A Harlem native and housing activist fighting for housing justice, economic equity, fully funded public education, and public safety reform

Joshua is the son of Harlem’s rich and storied history.

Joshua grew up playing in the same parks, attending the same schools, and walking on the very same streets as the monumental figures that not only left an indelible impression upon his neighborhood but shaped the culture of a nation. Not only has he inherited the lessons of their leadership, but he embodies the spirit of innovation and progress that inspired a neighborhood to change the world.

Joshua serves as the Treasurer of Manhattan Community Board 10 and Co Chair of Economic Development for the NAACP Mid Manhattan Branch. Joshua professionally manages low income housing cooperatives (HDFCs) to maintain equity and long term affordability for working class residents of Harlem. Now, Joshua is running for city council to provide practical leadership and real opportunities to the village of Harlem. Joshua has spent his whole life bearing witness to the problems that face his community, he has lived those experiences as a member of this community and he’s certain we have to think bigger and demand more from our city.

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Our Vision

My platform is rooted in community engagement and will evolve over the course of the campaign. The below proposals are a starting point , if you have any recommendations, concerns, or specific proposals, please reach out via email or social media. We want to hear from you!


HOUSING

Housing is a human right and the 9th City Council District deserves a community-driven approach to land use and permanently affordable income-based housing and homeownership opportunities. Every idea we implement must be center housing as a human right.

  • Start with a comprehensive city plan that not only puts New Yorkers and their communities' needs first but is developed by New Yorkers so the needs of their communities are truly represented and prioritized.  All zoning and development decisions must align with the overarching city plan and be supported by the communities impacted.
  • Prioritize
    • building permanently affordable income-based housing
    • shifting how affordability is determined to what people can actually afford--not regional-based AMI.
    • implementing programs that create a path to  homeownership
    • helping  existing homeowners stay in their home during times of economic hardship
  • Rework the city property tax system so individual homeowners are not forced out due to excessively high property taxes. This will require city elected leaders to demand a change in how our state raises and uses revenue--a shift to progressive taxation and away from incentives and breaks for the ultra-wealthy, developers, and big business.
  • Use community land trusts as a  solution for both affordability and public land stewardship. Our public land must remain public and for all New Yorkers.
  • End privatization of public housing by investing in public housing. This will require city elected leaders to stand strong against privatization as the solution and a partnership and to demand the federal and state government provide the investment needed to repair, rebuild and maintain all public housing.
  • Introduce legislation to create an HDFC taskforce in HPD to ensure that these low-income cooperatives receive the support, resources, and independent oversight they need to prevent mismanagement, maintain financial solvency, and ensure long-term affordability for HDFC shareholders.
  • Enforce the existing federal, state, and city housing laws including new state rent laws. Pass legislation to provide legal counsel for all tenants in housing court and to end speculative real estate deals that take advantage of homeowners and manipulate the system.

SMALL BUSINESS

Small businesses are the heart and soul of Harlem and we must make sure they get the relief and support needed to overcome this economic downturn.

  • Support legislation for a public municipal banking system that can provide direct capital to existing small businesses and startups in Harlem.
  • Fight to ensure that Minority-Owned Businesses in our district get their fair share of city contracts in the procurement process and empower small vendors with technology and resources needed to thrive in the new digital marketplace.
  • Pass Commercial Rent Control and establish a rent guidelines board that is made up of small business owners and community members.
  • Extend outdoor dining and open street measures put in place during Covid and that seem to help local businesses
  • As part of the comprehensive city plan, make sure the needs of small businesses are prioritized over the needs of big businesses. Limiting the number of chain stores and restaurants in communities is one option.
  • Increase access to grants and small business loans for businesses suffering from the pandemic.
  • Develop a small business protection plan that sets clear guardrails, systems, and an emergency fund for future health, climate, or other crisis. Small business owners need to know that they are protected and have access to relief in future crisis.
  • Rehabilitate vacant city owned commercial property to provide business incubators for start ups and small businesses.
  • Reducing city fines against small businesses.

EDUCATION

New York City Public Education is an investment in our future. That investment must be fully funded, accessible, and equitable for all, and prioritize students and teachers.

  • Start by making sure our district and all city schools receive the funding they are owed.
    • Fight for the $7,691,586 District 9 is owned by New York state--that is over $1,100 per enrolled student.
    • Additionally, audit the Department of Education’s procurement process to eliminate wasteful spending on outside contracts and ensure that public school funding is distributed where it is needed most.
    • Create a commission to review the Fair Student Funding formula and recommend changes that ensure an equitable distribution of resources
    • Pool PTA funds and distribute in an equitable way so all schools benefit.
  • Support legislation to expand the Summer Youth Employment Program to Fall and Spring Seasons to give our youth year-round opportunities for workforce development and career placement. By matching youth with local businesses and nonprofits we can strengthen the bonds of our community and keep our young people out of trouble.
  • Allow city council consent power over chancellor appointments and to make appointments to the PEP.
  • Ensure public school curriculum reflects the diversity of our city and gives students access and understanding of history and cultures, intersectionality, and anti-racism and anti-basis behavior. As part of this, create programs that recruit and support teachers and other staff members of different races and cultural backgrounds.
  • Support a New Deal for CUNY which includes, making CUNY free for New Yorkers; better working conditions and higher salaries for adjunct professors and other staff; hiring more mental health counselors, academic advisors, and other support staff; and capital improvements.
  • Replace NYPD presence in schools with guidance counselors, social workers, and other support staff. Following AQE’s guidelines, there should be a 1:100 ratio of mental health support staff to students. Additionally, implement a restorative justice approach in all schools and end zero-tolerance policies such as suspensions.
  • Mandate a five-year moratorium on new charter schools and stop using public funds for charter schools.

