As a 25 year resident of this Ward, my values are reflective of the community’s values. As this campaign listens to your stories, we look foward to further shaping these ideas.
We will build a movement where EVERYONE in our Ward matters and EVERYONE counts.
These policies, which are a work in progress (based on your voices) reflect a deep understanding of my values, my passion, and my love for our community. If there is an issue that we haven’t covered here, please reach out/text John personally at: 401-227-5056. This campaign will be about accessibilty, not politics as usual.
Most importantly, the values of this campaign will be putting COMMUNITY FIRST.
WORK TO IMPROVE RESIDENT SERVICES
Together, we will…
- Make government work for constituents
- Support budget investments in taxpayer services (trash collection, snow removal, potholes)
- Create efficiency in using taxpayer dollars without cutting services
- Create policy and ordinances that would improve city services
FIGHT FOR QUALITY K-12 PUBLIC EDUCATION
Together, we will…
- Fight tirelessly for universal, quality education that all children in Providence’s public schools deserve. This issue is of utmost importance to me as an educator and as an alum of Vartan Gregorian (Providence Public Schools)
- Ensure a city budget that invests in public school teachers and classrooms, improving research-based educational practices and pedagogy, supporting school infrastructure improvements, academic achievement, and wrap-around partnership services to strengthen the bond between schools and their communities in light of the recent John Hopkins report
- Champion the implementation of social-emotional learning, teaching the “whole child,” and a culturally responsive curriculum while fostering an environment to best help teachers facilitate these goals
- Recognize the true potential of our students, teachers and unions by providing resources for cutting-edge, quality professional development
FIGHT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
Together, we will…
- Expand and promote investment in renewable energy in recognition of our role in fighting against the climate crisis while creating positive economic growth for the City of Providence
- Fight to ensure that every Ward 1 resident has access to healthy food options, clean air, and clean water. Additionally, let’s continue to advocate for sustainable, green spaces such as the Fox Point community garden and India Point Park
- Lift the voices of and protect communities who are most at risk for exploitation and environmental racism (learn more here.)
ENHANCE PUBLIC SAFETY
Together, we will…
- Advocate for better ways to keep our community safe
- Support the use of restorative justice, community policing, and continue to foster positive relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve
- Through legislation and city ordinances, advocate for the creation of services for crime and violence prevention in our community
ADVOCATE FOR SMART DEVELOPMENT & ZONING AS WELL AS AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Together, we will…
- Encourage robust economic development that increases jobs and municipal revenues for public schools, roads, and other city services (while also making sure that projects have the support of neighborhood residents)
- Encourage more union jobs that prioritize our workers
- Facilitate development but enforce and apply fair, inclusionary and equitable zoning principles that truly reflect the historic vibrancy and character of our Fox Point, Wayland Square, College Hill, Jewelry District, and Downtown neighborhoods
- Fight gentrification and prioritize the expansion of more affordable housing options FOR ALL both in our Ward and in the greater city of Providence
- Finally, we have great property managers and landlords in our Ward but not all of them are created equal. It’s time to finally hold some of the negligent college landlords accountable
TRANSPARENCY ON PROPERTY TAXATION
Together, we will…
- Critically analyze the property tax system and inequities in the system, working with economists, tax/ data experts, and lawmakers to further study and properly vet the short and long-term implications of tax policy changes
- Ensure predictability for ALL taxpayers by addressing the dramatic, sudden, and burdensome swings in property valuations
- Enhance constituent transparency and visibility by being fully transparent about any proposed property tax changes and work with legislators to figure out alternative solutions to generate enough municipal revenues and mitigate the burdens on all communities, especially for the most vulnerable (low-income, elderly/senior citizens on a fixed income, those who are disabled) in our city without having to shift additional tax burdens on our Ward/The East Side. An example of this are “curuit breakers.” We should further study and evaluate exemptions for residents earning below a set income level (rather than providing exemptions based on percentage of income devoted to property taxes) and see if implementing “circuit breakers” so there is a limit on the percentage of income any resident pays in property taxes, is something worth studying
- We should also further study and evaluate other successful local policies, property tax markets and models around the country
- Ultimately, let’s fight tooth and nail to support hard working renters and homeowners in our Ward that simply are trying to do right by their children and families
WORK TO PROTECT CITY ORDINANCES
- eScooters, Bike Sharing? The myriad benefits of bike-sharing such as the positive health, financial and sustainable environmental impacts, as well as the reduction in congestion and vehicle emissions, should be embraced, but not at the expense of public safety. I will work with city leaders to strengthen legislation and the implementation of strong coherent plans that will allow us to enjoy these benefits all while maintaining public safety
- Parking Issues? ATVs? Noise? Litter? Graffiti? I will be very responsive to constituents and work closely with city departments to ensure that we enforce city ordinances
FIGHT FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE & JOB EQUITY
- We have to raise wages to meet the current cost of living. Someone working for $10.50 an hour isn’t living well in this city, and we all know it. That’s why I support a higher minimum wage with no exceptions, indexed to inflation, and phased in gradually so business owners and workers can plan, budget, and adapt.
- We also know wages are just one part of the equation. I will work hard to ensure Earned Sick and Safe Time is effectively implemented and enforced, and I support updating our work-hours standards as well as all workers’ right to organize in labor unions.
- Finally, we will work hard to support Downtown businesses as well as small mom-and-pop business in Fox Point, College Hill and Wayland Square
Underlying all of these policies requires a system that is truly inclusive and understands the diginity of ALL people. Our diverse coalition and campaign will tirelessly advocate for:
HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE
- Women’s Rights
- LGBTQ Rights
- Disablity Rights
- People of Color & Native American Rights
- Immigrant Rights
Please check back for updates as our policy platform will be informed by your voices!
