Mayoral Candidate: Maya Wiley

Mayoral+Candidate%3A+Maya+Wiley

Alex Nagin

The New York City Democratic Mayoral Primary has developed into a race strikingly similar to the 2020 Presidential primary, characterized by a sea of candidates, most of whom are proving to be less than ideal. When asked to estimate the average price of a property in Brooklyn during a New York Times interview, former Obama Administration official Shaun Donovan and Citigroup executive Ray McGuire missed the mark. Donovan guessed the price to be $100,000 dollars, while McGuire guessed a mere “$80 to $90,000.” The answer: $900,000. Even a guess relatively close to the $900,000 mark from these two candidates could prove their understanding of how absurdly expensive it is to live in New York City. However, Donovan and McGuire’s estimations show their general ineptitude in regards to one of the most prominent struggles hard working New Yorkers face: affordable housing. 

If the next mayor of New York City is to be successful, they must be prepared to lead the city with a bold, progressive vision that stems from a deep understanding of not only housing inequities, but also the climate crisis, public education, and police reform. Only one candidate, though widely overlooked, meets these criteria: Maya Wiley. 

Maya Wiley, former Counsel to Mayor Bill De Blasio and Civil Rights Attorney, is the progressive that New York City desperately needs. Take for example her stance on the necessity of reforming the New York Police Department (NYPD). The Citizens Budget Commission reported that for the 2020 fiscal year $11 billion dollars were allocated to the NYPD from the city’s budget. Compare this to the 2015 budget: a mere $4.7 billion. There is an irrationality to this kind of increase. This is where Mayor Wiley would act as a true agent of change and introduce a measure of rationality. Wiley avoids blanket political statements such as “defund the police,” understanding that such positions lack nuance and only cement existing divisions. Rather, Wiley works through aspects of funding, suggesting moving funding to social servicing agencies that can address mental health and other issues that should not be left to law enforcement. Nor does Wiley demonize all police, which, in reality, does not resonate with the vast majority of New Yorkers.   

This approach echoes the one taken by President Obama. When asked about the “defund the police” slogan, the former President explained that “You los[e] a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you’re actually going to get the changes you want done.” And that is Wiley’s aim: to get things done. 

Another way in which Wiley plays it smart while pushing forward a progressive agenda is her stance on education. She does not seek to tear down existing schools or place blame on administrators, parents or teachers; rather, Wiley aims to acknowledge, restore, and support. In this regard, Wiley brands her stance on public school curricula as “an education in line with the ‘5Rs of Real Integration’ framework developed by the students of Integrate NYC: Race and enrollment, Resource allocation, Real relationships, Representative staff and faculty, and Restorative justice.” This type of education would not be a mere condemnation of traditional education, but a recognition of inequities in resources and opportunities.  

If we are to take anything away from Wiley’s candidacy, let it be this: branding matters.  For my fellow progressives, we must do more than simply call out inequities. We need to derive and support solutions that bring as many as our fellow citizens into the fold as possible. We need to be more than slogans. Maya Wiley is the only candidate with a deep understanding of this critical value and should be the next Mayor of New York City. Vote Wiley. June 22nd.