Maya Wiley

Democratic Mayoral Candidate

Lawyer, professor and former Counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio

Candidate's Standing On The Issues

Mental Health

  • Wiley would send medical and social work teams without police escort to respond to mental health crises emergency calls. (Source: Gotham Gazette)
  • Supports universal health coverage for all New Yorkers but there does not appear to be a detailed plan to address how she would fund or implement this.

Education

To date Wiley has given conspicuously broad answers to direct questions about the educational policies she would implement as mayor. But here is what she seems to have the desire to implement.

  • During her time in the de Blasio Administration she co-chaired the city’s School Diversity Advisory Group which recommended  eliminating middle school screens that look at things like grades or attendance and abolishing gifted programs to replace them with “non-selective magnet schools” based on student needs and interests. As an example, there could still be an arts focused school, but artistic talent would not be a criteria for entry. Rather it would be a lottery open to any student who shows interest. (Source: Politico)
  • Wiley will also change the admission process across the NY school system, with the goal of increasing racial diversity in schools. Details remain unclear but her intent seems to be to ensure that each school reflects the racial makeup of the city (regardless of local neighborhood demographics). (Source: NYT)
  • Wiley has been a consistent critic of the SHSAT exam, calling it discriminatory, but has not put forth an alternative path for admissions to the specialized high schools. (Place NYC Mayoral Forum)

Public Safety

  • Fundamentally rejects the NYPD and the historic role of police in society: “I’ve been Black all my life,” she said. “And policing is working exactly as it was designed to: It’s control and contain. And that is not public safety. So we have to put the public back in public safety. And that means a soup-to-nuts, top-to-bottom restructuring of what we call the New York City Police Department.” (Source: NY1)
  • Wiley would reduce the NYPD budget but now appears to be very careful to avoid using the defund slogan for fear of turning off moderates who might vote for her. “I don’t have a number for you, but that’s because it has been such a black box,” Ms. Wiley said. “There really is so little transparency about what and how the budget is spent.” (Source: NYT, NYT)
  • Sees gun violence, and most societal ills, as driven by persistent racial inequity. “We must recognize gun violence for what it is, a public health crisis built on the failure to address racial inequity.” Therefore, her solutions largely focus on funding other initiatives that would improve health, education and employment as the way to eventually drive down gun violence. “In order to address gun violence, we need a jobs plan.” She would lean on communities to help shape their own initiatives in these areas and does not envision the fight against gun violence as being a police-driven effort. (Source: Maya Wiley Gun Violence Prevention Plan)

Housing & Homelessness

  • “Homelessness is an eviction crisis, and eviction crisis is an affordability crisis and affordability crisis is also a jobs without justice crisis and that’s what systemic racism is.” (Source: Patch)
  • Wiley has a plan to end evictions, supported through massive cash infusions from the government as well as tax incentives for landlords to recover some of their lost revenue. (Source: Maya Wiley Plan to End Evictions)
  • Wiley supports the “housing first” approach, which argues that even people in the midst of addiction or mental illness should be placed in permanent housing rather than any sort of shelter or facility. She says, “Everybody is housing ready.” (Source: The Appeal)

Small Businesses

The core of Wiley’s plan to support small businesses is a $10B spending plan that she says will stimulate the economy, thereby growing jobs. In addition, Wiley

  • Supports employee rights to unionize
  • Wants to establish better career pathways for young people, including partnerships with higher education institutions and industry
  • Will prioritize growing opportunities for communities of color in particular given their history of lagging economically.

(Source: MayaWileyforMayor)

Fiscal Outlook

Wiley wants to stimulate the New York economy through spending projects. In order to fund them, she supports sweeping new taxes, particularly on the rich.  She also advocates for the city to take on debt to finance $10B in spending. As a basic principle, she wants to redistribute wealth from the rich to the poor. (This is in contrast with other candidates who advocate for growing the economic pie.) (Source: NY Daily News, MayaWileyforMayor.com )

Wiley supports several taxes that are being proposed in Albany.

  • Raise Income tax from 7.01% to 13.81% for people earning above $300k
  • Create a wealth tax on the appreciated value of assets of New York’s ~120 billionaires
  • Introduce a Stock Transfer Tax (Wall Street has said it will move operations to NJ if this law passes, nullifying any hypothetical revenue from the tax and causing job loss in NYC.)
  • Add a state level corporate tax to offset recent federal tax cuts on profitable businesses.
  • Tax pied-a-terre apartments and vacant commercial properties

Who is Maya Wiley?

Maya Wiley is a lawyer, professor, civil rights activist, and former MSNBC pundit. She has spent some time in political positions, including as counsel for Mayor de Blasio. Wiley is a black woman, something she considers central to her candidacy. She founded the Center for Social Inclusion, a group at Columbia devoted to ending racial inequities; was a senior adviser at George Soros’ Open Society Institute (now the Open Society Foundations), and held positions at the ACLU and NAACP. She was also an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, working in the civil division. Maya Wiley served as Counsel to Mayor de Blasio and her campaign is supported by many from his administration. One of her contributions to his administration was creating the “agents of the city”classification which was a mechanism to hide the mayor’s conversations with outside advisers from public disclosure. (Source: City & State)

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