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Brooklyn Movement Center sits down with Walter Mosley

(Audio transcript at end of the page)


Where does Mosley’s money come from?

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Social Media

Legislative History

(For Walter Mosley’s full legislative history, click here)

Notable Bills Co-Sponsored

  • Make it possible to sue if someone intentionally removes a condom during sex without letting you know (link
  • Raise the prison minimum wage $3/hr (link
  • Decriminalize the possession of needles used for injecting drugs (link
  • Lower the voting age to 16 years (link
  • Establish a commission to study a ban single use plastic (link)

Notable Votes

  • Voted YES to create a law enforcement misconduct investigative office (link)
  • Voted YES to compel law enforcement to provide people in their custody with medical attention if requested (link)
  • Voted YES to create a body-cam accountability program for New York State police (link)
  • Voted YES to prohibit police from racial and ethnic profiling (link)

Recent Press

COVID-19

  • Walter Mosley pushes de Blasio and Cuomo to house homeless individuals in hotels (link)
  • Walter Mosley was in attendance at a virtual rally calling for the release of aging and vulnerable people from prisons during COVID-19 crisis. (link)

Criminal Justice 

  • Walter Mosley holds a press conference to introduce the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Bill (link)
  • Walter Mosley introduced the Less Is More Act, which reforms the parole system to reduce the likelihood people will be re-arrested for technical violations. (link)
  • In 2017, Walter Mosley wrote an article discussing the pros and cons of criminal justice laws being debated in the NYS Legislature. (link)

Housing Developments 

  • Walter Mosley is concerned about the timetable for building affordable housing at Atlantic Yards development (link)
  • Anti-gentrification activist explains why the housing complex Walter Mosley supports will accelerate displacement and create unaffordable rental units (link)

Business

  • Walter Mosley celebrates Amazon pull out from Long Island City Headquarters Plan (link)

Environment

  • Walter Mosley receives a perfect score for environmental advocates (link)



BMC Interview Transcript

Anthonine Pierre:
Peace everyone, welcome to Brooklyn Deep’s Third Rail, where we tackle political and social change issues that impact the lives of Central Brooklynites. I’m Anthonine Pierre, Deputy Director of Brooklyn Movement Center and your guest host today. I know y’all are usually used to hearing Mark but you know, it’s quarantine and social distancing. Everything’s a little upside down. So on today’s show, we’re digging into these politics to bring you interviews with the two candidates, who are running to be Democratic candidates for the 57th Assembly District, Walter Mosley and Ferris in front. So I’m here first with Walter Mosley, could you introduce yourself and say hi to the people.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Hey BMC and Anthonine. Thank you so much for having me. Thank you for still moving forward with your programming even in the midst of this state of emergency during this pandemic, which has shut the state down, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t keep on moving forward in terms of our agendas. My name is New York State Assemblyman Walter Mosley. I represent the 57th Assembly District, which represents the neighborhoods of Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Prospect Heights, portions of Bedford Stuyvesant and portions of Crown Heights. I’ve been serving this community, pretty much all my life. I grew up in Crown Heights. My mom and my dad were raised in Crown Heights, right on 591 Crown Street, where I had my initial formative years. And then we moved to Clinton Hill where my mother still lives. And where I live and have the opportunity to represent. I have been serving like I said since 2013. I sit on several committees, but some of the more important committees I serve on are Housing, Education, Corrections, and Codes, which we call that the criminal justice, the de facto criminal justice committee. And I also chaired the Career Development Subcommittee, which is under the umbrella of the Labor Committee. It’s been my honor to not only serve this community, but a community that helped raise me and the community, which I’ve raised my children in. And so it’s a pleasure and a privilege to be here and I look forward to our conversation.

Anthonine Pierre:
Great, thanks so much. You gave so much good intro. So for voters who have never heard of you, you’ve told us a little bit about who you are, but why should they vote for you?

