June 18, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A city council candidate in Sunnyside has proposed a program that aims to provide 25,000 jobs through investments in the arts and sanitation fields.
The New York City Employment Initiative, which was drafted by District 26 candidate Hailie Kim, intends to serve as a de facto pilot program for a federal job guarantee.
Kim says the jobs will provide a real public benefit and not be “make-work.” She says the jobs would be the kind that her mother, a nail technician who briefly lost her job during the pandemic, could do.
The proposal calls on the city to make permanent the New York City Cleanup Corps program, which used federal money from the most recent stimulus bill to hire 10,000 people to maintain and improve public spaces. The program is a temporary one due to the temporary source of its funding.
Other jobs would include having the Department of Transportation hire people to monitor barriers at open streets, and to install and remove barricades for green markets and street fairs.
The program also includes a significant investment in arts programs, including hiring artists to teach after-school classes, and subsidizing galleries and theaters, which would hire actors and artists.
“While reducing unemployment is the driving motivation, the newly provided public services are equally important, and will be enjoyed by every New Yorker,” said Kim.
The program would cost $1 billion, or a net estimate of $40,000 per employee, and would be paid for by reallocating funds from the NYPD, said Kim. Kim says she would be in favor of cutting $3 billion from the $10.9 billion the city allocates for NYPD expenses, which includes an operating budget of $5.6 billion. The other $2 billion should go towards public education, mental health and addiction services, community crisis responders and other social care programs, she adds.
“Given the strong correlation between unemployment and crime, this seems an entirely appropriate and necessary reallocation of funds,” said Kim.
The proposal has received support from several other city council candidates around the city, including John Choe, who is running in District 20.
“I look forward to collaborating closely with Hailie Kim and other visionary leaders to establish the NYC Employment Initiative to recruit, train, and send out 25,000 New Yorkers to address critical community needs, revive our neighborhoods, and jumpstart the Green New Deal for NYC,” said Choe.
Kim is one of 15 candidates running to replace the term-limited Jimmy Van Bramer in a district that includes Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and Astoria.