City Council candidate Kim Moscaritolo believes that in order for New York City to overcome its long list of current and impending crises — including public health, housing, racial inequality, climate change and the economy — elected officials will need to find bold and unconventional solutions to redefine the urban space.
In everything from trash collection to building beaches in Manhattan, Moscaritolo says there’s room for the city to reinvent itself.
“If we can sort of take a step back and really sort of reimagine what our city can be, I think that there are a lot of opportunities there that could ultimately result in it being a more vibrant, more active city — which I think would be really great for us in the long run,” Moscaritolo told Our Town in a recent interview.
As a part of this reimagining, Moscaritolo said the city needs to address the racial inequities exposed and highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic.
She said the city needs to examine how it provides health care to people, and in doing so, invest in its public hospitals, not just private hospitals.
“Generally public hospitals tend to serve people in communities of color and underrepresented communities, so we want to make sure that we’re investing in our public health care system,” she said.
Additionally, she said the hard work needs to be done to desegregate the city, particularly in terms of housing and education. Moscaritolo supports a comprehensive approach in city planning to ensure that every neighborhood is building affordable housing, and not solely in poor neighborhoods and communities of color. In education, Moscaritolo said she is in favor of a policy put forth by the group Teens Take Charge, which would deemphasize the importance of entrance tests that often lead to racial disparities at top high schools.
“It’s certainly not going to be something we’re going to be able to change overnight, but I think that if we can start addressing those disparities and health care, housing and education, I think that we can put ourselves on the track to really start addressing a lot of those inequities in our city,” she said.
In looking at police reform, Moscaritolo believes the city needs to reimagine community safety by shifting funding from police to social services, homeless outreach, mental health treatment, and drug treatment.
“We need to make sure that the people that are handling those types of cases ... have more training in dealing with people who are mentally ill, who are experiencing drug addiction who are experiencing homelessness,” she said.
Additionally, Moscaritolo wants the city to get more creative coming up with solutions to urban problems — starting with trash collection.
“In supposedly one of the greatest cities in the world we literally just pile our trash on the sidewalk twice a week is kind of absurd,” said Moscaritolo. “In Europe they don’t do that.”
She said the city could allocate a parking spot or two on every street for garbage bins and open the sidewalk for pedestrians.
Moscaritolo points to another European leader in how the city can reimagine its space to benefit the people.
“I’m really, really inspired by Anne Hidalgo, who’s the mayor of Paris, and I feel like she’s done a lot of really amazing things in the last several years in terms of sort of redefining the urban space. She’s built beaches along the canals and Paris and she’s really opened up the bicycling infrastructure,” said Moscaritolo. “I think we have a great opportunity with so many new council members, a new mayor and new comptroller to really have some imagination and have bold ideas for where we want to take the city.”
While the primary election does not take place until next June, the field looking to replace term-limited District 5 Council Member Ben Kallos is already crowded. In addition to Moscaritolo, Billy Freeland, Joshua Kravitz, Rebecca Lamorte, Tricia Shimamura and Christopher Sosa are all running to be the Democratic nominee and represent the Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island and Midtown East in the City Council.
Though there’s a lot of competition, Moscaritolo likes her chances, saying her background and experience sets her apart. For nearly 20 years, Moscaritolo has made a career in television news, working at both CNN and Bloomberg TV.
“Accountability is something that’s really important to me...which I think comes from being in an industry where the whole point is essentially the whole powerful people accountable,” she said of her journalism background. “I also have the experience of really diving deep into a lot of these issues and finding the nuance, which is sometimes not something you hear about in politics.”
Additionally, for the last 10 years she’s gained experience in politics and working in the community. She got involved in Manhattan Young Democrats and in 2015 she was elected as Democratic District Leader on the Upper East Side. She has since founded Yorkville Buy Local, which focuses on promoting and protecting small businesses.
“As I’ve gone and fallen more in love with the idea of political activism, of helping my neighborhood, and now that there’s an open seat in the city council, I decided I was going to throw my hat in the ring and run for it,” said Moscaritolo. She’s been endorsed by State Senator Jose Serrano as well as a string of local district leaders and state committee members.
“This isn’t something that I just sort of decided to do; it’s been a passion of mine for over a decade,” said Moscaritolo. “I’m really looking to take that experience and utilize it to make the community better — and, hopefully, help to make the city better overall.”
“If we can sort of take a step back and really sort of reimagine what our city can be, I think that there are a lot of opportunities there that could ultimately result in it being a more vibrant, more active city.” Kim Moscaritolo