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Well, I think the one thing I think we want to try to do is that we present ourselves with a track record that, I think, is proven to come from what we originally ran on. So, for me, that was the creation and the preservation of affordable housing. And over these years, we’ve not only been able to pass the most progressive package of tenant protection laws in the TPU of 2019, and that was a package of laws, which strengthen tenants rights and allow for us to preserve the affordable housing that we do have in our stock, but then also, some of the affordable housing that we were still able to preserve. So whether it was preserving Mitchell Lama housing, in the Clinton Hill section in my district, or preserving rent stabilized housing in the old Crown Heights Jewish hospital facility, which has over thousands of residents who rely upon rent stabilized units. Or working diligently on behalf of my NYCHA residents, making sure they got the necessary resources, even in the midst of the city’s shortcomings. Or dealing with rent stabilized apartments in the Crown Heights section of my district, making sure that we listen to them and engage them whether it’s people in Ebbets Field, Tivoli Towers or along Eastern Parkway or even in the side streets of Montgomery Street, Union Street, Franklin Avenue, or wherever, making sure that we remained engaged with those tenant associations and block associations to preserve affordable housing.

But we also talked about criminal justice reform, making sure that we did our part to kind of discontinue that pipeline to our criminal justice facilities in upstate New York, making sure that we advocate for young black and brown men and women, even in the midst of stop and frisk understanding that we dealt with stopping Frisk through my predecessor. Now it was about my time to talk about bail reform, talking about parole reform, talking about elder law and solitary confinement reform. So those things coupled with, as a former educator, a third generation educator, understanding the importance of education, that if we don’t make an investment into our young people, we are forfeiting our future. So obviously advocating for the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. And although we have not made good on that promise to adhere to properly funding our children and particularly our public school students, that has unfortunately allowed for me to vote no on these last two budgets, in large part because of that. So whether we’re talking about education, whether they talk about housing, when they’re talking about criminal justice reform, three of the major things that was a part of my platform that I continue to advocate for and that we’ve been able to have some significant accomplishments going forward. But ultimately, making sure that we move Brooklyn forward while leaving no one behind.

Anthonine Pierre:
Great, thank you. Yeah, you had a lot of good notes. And we’re gonna dig into some of those issues a little bit later. But first, you know, we all of our lives have been up-ended by COVID-19. And if you’re a black person in Central Brooklyn, you’ve definitely been talking about what it’s looked like for the disproportionate impacts, for Central Brooklynites to be disproportionately impacted from the the racial disparities and social distancing arrests to the infection rates and how different they are in the district versus outside of the district. So what’s your assessment of what is needed within Central Brooklyn as a response to COVID-19?

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Well, I think what needs to be done and I started talking about this when the preliminary budget negotiations were happening right before the April 1 statutory, constitutional deadline for us to pass an on time budget. And then, I was talking about the drastic and the draconian cuts to our health care system that was absolutely over the top, something that we felt. Well, it’s me as a member of the Assembly majority and a lot of my colleagues felt it was too much in terms of taking away from the infrastructure that we that so many people rely upon, particularly those who are on Medicaid, and Medicare-assisted patients.

But what happened with the onslaught of COVID… it only just highlighted that point. It only brought that to the forefront. And I think what we really need to do is kind of just reevaluate that, although we have the one Brooklyn Health Initiative, and although we’ve tried to get away from brick and mortar, that when times get rough in a pandemic happens, the one place we turn to is to our hospitals, and to the people who are in those hospitals. And I’m thankful that I have endorsement of SEIU1199 and [New York State Nurses Association]… because we’ve been partners in advocating for a One Brooklyn health system, while as we consolidate hospitals in terms of their ability to be efficient and sustainable and providing services that they do it in a coordinated fashion, so no one’s disconnected. That there is no people, there’s no institutions operating in separate silos, but they’re all connected, but at the same time understanding that we can’t do this without the proper personnel, and the properly trained personnel who are in those hospitals to meet a situation just like this.

So I think going forward, we need to kind of think about how do we move forward with how to be provide healthcare, but at the same time, understanding that we have to kind of reevaluate and study this impact this disproportionate impact that this pandemic has had on our community, particularly black and brown communities throughout the city of New York and throughout cities throughout the state. Because we’re all experiencing the same thing. Whether you’re talking about Albany or Rochester, or Buffalo, or in Nassau County, we are all experiencing a disproportionate impact of people who are not only being affected but who are dying. And unfortunately Brooklyn has become, as you know, the epicenter of the most deaths related to COVID in the state of New York and in the country. So, we are looking at this as an opportunity. But we also have to be frank and honest with ourselves in terms of what we need to do so to do so going forward when we do hit another pandemic, that we don’t find ourselves with the same results.

