De Blasio launches agency to combat 'worst landlords'

Laverne Higgins
January 13, 2019

Now he says the city will take steps to improve the health and welfare of each New Yorker, including expanded healthcare and a paid leave proposal announced earlier this week.

The announcement came the day after de Blasio announced a plan to spend $100 million a year on expanding health coverage for low-income New Yorkers and seemed meant to polish his credentials as a progressive leader. Some Americans want to see the health initiative replicated nationwide.

Ironically, in one of her final acts as public advocate, new state Attorney General Letitia James declared the de Blasio-controlled New York City Housing Authority the worst landlord of 2018. All services will be available on a sliding scale and will cover roughly the 600,000 city residents without insurance, roughly half of whom are undocumented immigrants.

Those proposals, along with those for universal health care and guaranteed paid leave are still only that - proposals.

"Workers in New York City already earn up to a week of paid time off".

The de Blasio administration was recently hammered by a New York Times report about the city's habit of accepting meager settlements, which the mayor later said was preferable to battling landlords in Housing Court. As the New York Post reported, the bill was introduced by Council Member Ben Kallos, who represents parts of Manhattan, but also now chairs the Council's Land Use Subcommittee on Planning Dispositions and Concessions, which has oversight over the sale or lease of city-owned land to developers.

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He will work with City Council, he said, to pass legislation in 2019 that would require all employers with at least five employees to either offer access to a retirement plan or to auto-enroll their employees in the city plan with a default contribution of 5 percent.

New York City will expand its partnership with Warby Parker, de Blasio said, to provide free eye exams and eyeglasses to all kindergarteners and first graders.

In a stark contrast to the rhetoric coming from the White House where an ongoing government shutdown hinges on funding for a southern border wall, the mayor sought to present an alternative vision of a government-one that is focused on keeping families together, giving them more time with each other and preventing abuse at work and at home. This partnership first began in 2015 in an attempt to rectify the statistic that 25 percent of New York City students need glasses, but only 5 percent of those students now get them.

The plan stalled three years ago due to federal rule changes, but the city is taking another stab at it now that OR got one up and running and Seattle is moving in that direction, city officials said. City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) has indicated that he will be the lead sponsor on the on the bill.

He said New Yorkers "need a break". Current City Council Speaker Corey Johnson also floated the idea before being elected to his position a year ago, City & State reported at the time.

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