New York County Independence Party Chairman

Michael  Zumbluskas

"Leadership for Practicality, Not Ideology"

New York State Senate, 28th District 

Michael  Zumbluskas

Mike on the Issues

Education

 

We currently spend $72.8 billion on education-3rd most
in the nation, and $17,000 per pupil-most in the nation. However, our
state ranks 34th in the nation in the subjects of math and science, and we
are barely above that metric in reading (Institute of Education Sciences). This
is unacceptable, especially given the amount we spend on education overall
and per pupil. As your State Senator, I will advocate for the following
policies to fix these problems: 

 

* Immediately cut and cap administrator pay, currently
clocking in at an average of $179,000 in most parts of the state. This
will allow more money to go back into the classroom-where we need it. -Cut or
eliminate pay for suspended teachers who have been expelled from the classroom,
yet still get paid: $100,000 in most cases.

 

* Start funding trade schools in a manner that will
increase equity between students who wish to pursue a trade and a
traditional college education.

 

* Bolster the requirements for an individual to become
a teacher in the state; we must require teachers to take more credits in their
desired teaching area-at least 60 undergraduate credits out of a total of
120 must be in their desired subject area. Studies have proven that
teachers that have in-depth knowledge of their subjects produce better
students (Ball, and McDiarmid 1-29). Furthermore, all prospective teachers
must have at least a 3.0 graduate and undergraduate GPA combined. C level
teachers will continue to yield C level students.

 

* Take measures to ensure that our schools are safer
for both students and teachers, as school crime rates have risen 21% in
recent years. As your State Senator, I will institute a multitude of
different remedies instead of taking a placid approach just because I wish
to keep my political career safe and to get the backing of the Teachers
Union.

 

 

 

 

Small Businesses

 

The small business climate in our state is atrocious.
Small businesses have historically accounted for 51% of our state’s total
jobs (Small Business Advocacy). Unemployment in our state is at a staggering
9.1%, the highest in history, and 10% in the city (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
It is thus no wonder that our state is ranked the 49th friendliest for
businesses (The Tax Foundation). Parts of our district have received
failing grades from the Business Council of New York State and the New
York National Federation of Independent Business (Project Vote Smart).
There has yet to be any serious compensation for small businesses that
implement regulations. 

 

Because small businesses are not being reimbursed for
these regulations; middle and lower class New Yorkers are hurting as a
result. While we all struggle to meet a budget, a recent vote against reforming
state employee pensions (S6735)-essentially indicating that we should all
be subject to a higher cost of living and smaller pensions.  As your
State Senator, I will institute the following measures to fix what the two
party systems have broken: 

 

* Reduce fees and regulations on small businesses.
Furthermore, all penalties should be on a sliding scale, as penalties are
supposed to help protect the public by halting dangerous business
practices. Having the same fine for a small business and a large
corporation only hurts the small business, but does nothing to curb
the behavior of the larger corporation.

 

* Reduce New York’s business tax rate of 7.1%, one of
the highest in the nation on small business (Federation of
Tax Administration). Given this crippling tax rate and new
regulations that small businesses are not being reimbursed for, it is no
wonder that most New Yorkers are having increasing difficulty
finding jobs. 

 

* Institute a new tax credit for small businesses that
offer their employees fair sick days and pension plans.

 

 

 

 

Low and Moderate Income Housing

 

It costs more to live in New York City than any other
urban area in the U.S., as of the second quarter of 2012 (The Council for
Community and Economic Research). And low and moderate-income housing is
under attack, as evidenced by the privatization Mitchell Lama buildings on
Roosevelt Island. While some politicians are pleased with this development, I
feel we need to create another program similar to this 50-year-old government
success story. New Yorker's wages have been stagnant over the past decade,
yet their monthly expenses have risen without mercy. And housing costs has
escalated the fastest and highest for New Yorker's of all income
brackets. That's why we need to expand and upgrade New York
City's housing stock to meet our growing population demands. We need to
concentration on moderate priced housing, because our middle class has
been hit the hardest. As your state Senator, I will attempt to remedy this
issue by:

 

* Immediately pass legislation to save Roosevelt
Island’s Mitchell Lama facility. Experts have ascertained that if the
current privatization plan becomes a reality, co-op shareholders will be
subject to a 17.8% increase in Multiple Capital Improvement fees resulting
in an extra $243,876 for the co-op board. Even worse, Roosevelt Island’s
Mitchell Lama facility has withdrawn from the City’s J51 Rent Control Plan
(Mitchell Lama Residents Coalition), which offers a tax credit for
entities who offer rent controlled apartments for low and middle-income
individuals.

 

* Create a new and updated program similar to the very
successful Mitchell Lama legislation passed in 1955.

