All candidates lay out a plan of what they hope to accomplish in office. Below are excerpts from Eric Adams’ program for the city. Assuming Adams wins, a safe bet for a Democrat in New York City, these are the self-imposed terms by which his administration will be judged.
This time next year, we’ll see how well he’s doing.
A More Efficient City
We must build a single data platform for the entire City government.
Believe it or not, nearly all City agencies are siloed, operating separately from one another without sharing data or metrics, often duplicating efforts and resulting in waste, inefficiency and poor delivery of services. By combining all agency metrics onto a single platform similar to CompStat and using analytics to track performance in real time, we can go from a reactive management approach to being proactive and, eventually, predictive. This will improve performance and save billions of dollars while delivering far better services.
We will be able to give New Yorkers a real-time score for government performance.
Having one data platform for all City operations will allow us to create a continually updated public score for each agency going far beyond the often-self-congratulatory Mayor’s Management Report. That will show us where we are based relative to our goals for the year. Boston already does this with its well-regarded CityScore program.
We will launch MyCity, a single portal for all City services and benefits.
All New Yorkers are entitled to receive the full support of their government. MyCity will allow users to type just one number into a secure app or website to instantly received every service and benefit they qualify for — such as SNAP — without an abundance of paperwork. This constantly updated information will help New Yorkers protect themselves and their families. More than 1.5 million New Yorkers live in households that cannot afford enough quality food. Although there are 1,100 soup kitchens and food pantries across the five boroughs, poor communications hurts effort to connect needy households to food resources.
We will save $1.5B and avoid layoffs by simply not hiring anyone new for two years.
We can significantly reduce labor costs by $1.5 billion through attrition by not replacing retiring or resigning essential City workers and working with the State to offer early retirements to others over the next two years. This will also allow us to significantly cut costs while retaining the workers we need to deliver vital City services.
We will make City agencies work together.
The root of our City’s inefficiency is in its agencies, which work in parallel, instead of in concert — and often in direct conflict with each other. By mandating inter-agency coordination and designating existing senior staff to a citywide council that meets regularly to align goals, we will institutionalize coordination to reduce inefficiency and inequality.
That council will be tasked with three specific mandates:
- Define the mission of each agency.
- Ensure the missions of the agencies meet the overall mission of the City government as defined by city leadership.
- Evaluate agencies to ensure no agency’s actions conflict with another agency.
We will find value and new revenue from City properties.
New York City owns and controls billions of dollars worth of property across the five boroughs, representing huge potential value and revenue to pay for critical City services when we most need them. We will immediately do a complete inventory of all City properties and determine best use — whether they should be utilized by government agencies, used for housing or services, sold, or leased — in order to reduce costs across City government and yield income that can be put toward core services to maintain and improve quality of life.
A More Equal City
We must require the super-rich to help speed our turnaround from the pandemic.
The multi-millionaires and billionaires must pay their fair share to help all of us get through the aftermath of the pandemic, which disproportionately hurt Black and Brown New Yorkers. We can generate $1 billion to 2 billion annually by instituting a “Recovery Share” — a modest increase to the income taxes of city earners who make more than $5 million a year, sunsetting after two years. That money would go directly into initiatives that help us bounce back from the pandemic, including testing and vaccination programs, anti-hunger efforts, and financial help for those New Yorkers — mostly Black and Brown — and industries hardest hit by COVID-19.
We will use our leverage as a client to create a fairer economy.
To keep good jobs in New York and advance our goals for a fairer economy, we will reward businesses that hire local workers and benefit minority and female owners and workers — especially on City-financed projects. Specifically, businesses will be asked to commit to hiring 75% city-based workers, prioritizing M/WBE contractors, and ensuring their contractors pay a living wage and report their workers’ residency and ethnicity statistics. Employers who agree to these terms could benefit from tax breaks and special consideration for City contracts.
We will empower legal immigrants with municipal voting rights.
There are more than 3 million immigrants in New York City. The vast majority of these New Yorkers cannot vote in local elections even though many are legal tax-paying residents. By allowing lawfully permanent residents and other non-citizens authorized to work in the United States the right to vote, we will enfranchise nearly 1 million New Yorkers who deserve a say in how their city is run – and who runs it.
A New Economy For All New Yorkers
Invest in green infrastructure through the City’s capital program.
New Yorkers spend roughly $19 billion per year on energy and it happens through the city’s highly interdependent electricity, natural gas, and steam networks. This infrastructure is considered some of the oldest and most concentrated in the nation. By upgrading our electrical grid, transitioning our power source to wind and away from natural gas, and implementing traffic controls to reduce idling, we can improve the quality of life of New Yorkers and create thousands of new jobs, especially those in low-income communities facing environmental injustice.
