SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Green party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins is calling for an expansion of public housing in New York State. At the same time, Hawkins is criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s housing investment strategies.
Hawkins decried the decline of public housing options in Syracuse, standing between two weed infested vacant lots.
“In this case both on this side of the street, and the other side, there was once over 400 units of affordable housing,” Hawkins said. “But no affordable housing has been built since this project was torn down in 2013.”
Hawkins says these vacant lots also are a good example of how the Cuomo Administration’s public-private partnership model leads to pay-to-play corruption. He notes many of the principals in a no bid, no money down deal at the site, have since been caught up on corruption charges in connection with other state projects.
Hawkins’ answer to all this is to pump billions into the state municipal housing authority to create mixed-use housing.
“I’m talking about high-quality housing, that’s mixed income, which will help reduce the segregation. That’s humanly scaled on scattered sites not concentrated on high rises, that’s built in the suburbs, as well as the cities, and all neighborhoods in the city, and that’s green,” he said.
Hawkins said currently, one percent of New York’s housing is publicly run, and he’d like to see that share go up to 20 percent.
Hawkins releases tax returns
Hawkins is the latest candidate to release his income tax returns. It’s become an issue in the race for New York governor, with Gov. Cuomo pushing challengers Cynthia Nixon and Marc Molinaro to release tax returns for the last ten years.
Hawkins believes there are more important issues the candidates should be talking about.
“I don’t think it’s how much money you got or where you come from, it’s where you’re going,” he said. People should see your returns to see if you have conflicts of interest. But I don’t think it’s a major issue in this campaign.”
Hawkins made about $81,000last year, most in a capital gains move as part of his retirement. He made about $28,000 working for UPS, where he retired from earlier this year.