Anthonine Pierre:
Great, thanks. And for folks who may not know NYSNA, that’s the New York State Nurses Association… You have definitely been vocal on these issues. As a Central Brooklynite, how do you see your role in the Assembly, in terms of securing those things that we need? So going beyond the bully pulpit…

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
So in the past, you know, we’ve always been frank about with the governor in the executive branch, that hospitals like Interfaith Hospital, which is a safety net hospital. Hospitals like Woodhall, another safety net hospital have to be a part of the equation, has to be a part of the solution going forward. And I think we’ve seen this bear fruit, unfortunately, when we saw the closing of LICH (Long Island College Hospital), in Downtown Brooklyn and the impact that it had on the community as a whole. You know, people took for granted a hospital that nature like caliber being eliminated. The vacuum that it left was immense. So hospitals like Methodist and other hospitals had to take the brunt of all those other patients. And as a result, it impacted their quality of health care that they could give to their clients or customers or you know. So, to me, I think as much as I have advocate for Brooklyn Hospital, which is a privately run hospital, but yet we do get a disproportionate number of Medicaid and Medicare patients. We also have to fight for hospitals like Interfaith and Woodhall, because ultimately, they’re all a part of the same network. They all serve similar communities, similar demographics. Some people have private insurance, some people don’t.

But we also ultimately have to talk about how do we get to a system of universal health care, the one health care system where we’re serving everybody. Because what we’re seeing now in this pandemic is that health care related to people’s jobs could have a far, far more detrimental impact than if we would have a pre existing universal health care bill, a bill that I am co-sponsor on that’s been advocated for many years by Assemblyman Dick Godfried and Senator Gustavo Rivera from the Bronx. If we don’t see the problem having our healthcare being affiliated with our job status, our employment status, then we’re going to be winding up in the same predicament as we have in the past.

So we have to find the resources. We have to do what we can to raise resources, whether that’s raising revenue through taxation, whether it’s through our millionaire’s tax, or ultra millionaires or billionaires tax or pied-à-terre or stock transfer tax. We have to find ways to raise revenue so that we can provide for services that are universally accepted around the world, and that we see in other countries who have universal health care. They’re not in the same predicament. There’s a correlation… we have over 100,000 people dying of this disease, we make up almost a third of those who have lost their lives globally. And yet, we still have to justify why we still need universal health care going forward.

Anthonine Pierre:
Yeah, thank you. And thanks. Thanks for also parsing out you know, some of the different issues with healthcare. I mean, how we get health insurance and then separately just naming for folks that in talking about the hospitals, the part of the reason why so much of the conversation in the state revolves around funding is that hospitals are administrated by the Health and Hospitals Corporation, which is a city entity. But the state’s role in that really is to draw down funding, right? So I would love to talk about health all day, especially because that’s the time that we’re in, but I think I only have time for one more follow up question here, which is, you speak about taxation, and that being a way they draw down the revenue to public hospitals that we need. And we know that public hospitals are largely used by poor people, right? People who can’t afford to go to Brooklyn Hospital. So you’re talking about taxation in terms of like pied-à-terre, and for folks who don’t know those are like if you have a co-op that you rent, but you don’t live in, for example. So how do you in terms of taxation and rectifying this issue? Do you feel like are you advocating for, like progressive tax policies, and for folks listening progressive tax policies, ideally taxing the rich to provide services for folks who can’t afford them.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Without question. You know, there are different ways in which we can raise revenue. So we can raise revenue, for instance, through online gaming, right? We can raise revenue if we pass the Cannabis Regulation Taxation Act (CRTA), where I sit as the co-chair of the task force of the caucus, along with our prime sponsor, Crystal People-Stokes from Buffalo, our Majority Leader. Coupled with that, we could also raise taxes the more traditional way through taxing those individuals who have disproportionately been able to skirt our laws and skirt paying they’re proportionate amount of tax to state coffers, because of special interests and people who are allowed to be protected.

But to me, if we can’t raise taxes on the ultra rich during a time like this, this will be used against us going forward for any other times in which we start talking about raising revenue, trying to generate revenue through taxation. Because during a global pandemic, where we will probably experience a recession for the next year or two, where millions of New Yorkers are losing, have lost jobs and are still losing their jobs. And we are still trying to determine how we’re going to open up as a state that if we can’t, if we can’t justify raising taxation, raising revenue now through taxes, when will we ever have this opportunity to do so?

