By Mary Alice Miller
Community activist Kirsten Foy is running for the open 36th Council District being vacated by term-limited Al Vann. Running is “a natural extension of my previous service,” said Foy. “I’ve been an activist all my adult life – in protest politics, electoral politics, inside government and outside government. Whether it was fighting the rent-to-own industry, running food pantries out of his home church — Abiding Love Ministries— marching with SOS in Crown Heights dealing with the issue of violence, trying to change the NYPD stop-and-frisk policy, or tenant rights, Foy said his focus is ‘moving us forward in a progressive manner’. I think it’s time for a new generation of leadership with new ideas with a fresh perspective to deal with the problems facing our community today.”
Since he moved into the district more than a decade ago to raise his family, Foy said he has observed community needs and developed solutions to address them.
Foy said the city has not done enough to alleviate the pressures of water and property tax liens that impact people who have lived in their homes for 30-40 years. He said vulnerable people on fixed incomes are targeted “because it is in [the city’s] interests to move them out.” Foy’s solution is property tax abatements for small residential homeowners who have lived here all their lives “the same way we offer property tax abatements to big developers.”
For those who live in public housing, Foy said he would press to enforce a federal regulation mandating that a percentage of the NYCHA capital budget go towards developing employment and contracting opportunities for NYCHA residents.
“I have always fought for police accountability, but at the same time I have also fought for community responsibility,” said Foy on public safety. “The same way NYPD has Project Impact to allocate manpower and resources to high-crime areas, the city should use that same methodology for youth development.”
According to Foy, small business fines as well as personal tickets and traffic summonses are abusive. “I want to take away the perverse incentive the city has to use fines and fees to close the budget gap,” said Foy. How? By allocating each ticket and fine to the community board in which it was generated. In turn, the community board could use the funds to create small business loans and support needed services.
Foy wants to maintain Interfaith Hospital as a full-service facility. “We have to do what we can to maintain Interfaith as a viable institution,” he said. Regarding education, Foy believes co-locating charter schools is a “gross violation” of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. “You cannot maintain two separate systems of public accountability and ensure equality,” he said.
Foy was the National Director for the National Action Network’s Criminal Justice Initiative before he served as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and then-Director of Community Affairs in the Office of New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. Currently, Foy is a senior advisor to Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) International President Lawrence J. Hanley.
The son of an African-American man from the South and a German-American woman from New York City, Foy has fought for civil rights, equal protection under the law and human rights for all. He is a minister, husband and father of three children residing in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Kirsten Foy has received the endorsements of Local 32BJ SEIU, UFCW Local 1500, PSC CUNY, the Progressive Caucus Alliance and the Working Families Party.