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PODCAST: We Talk to Zohran Mamdani, a Democratic Socialist Who Will be Representing the 36th Assembly District in Astoria

Zohran Mamdani, who will represent the 36th Assembly District that covers Astoria

Sept. 18, 2020 By Christian Murray

We talk to Zohran Mamdani, a self-described socialist who will be representing the 36th Assembly District in Albany next year.

Mamdani, 28, is an Astoria resident who won the Democratic primary against incumbent Aravella Simotas in June in what proved to be a very competitive race. He was the only Queens assembly candidate endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America.

Mamdani, who will represent a district that covers Astoria, discusses his platform that aims to tackle the housing crisis, inequities in the criminal justice system, the inequalities of the public-school system, and a transportation system that he believes should include free MTA fares and better infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians.

He talks about the need for a progressive income tax structure to pay for many of the services that he believes should be free. He advocates increasing the personal income tax rate on people who earn more than $150,000 a year as well as taxing Wall Street.

Mamdani, who was previously a foreclosure prevention specialist, plans to focus heavily on the housing crisis. He talks about the need for universal rent control—which would cover all market rate apartments with the exception of most 2-to-3-family homes—to protect tenants in a similar manner as rent stabilization.

He talks about the need for a state flip tax—or short-term capital gains tax– to prevent speculators buying and selling property within 12 months for a hefty profit.

Mamdani said that one in four homes are bought by unnamed investors in Astoria which he says is leading to residents being priced out.

He is calling for the complete elimination of cash bail and solitary confinement, as well as a reduction in funding for the NYPD. While the NYPD budget falls under the purview of the city council, Mamdani said he will use his bully pulpit to advocate for the reallocation of those funds to homeless services and other areas that the NYPD is not best equipped to handle.

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25 Comments

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Melissa

This guy wants to increase taxes on people in NYC making $150k? Is he serious? Many people can’t afford that. People with multiple children, people with student loan debt. That’s not an extraordinary salary in NYC.

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Sunnysider

In my view Democratic Socialism is not really Socialism, but rather heavily regulated Capitalism — similar to how the middle of the 20th century was. The Reagan-era obsession with slashing taxes and eliminating all corporate regulation, though possibly well-intentioned at the time, has gone completely too far. Capitalism needs to be regulated; human beings are too greedy by nature. Nobody needs to be a billionaire. And billionaires have gotten there because they have bought favorable legislation from politicians, resulting in stagnant wages (and an unlivable minimum wage) for workers, elimination of pensions and other social safety nets, and what will be the final nail in the coffin: the inevitable demise of Social Security. The ratio of worker-to-employer compensation needs to be much closer that it has been allowed to become. No CEO needs to make 400 times what the guy in the mailroom makes. And if the guy in the mailroom actually ends up with disposable cash at the end of each month he’s going to BUY STUFF with it. That’s when regulated Capitalism works its magic.

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nobody needs to be a billionaire

this is a free country…whatever people earn is what they earn…who are you to decide who has “too much”…does this mean anytime someone who has more than me I can decide they have too much and take what they have??…I see people with beautiful homes, nice cars, and hot looking wives…can I just declare they have “too much” and take a piece of that??…I have diabetes and am in need of a kidney….can I just declare people have “too much” kidneys and take one of theirs to save my life??…Please stop trying to normalize victimizing others and taking what they have earned for themselves…maybe if you worked a little harder and were a little greedy yourself you would have more and wouldn’t look to steal others hard work in the name of socialism.

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Sunnyside

You’re right, it IS a free country but it’s not a FAIR country for the reason that I state above: The megawealthy BUY elections and policy that keeps them rich at the expense of the workers. They’ve gamed the system to shut out the majority of Americans. No one is suggesting that money be “taken” from someone and “given” to someone else. But if you’re Jeff Bezos you should be LEGALLY REQUIRED to pay your employees a living wage — and I mean a realistic living wage — and some benefits. If that means that you end up with a few billion dollars less in your pocket I can’t imagine that you’ll suffer much, while the lives of your employees will VASTLY IMPROVE and that will shore up Capitalism.

