Andrew Yang

Democratic Mayoral Candidate

Lawyer, entrepreneur and founder of Venture for America, a non-profit focused on creating jobs in cities affected by great recession. His priorities are universal basic income, safe streets, and quality of life. He has stated his top priorities are establishing a universal basic income program and a People’s Bank.

“You start by restoring quality-of-life issues that New Yorkers have felt uncertain about during this past year. That begins with reopening schools.”

“The single biggest thing we can do is get our city up and running again, so folks can feel a degree of security everywhere they go.”

“I believe a basic income program and a public bank are essential ingredients for New York and other cities to recover quickly and equitably.”

Candidate's Standing On The Issues

Mental Health

  • Expand the number of social workers, mental health providers, and School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) in New York City schools. (Source: YangForNYC)
  • Expand non-police responses to those in distress by expanding HOME-STAT and empowering neighborhood networks of rapid response providers. (Source: YangForNYC)
  • On the topic of safe and equitable healthcare, Yang seeks to amend the City Charter. He would make it a central mission of all agencies but especially the DOHMH to address the racial health gap. (Source: Gotham Gazette)

Education

  • Yang is calling for at least two specialized high schools in each borough and an admissions process that combines students’ SHSAT performance with other criteria like grades, interviews and essays, according to his campaign website. (Place NYC Mayoral Forum)
  • On the possibility of cancelling tests and screens for schools he said, “I believe we’ve been failing so many of New York’s school children for years and decades even generations but if you get rid of these tests and screens, it will make you feel better but it does not undo the failure in a meaningful way. All it does is it removes a clear marker that shows you that you’ve been failing people of color and children who are not properly prepared.” (Source: Politico)
  • Subsidize broadband and other tech solutions for easy online-learning. (YangForNYC)
  • Expand the New York Teaching Fellows program, which allows college graduates and adults with expertise in various fields to work as teachers without previously earning a teaching certificate. (YangForNYC.com, NYCTeachingFellows.org)
  • Scale-up 3-K for families with children as young as 3 years old as soon as the budget allows. Yang sees this as a tool for economic growth, particularly for lower income families, as it allows caregivers to re-enter the workforce. (YangForNYC)
  • Yang’s website indicates he will be releasing a more detailed plan for K-12 as well as CUNY education.

Public Safety

  • Yang walks a fine line on his approach to the NYPD. He blames the NYPD for not being more effective in combating the rise in crime and argues that large swaths of New York City residents (particularly Black, Brown and LGBT New Yorkers) do not trust the NYPD and the criminal justice system. At the same time, he believes the NYPD is generally a force for good and that the NYPD must be equipped with the resources and manpower it needs to improve safety for all New Yorkers. Yang also has several proposals for reforming the NYPD and bringing greater transparency and accountability when there is misconduct.
  • Require the NYPD to have its commissioner come from outside the NYPD. “I think having a commissioner independent from the culture of the police department would give that commissioner a better read on how to help the police department both do its job effectively and also help reform the department to avoid some of the abuses we’ve seen.” (Source: NY1)
  • Require NYPD officers to reside in NYC. “We should absolutely expect our officers to live in the City. If we want police to engage in neighborhood policing, they should live in our neighborhoods. If we want them to build trust with our communities, they should be a part of them.” (Source: Committee on Public Safety Testimony)
  • Supports the use of “violence interrupters” as an alternative to NYPD in some instances to “defuse potentially violent situations.” (Source: YangforNYC.org)
  • Hold police accountable for their infringement on rights, as well as the lack of action during the rise of crime in the city this past year. (Brooklyn Democrats Mayoral Debate)
  • Increase investments on technology and data to evaluate “what is working” at the NYPD. (YangforNYC.org)

