Kathryn Garcia

Democratic Mayoral Candidate

Kathryn Garcia is a lifelong New Yorker and a public servant. She has 14 years of government experience delivering services that New Yorkers rely on every day. Garcia is the Former Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation, Interim Chair and CEO of NYCHA, and COO of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, and implemented the nation’s largest composting program. Garcia has identified top three focus areas are defeating and recovering from the pandemic, providing basic city services well, and dealing with the impacts of climate change.

“For the past 14 years, I’ve gotten up before sunrise to make sure that by the time most New Yorkers wake up, their trash has been collected and they have clean water in their tap. I haven’t done it for the titles or the fanfare, but because I care fiercely and obsessively about improving the everyday lives of New Yorkers.”

“I am not sure that I would have gotten in if I didn’t think the city needed a crisis manager at this point who would be really focused on core services for city residents”

“I am very concerned about ensuring we stabilize our tax base. I don’t want to hurt us anymore in an attempt to drive revenue.”

“No one should be walking by someone open air drug drug dealing or open air drug use. We cannot have someone shooting up near a school. You have to enforce the law. But police have to work hard to build trust with communities.”

Candidate's Standing On The Issues

Mental Health

  • Garcia is a proponent of the “Housing First” philosophy, which says that mental health is tied to housing and providing permanent housing is a necessary first or early step to addressing an individual’s mental illness.
  • Garcia would reinstate the practice of including NYPD, Sanitation and the Department of Homeless Services when making outreach to street homeless. (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • Included in her housing plan is the creation of 10,000 units of supportive housing. Source: KGForNYC)

Education

  • Garcia would return power (including spending budgets) to principals. “Right now they feel like clerks. They feel like they just have to fill out paperwork and have gotten little support.” (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • Garcia focuses on the education-jobs connection. She would create a pipeline to city jobs for CUNY college students and guarantee jobs to graduates of trade schools. She would subsidize wages for “youth who face barriers to employment” and work with the private sector to offer 10,000 internships to high school students and would add work-based learning coordinators in all high schools. (Source: Gotham Gazette)
  • Garcia would take away screen schools for middle schools and move to a lottery admissions system like District 15 in Brooklyn. (Source: Inform NYC Forum) She would increase the availability of merit-based seats by adding new high schools across the city whose seats would be reserved for the top 10% of each middle school’s 8th graders based on grade point average, which would also solve the lack of diversity now seen in the specialized high schools. (Source: Place NYC Education Forum)
  • Garcia would reform school safety and discipline to end the school-to-prison pipeline. Stop arrests for behavior that can be addressed by school officials. (Source: KGForNYC)
  • Supports the expansion of high-performing charter schools. (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • Ensure every school has enriching specialty programs like art and music as well as opportunities to interact with the City of New York. (Source: Place NYC Education Forum)
  • Provide free childcare for 1-3-year-olds in families with less than a $70,000 dollar income. (Source: Place NYC Education Forum)
  • Provide practitioners (e.g., speech, OT) for special needs children on-site at public schools. (Source: Place NYC Education Forum)
  • As a matter of equity, PTA-raised funds should be shared with other public schools. (Source: Place NYC Education Forum)
  • Garcia sees schools as a community hub. She would place a special focus on the schools where more than 20% of students are homeless and would ensure schools are a source of stability and support for the whole family and community. (Source: KGForNYC)

Public Safety

  • Garcia opposes defunding the police, but acknowledges all city agencies will have to trim their budgets to create cost savings for the city. She also offers several concrete suggestions for increasing transparency with regard to good and bad actors. (Source: West Side Rag)
  • “NYPD has to be held to the same standard that other agencies are held to. They have to ensure public safety, and they have to do it with an approach that they are the guardians of all communities, regardless of color. In order to achieve that—which is huge culture change—we need to embed implicit bias training, not only as a module in the police academy, but in how we judge their sergeants and their captains on the management of their precincts. What is their relationship with the community? How have they forged stronger ties with the community? How are they holding their officers who aren’t respectful accountable? The code of conduct has to be strengthened, so that it’s clear that if you violate someone’s rights, or God forbid, actually cause harm to a New York City resident, that you have strict accountability for that.” (Source: West Side Rag)
  • Garcia would raise the minimum age for police to 25 from 21 years old and encourage Albany to pass a law requiring new police officers to reside in the community they serve. (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • On subway safety, Garcia would increase police presence, likely in partnership with mental health professionals. Homeless individuals would not be allowed to live in the subways and laws against fare-beating would be enforced, leading to some consequence, though not jail. (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • On bail reform, Garcia says we must follow the data and that it is too soon to tell if it needs additional tweaks. She supports the end of cash bail because even the poor are presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, if data shows there are rising incidents of those awaiting trial committing new crimes, she would revisit the reforms. (Source: Inform NYC Forum) Garcia supports enforcing existing laws such as those against open air drug use and drug dealing. “If you are shooting up heroin in public, you should be arrested.” (Source: Inform NYC Forum)