So I think we’re setting ourselves up for a big downfall, for a huge disappointment if we don’t do this. I know that myself, along with some of my more progressive colleagues have been talking about this for years. And in large part, it’s why we voted no on the budget, in part because if we expect everybody to benefit from the ultimate comeback of the state of New York, that means everybody should be chipping in proportionate to what they can chip in. But it’s still a conversation that’s only on the rolls. We know that so many public entities and public jobs will be lost, again, taxable revenue, that is paid through payroll taxes… that will be lost. So we have to find ways to come up with money to pay for programs that will put us in a far better position than where we were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Because if we don’t, the next pandemic we hit could have a far more devastating impact. And we know how devastating this current pandemic has had not only on our healthcare system and the health of New Yorkers, you know, throughout our state, but also on the economy of our state.

Anthonine Pierre:
Yeah, listen, we can’t even talk about the next pandemic yet, because we’re not through with this one. But let’s take out slow, because folks are going through it.

So I want you’ve mentioned the budget a bunch. Full disclosure for folks listening: Brooklyn Movement Center did work around rolling out bail reform, and actually, the Assemblymember and I have been at a lot of the same press conferences. So that said, you voted NO on the budget.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
For the past two years…

Anthonine Pierre:
Great. So tell us what that means. As an assembly member, the Assembly in total actually voted to approve that budget. So how do you? I mean, how do you connect your leadership as a Black assemblymember in Central Brooklyn to this NO vote and what does that mean for Central Brooklynites when the budget was ultimately passed?

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Right, right. And look, you know, when you you make a NO vote, you’re making more of a statement right? And you hope that your statement resonates with your colleagues. So the first time I voted no, prior to that, you know, there were other members who had been voting no, it usually it’d be like maybe two or three members right? Two years ago when I brought a no vote on all nine budget resolutions, in large part because of a number of issues. But the main two issues was the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, which did not come to bear fruit. And then obviously, my stance and support for the WFP, the Working Families Party and attempt to codify the end of fusion voting to public financing. And although I wholeheartedly support public financing to couple that with the ending of fusion voting, and third party ballot lines to me, I thought was unconstitutional affair and then subsequently we won our lawsuit. It’s being appealed. But I was proud to be a part of that.

So sometimes you make a statement, not for the sense that you know, you’re going to be you know, victorious, but you make a statement to hope to bring others along. So two years ago, I think it was like 11 or 12 of us that voted NO on the budget. This year was close to 30. And remember, we try to have at least a majority of votes from the assembly majority to pass the budget. We don’t rely upon Republican votes. So as you get closer to that number, you realize that your voice, your vote has more weight with each passing cycle because you’ve hoped to bring on more colleagues of like minds to then be in a position to kind of help shape what is ultimately going to be put in the budget resolutions and then subsequently voted upon. So to me, I think that you do this to kind of like just plant a seed. And you hope that when that seed blossoms that you’re in a position to take advantage of displaying that flower and then ultimately benefiting from how it bears fruit.

So, to me, I think this year, was a good year in the sense that we we had, like I said, close to 30 members who voted no. And the vast majority of them voted no on a number of reasons, but I voted no this year in large part because of the rollback of bail reform. You know, a bill that we just passed less than a year ago and went into effect less than several months. And, you know, special interest and law enforcement was able to, you know, weigh in and put us in a position where we, you know, rolled back on some of the things that we knew if we were to vote on, we’re going to be sentencing people to the death sentence because we knew at that point, what was happening with COVID. And we knew that if we rolled back, there were gonna be some people who are going to go back, go back into these jails not come out and ultimately die. And for me, people like Michael Tyson, he got a parole violation, but he was sent to into Rikers– healthy 53 year old man, contacted COVID and died in jail.

Not to ever have been adjudicated, not to have ever have been able to stand before his peers. So, you do you make these votes on a myriad of reasons, but what you do is to set up a track record of principled positions that people then will take notice. So when you do go back to your district, you can look them in the face and explain why you did what you did was better for their betterment and for the betterment of their children.