 

* Build moderate-income housing using state and city
pension funds so that our new teachers, police, firemen, and other
government employees just starting out have affordable housing.

 

* Responsibly reduce zoning regulations and incentivize
private contractors to build more affordable housing.

 

 

 

 

Condominiums and Cooperatives

 

Condos and Co-Ops are one of the largest sources of
housing in New York City and even more so in Manhattan. New York has about
370,000 cooperative apartments (with maybe 1,000,000 or more persons) and
many thousands more with shared-ownership (Mitchell-Lama cooperatives,
condominiums and similar). {NYC Cooperative Community Organization}. Most
New Yorkers who live in these apartments are happy and content. However
for some living in a co-op or condo can become a nightmare. At the center
of this unfortunate reality are wanton abuses by co-op boards. The victims
of this pattern of absurd behavior are co-op shareholders; widespread
allegations of fraud, intimidation, embezzlement and harassment have plagued
New York’s co-op board shareholders for years. Exacerbating this
bleak reality is the fact that absolutely no concrete legislation exists
to protect co-op shareholders from the whims of their respective co-op
boards. As your State Senator, I will attempt to remedy this issue by:

 

* Mandating that co-op boards disclose all pertinent
decisions regarding tenants in a maximum of 45 days. There are currently
no limits or stipulations regarding how long a co-op board must notify
a shareholder of pertinent information regarding renovation requests,
requests to rent out their space, etc.

 

* Pass legislation which stipulates that in a situation
where a co-op board forces a resident out of their space, the board in
question must monetarily compensate the individual either 10% more
than the market value of their living space, or pay the remainder of
said individual’s mortgage; whichever payment is higher.

 

* Dictate that all co-op and condo boards post
financial statements on the Internet.

 

* Create a co-op review board panel to investigate
shareholder grievances and solve them in an equitable manner.  This
entity will be composed of three members; one chosen randomly, one by the
board, and one by the shareholders, and would change members based upon the
issue being investigated.

 

* Introduce legislation to renew co-op board tax
abatement for the 2013 fiscal year, and retroactively allow for deductions
to be made for the current fiscal year, as the Assembly’s incompetence should
not harm co-op shareholders.

 

* Immediately pass legislation to save Roosevelt
Island’s Mitchell Lama facility. Experts have ascertained that if the current privatization
plan becomes a reality, co-op shareholders will be subject to a 17.8%
increase in Multiple Capital Improvement fees resulting in an extra
$243,876 for the co-op board. Even worse, Roosevelt Island’s Mitchell Lama
facility has withdrawn from the City’s J51 Rent Control Plan (Mitchell
Lama Residents Coalition), which offers a tax credit for entities who
offer rent controlled apartments for low and middle-income
individuals.

 

Unlike other politicians, I will not sell out
low-income individuals for tens of thousands of dollars from an industry
that will help finance my political future. 

 

 

 

 

Corruption

 

New York is currently the 36th most transparent state
in the nation, according to the Center for Public Integrity. This reality
is obviously unacceptable. At the Assembly level, Sheldon
Silver’s comprehensive history of payouts; a recent payout of $103,800 to
two victims of sexual harassment at the hands of Vito Lopez, and a
$500,000 payout to an anonymous victim of rape at the hands of his former
aide Michael Boxley. In the latter case, Mr. Silver refused to dismiss Mr.
Boxley after he was accused of sexual harassment years prior (King).
As your State Senator, I will take the following measures to fix Albany’s
nature of corruption: 

 

* Establishment of a permanent special
prosecutor's office for State legislature/state government crimes,
overseen by a blue ribbon commission with no connection to elected
officials. 

 

* Creation of a sexual harassment unit within the
proposed special prosecutor's office, headed by an attorney with special
training and sensitivity about the issue, that could take action fast every
time a complainant comes forward. 

 

* Institute widespread Board of Election campaign
finance reform; an area in which the Center for Public Integrity gave
our state a D- for regulating. This would predominately include a
restriction on what campaign expenditures can be used for; elected
officials should use such accounts for campaigning, not lavish meals
or trips. I will also introduce legislation restricting the usage of
Franking privileges, making usage of such advantages illegal after
June of an election year. Finally, I will ensure that
campaign finance disclosure increases during a non-election year, an
increase of what would be currently two disclosures to four
disclosures. 

 

* Introduce legislation that states that all
elected officials who use their office as a means to commit any sort
of illegality lose their pensions.

