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A people first vision for District 30.

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Meet juan

 

Juan is a lifelong queens resident with a heart and soul for public service.

As a first-generation American and New Yorker, the son of a Colombian father and Honduran-Cuban mother, Juan understands the hardships of working-class families in this city. Now, he’s running for City Council to improve their quality of life, the way his parents and community did for him, by reforming the City’s public education system, advocacy for senior citizens, and housing policies.

Juan’s journey to public service started when the system failed him and his family. When Juan was 17, his mother, Lesly, was unjustly denied her residency and nearly deported. A few years later, Juan’s grandmother, aunt, and young cousin faced persecution from gang violence in Honduras. Rather than lose hope, Juan resolved to channel the fear and trauma of almost losing his mother to deportation and his family to gang violence into a career of public service. That’s why Juan is committed to protecting other families and vulnerable communities so that no one has to face the fear he endured.

 

Juan is no stranger to City Council, having worked as the Office Manager for City Councilman Brad Lander for 2 years. Juan spent the next two years learning about the policy making process, how city government functions, and how to serve constituents. Juan then worked at the International Rescue Committee, providing at-risk communities the services his family had been denied.

one of juan's proudest achievements is helping institute one of the most successful public education programs in nyc's history.

As a consultant at the NYC Department of Education, Juan supported the expansion of universal pre-K and the historic 3-K for All program, working to ensure that New York City’s
youngest learners had access to free high-quality education.

 

In particular, Juan focused on the expansion of pre-K Dual Language programs to promote bilingualism throughout the city and serve children and families who speak languages besides English at home. That’s because education, especially early childhood education, is vital for setting up children for success and addressing socioeconomic inequality at its roots.

From the conference rooms of City Hall to the streets of Maspeth, Juan has dedicated himself to connecting people with the help and services they need. Right now, Juan works at a legal service nonprofit to guarantee that New Yorkers, such as seniors, have access to the legal representation they deserve for every issue that matters, from housing, to employment, to disability, or benefits.

Juan earned his B.A. in Political Science from Fordham University, and his master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Public Policy Analysis from NYU. Before that, Juan graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School in Briarwood.

Juan is the first Latino to run for this Council District. In his spare time Juan loves dancing (salsa, merengue, and bachata), playing pool with friends, and is a die-hard supporter of Chelsea F.C.

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policies

Affordable Housing

Every New Yorker should have the right to a safe, stable, and affordable place to live. For decades elected officials in our district have prioritized corporate profit instead of what is best for our communities. With low-income and middle-income New Yorkers being impacted by the housing crisis, we are at a moment where we have to act.

  • First and foremost, the next City Council needs to start by getting input from communities before drafting its housing plan. Not including important community leaders in these decisions is a mistake

 

  • City assets must prioritize new housing for seniors and low and middle income families

 

  • We need to find creative solutions to creating more affordable housing in our district. We have a good number of single family units and putting huge apartment complexes miles away from public transit doesn’t make sense, but we should be looking to modestly increase density near transportation centers (subways, buses, highways). We also need to be aware of housing available for our seniors. Adding more multi unit buildings near single family homes is a great way to keep seniors connected to the community they’ve been a part of while also being closer to their families.

  • We should allow for the safe construction and conversion of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs for short, near transit.
 While the 30th District has many older ADUs, unfortunately it’s been illegal to build or create new ones for decades, which has led to increased housing costs for those fighting for a limited supply of housing. They’re relatively inexpensive to create so they can be rented out at affordable rents without subsidies, they can provide additional income to homeowners struggling with growing property tax bills, and producing them would create construction jobs without the type of disruptive construction that affects neighbors’ quality of life.

  • Studies show that 44% of the affordable units are projected to be slashed by 2022. By changing the rules around creating ADUs, the Regional Plan Association estimates that over 100,000 new legal and safe homes could be created in New York City and our community could be at the forefront of this movement.

  • Any new projects on NYCHA land must be 100% permanently affordable

 

  • We need to push Congress to change the way AMI is calculated to better reflect our city. By some measures, the AMI that New York City uses is 20 percent higher than actual median incomes in the city. Forcing NYC to include Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland counties in its AMI calculation has led to inflated calculations

 

  • With austerity on the rise, we need to fight back. An ultra wealth tax and a pied-a-terre tax would help level the playing field between the top 1% and bottom 20% of our city

 

  • Push the NYS Assembly and Senate to eliminate wasteful tax incentives like 421a and invest the funds it would save NYS into our communities. There are better, clearer ways to get to where we need to be

  • The only permanent solution to homelessness is the Housing First model, which prioritizes providing permanent housing security.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

It’s no secret that our district severely lacks transportation options. With only access to the M line and limited bus routes in parts of the district, we’re making it difficult for our communities to not only work together, but for our district to connect to surrounding communities. Public transportation is at the heart of NYC and should be invested in for the betterment of future generations.

