Putting over 40 years of
EXPERIENCE TO WORK
ABOUT YDANIS RODRIGUEZ
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Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, represents the 10th Council District, which includes the neighborhoods of Washington Heights, Inwood and Marble Hill. There is literally no other greater champion for our community, our voice. These neighborhoods, filled with hardworking residents, continuously strive to maintain a robust and authentic identity of a multicultural, working class community.
However, the city’s aggressive transformation has inadvertently imperiled the district’s position as an ethnic enclave of working class people filled with immigrants. It is, ergo, imperative that District 10 synchronizes their wealth of opportunities and growth potential into actionable plans. Ydanis recognizes this unique, and yet, powerful position of the district. He wholeheartedly believes and knows the district can seize the future by pioneering the cultivation of a technological and health hub. He envisions District 10 developing into a conglomeration of advancement, diversity, and empowered community through private-public partnerships infused with mixed use of resources. Given Council Member Rodriguez’s recent accomplishments – both city and municipal wide – we can confidently trust and know District 10 is, indeed, bound to actualizing this reality.
District 10 would not be the way it is without its main visionary crusader and incomparable public servant: Ydanis Rodriguez. Ydanis has championed progressive agendas within transportation, education, economic development, affordable housing, healthcare, and environmental protection to ensure that all working and low-income families, newcomers and youth have a fair chance of breaking into the middle class and beyond. We have all witnessed what it truly means to be a public servant through the success of the Council Member.
Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez has embodied the true essence of advocacy, activism and leadership since his days as a student at the City University of New York (CUNY). As a student leader, he challenged a proposal that would increase the cost of tuition for more than 93,000 CUNY students by over a thousand dollars. At City College in Harlem, Ydanis led a student’s movement that persuaded Governor Mario Cuomo to veto his own proposal. This protest not only signaled the beginning of an education focused agenda, but was also a testament to Ydanis’s leadership. Ydanis expanded on his desire to help others when he co-founded Gregorio Luperon High School in Washington Heights, a school that focused on supporting newly arrived immigrants from Latin America transitioning to the American educational system. For 13 years as a teacher, Ydanis impacted the lives of many students – many of whom have become affluent, professional, American citizens.
As a legislator, Ydanis has stood at the forefront of issues most important to New Yorkers. He has led and co-led 37 bills. He has focused on protecting and improving the rights of women, immigrants, workers and all New Yorkers who seek social justice. His efforts during the Occupy Wall Street protests were recognized when he garnered Time Magazine’s 2011 Person of the Year. In fact, Ydanis furthered his mission to bring about changes by suing the City of New York for violating his constitutional rights by impeding his right to Freedom of Speech and unlawfully arresting him. Settling the case awarded him approximately $30,000 and brought attention to the inefficient, excessive practices of police force. He donated the settlement money to the Center for Constitutional Right.
As Chairman of the NYC Council Transportation Committee, Ydanis’s work includes the passage of 14 bills to ensure pedestrian and cyclist safety. He has also been a key figure in supporting the effort to reduce traffic fatalities and expand transportation options into underserved communities. Some of his specific accomplishments are, as follows:
- He supported the implementation of Vision Zero, and further expanded the program to ensure the streets were safe by pushing for agendas, such as:
- Implemented a civil penalty for hit and run crashes.
- Made all acts of motorcycle exhibitionism illegal.
- Led the effort to lower the speed limit: 25mph and installed slow zones throughout the city including the Inwood Slow Zone and the upcoming Hudson Heights Slow Zone.
- Increased penalties against illegal street hails.
- Led the implementation to require truck guards on all city vehicles larger than 10,000 lbs.
- Passed a bill allowing drivers to park immediately after the street cleaners had passed.
- Led the implementation to redesign Dyckman Street at Broadway making the street much safer for both drivers and pedestrians.
- The passage of Local Law 1095: a universal license for taxicab and for-hire vehicle drivers to eliminate separate licenses and written exam to assess the English language proficiency.
- Leading the expansion of Citibike to every neighborhood in the five boroughs.
- Invested approximately $500,000 for the expansion of bike networks in Northern Manhattan that will result in the creation of a bike lane network that will connect the community.