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Sarah

Nobody- You’re attempting to twist what Sunnysider has posted. Sunnyside makes a very good pout about Billionaires and their buying of favorable legislation. Money is power, the more money the more power. Money is used to secure and maintain power.

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whatareyoudoing?!

Regulations on skinny paychecks are not good. Stop voting demonrat period. Not good for the people what so ever. Let’s just make all of Queens look like the south bronx. libs here would love that.

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Sarah

Take your cry to places where RTW and other Republican low wage policies are already in effect like Mississippi, Alabama Arkansas or Tennessee. Poverty, education cuts, denial to access to health insurance, mass incarceration and guns, Republican ideals.

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Dave

The skinniest paychecks are in Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida,Georgia Texas and Arizona all Republican strongholds. The fattest checks are in Democratic strongholds just look it up.

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Joe

“A self-described socialist”, these guys label themselves and assume that’s it, that’s all they need to get into politics.
Well, what kind of socialist is he? For example, is he into Venezuelan socialism? what his agenda? What’s is he proposing? free MTA fares? “Free” is a typical and popular lefty concept bound to fail when it comes to public services, but I guess he’s starting his career, so he has to propose a free something.
To all these so called socialist, I would advice them to live abroad, experience the socialism by themselves, not what Bernie Sanders tell them, just go and live in Cuba, Venezuela for some time, if they survive, they might come back with a slightly different mindset about it.

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No Socialist need apply

Go down to Venezuela for 6 months look around and see how the very same policies you are promoting worked there. Anybody who is invested in western Queens should be very worried about the rise of socialists

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Guest

Why should any landlord be forced to renew a lease? Why should there be a just cause. MAKES NO SENSE. Anyone can have any “just cause”. It’s a lease, would you like to sign a 10 year lease? if so, let’s go, would you like to be responsible for rest of your lease agreement?

There are a lot of other things that keep going up, why can’t these people go against the increases that matter to everyone not just renters etc.

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Mac

It’s all in response to a pandemic caused by a negligent and late acting President who tells his followers to resist and “liberate” safety measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic he caused, while he makes sure he’s not exposed and tested daily as are the people he surrounds himself with. Good luck with the shooting antiseptic into your veins. You voted for it.

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Eileen Bennett

China caused the pandemic. The president stepped in early to prevent more from getting into the country. To all Biden supporters, please educate yourselves. At least give it your best shot.

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Mac

Hashtagger as Eileen: Educate yourself, you’re way too uninformed and gullible. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=G5TZ6fTYrsE&t=29s Trump has blood on his hands. Biden was second in command during three world wide pandemics and navigated the country through them much more efficiently and competently than Trump has with his suggestion to inject insecticide into people. His “It is what it is” quote will be his legacy. 2000,000 deaths and counting and we still haven’t hit a year yet. Florida is projected to pass NY in deaths by year end. To quote George Orwell “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves and traitors are not victims, but accomplices.”

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Ellen

Mac- What do you think the two thumbs down are for? Do those people know they’re voting for a treasonous corrupt politician for president and angry with you for pointing it out?

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you are a joke

those lies are not working anymore…sleepy Joe has no shot….see you at Amy Coney Barretts confirmation hearing

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Putin’s Rule 1 Deflect to China

Trumper – No the joke is obviously on gullible followers like you, who are told by a cult leader to resist and “liberate” the safety measures put in place to combat, what in private the cult leader states and knows is a highly contagious and deadly disease, what he publicly calls a mild flu and hoax. Trump is seeing how many of his followers he can kill and continue to support him. He doesn’t need to shoot anyone on 5th Avenue. See you at your discernment.

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Johnny D

Sleepy Joe? This is coined by an obese orange makeup wearing narcissistic blowhard who needs a nurse maid to help him navigate a ramp. A man who has trouble lifting a glass to his lips and is responsible for 200,000 dead Americans. Where in Russia are you?

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ABoondy

oh its way worse that that. Mamdani said that one in four homes are bought by unnamed investors in Astoria which he says is leading to residents being priced out. right, but when you manipulate that, then its no longer a free market, just another USSR. if you cant afford to live there, go to jamaica queens or live in the projects. there’s plenty of affordable homes there. can we get a real american politician in office? i’m tired of these socialists creating taxes that benefits them and nobody else.

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