Crystal Hudson recently received a string of endorsements for her bid to represent District 35 in the City Council, a seat that’s currently held by term-limited City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo.
On Sept. 20, the Road to Justice NYC endorsed Hudson among its slate of four candidates who are running for various offices in 2021. The organization is comprised of union members from 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Make the Road Action and Community Voices Heard Power.
Hudson, a Democrat, is competing to represent a district where her family has lived for three generations. It encompasses Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy.
It was meaningful to Hudson that the four New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) tenant association leaders in the district also endorsed her this month. The public housing units include the Ingersoll and Walt Whitman Houses, Lafayette Gardens and Atlantic Terminal NYCHA developments.
“Crystal Hudson is one of us. As a third generation resident of this district, she knows our community and has taken the time to truly listen and build relationships,” Darold Burgess, president of the Residents’ Association at Ingersoll Houses, said. Ingersoll Houses is the largest NYCHA development in the district.
Hudson told BK Reader NYCHA has suffered decades of mismanagement and underfunding. Consequently, residents live in a toxic environment of mold and lead paint, lacking hot water and heat in the winter and overall disrepair.
“COVID-19 is exacerbating a lot of the issues in public housing that we have already seen, in terms of environmental and health hazards,” she said.
Hudson is also concerned about the privatization of NYCHA. “What is that going to look like, exactly?” she asked. “We are looking very closely to see how it’s being done.”
In February, NYCHA reached a deal with private companies to manage several developments in Manhattan and Brooklyn, which include East New York’s Linden Houses and Boulevard Houses, as well as the Williamsburg Houses in East Williamsburg. The deal was part of an ongoing process to put 62,000 units under private management.
Under that deal, the companies would do $1.5 billion in repairs (in a public housing system that needs about $40 billion of repairs) and property management. In exchange, NYCHA would essentially pay the companies by converting the apartments the companies manage to Section 8 housing through the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program.
Tenants and public housing advocates fear that privatization will lead to evictions when families fall behind with rent or for minor violations of their lease.
In addition to housing, Hudson’s political agenda includes COVID-19 recovery, education, land use and development, transportation, and public safety. The candidate weighed in on some of the hot button issues, such as the call to defund the police.
“The NYPD does not need most of the funding it currently has,” Hudson said. “Our schools aren’t fully funded, our public housing isn’t fully funded, our public hospitals are not fully funded. There are so many other resources, services, and programming that we need to be investing in deeply.”
Hudson rejected the argument that reallocating NYPD funding would cause a spike in crime. She also disputed the claim from NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and others that bail reforms contributed to the recent increase in gun violence.
Hudson said that argument had been debunked and blamed conditions caused by the pandemic – large numbers of people not working or going school – for the uptick in violence.
“We know what keeps our communities safe: quality education for everyone, healthcare, good jobs with benefits and livable wages,” she explained.
Hudson weighed in on another controversy – public school reopening.
“We had the entire summer to think about how to reopen schools in a responsible way, and I don’t think that’s been done,” she said.
“I don’t know how the mayor and schools chancellor came up with a plan that the teachers union opposes. Clearly, the teachers union must not have collaborated or weren’t consulted on the plan.”
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