PLATFORM

Darlene Mealy is 'Everyday People"
"I will be the voice and representative of the everyday woman and man." 
With twelve years of experience and distinguished track record of tackling big 
problems as New York City Councilwoman, I know what it takes to cut through
red tape and navigate complicated New York City government agencies
and get the job done."
MAJOR ISSUES
 
Economic Development

 

Our district has experienced extreme disinvestment along its commercial corridors of Utica Avenue, Fulton Street, Saratoga Avenue, Pitkin Avenue, Rockaway Avenue, Belmont Avenue and Mother Gaston Boulevard. The revitalization of these strips to transform them into more attractive places for consumers and attract viable businesses will help create jobs and economic growth.  I will secure both private and public investments in these commercial corridors where our local residents can purchase healthy foods, clothing, furniture, dine out, and engage in cultural enrichment activities. 

 

As the former chair of the New York City Council's Contracts Committee, I was instrumental in the passage of the City’s new Minority and Women-owned Business legislation-Intro 911-AI. I will use my experience to urge the New York City Department of Small Business Services to support our local residents with workforce placements, small business development, and Minority and Women-Owned Business (M/WBE) certifications to address the issues of commercial vacancies, availability of diverse goods and services, and contracting with city agencies. 

Additionally, I will ask the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs to help with small business outreach and education. I will press the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York City Economic Development Corporation to market City-owned parcels and work with private owners who are in need of financial assistance to develop their properties to better serve the community. 

Given that small businesses are essential to local employment, support from these City agencies will help stimulate investment which will create economic opportunities for local residents and begin to address a persistent and acute problem of unemployment in the district across all demographics. 

In order to achieve neighborhood equity, I will call on the City to implement and expand job training and placement programs to combat high unemployment rates and concentrate resources available through the Summer Youth Employment Program, Workforce 1 and other programs that provide workforce development services.

Furthermore, making improvements to the district's schools and incorporating Career and Technical Education will also help to address this problem by ensuring that our young people are prepared for opportunities in the job market. 

Public Safety

 

Youth violence is a growing concern in our community where poverty, family instability and unemployment provide fertile ground for its growth. Gangs are perpetuating youth on youth violence that result in injury and death. Far too many young lives are lost from street justice. Collateral damage inflicted by gun violence impacts the victim's family, friends and community. 

 

Our community has historically been known as an area of New York City with high rates of crime and incidents of violence. As a result, the New York City Police Department has participated in anti-crime programs such as "Stop and Frisk" and "Operation IMPACT" to help mitigate incidents of crime and violence to improve overall safety. In the years following the launch of these programs, they were criticized for being divisive and lacking proper supervision for assigned officers who were new police academy graduates. The New York City Police Department has taken steps to phase out these programs and return to "Neighborhood-Based Policing" with a program known as "Build the Block" which is a comprehensive crimefighting strategy that assigns Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) to specific areas of the community for better community engagement with local residents. Our community was a pilot community and has been participating in this program since 2016.

I will advocate that the New York City Police Department phase out their crimefighting strategy and expand programs that fosters better community engagement, such as, the Police Athletic League Programs and the Law Enforcement Explorers Programs. The Police Athletic League, together with NYPD and the law enforcement community, supports and inspires New York City youth to realize their full individual potential as productive members of society. The Law Enforcement Explorers program provides young men and women from the city's diverse communities with an introduction to a career in law enforcement or a related field in the criminal justice system. The program, geared for ages 14 to 20, often results in strengthening ties between the community and police.

 

In 1973, David A. Walker, then a New York City Police Community Affairs Detective, joined by his partner Detective Ulysses Williams, developed the street game of Double Dutch into the World Class Sport that it is today. With the assistance of the physical education instructors at IS 10, Walker and Williams revitalized the game by developing it into a competitive team sport. On February 14, 1974, the first Double Dutch tournament was held with nearly 600 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students participating. Since that initial tournament, competitive Double Dutch has expanded with citywide and national championships. Nearly 100,000 girls and boys representing schools and community centers throughout the United States and world compete for team positions at the national and international events.

 

Although crimes are decreasing, we continue to need police presence on our streets, in subways, along commercial corridors, around our schools, and in our New York City Housing Authority buildings to combat incidents of crime and support the Police Department continuing to connect with the community and building relationships. In addition, some law-abiding citizens are reluctant to report crimes because they are distrustful of the police and their ability to reduce crimes. Therefore, I am asking that police officers continue to receive frequent training in community engagement, cultural sensitivity and mental health first aid response to incidents of opioid overdose. 

 

In addition, I will request that police officers be equipped with body cameras for better TRANSPARENCY of incidents of policing. It is important that the New York City Police Department continue to make improvements in policing that RESPECT the humanity of our residents and visitors and deploy resources efficiently to achieve neighborhood EQUITY. 

 
Education

 

As New York City's economy becomes increasingly specialized, it is crucial for our residents to be prepared to compete for quality jobs. I will ask the New York City Department of Education (DOE) to further its investment in career and technical education and college readiness programs. Our schools require highly skilled teachers, guidance counselors, and curricula incorporating STEM which will help place students on a college bound educational path. As Councilwoman, I supported the strong collaboration between the New York City Council and the DOE Middle School Quality Initiative (MSQI) that helps spread targeted and research-based teaching and learning practices to improve student literacy in high-need New York City middle schools. School children also need an environment that is conducive to learning, therefore, I will advocate for facility upgrades to our school buildings, classrooms, auditoriums, and gymnasiums to support the use of technology, elevators for ADA compliance, and electrical wiring to support the use of air conditions.

There is an urgent needs for significant  after-school enrichment and extracurricular activities at local schools within the district; Most families in the district find it difficult to provide adequate after-school supervision for these children – an increased  after-school enrichment and extracurricular activities at local schools within the district would help further develop the educational progress of these children, as well as keep them in safe environments.

Every child deserves an effective, challenging, and motivating education. And, because each student has their own unique set of talents, interests, and challenges, having a variety of options in education is crucial. What works well for one child may not work well for another child! In short, all students should have the freedom to pursue an education that develops their talents, unleashes their unique potential, and prepares them for a successful life.”

Parents and students need the option of full-time, in-person schooling. Last school year and in the fall semester, most kids missed out on months of learning, and if their schools do not fully reopen this spring, they will fall further behind—particularly minority students, low-income students, and students with disabilities.

All schools should be enabled to safely reopen. Most, if not all, additional funds should be targeted towards supporting schools that have re-opened and are ensuring students continue to learn.

All students and all teachers should be helped, not just those in district public schools. While public schools continue to receive local, state, and federal tax revenues, private schools in lower-income and working-class neighborhoods have faced significant enrollment declines. As private schools are forced to close, public schools may need to absorb up to one million private school students at a cost of more than $15 billion.

The New York City Department of Education should directly empower families and support schools where families feel well-served and empower families who need different education options. School choice and parental empowerment are particularly important for lower-income communities, where parents often cannot work remotely and are more likely to be dissatisfied with their district-assigned public schools. This could be accomplished through articulation agreements between the New York City Department of Education and private school's academic programs offering students dual and concurrent enrollment for credits to be awarded at the student’s designated school.

It is important that the City of New York and the New York City Department of Education support the educational needs of our young residents in the Community to achieve neighborhood equity in education.