NYC Council District 49 - North Shore of Staten Island - Democratic Primary 6/22/21
Mike is the son of public school teachers, a product of public schools, married to a public school teacher, with children attending public school, and serves on the Community Education Council for District 31 Staten Island. Public education is in his blood and he will fight every day to improve our childrens' educations and support and value our educators.
As we all know, a quality education is the cornerstone to success. Without education, our children start off life at a disadvantage. In the current pandemic environment, the education system is upside down. But when we enter a post-COVID time, we'll need to address the obvious inequities in our education system . We'll begin to resolve them with smart, innovative and strategic initiatives informed by experts in education, not politicians. And, Mike will encourage north shore schools to return to a community-centric model, with a focus on career and technical education (CTE) and trades training programs.
Mike is a public transportation commuter and a driver, too. He understands the challenges faced by Staten Islanders to get to and from work, and to run basic errands. And he has some ideas on how to make transportation better in our borough.
A lack of public transportation, and an inadequate road system, makes for the longest commutes in the nation and intolerable travel within our borough. Plans for improvements take decades to be implemented, if at all. Why is that? Mike believes it's because our local Transportation officials need "permission" from Manhattan anytime they want to make improvements to our roads, and the MTA is run by a Manhattan-centric authority beholden to none. This doesn't work and we can do better.
Additionally, Mike is committed to expanding all modes of transportation for north shore residents, in particular ones with low or no emissions. All forms of transportation must be considered that assist with speeding up our commutes, and our on-island travel.
Mike wanted to open a small business, but the startup cost and the costs of doing business in New York City were prohibitive. So he didn't. Imagine all those other Staten Islanders who faced the same obstacles too. Why should creativity be stifled by a lack of access to capital? The City should do more to encourage creativity, initiative and talent in our small business sector, to keep commercial corridors alive, and taxes flowing into the City's coffers.
Mike would like to see the City institute innovative ideas: grants, not loans, to incentivize startup businesses; local businesses suffering from closures due to COVID should receive refunds on the fees paid to the City and State; and businesses should receive another round of Federally-funded Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds to support their employees, and mitigate for losses due to rolling COVID-related closures.
Mike has served as a local leader of a City agency, and knows the value of on-the ground, neighborhood specific decision making. Knowing the facts, the needs of the local residents, and being able to render a decision in a timely fashion, should be the cornerstone of quality government administration.
There are some that would like to see Staten Island secede. Do the studies, present the facts, and let Staten Islanders decide. But for now, Mike would like to see Staten Island SUCCEED. And the key to success is the ability for our local leadership to make decisions. We know best what works here on the north shore, not folks in other boroughs. Let's make sure City Hall knows that we want to control our decision making and have the resources applied effectively and efficiently to constituent issues.
Mike knows that climate change is real and an existential threat to humanity. He is a strong supporter of the environment and sustainability measures with practical, every day solutions to greening our borough. Mike supports efforts to improve our environment, without passing on the burdens of cost and implementation on homeowners and small businesses. We should be providing training and re-training for jobs in green careers. Staten Island can lead the way in being clean and green without being hostile to its residents and the backbone of our economy.
New York City will continue to lead the way in clean and green approaches to energy, infrastructure and development. We should begin in our schools to provide career and technical education (CTE) that provides our youth a viable path to good paying jobs in our borough and throughout the region.
Mike worked for NYC Parks for almost 10 years, and a non-profit recreation provider for 5 years. He knows how valuable safe, clean and green open space is to individuals and families. And he has a few ideas how to provide better access and opportunity on the North Shore.
Mike will work to encourage, support and create impactful non-profits to provide accessible recreation and programming for all age groups, all levels of ability, in all corners of the north shore. And, he'll work to advocate for more funding to support NYC Parks' successful recreation centers and programming.
Mike believes one of the core roles of government is to protect the residents of New York, and the role of the NYC Council is to advocate for and speak on behalf of those who are underserved, under-represented, and are voiceless in our society. Animals are part of our society and don’t have a voice to advocate with on their behalf. As such, it must be a priority of the NYC Council to do so.
Mike believes that we can judge a society by how we treat animals. Often times, we treat animals as poorly as we treat other human beings, and neither treatment is just or acceptable. He is a strong, outspoken advocate for animals, and will stand shoulder to shoulder with VFAR and other animal advocacy organizations, to make sure our society treats all animals with dignity and respect.
When Mike served at Staten Island Chief of Staff for NYC Parks, it was glaringly obvious to him that no one at the agency wanted to tackle the issues of TNR in Staten Island. As Council Member, he pledges to support the funding of TNR programs in the north shore and across the borough.
Mike's has also made a commitment to:
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