HOUSING & HOMELESSNESS POLICY PLATFORM
These priorities were identified and developed through partnership with HOPE, community organizers, academics, researchers, and service providers in the state of Rhode Island.
As Ward 1 City Councilor, I will…
- Pass Councilwoman Rachel Miller’s ordinance that legally prohibits landlords from denying housing based on an individual’s source of income, including possession of a Housing Choice or “Section 8” Voucher or other government rental assistance.
- Recognize that a city council ordinance alone will not fully address source of income discrimination. In a rental market where many low-income and marginally-housed renters are priced out of Providence and forced to rent outside of the city’s bounds, it is critical that we pass statewide source of income discrimination legislation. The State House must pass Senator Metts’ S2134 to outlaw source of income discrimination throughout the state, and I will do whatever I can–in partnership with Homes RI–to make sure that this critical legislation is passed this session.
- Fight against Rhode Island’s ongoing and largely unaddressed eviction crisis. On an annual basis, 85 East Side families are evicted. Even when renting families are not evicted, court proceedings with landlords–even those decided in the tenant’s favor–often “blacklist” families from renting in the future. As City Councilor, I will introduce, in consultation with the Rhode Island Center for Justice, a city council ordinance similar to Rhode Island H8085 that seals all city court files related to housing cases which were resolved in the tenant’s favor.
- Introduce legislation, similar to Washington D.C. ‘s 2017 Expanding Access to Justice Act (B21-0879), that funds a pilot project to study the impact of civil right to counsel for low-income Rhode Islanders in housing cases. Too often, low-income Rhode Islanders face evictions without proper legal counsel while their more-resourced landlords can afford effective legal representation. Carrying out a pilot study to demonstrate the effectiveness of legal counsel in keeping families in their homes is an important step in addressing housing instability in our city.
- Support calls for city-wide rent stabilization, led by Direct Action for Rights & Equality (DARE), and its corresponding legislation. Solving our city’s housing crisis requires that we get at the crisis’s core: rent increases have outpaced wage increases for too long. We need a city ordinance that limits how much rent can increase each year.
- Support Governor Raimondo’s efforts to add a permanent funding stream for the construction of affordable housing to the state budget. Addressing our city and state’s housing crises requires adequate funding, and Rhode Island has lagged behind our New England peers in affordable housing investment for too long. We must also recognize that the funding the Governor proposed is not enough: to fully address our state’s affordable housing needs, a $25 million funding stream is needed, rather than the $10 currently proposed.
- Lower barriers to accessing stable, affordable housing for people experiencing homelessness. As City Councilor, I will introduce legislation, in consultation with House of Hope CDC, similar to California’s 2014 AB 1733, that waives fees for securing government IDs and vital records for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
- Support calls by the DARE’s Tenant and Homeowners Association of DARE to permanently include a low-income renter on the Providence Redevelopment Authority’s governing board of the Providence Housing Trust Fund. Including representation from low-income tenants is critical in ensuring the judicious and effective use of housing funds for those who most need them.
SMALL BUSINESS PLAN
As Ward 1 City Councilor, I will:
- Support small business growth so they can thrive and generate more municipal revenue
- propose a tax reduction for any business that is willing to implement a charging station in their parking lot
- Help small businesses in the 21st century
Support Small Businesses – The cornerstone of a healthy Providence economy is small businesses. John wants to ensure that all small businesses in Ward 1 have the support they need to thrive and expand.
An example of what John has done for small businesses….
John organized East Siders and small business owners to help fight against the permanent closure of the Gano Street Exit. This had and continues to have a very positive impact on our community especially for our small businesses who rely on this exit for consumers to use. Without doing this, it may have been detrimental to our small business community.
Support A Green Economy – On the campaign trail one topic that often is brought up by community members is the lack of electric car charging stations in the City and State. As a way to encourage these important stations becoming available and to help small businesses gain “traffic” in its stores at the same time we will propose a tax reduction for any business that is willing to implement a charging station in their parking lot or business space for a minimum of two years. By doing so this will not only help small businesses with attracting customers who need to charge their electric vehicles – it will also help bring new possible consumers and residents into our City – not to mention it will help our environment at the same time.
Support Smart Economic Development – Since announcing my campaign, and well before then I have talked about how I support development, but we need to have smart development. What this means is that instead of big developers coming into Providence marking all the legal check boxes and then being allowed to build whatever they want, there is a process built into the system that requires developers to hold community forums. This will allow community members to share their concerns about certain developments and will allow community members to have a say as to what comes to our City. While working and living in Minnesota I saw this systematic process and saw the positive it had on the community.
I believe this will have a long term positive impact on our business community because it will likely prevent numerous residents from leaving our community due to their frustration with the direction our City is going in when it comes to big development -or the possibility that they may be forced out of their home due to the ever occurring tax burden put onto our residents. While one of my opponents has been on record as saying “the only way we can get ourselves out of this is through more development,” I know this isn’t the case and that is not the way I will govern when elected because I know that isn’t what is best for our community!
Help Small Business In The 21st Century – Many of our small businesses have been family owned for decades and we are very fortunate to have them in our community still and seeing them doing well.
While many business practices continue to succeed with tradition such as good customer service, family recipes, and a strong work ethic, we know that it’s becoming harder and harder for small businesses to compete against emerging technology and corporate giants like Amazon.
In order to make sure our small businesses can continue to survive and thrive in the 21st century and beyond, I will propose a small business development center in our City. This can be something that helps small business owners learn how to use technology like Facebook ads, learn about how to use simple but yet complicated for non tech savvy generations things like four square for credit card transactions or simply a way for struggling business owners to seek guidance from a business professional who understands the needs and concerns of small businesses.
For many years, our small businesses have invested heavily in our community in order to keep it thriving and the time to invest in our small business community is now!