 

The Unreported Facts about the Independence Party of New York


Independence Party of New York has been under attack recently and its critics have called for the party’s decertification. They claim that the Independence Party doesn't stand for anything and is a cesspool of corruption and fraud. I'm here to tell you this is far from the case! The foundation of Independence Party emerged out of the 1992 Ross Perot presidential run. Our core beliefs were derived from Mr. Perot platform of government reform, balanced budgets, jobs and election reform. In New York, some of the local issues we support are the Dream Act, Medical Marijuana, Brownfield Cleanup Program and the Scaffold Act. Most importantly, the party does not take stands on most social issues because we feel these issues politically cloud the discussion of other bread and butter topics. However, we have no problem if our candidates take their own positions on social issues. I know that a number of political leaders believe you can't be a legitimate party without taking a stand on social issues. One of the biggest critics on our non-stance on social issues is Mr. Michael Long, Chairman of the New York Conservative Party. To understand why we do not place an emphasis on social issues, we have to go back to our roots. In 1992, I volunteered on the Ross Perot campaign, here in New York. We had volunteers from both the left and right and there were times when we would get into heated discussions on such issues as gun control, abortion and the death penalty. We all realized that there were issues that we felt were more important to the future of this nation, so we agreed to disagree. That's why we have our own members who do run for office. As a matter of fact, the Independence Party has scores of members elected to political offices around the state. In Dutchess County alone, we have 6 elected IP members. Though we have not been successful in New York City, we still have members, such as myself running for political office. Sometimes we will even get cross endorsed by the Democrats and Republicans parties. In 2006, Timothy Gordon became our first elected IP State Assemblyman. We presently have Independence Party member Fred Thiele as a member of the NYS Assembly. Now, I will not deny that there are those that do commit fraud under the banner of the Independence Party. Where there is power or perceived power you will always have unscrupulous people vying for that power. The most corrupt group in the Independence Party proclaim themselves the New York City Independence Party. The core of this group all belong to the social therapy cult founded by the late Fred Newman with their current leader Lenora Fulani. I know I use the word cult, but that's what they are. Just check the Anti-Defamation League or Dennis Kings web sites to verify this. This group has been around since the late 60s and has infiltrated many different organizations and will do anything to take control of that organization. They claim to have almost 4000 active members throughout New York City, then why do they need to forge signatures every year. I have challenged their petitions numerous times over the years but because of New York Election laws and my lack of funding to hire an attorney or hand writing experts, my case were dismissed. If the cult had that number of active members as they say, it should have no problem collecting 5000 signatures needed for Mayor of New York City. Through my efforts and the efforts of our state party, the influence of this group has been greatly eliminated. Our state organization, with the help of people like me, will be doing all endorsement in the 2014 election cycle in New York City. I'll also admit that we've had a couple of bad apples in the state party and we had a county chairman convicted for misuse of party funds. But then again, Clarence Norman, the ex-Democratic chair of Brooklyn went to jail for misuse of power and Jay Savino, the ex-Republican chair of the Bronx is also on trial. That’s just to name a few. Should we demand the disbanding of the Democratic and Republican parties! We agree that there are many people registered in the Independence Party that thought they were registering no party affiliation. That doesn't mean the party is a complete fraud. As was stated by the Daily News and we agree, the voter registration cards, in the box for party affiliation, it should start with “I do not wish to enroll in any political party.” This would alleviate this problem. In fact, we will be advocating this change in our 2014 NY State Legislative Agenda. In conclusion, I have demonstrated that we are a real party with real issues. In addition, we have true Independence Party Members running for office and being elected. So Mr. Astorino and Mr. Jacobs, your attacks on my party amounts too false charges and half-truths that are unwelcome. Next time, please do your research!   Michael Zumbluskas New York State Independence Party State Executive Committee Member at Large Candidate for the New York State Senate 28th District endorsed by both Independence and Republican parties


NON-PROFIT REFORM PROPOSAL
Non-profits provide vital services for thousands of New Yorkers throughout the state.  Unfortunately, scores of corrupt politicians have used non-profits as personal slush funds to enrich themselves and family members at the taxpayer’s expense.  Here are my common-sense reform proposals to ensure that non-profits can no longer be used as a conduit between needed resources and greedy, corrupt public officials:   Require the New York State Attorney General’s office to post the Financial Statements for all non-profits throughout the state online in a searchable database; Prohibit all elected, high-level appointed officials, and government employees throughout New York State from receiving any remuneration from a non-profit organization; Require all elected, high-level appointed officials, and government employees who serve in any volunteer leadership capacity at a non-profit (for example, a non-compensated Board position for the organization), to file an initial and annual Disclosure Statement with the New York State Attorney General’s office.  Such statements will be included in the searchable database and will require information pertaining to any potential conflicts-of-interest. Require all family members or domestic partners of elected and appointed public officials who serve in any volunteer leadership capacity or receive any compensation themselves from a non-profit to similarly file such a Disclosure Statement.  Required information will include any potential conflicts-of-interest and/or compensation.