BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
New York City mayoral candidate Paul Massey officially kicked off his campaign earlier this week in Queens, where he focused on creating more and better-paying jobs throughout the city.
During his campaign kickoff in Flushing on Monday, Massey, a Republican and real estate sales executive, said that small businesses were instrumental to the borough.
“We wanted to focus on small business today and small-business creation, and I think Queens is a great place to do that because the foundation of Queens is built on small businesses,” Massey said. “Queens is also one of the boroughs that identifies their neighborhoods as towns. It’s also got a very diverse population, so there are a lot of reasons why we launched in Queens and they’re all good.”
Following the launch, Massey stopped by the PRESS of Southeast Queens for an interview, where he discussed the city’s homelessness crisis and affordable housing.
“The population in our homeless shelters is exploding and I blame that on the mayor,” Massey said. “I think his goal is ridiculously inadequate. The reason we have exploding populations in shelters is because we’re not serving people in shelters. We’re not providing them a road to permanent housing.”
Massey added that under the administrations of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mayor Rudy Giuliani, all city services were measured.
“We’ve got to get back to really measuring our progress,” Massey said. “To me, the mayor suggesting that he’s going to lower the homeless population by 1 percent a year is no goal at all. It’s not going to do anything and I would doubt, based on his record, that he would even be able to achieve that. To me, building 90 more shelters is just declaring the whole matter a loss and it’s going to be a terrible tragedy for the city.”
Last month, Massey participated in the New York City Department of Homeless Services’ annual Hope Count, during which thousands of New Yorkers volunteered to circle the streets of New York City and track the number of homeless people they found.
“There was at least one homeless person, if not more, on every single block in the area I participated in,” said Massey, who scoped the streets of Midtown West.
Massey said that he believes the core of the crisis is housing. Having long worked in real estate, Massey said that he is confident he could improve the availability of affordable housing in the five boroughs.
“Right now, the mayor is crowing about creating 6,000 housing units, but the backdrop of that is we have 3.5 million housing units in the city; our average housing stock is 80 years old, so we’re nearing the end of the useful life of a lot of our housing stock,” Massey said. “We need to create housing on a scale that nobody’s talking about and we can do it.”
Massey also blasted the way that he believes de Blasio views New York City.
“I also think the mayor is divisive,” Massey said. “[People] live in New York because [they] embrace diversity. It’s not a tale of two cities. We’re one city, and I think it’s dangerous rhetoric that it’s black against white, rich against poor. And everything he does goes back to that core.”
Massey, whose campaign focuses on jobs, homelessness, affordable housing, education, quality-of-life issues and supporting community policing, said that he doesn’t mind if he’s known as being the mayor for children.
“If Paul Massey is labeled the ‘mayor for kids,’ that’s a label I want to take,” Massey said. “It’s kids and families, kids and moms, kids and dads, kids. If you get kids out of homeless shelters, you change the world. If ACS is run properly and kids aren’t harmed or killed, you’re making a better world. If we’re educating our kids, that fixes crime and the family unit, resulting in future jobs. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org