Housing & Homelessness

  • Increasing the supply of low-income, “deeply affordable” housing, and supportive housing is a top priority for Garcia.
  • Garcia would fast track development by accelerating approvals for developers through streamlining city processes such as environmental reviews and permit applications. (Source: Gotham Gazette)
  • Garcia advocates citywide upzoning, which alters existing zoning laws, allowing developers to build taller and more dense housing. Garcia would require developers to set aside a portion of their new buildings’ units for low-income residents. Many neighborhoods, both in Manhattan and in the outer boroughs, oppose upzoning as an attack on their local neighborhood’s character and way of life. Some neighborhoods worry upzoning will gentrify neighborhoods, eventually pricing out the locals who already live there. Garcia plans to focus on neighborhoods, “rich in transit, jobs and great schools,” to ensure they have their fair share of affordable housing. (Source: KGForNYC)
  • Garcia would alter zoning laws impacting existing housing stock to allow duplexes and triplexes to create more options for families. She would also push to legalize basement apartments, accessory dwelling units (e.g., turning a garage into an apartment), and single-room occupancy apartments for single adult households. (Source: KGForNYC)
  • She calls for 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing for the homeless and those most at risk as well as 50,000 units of “deeply affordable housing” which means it is reserved for those making less than half the area’s median income. This could include buying empty or underused private properties for conversion (Source: KGForNYC)
  • When pressed on how the city would pay for the high maintenance costs of converted large office buildings, she concedes that housing for the poor (“deeply affordable housing”) will require long-term subsidies but feels the savings the city will realize in the homeless services budget will offset the cost of keeping these vulnerable populations in permanent housing. (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • Opposes the use of hotels for the homeless both for the sake of the homeless housed in them and for the greater communities in which they exist but according to her campaign website would encourage SROs as a source of housing for single adult households. (Source: Inform NYC Forum) Garcia’s solution to low-income housing is simply to build more all over the city. We just need volume, because that we have not kept up with the demand for housing on most income levels. (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • Garcia would open 10 drop-in centers in strategically chosen neighborhoods in order to provide services for homeless New Yorkers as well as begin the process for them to enter the shelter. She would streamline the city’s reporting of city agencies for homeless services, economic development, and housing to one deputy mayor so that they can “be accountable to treating housing issues with one comprehensive approach. (Source: Gotham Gazette)
  • Believes RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration) is an effective tool for better management and maintenance of NYCHA (NYC Housing Authority) housing. (Source: City & State)

Small Businesses

  • “I will do a crowdsourcing platform where the city will put in seed money and ask the private sector to come to the table so that we can do micro-loans to 5,000 small businesses that employ less than 20 people.” (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • Garcia will increase access to credit and non-dilutive capital for the City’s vital and at-risk enterprises at amounts less than $100K. (Source: KGForNYC)
  • Streamline all laws and regulations governing restaurants and nightlife establishments, and streamline all permit and licensing processes for businesses. New business will fill out only one form and will hear back within one month. (Source: KGForNYC)
  • The Garcia administration will empower local restaurants, stores, artists, and theaters to take over hundreds of thousands of square feet of public space in parks and plazas to add seating, grow sales, and host shows and exhibitions. (Source: City Limits)
  • Provide tax incentives to landlords to forgive rents and renegotiate leases. (Source: KGForNYC)

Fiscal Outlook

  • Garcia opposes raising taxes out of recognition that the tax base has choices and she wants them to stay in NYC rather than be lured by lower tax states. Sanitation, she notes, recorded a 20% drop in residential garbage over the summer, indicating people have already left and need to be lured back for good. (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • Believes low-interest rates justify borrowing now to make long-term capital investments in housing. (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • Garcia would use her experience to negotiate with labor unions, cut the fat from operating budgets, and reduce the number of city offices tasked with overlapping and duplicative roles that create inefficiencies. She notes, “I’ve done that before. I cut 10% out of the operating budget without doing a layoff.” Negotiations would also ensure any raises would be tied to increased productivity to offset spending. (Source: Inform NYC Forum, City & State)
  • Garcia sees bloated contracts and inefficient contractors as an area she can improve. “I’ve always run a very clean shop and held literally billions of dollars in contracts. And there has never been any question that they weren’t given to people who were the most qualified to receive them.” (Source: Inform NYC Forum)
  • Garcia pitches herself as an environmentally conscientious candidate with a particular focus on addressing climate change. She would make infrastructure investments on related issues including adding more greenways that could help absorb stormwater, adding 250 miles of protected bike lanes, and investing heavily in mass transit including ferries. In addition, she would bring back the collection of compostables, something she says pays for itself by reducing the $500M the city spends annually to burn garbage. (Source: Inform NYC Forum)

About Kathryn Garcia

Kathryn Garcia’s pitch to voters is that she has a vision for New York City’s future but, unlike other candidates, also has the experience and track record that proves she will deliver quality services to New Yorkers day in and day out. Garcia stands out from other candidates for the specificity of her plans, particularly regarding the interplay of various agencies within city government.

Her positions land her as liberal but further to the center than many of the far-left candidates. Garcia stands out from other candidates for the specificity to her plans, particularly regarding the interplay of various pieces of city government.

“Kathryn Garcia is a lifelong New Yorker and former Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation where she led the world’s largest municipal waste management, recycling, street cleaning, and snow response agency. A former interim chair and CEO of NYCHA, and COO of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Kathryn has overseen some of the most ambitious projects and reforms in New York. Kathryn is running for mayor of New York City to bring the experience and leadership necessary to deliver strong services that improve the everyday lives of New Yorkers and build a more sustainable, equitable city for our future.” (Source: KGforNYC.com)

March 2, 2021

Meet Kathryn Garcia, Candidate For NYC Mayor.

February 26, 2021

NYC mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia rolls out plan to cut red tape for small biz permits

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