These investments are not only the moral path to take, but they also make common economic sense because they will create good paying jobs for New Yorkers and businesses will be able to rely on resilient infrastructure in the face of a rapidly changing climate.
Make New York City the wind power hub of the eastern seaboard.
With waterfront assets like SBMT, the Red Hook Container Terminal, Port Richmond, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, we have an opportunity to corner the market on wind power manufacturing and other green technologies. We must create a pipeline of education training from middle school, high school, college to educate our young people in this field using the forthcoming Harbor School Middle School, the Harbor School on Governors Island and universities like Kingsborough CC.
Make NYC the life sciences capital of the world.
Life sciences is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world—and these companies want to locate in cities where they will have access to leading hospitals, universities and investors like New York City. To bring them here, we will double-down on the existing life sciences initiative with incentives and zoning changes that will draw in private investment and federal dollars for research.
Return to urban agriculture.
Centuries ago, New York made its own food and the agriculture industry was one of its largest employers. Today, we rely almost entirely on out-of-town, out-of-state, and out-of-country producers for everything from the apple we buy at the bodega to the meals served to our kids in school.
By creating a new set of building codes, business rules and tax programs for urban farmers — and supporting local producers with guaranteed City contracts — we will create jobs by building vast in-city sites that produce food for restaurants, schools and food-insecurity programs through cutting-edge techniques such as vertical farming and hydroponics, often sharing space with renewable energy plants and other sustainability infrastructure.
A Quality Education for All
To make our education system more equitable, I will:
Expand summer school options.
Three hundred years ago, when children worked alongside their families on an agrarian calendar, it made sense to take a few months off a year to tend to the crops. Those days are long over. By greatly expanding summer school options, we can much better use our education infrastructure by creating more flexibility for parents in how — and when — their child receives their education.
This calendar change will ensure our school buildings stay open year-round and are available for day-long activities, including childcare, soft skills instruction, and local STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) programming. Learning during the summer months also does not need to be limited to the school buildings; it can be a time when teachers and students are encouraged to see the city as their laboratory, their theater, and their museum.
Create the best remote learning experience in the world.
The City’s initial rollout of remote learning has been completely unacceptable. Tens of thousands of kids fail to log on daily because they don’t have tablets or Wi-Fi — missing instruction that is costing them their future. At the same time, educators have not received the training or support they need to ensure that the kids who are online are learning effectively. Remote learning is here to stay in some form, and it can improve education options for parents and students.
To create the best remote learning experience in the world, we will first place a data sales tax on the big tech companies that sell private data to advertisers and others, and then use the proceeds to connect all New Yorkers at subsidized or no cost. We will also use our buying power as a major client of Apple and Google to get hardware and software at much better prices.
De-emphasize testing culture and promote holistic growth of the full child.
The experiences that drive sincere engagement with education are not derived from standardized testing; they come from holistic active learning experiences students have with their classmates and teachers. Students whose sole day-to-day educational life consists of preparing for standardized exams are not learning the depth of the material in their coursework. While the next administration won’t throw away the necessary tool of standardized testing, the DOE should go above and beyond to celebrate innovative approaches to education that create informed young adults prepared to succeed in college and/or career.
Establish a universal program of meditation and mindfulness to begin every school day.
It is estimated that one half to two-thirds of children experience trauma, and children and adolescents in urban environments experience higher rates of exposure to violence. Studies have proved that a child’s reaction to trauma can interfere with brain development, learning, and behavior – all of which have a potential impact on a child’s academic success as well as the overall school environment. Students in the New York City school system are also at risk of trauma from the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing social unrest.
A culture of mindfulness in the classroom, including proven stress-management techniques like meditation, can help students faced with structural challenges develop the inner strength and wherewithal to overcome the obstacles stacked against them. Numerous studies have demonstrated that a meaningful positive impact on behavior and learning ability results from practicing meditation and mindfulness, including academic performance, cognitive ability, and social-emotional development.
Improve health and school performance with healthier food.
There is clear evidence that what we eat — especially what children eat — significantly affects mood, attention, and mental and physical health. Yet our schools continue to feed our children empty calories and processed foods that impede their ability to thrive and achieve. Even worse, some foods served in our schools, and the bad lifestyle habits eating them leads to, set children on a path to developing chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
We created “Meatless Mondays” in schools — but that did not go nearly far enough. We will completely overhaul the menu, focusing on whole, fresh foods, encouraging consumption that leads to children’s improved health and school performance.
