Over the past three months, the various MYD issue committees have been working hard to develop the official MYD 2013 Policy Platform. Working with the policy team, the committees identified issues that were most important to their members and developed policy points around those issues.
I am very proud of the work the committees have done, and I am especially proud of this platform; it is both ambitious and progressive, and my hope is that it will encourage our members to take action on the issues that matter most to them.
On Tuesday, May 21st we will vote to approve the platform at our regular monthly meeting. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MYD 2013 POLICY PLATFORM
Below are policy positions laid out by the Manhattan Young Democrats’ Issue Oriented Committees.
Campaign Finance Reform – MYD supports the expansion of the New York City public financing model to the entire state. We also support decreasing contribution limits, which will further limit the unequal voice of large donors in elections. Specifically, we support the 2013 Fair Elections Act currently being considered in the state legislature. (S.04705/A.04980-B)
Minimum Wage – MYD supports an increase in the minimum wage to $9 an hour, and promotes indexing of future minimum wage increases to inflation. We oppose policies that discriminate based on age and experience thereby encouraging employers to pay only the minimum wage, such as the tax credit to businesses paying the minimum wage to 16-19 year old workers. Further, MYD supports paying employees of government contracts a living wage.
NYCHA Development – MYD supports a transparent review process with community involvement for NYCHA redevelopment, including the development of playgrounds and parking lots. This process should have the same standards as the private development review process, New York City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure. (S.4641/A.6964)
Community Schools – MYD believes that more resources should be focused on creating strong community schools, which provide students and families with both educational and health services, including comprehensive academic and extracurricular opportunities for students.
Pre-Kindergarten Education – MYD believes that all children should have greater access to pre-kindergarten schooling. To that end, we support the $25M full-day Pre-K initiative included in the Executive Budget.
Alternative Learning – MYD believes that schools, in partnerships with outside organizations, should offer students more authentic tasks, internships, career and technical training, and community service learning opportunities.
Teacher Evaluations – MYD believes that in evaluating teachers, principal observations and both parent and student surveys should be larger determinants than student test scores.
School Closings – MYD supports a one-year moratorium on school-closings in New York City, effective during the 2013-14 school year, while new systems are created for evaluating schools and more support is provided to struggling schools. We also support more formally incorporating community feedback into these decisions.
Environmental/Animal Protection Issues
Hydrofracking – MYD continues to support a moratorium on hydrofracking in New York State. (A.5424)
MYD also supports subjecting hazardous waste produced by fracking and other oil and gas drilling to the same rules for generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal that apply to all other industries. (A.1046 / S.674)
GMO Labeling – MYD supports efforts by the state legislature to require labeling of all genetically modified foods. (A.3525/S.3835)
Food and Health – MYD supports expanding fresh food retail in underserved areas and eliminating food deserts.
MYD supports requiring city agencies to purchase locally-grown or locally-produced foods, which will expand access to fresher and healthier food while keeping local dollars local.
Energy Independence/Infrastructure – MYD supports creating community energy generating facilities that allow residential customers to subscribe and subsequently offset electricity bills for renewable energy production.
MYD supports developing more aggressive strategies to reduce the impacts of combined sewer overflows, with a particular focus on expanding green infrastructure strategies.
Animal Welfare – MYD supports banning horse-drawn carriages in New York City.
Health and Safety
Gun Safety – MYD supports the NY SAFE Act and opposes all attempts to weaken the legislation. Also, recognizing that many of the guns used in New York come from other states, MYD supports a federal gun trafficking law.
GENDA – MYD supports passage of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) in the New York State legislature.
Homeless Youth – MYD supports increased state funding for youth homeless shelters, which house disproportionately high numbers of LGBT youth.
Blood Donations – MYD opposes the federal ban on blood donations by gay men.
Paid Sick Leave – MYD supports the Paid Sick Leave bill. (Intro. 97)
Stop and Frisk – MYD supports the Community Safety Act, which aims to reform abusive police practices, including Stop, Question and Frisk. (Intro. 799, 800, 801, 881)
Labor – MYD supports the rights of workers to organize without fear of retribution from employers.
Homelessness – MYD supports the use of federal housing resources, such as public housing and Section 8, to help homeless New Yorkers move from shelter to permanent housing, as recommended by the Coalition for the Homeless.
Affordable Housing – MYD supports a repeal of vacancy de-control, NYC Rent Board reform, and the repeal of the Urstadt Law, restoring full home rule powers over rent and eviction laws to the New York City Council and Mayor.
DREAM Act – MYD supports the New York Dream Act, which would provide educational and financial resources to undocumented youths. (A.2597/S.2378)
Madison Square Garden – MYD opposes the proposed renewal of a permit in perpetuity for Madison Square Garden (MSG). We support the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) and Manhattan Community Board 5’s position that MSG should receive a 10 year (or similarly limited) permit renewal while proposals for alternative plans for the site are reviewed.
Mobile Applications – MYD supports the use of mobile applications that allow potential yellow taxi passengers identify and secure pickups. We support the use of technology to increase transportation accessibility as long as those without access to mobile technology are not discriminated against.
Midtown East Rezoning – MYD opposes the current proposed rezoning of Manhattan’s Midtown East. The rezoning, as it is currently planned, would result in a significant loss of character for the neighborhood and a significant increase in density for an area already struggling to meet capacity needs on public transportation.
“Taxi of Tomorrow” – MYD opposes the current Nissan contract for the “Taxi of Tomorrow” for two reasons:
- It violates a section of the city’s administrative code which requires taxicab models to be hybrids. MYD supports transportation provisions which take into account environmental impacts and we support sustainable alternatives to our current taxi fleet to preserve the city for future generations.
- The vehicles are not handicap accessible. Looking to create an inclusionary network of transportation options for all, we support a tax fleet that is 100% accessible.
Congestion Pricing – MYD supports a congestion pricing system for vehicular traffic entering the Manhattan Central Business District. Similar to London, we support researching the creation of a congestion pricing zone and method for collecting a flat fee from all drivers who enter the zone during peak hours.
Commuter Tax – MYD supports the reinstatement of the Commuter Tax for commuters who work in the five boroughs.
Speed Cameras – MYD supports the use of speed cameras to identify drivers who violate speed limits and put the lives of non-motorists at risk.
Women’s Equality Agenda – MYD supports the Women’s Equality Agenda, Governor Cuomo’s 10 point plan, which aims to:
- Protect a Woman’s Freedom of Choice
- Achieve Pay Equity
- Stop Sexual Harassment in All Workplaces
- Allow for the Recovery of Attorneys’ Fees in Employment and Credit and Lending Cases
- Strengthen Human Trafficking Laws
- End Family Status Discrimination
- Stop Source-of-Income Discrimination
- Stop Housing Discrimination for Victims of Domestic Violence
- Stop Pregnancy Discrimination Once and For All
- Protect Victims of Domestic Violence by Strengthening Order-of-Protection Laws
Reproductive Rights – MYD supports the implementation of the NY City truth in crisis pregnancy center legislation, which will require facilities to disclose to clients whether or not they have a licensed medical provider on staff and whether or not they provide or refer for prenatal care, emergency contraception or abortion.