Housing & Homelessness

  • “We should be repurposing under-utilized hotel properties right now. In some cases, the city is actually paying a nightly rate, which doesn’t make sense. We should be repurposing some of those properties as affordable housing as quickly as possible,” (Source: Newsweek, Brooklyn Democrats Mayoral Debate)
  • Yang would reform the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary housing policy so it produces more very low-income units by providing additional incentives to developers, such as a greater density bonus. In other words, whereas currently developers can receive incentives from the city (such as being allowed to build taller buildings) by including affordable housing units that middle class tenants can afford, Yang would alter the policy to require units to be restricted to very low income individuals who are currently priced out of what is called affordable housing. (Source: Politico)
  • Yang would allocate funds for Community Land Trusts and prioritize them for acquisition opportunities and the allocation of vacant public lots. (CLTs are non-profit entities that allow for a community to have ownership in an affordable housing development.) (Source: YangForNYC)
  • Allow co-living and SRO living spaces. (YangForNYC)
  • Although NYCHA housing is not required to follow a new NY law requiring greener building standards in the coming decades, Yang would prioritize funding capital projects that convert the energy supply in NYCHA housing to be more environmentally friendly and believes in the long run it would yield savings on energy expenses. (Source: YangForNYC)
  • Yang would increase the number of NYCHA residents on the city’s oversight board, making them the majority. He would install non-profits to administer Tenant Participation Activity funds for the ⅓ of NYCHA developments where there is no functional resident council (Source: YangforNYC.com)
  • Yang’s website indicates more detailed policies on homelessness, improving NYCHA housing, affordable housing, and increasing community involvement in development will be forthcoming.

Small Businesses

  • Generally reduce red tape facing new and existing businesses to make it less expensive and less time consuming for them to open and stay in business. He would end enforcement of curable violations for small businesses and renew licenses and permits without fee or application. (Source: YangforNYC.com)
  • Install a czar of small business to be the address for assistance and to coordination across several existing offices including the Department of Consumer Affairs, Small Business Services, and Office of MWBE. The czar would be a source of support to small business and would also solicit input on how to make NYC as friendly as possible to entrepreneurs. (Source: YangforNYC.com)
  • Pass the Small Businesses Survival Act, which gives businesses a right to a 10 year renewal lease in order to prevent landlords from dramatically raising the rent on successful small businesses. The majority of City Council currently supports this legislation. (Source: YangforNYC.com)
  • Yang wants to follow San Francisco’s lead by encouraging the state to pass a Vacancy Tax that would penalize commercial landlords for having long term vacancies. (Source: YangforNYC.com)
  • Yang supports the creation of a public bank (The People’s Bank of New York) that would offer free and low interest loans to struggling small businesses that meet certain criteria. This bank would also allow the unbanked (e.g. undocumented immigrants) to open accounts. (Source: YangforNYC.com) It is not clear what these criteria are nor how this model would break even without ongoing allocations of new capital from the government.
  • Yang would extend the cap on total fees food delivery apps can charge to ensure restaurants retain a greater share of the bill customers pay. (YangforNYC.com)

Fiscal Outlook

  • Yang is outspoken on his desire to implement a Basic Income program in NYC. He would spend $1 Billion annually to give the 500,0000 poorest New Yorkers cash payments averaging $2,000-$5,000 each year. Undocumented immigrants and those with a criminal record would qualify. There does not seem to be any residency requirement, meaning anybody who relocates to New York and is extremely poor would also immediately qualify for the cash payment. Yang hopes to expand the program as more funding becomes available. (Source: Gotham Gazette)
  • Yang has no formally announced opinion on whether he supports raising taxes but recently addressed the Partnership for New York City and said there that he opposes raising income taxes, even on the wealthiest New Yorkers. (Source: NY Daily News)
  • According to Yang’s spokesman, he will, “fight to close outrageous loopholes for big corporations like Madison Square Garden and will support a new tax on the thousands of luxury condos owned by non-New York residents.” (Source: NY Daily News)
  • Focus on bringing back work in offices to recover NYC’s place-based economy. (Source: Brooklyn Democrats Mayoral Debate
  • Focus on renewing the arts, restaurants and nightlife as attractions that bring people to live in and visit NYC. (Source: YangForNYC.com)

About Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang is a lawyer and entrepreneur. He founded Venture for America, a non-profit organization focused on creating jobs in cities affected by the great recession. Yang has never held political office nor worked in government. Among his core goals are to “launch the largest basic income program in history.” This exemplifies his interest in pursuing various unorthodox programs that have been piloted in other cities and countries.

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From Woodlawn to Coney Island, every neighborhood in New York City is part of a Council District. There are 51 of these Districts, each represented by an elected Council Member.

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