2017 City Council Screening Questionnaire
Candidate Name: Jamell Henderson
Council District: 41
We currently do not have a campaign office
P.O. Box 330678 Brooklyn NY 11233
Action Shows Commitment!
What have you accomplished in regard to advancing disability rights? This can include work towards accessible housing, transportation, employment, health care, education, and including people with disabilities in the political process? I have served on the Student Government Association committee for students for disabilities when I was a student at BMCC and during my tenure as a Senator I have advocated that the elevator usage are top priority for students with accessibilities.
Will you only attend / sponsor events that are accessible to people with disabilities (PWDs including providing written materials in alternate formats, providing assistive listening systems, and sign language interpreters as well as ensuring that locations are physically accessible? People with disabilities are people and not be seen as anything less, therefore it's my obligation to attend and sponsor events that are accessible for people with disabilities. I will work closely with city agencies that provide such equipment, interpreters and ensure that any location that I discover to hose any town hall, or civic engagement event will be accessible to all.
Local Law 28 requires City department and agency “advertising and other materials pertaining to public events to include information regarding accessibility for people with disabilities” but it does not include elected officials or Community Boards. Do you believe the law should be amended to include electeds and Community Boards? In the absence of an amendment to Local Law 28, would you voluntarily comply? The mere fact that this law doesn’t include elected officials or community boards is extremely disturbing and it clearly shows that the law shows absence to those who are looking for accessibility. The law MUST be amended to include elected officials and community boards; if there is no amendment, I will voluntarily comply without hesitation.
II. General Questions:
What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities? My brother has a mental disability and after the passing of my mother, I have become his guardian while he is in a specialized home where he is learning to be independent. I am working so hard to one day have him in my care, because I want to look after my brother. When it comes to professional experience, I have worked at my schools to push for more awareness to student who have accessibility issues and honor those students at the respective campuses
What would be your strategy to work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the City Council? I will have a council within my district that are composed of people of all ages who have disabilities and have them address their concerns and build legislation based on their concerns and demands. An example of this will be to push for businesses in the community to have different forms of systems to cater to the disability community.
How will you use your office to affirm or strengthen, rather than weaken, civil rights protections for persons with disabilities? My office will make sure that persons with disabilities will be at the table in the inclusion of decision making processes that affect the wellbeing of the community. They will be a part of the democratic strategy that will allow their voices to be heard and my office can set the standard to promote all to be at the table as new
Will all events planned by your office be accessible with all material including the appropriate accessibility symbols (such as the wheelchair, ASL CART, etc)? I will have an office that will be fully equipped and accessible with the necessary systems and symbols so all can be welcome because my office will be your office
A What is your position on the development of supported apartments/homes for people with disabled in your borough? I strongly support and will invest in the development of supportive apartments and homes for people that are disable in my borough. Many seniors live in rent stabilized and low-income housing that has not been renovated to accommodate residents who have been living in these units for decades. We will be sure that all people’s disabilities are placed as top priority when housing is developed and sustained throughout the 41st district.
B. Visitability sets guidelines to ensure newly constructed multi-family dwellings have basic accessible / adaptable features to permit people with disabilities can visit, and for residents to "age in place," without having to move out when age and/or disability set in. Do you support incorporating the concept of “visitability” in the Building Code? I completely support the concept of visibility in Building Codes to provide support for longstanding members of our community. Many seniors who have grown from early childhood in their homes and apartments should be at the best comfort in their homes. I have seen many seniors homebound due to landlords and property owners inability to provide renovations to units, and fail to have units available on 1st floor levels to ensure that the tenants have easy access to all exits and live their normal lives regardless of disability. It should be mandatory to provide basic accessible and adaptable features in all buildings, because disabled people have the right to the same quality of life as every resident.
What will you do to expand affordable wheelchair accessible transportation in NYC, express buses, and shuttles, more accessible subway stations, etc.? I will expand affordable wheelchair accessible transportation on MTA by pushing legislation that requires more elevators at various stations and routine and prompt bus scheduling to prevent overcrowding and allow room for disabled passengers.
Access-A-Ride (AAR) users experience unnecessarily long trips, causing users to be late for work and appointments. Users have been stranded and penalized as a "no-show" when the vehicle never arrived. Riders who complain report they have been subject to retaliation. What would you do to improve the quality of service? I will ensure that we will sit with the leadership to enforce the policies that will make sure that ALL drivers are courteous and provide the best quality of service. If any driver that treat any AAR user with poor service, my office will create a public list for the people to see which in turn will put pressure on the leadership to hire drivers with great quality over quantity.
VI. Community Boards:
Do you support requiring all Community Board meetings and functions to be accessible, including requiring sign language interpreters and large print format material? I strongly support requiring all the Community Board meetings be functioning and fully accessible to the disabled communities, along with visual aides, as well as providing access to sign language interpreters. I am dedicated to language and education access for all communities.
b How many people with disabilities have/will you appoint to your local Community Board? I will assure at least 2 members that I nominate of the 25 community board seats that I appoint to ensure that people with disabilities are equally represented in the community. The 2 members will reflect the 10% of brooklyn’s disabled population so that they can be leaders and the voice for issues and policy that directly affects this community.
VII. Discretionary Funds:
Will you use your discretionary funds to support organizations serving PWDS or service organizations seeking to make their programs accessible to PWDS? I will absolutely designate discretionary funds to support organizations serving PWDS as well as service organizations to make their programs accessible.
a. What steps do you think NYC should take to encourage business owners to make their establishments more accessible. The first steps that should be taken to ensure business owners make their establishments more accessible is by providing funding to assist in constructing accessibility. There also should be a mandatory training on the significance of accessibility so that employers and business owners are educated on disabled groups of people and how to become more inclusive for them.
b. How would you ensure that emergency evacuation for PWDS provisions are put in place to improve survival rates of PWDs in the event of fire, attack, blackout, or other emergency situation? I will work with all emergency services to push that such provisions for businesses and buildings to have innovative measures that will be in full compliance for all PWDS.
X. Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)
a. Mayor Bloomberg elevated the Director of the (MOPD) to a Commissioner without any increase in budget. How would you ensure that city departments/agencies coordinate through MOPD ? I would ensure that Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities develops a clear system with the community, myself as well as city departments and agencies. I would create an open line of communication when assessing community issues and taking action in correcting them and ensure that the city departments and agencies are properly equipped with the tools for varying situations.
How do you believe the City Council should enforce and do oversight regarding the work of the office and be certain of the implementation and its efforts? I believe that city council should enforce clear and distinct deadlines as well as detailed course of action for the implementation and work in the office. It is imperative that we place a strong emphasis on support of people with disabilities in a time that many marginalized groups are having their rights infringed upon. We must protect some of the most vulnerable citizen in our community by implementing policy with their best interests in mind.