photo of Andrew Cohen2013 Questionnaire response from:
Andrew Cohen, candidate for City Council (11th City Council District, Bronx)

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Candidate Name: Andrew Cohen


Labor: United Federation of Teachers (UFT), 1199 SEIU, Detectives Endowment Association, UFWC Local 1500, Uniformed Fire Officers Association, CWA 1180, Hotel Trade Council, Central Labor Council, 32 BJ, International Union of Operating Engineers, Retail Wholesale Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 831Uniformed Sanitationmens' Association, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, Professional Staff Congress (CUNY Employees), United Automobile Workers (UAW), Doctors Council SEIU

Political Organizations: Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, Liberty Democratic Association, Working Families Party, Stonewall Democratic Club

Issue Groups: NYCLass, Planned Parenthood NYC Action, New York League of Conservation Voters

Financial support: Steam Fitters, Mason Tenders, Uniformed Fire Fighters, Local 372 NYC Board of Education Employees, New York Justice PAC

Elected Officials and Community Leaders: Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Cong. Eliot Engel, Cong Charlie Rangel, State Senator Jeff Klein & Gustavo Rivera, City Council Member Oliver Koppell, James Vacca, Fernando Cabrera; Former City Council Member June Eisland, Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz & Mark Gjonaj; City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Former Comptroller Bill Thompson, District Leader Randi Martos & Bruce Feld, Ben Franklin President Elen Feld, State Committee Member William Weitz, Helen Morik, Joe McManus, Dan Paternacht, Ari Hoffnung



  1. Action Shows Commitment!


    1. While in public office/prior to this campaign, what have you accomplished in regard to advancing disability rights? This can include work towards accessible housing, transportation, employment, health care, education, and including people with disabilities in the political process?


      This is my first campaign for public office.


    2. Will you commit to only attend / sponsor events that are accessible to people with disabilities, including providing written materials in alternate formats, providing assistive listening systems, and sign language interpreters as well as ensuring that locations are physically accessible?




    3. Will all events planned by your office be accessible? Will all material include the appropriate accessibility symbols (such as the wheelchair, ASL, etc.)?




  2. General Questions


    1. What personal and professional experience have you had with people with disabilities in your personal life and in the workplace?


      I work in the court system for many years and encountered many people with disabilities, including co-workers.


    2. What type of jobs would you be willing to hire and to provide reasonable accommodation (e.g. flex or part time) for staff members with disabilities?


      I will make reasonable accommodations for all staff positions.


    3. How will you work closely with the disability community to assure passage of vitally needed legislation through the City Council? What will be your strategy?


      I know first hand what great advocates there are in the disability community. I will use the influence of the broad coalition that has rallied around my candidacy to be an effective legislator.


    4. Are parts of your district in a flood area? I so, what are your suggestions for a disaster plan to be worked out with OEM, first responders and your Community Board?


      While the 11th Council District is home to the highest natural point in the city I appreciate the need to have a system of contacting and supporting the disabled in a disaster.


    5. Do you or do you not support a registry of people with disabilities and others who should be contacted in case of an impending storm?


      (Voluntary Registry) Support.


  3. Housing


    1. Mayor Bloomberg blocked efforts to remove the income eligibility disparity between the DRIE (Disabled Rent Increase Exemption) and SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption) which freeze rents for low income seniors and people with disabilities. (At present individual senior or household income eligibility is $29,000. While the income for a single younger disabled individual is capped at $20,148 or $29,100 for a household?) What is your position on making DRIE and SCRIE eligibility comparable?


      I support equalization.


    2. Visitability sets guidelines to ensure newly constructed multi-family dwellings have basic accessible/adaptable features to permit people with disabilities can visit, and for residents to "age in place," without having to move out when age and/or disability set in. Do you support incorporating the concept of "visitability" in the Building Code?




  4. Transportation


    1. What will you do to support an expansion of affordable wheelchair accessible transportation in NYC, including express buses, and shuttles, more accessible subway stations, etc.?


      The City should work with the MTA to ensure the system is as accessible as possible.


    2. Access-A-Ride (AAR) users experience unnecessarily long trips, causing users to be late for work and appointments. Users have been stranded and penalized riders as a "no-show" when the vehicle never arrived. Riders who complain report they have been subject to retaliation. What would you do to improve the quality of service for those who must use AAR?


      As the Chair of Community Board 8's Aging Committee I have heard numerous complaints about access-a-ride. I invited Access-A-Ride to a committee meeting, held in a senior facility in the district. We had a thoughtful exchange and the service in the last few months does seem to be improving.


  5. Community Board


    1. Do you support requiring all Community Board meetings and functions be accessible, including requiring sign language interpreters and large print format material?


      On CB8 we only hold meetings in places that are wheelchair accessible. Yes.


    2. How many people with disabilities have/will you appoint to your local Community Board(s)?


      I will not have a quota but I will actively recruit people with disabilities.


    3. Will you support the "requirement" and implement, of a Disabled Committee on every Community Board?


      I cannot dictate that such a committee be created but I would support the creation of such a committee.


  6. Discretionary Funds


    Will you use your discretionary funds to support organizations serving people with disabilities or service organizations seeking to make their programs accessible to people with disabilities?




  7. Accessibility


    1. Under Mayor Bloomberg, the City settled with the United Spinal Association and agreed to install pedestrian ramps, on all corners which presently don't have one. However, no provision was made to repair and/or replace the current ones which are unsafe. How would you ensure that pedestrian ramps are provided or repaired? What would you establish as a timetable?


      This is a real issue in the 11th Council District. I will work aggressively to see that the corners are maintained.


  8. Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD)


    1. Mayor Bloomberg elevated the Director of the (MOPD) to a Commissioner without any increase in budget or responsibilities. How do you believe the City Council should enforce and do oversight regarding the work of the office and be certain of the implementation and its efforts?


      Oversight is a core mission of the council and we will hold appropriate hearings to ensure that the MOPD is able to fulfill its mission.



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For other candidates running for City Council, go to the Questionnaires section