New York, NY– He’s running for the city council because he has some big and bold ideas that he wants to pursue as the next person on the council to represent District 5, but he also notes the importance of moving towards the little things in governing respect, think highly of.
Billy Freeland lives on the Upper East Side but knows the Sutton Place community well as his parents live on 52nd Street and 1st Avenue. He was recently interviewed by members of the Sutton Area Community Board where he had an opportunity to explain why he is running and to explain his position on issues that are important to the Sutton Place community.
Freeland has lived in Manhattan all his adult life. He came here to study at Columbia University as a student and then enrolled in law school. He has been a lawyer for five years and represents his family’s small business as General Counsel.
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“For me, New York City means hope and opportunity. I love this city; This is where my dad drove a yellow taxi to pay for his way through school. This is where I have had the privilege of becoming an attorney and advocating for clients in a housing court and clients in cases of voting and LGBTQ rights, ”Freeland said.
Freeland, who is also a board member of Community Board 8, says he is running because he believes the city desperately needs a new generation of leaders. And with the right guidance, the city can start turning the tide of the ravages of the COVID pandemic by empowering city authorities to do the big things the city needs while paying attention to the details.
How does it look? For starters, Freeland noted the need to help small businesses stay in business with things like a vacancy tax on landlords and / or reform or abolition of the commercial rental tax. There must also be help for tenants.
“One of the best ways to help tenants is to expand the right to legal advice, as we know that people who have an attorney in a housing court will be able to stay in their home 80 percent of the time” said Freeland.
Second, the zone reform. He prides himself on running a campaign that doesn’t accept submissions from real estate developers, lobbyists, or PACs.
“It is important to draw a clear line in our policy because REBNY [Real Estate Board of NY] is working hard to build luxury towers in our city and in this district. I think we can really regain control and influence from the developers, but we need leaders who first turn down their money and then go against them, ”added Freeland.
He’s a proponent of more money invested in infrastructure and wants to electrify the city’s entire bus fleet by 2029.
In addition, the quality of life is an important issue. For example, he has heard from voters about possible improvements in sanitation. He imagines city-wide “sanitation strike teams” that can react quickly to piles of rubbish.
But he has an even bolder idea: underground tubes to collect rubbish and rubbish and transport it underground like they do in other cities around the world. He realizes that this may not be possible because all the utilities are just below the surface, but bold ideas must be on the table.
“These kinds of ideas are what we need to talk about and be happy about, and I look forward to talking about them. I want to emphasize that I am trying to have an idea-driven race and I am very proud of the way we do it, not just rejecting money from deep pocket properties, but we have done it with the most individual entries in the entire space. We have made full use of our fundraising, ”said Freeland.
Freeland was then asked about his position on a number of questions. Sutton Place is unique in many ways, and a unique feature of the neighborhood is that it is home to an older population. The issue of pedestrian safety is therefore of the utmost importance in view of the increasing use of e-bikes by delivery people.
For Freeland, paying the delivery staff more could mean safer roads, as they wouldn’t be rushing to make as many deliveries as possible.
“What do we expect when we live in a society where delivery drivers are expected to live off tips? I don’t mean this to excuse the behavior we see, I mean it to say we have a living wage, we have labor rights for delivery cyclists who sometimes have an average income of $ 4 an hour, ”Freeland said .
“I think if we have real delivery cyclist rights and make it less dependent on how quickly you deliver my seamless order, we’ll see a little more control on the streets.”
Also, it’s not just about slashing the NYPD’s budget by an arbitrary number when it comes to defusing the police, it’s about removing some functions that aren’t necessarily central to policing.
“I think the police need support. The way I want to support the police is encouraging them to do what they do best. I believe it solves violent crimes, rape and robbery,” Freeland said.
“Personally, I think there are some features you can take away from the NYPD – those features would be homeless assistance, mental health calls, and traffic monitoring. I think this would actually save us money as a city due to the typical overtime costs associated with policing. “
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