Move from cradle-to-career to prenatal-to-profession.
It is true that early childhood development is critical and that attention on the 0-3 ages must increase significantly, including expanded and improved options for quality childcare, healthcare, and education. But we need to go even further and recognize that an expectant mother’s health and environment during pregnancy can be just as critical to the health and ability of a child. That is why we will become the global leader in the prenatal-to-career approach, with a much more comprehensive citywide program for expecting moms and families that links them to vital resources such as healthy foods, prenatal classes, and doulas.
Protect safety net hospitals.
Millions of New Yorkers rely on Health + Hospitals and our safety net hospitals for care–and that system has been at risk of financial disaster long before the pandemic. We also cannot permanently rely on the federal government to bail us out. We need structural support that keeps our safety net strong. Federal funds to fight the virus have kept them afloat for now—but the State must adjust funding to shore them up long-term.
True Police Reform Through Diversity and Transparency
As a former police officer who stood up against racism and corruption in the NYPD while simultaneously protecting our streets, I know how entrenched systemic bias is in the department. The fastest way to true reform is to add as much diversity to the NYPD as fast as we can, while building trust through transparency. I will do that by:
Add local Black and Brown officers who will respect and protect New Yorkers.
One reason the NYPD continues to be plagued by incidents of bias and brutality is that the department still needs to become much more diverse: About half of the force is white, while the officers are Black, Brown or Asian. We will address this by recruiting from the neighborhoods that are suffering from crime, which are mostly Black and Brown, and by allowing peace officers at City agencies — who are not police officers and who are also more likely to be Black and Brown — to be promoted to the NYPD.
Appoint the first woman police commissioner.
There are about 6,500 female officers in the roughly 36,000-member force, according to city statistics. While the number of women cops have grown over the years, there are few in the higher ranks, starting at captain and on up. We will encourage more women to test for promotion to join the upper ranks – all the way to the top.
Publicize the list of cops the NYPD is monitoring for bad behavior.
The NYPD keeps its own “monitoring list” of cops with records of complaints and violent incidents. We will make those records more available to the public to be transparent and build trust.
Make it easier for good cops to identify bad cops.
Most police officers could tell you about a few bad cops they work with or have run in to—and most cops resent their behavior because it brings down their profession and makes it harder for them to do their job. At the same time, it is dangerous for cops to report those bad apples. An Adams administration will make it easier for cops to anonymously report bad behavior by their colleagues that results in swift action through an outside system overseen by the Department of Investigation, protecting whistleblowers and exposing problem police.
Connect precincts to the community.
To make precinct houses more accessible to the communities they serve, we will revamp them to be more welcoming; improve them with public high-speed internet and wi-fi access; and hire specialized outreach and public information staff to change the culture of the houses into places where residents can come to learn about and participate in social and NYPD services and programs, particularly for families, children and youth.
Empower communities to have a say in their precinct leadership.
Community policing is just a slogan if the NYPD is not, in fact, acting on what a community wants and needs. We will empower community boards and precinct councils to play a role in approving and vetoing by supermajority any precinct commander candidates and community affairs officers within their respective areas.
Add housing – for everyone – in wealthier areas.
For years, our re-zonings focused on adding apartments in lower-income areas — which led to higher-income people moving in, making communities less affordable, and often forcing out longtime residents. We will build in wealthier areas with a high quality of life, allowing lower- and middle-income New Yorkers to move in by adding affordable housing. And we will eliminate the community preference rule in those areas, which keeps many New Yorkers out of desirable neighborhoods.
Repurpose City office buildings for affordable housing.
We will convert a number of City office buildings into 100 percent affordable housing by taking advantage of more City workers working from home and consolidating workers that will still be in-person to free up space.
Allow private office buildings and hotels to become housing.
The pandemic emptied many of our hotels and office buildings. In some cases, their owners want to convert the buildings to housing, but City regulations make that either too expensive or too challenging. With some zoning tweaks and other rule changes, we can allow appropriate conversions and add desperately needed housing stock — particularly at hotels in the outer boroughs.
Fill empty affordable apartments, with priority for homeless New Yorkers.
It’s time for transparency from the City on how many affordable units are vacant, and proactive policies to fill these units as soon as possible — by any means necessary. As mayor, I will ensure HPD immediately discloses its current inventory of available affordable housing units by length of time vacant and income eligibility, as well as scales back its requirements to prove affordable housing qualification, to make the lottery process as reasonably simple and speedy as possible.