Environmental Justice

Environmental justice for Harlem starts with clean streets. Taking care of our community and beautifying Harlem with green streets, community gardens will be a priority as promoting a clean and green environment is not only environmentally friendly but improves the quality of life and mental health.

  • Use data as a powerful tool to fight against street litter and overflowing trash bins. Trash bins with sensors that indicate when a bin is full will enable waste collection services to optimize their routes and reduce mileage. The data can also be used to hold waste collection services accountable, reduce government waste, and support community clean-up efforts by CBO’s.
  • Incorporate more sustainable practices across our community such as renewable energy systems, collective self-consumption, energy-efficient buildings, and green roof areas that will rejuvenate Harlem, create more jobs and reduce utility costs for buildings to maintain affordability for residents.
  • Via a city comprehensive plan, make sure there are ample green spaces for District 9.
  • Support incentives to homeowners who use renewable energy.
  • Make sure NYC’s climate laws are enacted and work to bring a Green New Deal to the city that will help combat climate change; improve health, well-being, and resiliency; and create high-wage union jobs.
  • Through the Green New Deal repair and retrofit public housing to be more resilient, efficient, and healthier for all residents.

Public Safety

Harlem precincts have the highest number of police complaints in Manhattan. We must hold the NYPD accountable and reduce their outsized budget to fund social services that will actually get folks off the streets. With a more holistic approach to public safety, we can address the rising gun violence in our community.

  • Decrease the scope, size, and authority of the NYPD.
  • Reallocate NYPD resources to other agencies so they can respond to medical emergencies, mental health crises, traffic accidents, and non-violent complaints--issues that other agencies such as the Department of Transportation or Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are better equipped to handle.
  • Grant power to the Civilian Complaint Review Board to investigate and bring misconduct charges against NYPD officers.
  • Repeal city laws to end the Police Commissioner’s disciplinary authority and establish a protocol to hold offices and their supervisor to account for misconduct.  This will require standing up to police unions.
  • Utilize community courts, when possible, for first-time defendants and to break the cycle of recidivism.
  • Work with community and faith-based organizations to reduce gun violence.

Healthcare

The impact of an inequitable healthcare system became clear during Covid. Healthcare is a human right and we must work to end the equities in our system and make sure all New Yorkers receive comprehensive care.

  • The immediate concern is Covid--making sure all New Yorkers are educated and have free and easy access to covid testing and vaccines. We must also protect our healthcare workers by providing all necessary PPE and implementing and enforcing safe staffing practices.
  • Once the Covid crisis is under control we need to plan for a solution so all New Yorkers have access to healthcare and we are prepared for any future health crisis.
  • Start by expanding access to NYC Cares and investing in it so the care provided is for emergency needs, pre existing conditions, and preventative. Covid cases were often exacerbated by lack of care.
  • Advocate and push the state legislature to pass the New York Health Act and make sure it includes a holistic approach. Getting it passed and implemented is step one, then it will need to be refined.
  • Address underlying issues which in part led to racially disproportionate impacts of Covid including access to consistent healthcare, healthy food, green, clean, non-polluted community spaces.
  • Enact a citywide moratorium on public hospital closures and make community hospitals a priority in a comprehensive city plan.

The Arts

Harlem has always been a center for artists, arts, and culture. We cannot allow Covid or development to change this, in fact, the arts must be an integral part of our recovery for the community’s well-being and for the economy.

  • Make sure comprehensive city planning includes space for artists to live, create, and perform/display their work.
  • Utilize community land trusts to provide affordable housing and studio space for artists and public space for performances or installations.
  • Additionally, revise zoning and tax codes that currently make live-work spaces possible.
  • Invest in arts education in every public school.
  • Make Open Culture, which allows artists to use public space, permanent.
  • Pass Commercial Rent Control that includes art venues and creative spaces.
  • Change zoning restrictions so dancing is allowed in more venues.

LGBTQ + Rights

  • Expand NYC Care coverage to focus on LGBTQIA+ and TGNCNB needs including access to mental health services and trans-related healthcare.
  • Open homeless shelters and provide needed support for LGBTQIA+ and TGNCNB youth.
  • Support LGBTQIA+ and TGNCNB students and provide a culturally appropriate curriculum in our public schools.
  • Enforce protections for TGNCNB and intersex individuals in the justice system.
  • Expand the accessibility of gender-neutral bathrooms.
  • Amend the city contract regulation to include LGBTQIA businesses

Immigration

  • Make sure that immigrants, regardless of status, have access to food, housing, and healthcare.
  • Expand languages access in all city agencies and city public schools.
  • End the relationship between ICE and all city agencies including collaboration with the NYPD and allowing ICE to enter schools, courts, hospitals, homeless shelters, and jails. Additionally, advocate to abolishing ICE.
  • Make sure anyone who appears before a judge for any reason is represented by counsel by increasing access and funding for legal aid.
  • Allow all city residents regardless of immigration status to vote in municipal elections.

Labor

  • Extend hazard pay to all frontline workers during the pandemic
  • Support expansion and creation of unions including in industries where union organizing has not previously been utilized. This includes unionizing city council staff.
  • Enact just cause termination to protect workers from termination or reduced hours.
  • Expand sick pay and other benefits to gig economy workers and independent contractors
  • Make sure to mandate a minimum wage or “Uber” laws are inclusive of all app-based work.
  • Ensure restaurant servers and other tip-based workers receive minimum wage

Harlem for the many
not
the few
Vote JUNE 22, 2021
paid for by friends of Joshua Clennon
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