Many politicians aspire to run for higher office, but it’s new territory for 30-year Brooklyn resident, Richard Bashner, who will be on the NYC mayoral ballot this Fall as a Democrat.
“To do this difficult job correctly, a mayor must focus 100 percent of her or his time and energy to making the City better for all the people of New York,” Bashner said. “If elected, I pledge to do this for four years, and hopefully eight, without so much as a thought to raising my national or international profile.”
Who is Richard Bashner
Aside from being a real estate attorney at Becker, Glynn, Muffly, Chassin & Hosinski LLP, Bashner has also been the chair of Community Board 6 for 18 years. CB6, which includes Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope and Red Hook. CB6 is where Bashner led public hearings on proposed legislations such as same-sex marriage and the Prospect Park West bike lane. It is also where he fought for public input on many development projects.
“One of my top priorities is to limit the power of big real estate over NYC land use policy,” Bashner said. “Everywhere, we are seeing uncontrolled development that does not fit into the neighborhood.”
When he was in CB6, he proposed an enhanced review process to address large scale development. In 2009, the Responsible Development Policy was adopted to increase transparency. The policy ensured that “developers fully explain their projects at the earliest opportunity, to ensure meaningful resolution of any problems, and the opportunity to mitigate any impacts,” Bashner explained.
Why he’s running for mayor
“Now more than ever, New York needs a transparent government which represents all New Yorkers,” Bashner said.
“We need a city government that focuses on our neighborhoods and our communities, rather than serving real estate developers, campaign contributors, and lobbyists. Everyone should have the security of a safe place to live, access to necessary services, quality education, and the ability to live as themselves.”
On President Trump’s immigration policies
Bashner assures New Yorkers that he would “stand up to the regressive policies” of Trump, “not through talk, but through action.”
“I will ensure that all NYC employees are trained on how to protect immigrants who interact with our agencies,” Bashner said. “This includes law enforcement, certainly, but also those who work in housing, social services, education, and elsewhere in the administration.”
Bashner wants to make sure all New Yorkers feel welcomed, as they should “never feel like they are putting themselves and their family at risk for reporting a crime,” he said.
Getting the MTA back on track
Bashner has been riding the subway his whole life, whether it was waiting for the 7th Avenue F train, or standing on a platform in the Bronx. And he believes he has the solution for fixing the transit system straphangers are complaining about.
“I would fight for a fully-funded plan that actually covers the costs of not only operating the subways and buses but also bringing them into the 21st century,” Bashner said. “In addition, we need to figure out how to support low-income workers and job seekers by reducing their commuting costs.”
But the main concern, he believes, is closing the gap between the mayor and governor.
“My first steps to fix the MTA, the subways, and the buses, would be to develop a good working relationship with the governor and address underserved areas of the city,” he said.
And Bashner expects to have a very positive relationship with Cuomo, especially because he believes it’s the first step to getting things done in the city.
“I don’t care about ego and who gets the credit,” he said. “I care about getting results for the people of New York City and that means working with our State and Federal government in a smooth professional manner, but also standing up to them when needed.”
On addressing homelessness
Homelessness is a huge issue plaguing this city right now. In fact, according to the Coalition for the Homeless, NYC has the highest levels of homelessness since the Great Depression. And for that, Bashner has a solution.
“We need to build housing that benefits the surrounding community, not destabilizes it,” Bashner said. “My plan concentrates on building housing for senior and disabled people in a services-rich environment. This will free up larger apartments for families.”
He also wants to declare a state of emergency to help reduce the unsheltered homeless population.
On the right to dance
NYC’s Cabaret Law dates back to 1926 and prohibits dancing in public spaces open to food or drinks (unless a cabaret license is obtained), originally created to target the black Jazz clubs in Harlem.
Bashner wants to end what he calls “the mayor’s defense of a ridiculous law” that is “a waste of time and money for no good purpose,” he said.
“This is another example of unnecessary restrictions on small business, which are the lifeblood of our city,” Bashner said. “It is also an example of an outdated law, based on racial discrimination, intended to keep people different races from dancing together in Harlem.”
Looking toward the future
From the many New Yorker’s he’s spoken to, he’s learned that residents are “desperate for a change,” he said.
“Put it this way, I strongly supported de Blasio in 2013, and I’ve been so disillusioned that I felt compelled to run against him,” Bashner said. “In speaking with many New Yorkers I have learned learned that the level of dissatisfaction is even greater than I thought and that the people of this city are desperate for change.”
Though many people believe the election is over, Bashner believes “it has just begun.”
“I have the strongest combination of progressive values, concrete ideas, and experience to get the job done right.”
After all, he’s a Brooklynite.
To learn more about Bashner’s campaign, check out his website here.