- The passage of legislation to allow residents and employees to bring their bikes into residential and office building.
- Advocating for Fair Fares
- Advocating for better bus services, BQX, and citywide ferry services.
- Allocated $5 million to construct a fully functional ferry dock, an infrastructure for a ferry access to the eco-dock at Dyckman Pier.
- Passed a bill allowing drivers to park immediately after the street cleaners had passed.
- These accomplishments reflect his mission to expand and innovate the city’s transportation system for all communities, especially underserved residents in all corners. He is determined to build partnerships with academics and industry leaders, in order to put together a think-tank for the future of NYC transportation. This drive led him to implement ‘Car Free Day’, an initiative encouraging earth friendly methods of transportation, by closing off various highly trafficked streets throughout the city. Considering the success of its primer on Friday, April 22, 2016, Ydanis created this day, in honor of Earth Day, into an annual tradition. The second annual ‘Car Free Day’ will take place on Saturday, April 22, 2017.
In bridging all communities from all walks of life, Ydanis is driven to ensure public safety remains his top priority. His most accomplished efforts in keeping our streets safe is as follows:
- He supported Mayor De Blasio and Commissioner Bratton $7.3 million investment for upgraded bulletproof vest to protect our city’s bravest: Police Officers.
- He supported the implementation of the ‘neighborhood coordination officers’ program, where officers set aside ⅓ of their shift to build relationships with stakeholders, business owners, and its residents.
- With the support of Council Member Levine, he advanced the efforts to have additional Parks Enforcement Patrol officers in the Uptown area, so that we can enjoy our parks with our families without fear or disturbance.
Ydanis is truly committed to building strong coalitions, especially in forging private and public partnerships that will help develop sustainable improvements. His commitment and results have further empowered him to advocate and secure progressive agendas in the community.
He has been a devoted advocate for improvements in infrastructure and Parks. He allocated over $5 million in capital funds for improvements throughout the districts, including:
- Advocating for the MTA to bring more elevators to Uptown train stations on the Number One train line.
- Advocating for community space in the new GWB Bus Terminal.
- Allocating capital money for improvements at Highbridge Park, this will lead to the development of an ice skating rink.
- Remaining committed to the Inwood Hill Nature Center and allocating $500 million towards its renovation.
- Supporting the rezoning of the Sherman Creek area, so the community could take full advantage of the underutilized property.
- He secured $1.6 million to help its restoration.
- With the support of Manhattan Borough President, allocating an investment of $375,000 to the Dyckman Farm House restoration, where new bathrooms would be installed.
- Allocating $500,000 to support more ‘green gyms’ throughout the districts.
- Leading the push for a fully renovated Jacob Javitz Playground at Cabrini and Fort Washington Avenue.
- He also led the restoration of major upgrades to the community’s waterfronts.
- With his support to the New York Restoration Project, the community will soon add to the hidden gem of Swindler’s Cove. Behind PS 5, at Dyckman and 9th Avenue, construction will soon begin on the dynamic one million dollar outdoor classroom and boathouse, providing valuable waterfront access as well as educational opportunities for our young people and more.
- He also allocated $200,000 to continue building toward the restoration of the water tower in Highbridge Park.
- Explored Partnership with Youngwood & Associates to develop an innovative and eco-friendly project that maximizes the available estate into a mixed, multi-functional zone of residence, commercial and community.
- Joining efforts with Lin-Manuel Miranda to support cultural programing at the United Palace.
It should be noted that during Ydanis’s early days at City Council, he served as the Chairman of the NYC Council Higher Education Committee. It was then when Ydanis called for more diversity in the faculty of CUNY, more childcare programs for student-parents, and to keep CUNY’s budget intact during the economic recession. Ydanis’s work in the education sector stemmed from his unwavering belief that education is the key to success, the equalizer, and in lifting the community together. Thus, he made it his mission to mainly focus on holistically preparing NYC high school students, particularly Blacks and Latinos, for college.
- Along with Mayor De Blasio, he championed and implemented universal pre-k (UPK) pushing Northern Manhattan as a priority through the selection of five schools to carry full day pre-k.
