Major Developments
Many major developments are designed to advance borough or citywide needs. While
the larger importance of these developments is often recognized by local communities,
residents remain concerned about the potential negative impacts associated with
significant development on community infrastructure such as schools, traffic and mass
transit. Citywide needs must be integrated with community concerns to ensure balanced
developments.

The Manhattan Borough President’s Office has used its unique position in the land use
process to bring together stakeholders for both small and large-scale developments in
Manhattan, in an effort to balance the larger and the local perspectives. For example the
Borough President’s office has played a significant role in shaping:




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement


    •    The Columbia University Manhattanville Expansion by connecting the
         community’s concerns about the social impact of the projects with the potential
         benefits from the project through securing an affordable housing fund, a
         maintenance fund for a new public park, improvements to neighborhood public
         open spaces, dedicated space for local retail businesses, local hiring commitments
         and leveraging a protective rezoning of West Harlem from West 125th to 155th
         streets;
    •    The 97-100th Street rezoning by bringing community leaders, City officials, and
         the community board together to negotiate a community-based rezoning plan that
         protects the low-scale housing stock while directing development of larger
         buildings with affordable housing to major arteries; and
    •    Fordham University by identifying community concerns regarding design and
         environmental impacts and working with the applicant and the community to find
         mitigations and new design proposals.

Despite the office’s success at resolving developments and community concerns, some
applicants are reluctant to address outstanding issues early in the process. These
developments, often some of the most controversial, prefer to wait to correct issues until
the projects reach the City Council. As a result, these developments are often negotiated
at the last minute. These negotiations can result in oversights and often do not provide
elected representatives sufficient time for community consultation. As such, community
members often feel removed from the process.

This condition is a result of the Charter not providing adequate incentives for
consideration of borough president and community board recommendations in ULURP.
Although borough presidents have appointees on the City Planning Commission (CPC),
the Commission can approve an action without the vote of any non-Mayoral member. To
correct this regulatory condition, the Borough President has proposed reforming the
ULURP to require a supermajority of the CPC to approve an application that has been
disapproved by both the community board and borough president.

Goals:

    •    Advance the role of borough presidents in bridging community needs and large
         scale developments by advocating for the reform of the ULURP; and
    •    Ensure that proposed developments move forward in a way that meets citywide
         and community planning goals by continuing to bring together stakeholders in a
         collaborative dialogue.

Balance Growth and Preservation
As the City prepares to accommodate the addition of one million residents as predicted
by PlaNYC, we must identify the areas that are appropriate for growth as well as those
that require preservation.

The Borough President’s Office has worked to identify areas where growth should be
accommodated. These include areas near regional transportation hubs such as 15 Penn


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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                           2010 Strategic Policy Statement


Plaza in midtown and major arteries such as the avenues in the Lower East Side
Rezoning. In these developments, the Borough President’s Office worked to balance the
growth needs of the city with local and environmental concerns and priorities.

However, the need to grow must be balanced with the lack of sufficient infrastructure in
many neighborhoods. In fact, many neighborhoods remain viable and successful due to
their lower scale or historic stock. The Borough President’s Office has, therefore,
supported efforts to landmark historic neighborhoods by supporting landmark
applications for many areas such as the proposed West End Avenue Historic District and
the South Village Historic District. When landmarking is not the best tool for
preservation of a neighborhood, the Borough President’s Office has worked to identify
areas worthy of contextual zoning protections. One such example is the office’s proposal
to protect West Harlem with a contextual zoning from 125th Street to 155th Street, which
is currently being studied by the Department of City Planning.

Goal:

    •   Continue to balance the needs of preservation and the needs of growth in
        Manhattan.




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Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement



                                  TRANSPORTATION
New York City has exceptionally high demands on its public transportation system. For
those who live and work in Manhattan, an effective and accessible transportation system
is fundamental to keeping the economic engine of the region humming and to maintain
the City’s economic influence worldwide.

Promote Community Involvement in Transportation Decisions
As the transportation system in New York City continues to evolve, it remains vitally
important that community members have a seat at the table when important decisions are
made. The Manhattan Borough President’s Office has worked closely with local
community boards to urge the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct
traffic studies on dangerous intersections, modify sidewalk proposals to meet community
needs, and explore the addition of new bike lanes. The Borough President’s Office has
also played an integral role in hosting Community Advisory Councils for new bus rapid
transit (BRT) initiatives on First and Second Avenues.