Anthonine Pierre:
Great, thank you. Thanks, especially for just making clear some of the wild politics of Albany and also, you really connected the budget to the stakes, right? When we talk about the budget, it’s it’s often it’s covered in the media as a political fight, but you’re talking about life and death. Like you’re literally talking about freedom, people being free. You’re talking about people dying. Right? So I guess a question I have, because you seem so clearly rooted in this ideology of like, we need to be able to push in terms of the budget. And as you know, even though I’m being a journalist right now, we’re organizers. So I’m wondering what is it going to take to organize the Assembly around a budget that you and other Central Brooklynites can really get behind? Right, like when do we move from the from the power building phase to executing and having that power mean something real between life and death for folks?

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Well, that’s a good question. I was talking to a colleague of mine over these past couple of days about having this kind of come to Jesus moment. This year. This upcoming year will mark the 50th anniversary of the black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus.

Antonine Pierre:
Co-founded by one Shirley Chisholm for y’all who didn’t know.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Exactly. And, you know, who represented part of my assembly district. And to me, I think sometimes we get to a point where we have so many people with titles that we forget the reasons why we’re in the positions we’re in now. And it’s great to have, you know, a person of color being the leader of the of the Senate majority is great to have a person of color leading the Assembly is great to have a person who’s of color who’s our attorney general, but that has to translate into something that is beneficial to not only people of color now, but people of color going forward.

And that’s what those men and women did when they set up the caucus, you know, 49 years ago that they saw their role. How do we create institutions within institutions, so that people who we’ll never meet, people who we’ll never know, people who will be around after we’re long gone, will benefit from our service here in the state legislature. And I think that, you know, we have to come to grips to that as, as men and women of color, it’s just not about how you what you can attain, personally or professionally. But what can you attain for people that you’ll never know, people you’ll never meet, and people who will be around long after you’re gone from this earth. And, to me, I think that has always been the mantra I’ve had and continue to have, you know, prior to coming into this as a district leader State Committee man and, and now as a sitting member of the New York State Assembly, because then that’s how you keep your moral compass. That’s how you keep grounded. That’s how you keep rooted into the original reason as to why you decided what you, you know, decided to do when you, you know, said I’m gonna run for public office. But, you know, we’re not too far from that. But, you know, we don’t want to get too far from it. And I think that we have to have some serious conversations, you know, as people of color in the state legislature as to what, you know, why are we here? Let’s ask that simple question. And then we can move from there.

Antonine Pierre:
Absolutely. Yeah. And again, this is supposed to be a fairly short interview, but I would love in the future that really dig into what what what that means, what it means for black folks to be building political power, particularly in a gentrifying neighborhood, particularly in a state that’s represented by black leadership. And you know what that means in terms of the broader context of the race identity. The way that race has developed in this country in terms of anti blackness? Well, I’m so happy to talk about that later. I got more questions, though. So that said, I just want to name you know, of course, we got it, we got to get a little messy, you got to get we got to get into, like, who disagrees with you. And what they discovered that right. So a lot of affordable housing or I should say affordable housing activists have not really been in support of this Franklin Avenue high rise that you have been on the record and support, right. So if you could just give us a guess just like your take your background on on this particular development and like, why you’re supporting it?

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Well, I’m gonna just take you back to a time in which will probably help you understand why I have the position I have. When my mom and dad divorced, I was six, seven going on eight months. My sister who had passed at six, she was like five, and my mom was a single mother, a teacher raising two young kids. We lived in my grandmother’s house on 591 Crown Street. As I said, my initial formative years were there. And we needed a place. My mother needed was looking for a place that was safe, that was clean. And that she felt comfortable raising her children that she did not feel like in a year or two, she would have to get up pick up and move somewhere else. And thankfully, there was a program called the Mitchell Lama program, that allowed for working class men and women to move into neighborhoods that had been destabilized and kind of on the downward turn. And a lot of people don’t realize Clinton Hill wasn’t always Clinton Hill.

Antonine Pierre:
Well, it used to be Bed Stuy.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Right exactly, exactly. And so my mom you know picked up you know on her UFT salary, which wasn’t much. And she was able to move myself and my sister into a two bedroom apartment, an apartment that she still lives in to this very day because it still is affordable for working class, middle class men and women like my mom. So I take you from that context to this particular project.