- He advanced creation of a new high school in the P-TECH model as praised by Former President Obama through a coalition of Columbia, CUNY, NYU, NYP and Microsoft, where students would obtain their associate’s degree within 6 years in the field of STEM.
- He led the coalition to build a NEW Career Technical Education (CTE) school; in conjunction with Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation’s Youth Build Initiative to develop a well-trained young workforce in the district.
- He also implemented a mentorship program at Gregorio Luperon High School to guide and encourage students in pursuing a career within STEM, which led to the creation of a Robotics team.
- He allocated $800,000 to the Armory Track and Field Center towards the expansion of their existing Tech Center. Most recently, we were able to secure an additional $100,000 and working with collaboratively with Norbert Sander, Miguel Cabrera, Bruce Lincoln and others to launch the 1st Washington Heights Tech-Expo.
- This led to the creation of a STEM incubator that will foster the start-ups and new business in the community.
- He allocated investments of $77 million dollars in technology and STEM improvements in the schools.
- At P.S. 187, he dedicated $400,000-dollars to build a green roof, so kids can learn about agriculture and sustainability by getting their hands dirty during school hours. As they learn about the science of biology, kids can also grow fruits and vegetables on the roof garden. He also allocated funding for STEM work outside the classroom, so the great Storefront Science program can be run by Dr. A in the parks.
- He led the creation of AALSTEM: a mentorship and professional network of Latinos in the STEM fields. This program has already begun working with Columbia University and high school students, to develop mentorship and supportive networking in the pursuit of STEM related careers.
This coincides with Ydanis’s passion for advocating STEM educational and career oriented programs. His vision is to transform District 10 into a pioneer by rezoning a major area of the community and turning it into technology and health hub.
- He believes in a mixed use tech community built and programmed through partnerships between key stakeholders like CUNY and New York Presbyterian Hospital. He knows that by having our very own marketplace for technological innovations that will inadvertently attract partners such as Google and Apple. A tangible goal for Washington Heights!
Ydanis has been a passionate advocate for affordable housing in the community, and understands that it must be preserved and expanded. He has also become a recognizable voice for tenant’s rights, transit equality and the need for a more sustainable city in the face of climate change.
- Ydanis has introduced legislation of the Housing, Not Warehousing Act, and he has co-sponsored with Council Member Levine’s Right to Counsel Bill. He also passed legislation to prevent landlords from offering an apartment buyout more than once within 6 months.
He has been responsible for bringing 50 million dollars in investment to support the neighborhood’s schools, academic institutions, cultural organizations, and senior centers. In his effort to empower the community, Ydanis has strongly supported the implementation of the Participatory Budget Voting. This voting cycle gives power to the constituents by allowing them to give their opinion on how and where they would want their community’s money to be spent. Ydanis has been a strong supporter in the implementation of Participatory Budget Voting, which reflects an ultimate goal in giving the district a true sense of power, inclusion and meaning within the political system.
In pressing forward his vision for District 10, Ydanis has optimistically employed various initiatives that have organized private-public partnerships to create a network of coalitions devoted in identifying and acquiring a wide breadth of resources. He believes that partnering with the private sector to seek eco-friendly projects in building new developments and housings will usher not only the preservation of the community’s culture and diversity, but also, pioneer the community into the future of technology through innovative projects that will yield higher quality jobs and living conditions.
Ydanis has even taken a step forward in developing a coalition among servicing agents within the district through the birth of the Northern Manhattan Agenda. He recognizes that this coalition will help bring in a wealth of resources from the private sector that can best served a mixed usage to create both market and affordable housing, ameliorate the quality of life for residences, and increase economic development through the expansion of technology and health from the servicing side to the job creation/career development. These efforts have been critical to the development of the district and shows that Ydanis is devoted to ensuring that its residents are fully empowered to meet all present and future challenges.
Looking forward, the Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez has many projects on the horizon. He is actively engaged in discussions to rezone a portion of underutilized land in Inwood that would make way for hundreds of affordable housing units, new businesses and jobs for local residents. He remains focused on improving the quality of life for all and will continue to support the hard-working New Yorkers that make our city the best in the world.
Regardless of who you are or where you have come from, Ydanis will continue to serve you. He will continue to stand up for you and he will continue to fight for you at every turn.