Goals:

    •    Continue to advance a culture of cooperation between local transportation
         officials and community members;
    •    Assist the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) in mobilizing
         community members for a new Community Advisory Council on proposed
         changes to the 34th Street streetscape; and
    •    Assist the City in its ambitious efforts to bring out streets and transportation
         infrastructure into the 21st century.

Keep Our Buses and Subways Affordable
Borough President Stringer has been a tireless advocate for Metropolitan Transportation
Authority (MTA) affordability and access. In 2008, the Borough President campaigned
against the MTA’s plan to double the fare for Access-A-Ride, the paratransit service
that offers transportation for people with disabilities. When the MTA threatened to
eliminate student metrocards in 2010, the Borough President led a grassroots petition
drive and personally delivered 16,500 petitions opposing the cuts to members of the
MTA Board. Through his advocacy, the MTA has reconsidered bus cuts that would have
damaged critical access to the Turtle Bay community on Manhattan’s East Side.
Borough President Stringer has also spoken out on behalf of over 2,000 Washington
Heights residents demanding restorations to the M98 bus line.

Goals:

    •    Help the MTA fund its operations by pushing the State legislature to restore the
         Commuter Tax;
    •    Oppose service cuts and fare increases that will have a regressive effect on
         Manhattan’s most vulnerable populations; and



                                             29
Manhattan Borough President’s Office                            2010 Strategic Policy Statement


    •    Ensure that Access-A-Ride continues to effectively serve New York City’s para-
         transit riders.

Root Out Waste in the Second Avenue Subway Project
After decades of planning and two years of delays and cost overruns, Borough President
Stringer called for an immediate investigation by the MTA Inspector General into the
mismanagement of the Second Avenue subway construction project. Construction began
in April 2007 with a completion date of 2012 and an estimated cost of $3.8 billion. The
MTA has since announced three rounds of delays and cost adjustments bringing the most
recent projected completion date between 2016 and 2017, with a cost between $4.4 and
$4.8 billion. The Federal Transit Administration deemed the latest projections overly
optimistic and released its own estimates for a 2018 completion date and a final cost of
more than $5.7 billion.

The impact of the delays has been felt up and down the Second Avenue corridor as the
community struggles to maintain order and the chaos of construction takes hold. Since
April 2007, 18 businesses between East 91st and East 96th Streets have been forced to
close; only three have been able to reopen. Those that remain open struggle to attract
customers as foot traffic and tourism drop.

MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger indicated that he has begun a thorough
investigation and will release a report in late 2010. The Borough President has urged that
such a report go beyond analysis to concrete reform of the MTA and an honest timetable
for the beleaguered subway line.

Goals:

    •    Create a new set of best practices for the 21st century that will ensure that MTA
         capital construction projects are delivered on time and on budget; and
    •    Promote accountability measures that will prevent waste and mismanagement on
         future transportation mega-projects.

Ensure Bus Lanes Are Properly Utilized
Borough President Stringer conducted a study in the summer of 2009 that found
pervasive bus lane blockages on Manhattan’s Midtown East corridors. In several hours
of observation, researchers from the Borough President’s Office recorded 350 rush-hour
blockages of midtown bus lanes without a single ticket being issued. In the worst
intersection, 40 buses were blocked every hour. Bus lane blockages cause congestion,
create delays for commuters, and present a hazardous situation where buses must weave
in and out of traffic to avoid unnecessary obstructions.

Goals:

    •    Continue to lobby the State legislature to pass bills requiring bus mounted
         enforcement cameras; and



                                             30
Manhattan Borough President’s Office                          2010 Strategic Policy Statement


    •   Continue to work with the DOT to develop physical street barriers to improve the
        flow of bus traffic.




                                           31
                        SCOTT M. STRINGER
                   MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT

        Municipal Building:                   Northern Manhattan Office:
    One Centre Street, 19th Floor           163 West 125th Street, 5th Floor
        New York, NY 10007                        New York, NY 10027
Tel: 212.669.8300 Fax: 212.669.4306       Tel: 212.531.1609 Fax: 212.531.4615

                                www.mbpo.org

								
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