Watch: Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley reveals plans for NYC's recovery


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — In about two months, New Yorkers will vote in the mayoral primaries before hitting the polls in November to decide who will lead the city through its pandemic recovery.

More than two dozen men and women are running to replace the outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio, including his former counsel Maya Wiley.

Wiley, an attorney and civil rights activist, chaired the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board after working at City Hall.

She also worked as a legal analyst on MSNBC before announcing her run for mayor last October.

Anchor Lynda Lopez spoke with Wiley for Friday's installment of the 880 Weekly Rewind and  asked how she plans to help the city recover and what she plans to focus on, not just to shepherd the city out of the devastated economy, but to make it work going forward.

"We had an affordability crisis before COVID hit. We have been struggling, frankly, with racial issues and racial injustice for generations, actually, but coming to a head as we saw this summer," Wiley said. "We've had this kind of spiritual exhaustion because of the division, because of the struggle of daily life, and then COVID hits and now we're traumatized and our economy is in tatters. We have 400,000 people facing eviction. We have over 200 million going hungry. This is a crisis of historic proportion, but as the candidate in this race that has also been in that hot kitchen we call City Hall, I also know that we have resources that we can use in order to not just meet the needs of our people right now, but start to solve some of our affordability issues."

One of her proposals, New Deal New York, would create 100,000 new jobs by spending $10 billion of the capital construction budget to build affordable housing.

Another proposal would focus on investing in child and elderly care.

"The cost of child care and elder care is one of the top three expenses in the city before COVID, but what we're going to do is put $,5000 a year into the pockets of, starting with 100,000 of our neediest families, to care for children and elderly adults, but we're also going to create community care centers," Wiley said.

Lopez also asked Wiley what she would do as mayor to improve the city's schools and equity in education.

Educational equity was brought to the forefront when it became clear Black and Brown students were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic shutdown.

Minority students were at a disadvantage when it came to remote work.

Many families in underserved communities lacked the digital tools and resources to thrive in the virtual learning environment.

Wiley said every students deserves an exceptional education and that means ensuring that more dollars are getting into the classroom and to help kids who are struggling to get online.

"Something I've done inside City Hall is show city government how to do free broadband, getting every single apartment in Queensbridge Houses free service that the city paid for. I did that as counsel to the mayor, I know how to get it done, but we have to do that now because we don't develop the educational opportunities for our kids if we're not solving that digital divide,” Wiley said. “That is critically important.”

Wiley also said it’s time to stop policies that discriminate against children.

“We should not be using any admission standards that aren't really about what kids need but are rather about what families have the resources to pay for the tutoring that gets them over the hump on a test,” Wiley said. “First of all, families shouldn't have to do that and far too many of our families don't have the resources to do it and it's not meeting an educational agenda.”

She also proposes cutting some of the bureaucracy that's coming out of the Department of Education to open the door for principals and teachers to bring more innovation to the table.

“There is a lot of it in our system, but it gets strangled by some of these rules rather than really thinking about what serves the need of our students particularly at a time when we have so much to do to help them come back," Wiley.

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