Antonine Pierre:
And thank you for naming that the context is different, right? Because Mitchell Lama has been so decreased it hasn’t been expanded. You can’t get into it anymore.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
I said in my opening statement preserving that you know, the building right next door to my mom is the same exact building terms of construction and number of units. And they want to get out of the Mitchell Lama program. And we fought against some of the tenants because we knew that there were so many elderly people like my mother, who are living off fixed incomes who can’t afford to live in a privatized project because they couldn’t keep up with the cost of living.

So I don’t want digress too much. So going to the Franklin Avenue project. And again, that project is still being formalized in terms of height and in terms of density. Because we have another project that’s really up the street, the Carmel Realty project, which is across the street from Botanical Gardens as well, where we are fighting in court in terms of determining its density, its size, its height, its impact on the Botanical Gardens. And we know that once this goes through all the channels that it will have, and I’ve said this to many of the advocates in that area, it will have a tremendous impact on what will happen on the Franklin Avenue project.

The Franklin Avenue project I agree upon it in large part because often, we have men and women who are working on these sites, who are working to build Brooklyn and New York, but can’t afford to live in the same buildings, which they’re helping to build. And what this project will allow for is for real affordability on a 50/50 basis for working class men and women, because the trade unions will be taking from their pension funds, and will be making a significant investment, which ultimately brings down the costs of building this project, which ultimately brings up the level of affordability. Now, whether you’re talking about MIH [Mandatory Inclusionary Housing]…that’s the city’s program, which I believe needs to be revamped, if not scrapped altogether. Because I don’t think it brings about the level of affordability that people thought it would bring. In fact, I think is almost the reverse.

But this building will bring about a 50/50 breakdown in terms of real affordability based upon real AMI [area median income] in that area. In my district for a family of four, it’s like $41/$42,000. And, to me, that’s what I agree upon. Now, I have not agreed upon the actual height. We have not agreed upon the density. We still are looking at the shadow studies and so forth and so on. But that’s what I agree upon. And that was a part of my platform from the very beginning before I became the Assemblyman, about creating affordable housing, and preserving affordable housing. Because we just can’t preserve affordable housing because and lock ourselves out to everything else that’s going on around us because then we wouldn’t have been able to renegotiate the terms of the Bedford Union Armory. We wouldn’t have been able to negotiate and still be renegotiating the terms of the Pacific Park project on the northern side of my district. Which is the largest investment in the state has made towards a public-private partnership of this nature when we’re talking about building housing and affordable housing. So, I hope that people take into context that, you know, these are all things that we’re dealing with: creating affordable housing, preserving affordable housing, and advocating for public policy that will be the undergird, for both entities. So that’s my position. And it is a growing position and it is an ever-evolving position. But the basic concepts are those things that are set in stone before I was an Assemblymember, because they were set in stone it to me as a child growing up at 309 Lafayette Avenue, a Mitchell Lama building that houses so many black and brown people, even to this day, who are looking for a better life for themselves and for their families.

Antonine Pierre:
Great and the building that we’re talking about I should name is at 960 Franklin Avenue. And, you know, your critics would say that or maybe not your critics, but people who disagree with this project would say that, look, it’s just not enough. It doesn’t provide enough affordable housing. And it sounds like, you know, correct me if I’m wrong in your response. It sounds like what you’re saying is like, “Look, there will be some affordable housing and also, economically, this is about a bigger picture?”

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
And look, like I said, there’s no other project that is doing 50/50.

Antonine Pierre:
You mean 50 market rate versus 50 affordable housing?

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
Right. And no one is coming close to that. And this is a project that is being touted by the trade unions. Other members want it in their district. I know that the Borough President of the Bronx, Ruben Diaz Jr., is going to have a similar project in his district. Before the Sears parking lot was turned into a COVID testing site, they were also looking to do a very similar project there as well. And ultimately, I do you believe a project like that will be done. But you know, and I understand people who live in that area…

Antonine Pierre:
See all the buildings going up on Bedford.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
And they see the Bedford Union Armory going up. And look, we were able to renegotiate the terms of those projects, even after we had a multitude of [indistinguishable] with the community, getting what they wanted, and understanding that a kid who grew up there who had the bowling alley, who had the skating rink and have outlets, and we’ve gone almost two generations with children in that area of Crown Heights had nowhere to go, you know had no place to be a child to be, you know, to be a teenager. So we’re looking forward to all the benefits that project will be bringing.

