Eric Adams

Democratic Mayoral Candidate

Eric Adams is the current Borough President of Brooklyn, New York City since 2014. He was reelected in November 2017. Adams served as an officer in the New York City Transit Police and then the New York City Police Department for over two decades, retiring at the rank of captain.

Eric Adams has identified quality of life/public safety & justice, education, and addressing inefficiencies across city agencies as the key issues he will tackle as Mayor.

“If you don’t educate, you will incarcerate.”

“Public safety, the prerequisite to prosperity, has always been my strongest priority.”

“We could have safety and justice and that’s what I’m going to have as the mayor of the city.”

“Will create a new initiative to help small business owners who were ticketed during COVID, and he would also rescind all those tickets.”

“New York City has always been a hub for innovation, new ideas, and progressive thinking. There is no reason New York City shouldn’t be a leader in wind power. We have the resources and we can foster the talent — we just have not had the leadership to get it done”

Candidate's Standing On The Issues

Mental Health

  • Adams does NOT support removing police from the process of responding to and solving mental health crises — he does not want to make dangerous encounters more dangerous. “I would never put a psychiatrist [or] an EMT in an environment that could jeopardize their safety or harm them in any way, or use the wrong tools to protect the person who is going through that crisis.” (Source: From Mayoral Mental Health Town Hall)
  • Adams wants to ensure adequate training for all EMS employees and supports pay increases. He also supports the Correct Crisis Intervention Today (CCIT) proposal to test non-police response mechanisms, principally through a pilot program that would have an EMT and a “peer de-escalator” respond to crisis calls. (Source: From Mayoral Mental Health Town Hall)
  • Adams notes that a large portion of the chronically homeless lack adequate mental health services and that one-day assessment at mental health wards in hospitals are insufficient. He would expand funding for Fountain House, a community-based program that serves those with mental illness, and would focus on getting the mentally ill into permanent housing. (Source: Adams 100+ Steps, FountainHouse.org)

Education

  • Mr. Adams is clear that one of his main priorities as mayor will be to address our failing schools and the children who have been directly impacted, not on the G&T programs or screened schools. He says we must address the educational failures because they are creating a school-to-prison pipeline. Adams would mandate universal dyslexia screening, noting that 30% of prisoners at Rikers Island are dyslexic. He would push for better screening for learning disabilities and mental health issues as well. (Source: Inform NYC Candidate Forum, Adams 100+ Steps)
  • Mr. Adams supports expanding the number of specialized high schools and having them throughout the five boroughs. (Source: Place NYC Mayoral Forum, The City)
  • He would offer year-round schooling rather than having summer school only for remediation. It is not clear if summer instruction would be mandatory or optional. (Source: Adams 100+ Steps)
  • He would increase the number of programs offering trade and technical training. (Source: Adams 100+ Steps)
  • “We need to scale up success and look at those district schools, charter schools, religious schools that are successful and we need to duplicate what they’re doing. We far too often, instead of scaling up success, we isolate system success and we spend a $30 billion budget basically assuring those historic contracts that people have had in the department of education, even though they are producing an inferior product. That is not how I’m going to run the DOE. We are going to scale up success, look at best practices and continue to allow parents to have a choice on where they want to send their children.” (Source: InformNYC Candidate Forum)

Public Safety

  • “Yes, we need to have stronger laws, particularly around gun violence. And yes, people who commit a predatory crime should be incarcerated for doing so, but we can’t continue to produce criminals because we’re not giving them the education they deserve and giving them an opportunity….if you don’t educate, you will incarcerate.” (Source: InformNYC Candidate Forum)
  • “I know that my police department, they’re going to enforce quality of life rules, and we’re going to make sure we don’t give the appearance of disorder. We’re watching the increase of graffiti. We’re watching our streets become dirtier. We’re watching that people no longer have a regard for this or their neighbors. That is not the city I’m going to live in where we have a total disregard for quality of life.” (Source: InformNYC Candidate Forum)
  • Adams supports additional changes to account for risks to public safety — “We must give [bail] discretion to judges; you can’t have a person that committed burglary or robbery go in, no bail, come out, do it again and still no bail. That’s just an attack on public safety. I take a lot of hits from people sometimes, but the prerequisite to our prosperity is public safety. We must be safe as a city or we are not going to prosper as a city.” (Source: Bloomberg)
  • Adams is on the record from the past (1995) as favoring “broken windows policing,” in which disorder and quality of life crimes are addressed in order to prevent additional crimes and more recently has said he would not tolerate behavior (such as dumping water on police) that shows blatant disregard for police authority. “No resident believes someone urinating on the corner, playing obnoxiously loud music or dropping a piece of trash is a good thing; that is not the city any of us want to return to. Still, we can all agree that the punishment must fit the offense.” (Source: NY Daily News, Bklyner)
  • Adams was part of the NYPD team that developed CompStat, a data system used to track crime and effectively deploy officers in real time. (Source: Brooklyn-USA.org) He says he would like to use that same data heavy approach to evaluating the effectiveness of other city agencies and hold agencies responsible for their performance.
  • “The city has denied every day, new Yorkers who are poor, the opportunities that this city has to offer. And now we’re looking at the results of that, and that’s the increase of crime. If we’re not willing to have tough conversations, about stopping systemic poverty and the lack of access to what our tax dollars are going to. We’re going to always be back here talking about the increasing crime.” (Source: InformNYC Candidate Forum)
  • “We’re not going to have a city where urination and defecation is legal. We’re not going to have open encampments on our streets. We’re going to have a city that is a safe, clean place where we can raise our children and families.” (Source: InformNYC Candidate Forum)
  • “I’m not part of those that say let’s just cut a billion dollars from the police department. No, but let’s make our police department function correctly as all of the agencies in the city must do.” (Source: InformNYC Candidate Forum)