  • As with housing, the next City Council needs to begin with getting input from communities themselves when coming up with public transportation solutions. We need to be included or we’ll be stuck with whatever is left after Manhattan gets priority

  • We need to greatly expand bus routes and lanes in our district. There entire sections of Middle Village, Glendale, and Maspeth without access to bus routes that run through the heart of those neighborhoods. We also need to find additional ways to increase the speed and reliability of the buses we do have access to

  • To continue to assist with New Yorkers struggling economically, we should expand the program offering half priced metrocards to include a secondary level offering free metrocards to those most in need as well as seniors

  • Access-A-Ride is plagued by long wait times, high unreliability, poor communications with its customers, and many missed appointments. The thousands of New Yorkers that depend on Access-A-Ride service deserve quick and reliable transportation options to connect them with their jobs, homes, schools, and other resources

  • Currently, only 24% of NYC subway stations are ADA compliant. We need to push the MTA to make the repairs and improvements needed to drastically improve that percentage and remove this additional barrier to public transit for communities

EDUCATION

NYC schools have the monumental task of educating one of the largest and most diverse student populations in the country. We should be doing everything we can to invest in the future of our city by investing in our teachers and students. Improvements in public education have shown to result in huge impacts on income inequality and local economies. Schools should be community centers which can provide services & programming to entire communities.

  • The way we fund our schools needs to be drastically changed. Our students’ quality of education should not be decided based on their neighborhood or the income level of their community. We need to invest far more funding into all of our schools, but we also need to make the system equitable for low and middle income communities

  • As a budget crisis in our city is looming due to COVID-19, we must ensure that our students are not carrying the heaviest burden. Investing in our schools is an investment in our future, which includes after school and summer programming

  • We should demand that the Department of Education invest in support staff for our teachers and students, such as counselors and nurses rather than police officers

  • Teachers should not be forced to “teach to the test”. We need to end our overreliance on standardized testing so that students can truly learn and be better prepared for the world

  • Enrichment opportunities should be available to all students. We should provide enrichment opportunities in diverse classrooms so that gifted students can work ahead and students who need extra help can get it

  • Students do better in classrooms where teachers have the ability to provide more individualized attention. That’s why we should end the overcrowding of classrooms

  • Queens is the most diverse borough in the most diverse city in the world. Our classrooms should reflect that with investment in dual and secondary language programs like Polish, Italian, and Spanish

quality of life

Living in a transportation desert can often make every other aspect of life that much more difficult. We need to work to find ways to not only create incentives for small businesses and responsible developers to invest in our district, but also improve our quality of life through increased access to basic goods and services.

  • Increase rapid sanitation services, including trash pickup, and graffiti cleanup through the district

  • Expand NYC’s FRESH Program, which the city implemented in 2008 to assist certain communities with increased access to grocery stores with fresh food options. Currently, our district is excluded from this program

  • We should partner with initiatives such as Meals on Wheels, as seniors and many others are homebound throughout this health crisis. Affordable fresh food options are difficult to obtain without risk of exposure and lack of transit

  • We should increase accessibility to legal services and benefits for senior citizens and vulnerable populations within our communities. Many members in the district utilize SNAP, Disability, and other resources for support. My vision is to secure that these populations no longer have to endure wrongful reductions or denials, and ensure the programs are accessible to New Yorkers in need

  • Reintegrate Participatory Budgeting in District 30, a process in which members in the community deliberate on how to spend a portion of the public budget within the district. Currently, our district has been forced to opt-out of the program, which has eliminated the opportunity for decision making and engagement from the people of how our dollars are spent​

  • Convert hazardous two-way streets into one-way streets for increased public safety

 

District 30 includes Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, and woodside.

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The maximum contribution for this race is $1,000. If a contributor has business dealings with the City as defined in the Campaign Finance Act, such contributor may contribute only up to $250 for city council. We can only accept contributions from individuals. Contributions from corporations, LLCs, etc. are not allowed. We are also refusing all contributions from individuals connected to real estate and development.

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