But ultimately we understand that we can’t stick our head in the sand and say, I’m not going to deal with what’s going on around in my district. I’m just going to deal with just trying to preserve what we have, because that’s a defeated mentality. I’m going to continue to deal with preserving what we have. And that’s why we passed the tenant protection unit, the TPU of 2019. And we’re going to continue to advocate for other laws that will empower tenants all throughout the city and the state, whether it’s good cause eviction, or the like. But we’re also going to be a part, we’re not going to be shut out of conversations dealing with housing, whether it’s for our LGBTQ seniors, dealing with housing and amenities for our LGBTQ youth, whether it was dealing with building 100% affordable housing at 1024 Fulton Street, whether it’s building affordable housing for single mothers at the Bishop Walker site. This is affiliated with a site that’s owned by Interfaith, that where as part of the Vital Brooklyn initiative, so there are so many people in so many circumstances that need affordable housing. And we need to be a part of that that conversation about how do we build it. And how do we properly publicly fund it, whether it’s through unions, or through the state, or through a combination. So to me, I think that to just think that there’s only one way of dealing with affordable housing by just only preserving it, I think is a little bit naive and a little bit narrow minded. Because when you step into the shoes of being an Assemblymember, you have to be an Assemblymember for your entire district, and understand the needs and desires of everybody who lives in your district and what they want to see going forward.

Antonine Pierre:
Well, whether you agree with the Assembly member or not, you’ve heard his position. So make up your own mind. Thanks so much for that.

Antonine Pierre:
And I want to close just on a campaign finance question. I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the business of running for office as a business. There’s money exchanged, right. So in looking into your donations, we found that your top donor was $20,000 from the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee, which we understand to be an a campaign committee that helps sitting assembly members get reelected. We’ve talked a little bit about Assembly dynamics and about Albany dynamics. Why is the democratic assembly Campaign Committee supporting you? What should voters know about what that $20,000 means?

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
As listeners may or may not know, Democratic Assembly members are not necessarily required to donate to the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee. But I have since the day I got elected, whether I had a race or did not have a race, I always felt it was important that we support other Democrats throughout the state of New York and continue to build our conference so that we can have a more diverse, comprehensive voice. If you just rely on the city members to drive the narrative, you get city-centric and tend to fail to realize there are other cities, although they may not be the size of New York [City], that are going through the same issues that we’re going through. So Buffalo, Nassau County, Albany.

Antonine Pierre:
The Assembly is known as the Downstate House. So the majority of the Assembly seats, because of the way population is set up, the majority of seats actually come from New York City. So a lot of people think of the Assembly as the New York City House.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
So over the years, I’ve given to the DACC, even though I’ve never had a race… When I saw that DACC supported me, it wasn’t a surprise. In year’s past I’ve supported so many Democrats throughout the state of New York.

Antonine Pierre:
How do you maintain objectivity in your position as an Assemblymember? There’s this business of running for office. And it’s in the best interest of the Assembly Speaker, the leader, Carl Heastie to get you re-elected if you’re going to agree with him.

Assemblyman Walter Mosley:
I’ve raised hundreds [of thousands], if not millions I’ve raised on my own since running for office and having been elected. There have been a number of times, which I’ve been at odds with the Speaker. Whether it’s suing him as a party plaintiff on behalf of WFP– suing him and the leader of the Senate and the Governor. Rarely does a siting member in the Assembly sue it’s own leader. Whether it’s voting NO on the budget. Like you said, the vast majority of members just go along to get along. But voting NO on the budget is really a position of saying no to the leadership’s final conclusion of where the budget stood and was eventually voted upon. So there are a number of examples where I have been on opposing sides of the Speaker that are glaring.

I’m not a different Democrat when I’m in Albany and then when I come home I’m talking a different tune. So if I’m talking about supporting bail reform and talking out against bail rollbacks, my vote is going to be reflective of that. Whether I’m talking about Campaign for Fiscal Equity and how we need to fund our education system, my vote has to reflect that. And when I’m talking about preserving and creating affordable housing, my vote and pieces of legislation that I proposed or supported has to reflect that.