Housing & Homelessness

  • “Remember when you look at the individual who stabbed four people on our transportation system, he was dealing with mental health illnesses and his family could not get the city to address his mental health illnesses. And so we have an obligation as a society not to allow people to slip through the cracks.” (Source: InformNYC Candidate Forum)
  • Adams strongly supports building new affordable and deeply affordable housing throughout the five boroughs, particularly in wealthy neighborhoods. He would address zoning and other regulations to make it easier to convert office stock and underutilized hotels into affordable housing. (Source: Adams 100+ Steps)
  • “We are in a homelessness crisis, and the driving factor is lack of affordable housing.” To that end, Adams proposes the city provide subsidies to help homeless people move into vacant affordable units, suggesting that would be a cost savings over placing working homeless in the shelter system. (Source: NY Daily News)
  • Supports more funding to raise the age limit for foster care to prevent children who age out from various negative outcomes, including homelessness. “Every year, we know 6,700 people age out of foster care.” The likelihood they will then become “victims of crime, participate in crime or be affected by homelessness and/or mental health illness” is high. (Inform NYC Candidate Forum)
  • Would end any preference for local residents when assigning affordable housing units. Currently most projects give preference for 50% of the units to go to people already in the district. (Source: Gotham Gazette)

Small Businesses

  • Adams would give businesses that pay the Commercial Rent Tax a tax break for two years if they demonstrate hardship and commit to certain employment levels (Source: Adams 100+ Steps)
  • Suggests “tax-free Tuesdays” as a means to encourage people to shop at stores in person by waiving sales tax. (Source: Adams 100+ Steps)
  • Promises to improve bureaucratic hurdles for small business and eliminate all filing and registration fees. Businesses with violations will have time to correct them to avoid a fine. (Source: Adams 100+ Steps)
  • Will prioritize city contracts for those businesses that commit to hiring city residents (must represent at least 75% of their workforce) and those that are women and/or minority owned. (Source: Adams 100+ Steps)

Fiscal Outlook

  • Efficiency is key to Adams’ approach, as he looks to roll back or simplify rules, regulations, and taxes. For small businesses, he proposes tax relief, simplifying the permitting process, and reducing fees. Hotels would get a property tax debt holiday, and developers could see looser zoning restrictions and regulations. Adams also plans a city hiring freeze, which he says would save $1.5 billion. (Source: Bloomberg)
  • Adams infamously announced that gentrifiers should “go back to Iowa,” but on the heels of COVID acknowledges that New York needs to retain its high-income individuals who may be thinking of leaving or may have already relocated. He notes that 65,000 taxpayers pay 51% of the taxes. (Source: Inform NYC Candidate Forum)
  • Adams supports an additional city income tax he calls a “recovery tax” on those making $5 million or more. “They’re saying: Eric, the city is becoming unsafe, unclean, unkempt, there’s no reason to stay here anymore. That is what I hear the most, and so I’m saying to them, ‘Give us two to three years of an income tax increase for those making $5 million or more annually, not those who are below that $5 million. I’m going after the $5 million or more annually, not permanently, just to get us over this hump.’” (Source: Inform NYC Candidate Forum)
  • Would review all city contracts above $10M to ensure they are not renewed unless they are deemed effective and efficient. (Source: Adams 100+ Steps)
  • Would offer free childcare for ages 0-3 to families who cannot afford it to enable those adults to join or stay in the workforce. (Source: Adams 100+ Steps)

About Eric Adams

Eric Adams is a lifelong New Yorker who was one of six children raised by his single mom in Queens. Adams served in the NYPD, building CompStat, and called for reform from within.  He retired after 22 years and entered politics, serving first in the New York State Senate and for the past 8 years as Brooklyn Borough President.

Adams considers himself a pragmatic moderate but is hard to label. He was endorsed by Louis Farrakhan in the early 90s, was a registered Republican in the late 90s for four years before switching parties, and now views most city problems through the lens of systemic inequalities and the strain they put on black and brown communities.  His candidacy is most notable for his commitment to the principle that public safety is a prerequisite to New York’s prosperity. He is also focused on rooting out inefficiency in city agencies. He points to failing agencies as the underlying cause of many of society’s ills and wants to bring a data-driven approach to improving agency performance. In most areas of policy, Adams places a particular emphasis on addressing the needs of Black and Brown communities.

March 8, 2021

Meet Eric Adams, Candidate For NYC Mayor.

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