Name of Council Candidate: Marc Landis Name and Title of Person Completing Questionnaire: Marc Landis, Candidate Campaign


1. Many in the United States think of international affairs when they think of human rights. Our work emphasizes the applicability of the human rights framework here in the United States. Please share your thoughts on the domestic applicability of human rights, and discuss why human rights are important to you in the context of New York City and the City Council. The New York City Council has the ability to be a progressive leader in advancing a number of critical domestic human rights. For example, the Council can, and should:   Take concrete steps to help address the growing income inequality in New York City by ensuring that all workers can earn a living wage; Expand affordable housing throughout New York City in order to protect New Yorkers’ right to housing. Working families and middle class families cannot continue to survive if we continue to expect them to spend 40% to 50% of their income on housing; Improve the quality of education across New York City so that every child has an opportunity to succeed. Promote better health for all New Yorkers through expanded access to preventive health care and through implementation of progressive environmental, transit, and food policies. Increase efforts to fight against bigotry and discrimination to ensure that each person is free to live her life in a manner of her choosing and to be judged on the basis of her merits alone. New York City should strive to set an example for other municipalities across the country on each of these issues.

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2. How have you used current or previous professional positions to advance human rights? I have devoted much of my legal career to helping to develop and maintain affordable housing throughout New York City, and have performed extensive pro bono work on behalf of New Yorkers in need, including those facing eviction from affordable housing, for which I was honored by Manhattan Legal Services and Legal Services of New York. I have sued financial institutions to force them to fund emergency repairs for tenants living in distressed buildings. I was honored with the New York State Bar Association President’s Pro Bono Service Award for my efforts on behalf of community organizations that provide education programs for new Americans and services to people with AIDS. Other examples include my work to combat bigotry and discrimination in all forms. During the U.N.-sponsored antiIsrael “Durban II” conference in 2009, I organized a five-day seminar at Fordham Law School which examined racism, gender bias, xenophobia and genocide around the world. When the Ku Klux Klan came to New York, I

worked with Scott Stringer and others to organize the counter-protest. I was arrested with activists from Jews for Racial and Economic Justice while protesting the Amadou Diallo shooting, and I remain active in supporting policing reform measures such as ending bias-based stop-and-frisk. 3. What will your top 3 legislative priorities be in your first term as Council Member? 1. City Council rules reform, ensuring more democratic procedures and reducing the influence of money on governance. 2. Working with the next mayor to establish a comprehensive program to create more affordable housing and to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. 3. Reducing income inequality through promotion and expansion of living wage, prevailing wage, paid sick leave and related initiatives to increase wages for New Yorkers. 4. What will your top 3 budget priorities be in your first term as Council Member? 1. Investing in infrastructure through a comprehensive, forward-looking public works program. 2. Increased funding for mass transit operations to reduce the financial burden on working families. 3. Increased funding for parks, libraries and other civic institutions, particularly in underserved neighborhoods. 5. Do you plan to use participatory budgeting to allocate your discretionary funds? Why or why not? Yes, I fully support the use of participatory budgeting and as a member of the City Council I would commit no less than $1,000,000 of my discretionary funds to be allocated by participatory budgeting. I support participatory budgeting because it provides an important opportunity for greater community dialogue and engagement. As part of this effort, we must ensure that we, as a community, give adequate consideration to issues that are particularly important to segments of the population who tend to be underrepresented in government. In a district like District 6, where the “haves” significantly outnumber the “have less”, we must be sensitive to avoiding the potential “tyranny of the majority.” 6. Please provide examples of recent legislation in Council that you believe promotes human rights.  The compromise version of the Earned Sick Time Act that was adopted by the City Council is not perfect, but it is an important step in the right direction and will help address one of the many consequences of income inequality in New York City. Currently, 84% of workers in the top quarter of wage earners in New York City receive paid sick leave, while only 37% of workers in the bottom quarter of wage earners do so. This new legislation will help to level the playing field and ensure that a greater number of New Yorkers will be able to take time off to care for themselves or their sick loved ones without facing penalties. The two recent bills to restrict the use of stop and frisk (Intro 1079 & Intro 1080) offer a critical check against discriminatory policing. I have spoken out on this subject in public, and my daughter and I participated in the “Silent March to End Stop and Frisk” last year; I also recruited co-sponsors for the march including Citizen Action of New York, and participated in Borough President Scott Stringer’s Manhattan-wide initiative to call attention to the issue.

7. Legislation is only one of many ways in which Council Members can work to advance human rights. What ways other than through legislation will you advance the human rights of New Yorkers as a City Council Member? As chair of the NYC chapter of Citizen Action of New York, I led the fight for “Clean Money, Clean Elections”, worked to promote the work of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, and carried out organizing activities with the Health Care for All New York coalition. As an elected Democratic District Leader, I organized bus tri ps and phone banks to “swing states” during Presidential elections, but also organized volunteers to do the same throughout New York City and New York State. Throughout my decades of activism, I have worked to organize communities through education, engagement on issues, setting goals, and carrying out political action to further these goals. My history of activism is all about building bridges among communities to strengthen ties, foster greater public discourse and build coalitions to ensure that the needs of all communities are addressed. As a Council Member, I intend to use my position and my office to continue this work. 8. Some advocates contend that the position of the Council Speaker has too much power over the progression of legislation. Please use this space to respond to that critique. The current set of rules and historic Council policies have given the position of Council Speaker too much influence over legislation. The status quo gives the Speaker the power to control the availability and activities of legislative staffers, including control over whether or not legislation is drafted, considered or voted upon. The Speaker also has too much power in selecting and removing committee chairs, controlling the amounts and uses of discretionary spending and the way in which staff resources are allocated. I support a drastic reduction in these powers. For more information, please visit