PARK SLOPE, BROOKLYN – Voters in New York City Council District 39, which stretches from the District of Columbia Waterfront to Borough Park, will see seven names on their ballot when they vote in the June 22 primary election.
One of those names will be Justin Krebs, a community organizer, a nonprofit leader, an entrepreneur and an author.
Patch has contacted all of the candidates for election to create these profiles. Krebs’ answers are below:
City Council, Borough 39
Neighborhood of residence (i.e. East Village, Astoria, etc.)
Married to Casey, midwife and birth educator. Three children: Sadie (3rd grade), Juno and Ruby (1st grade), all at PS 39. The kids have grandparents and aunts all active in their lives and happily their cousin is in the neighborhood.
Does anyone in your family work in politics or in government?
The family works in theater and culture, his sister also worked on many political campaigns
Harvard College – American History and Literature
director of campaigns at MoveOn; 6 years
Previous or current office elected or appointed
n / A
Why are you looking for an elective position?
I believe government, at its best, is the tool by which we address common challenges and invest in shared solutions that we cannot accomplish on our own. After 20 years of advocating and organizing to elect the right people and persuade and pressure our elected leaders, I am ready to become the ally from within who works with community partners to solve problems together.
The most pressing issue facing our (council, district, etc.) is _______, and that’s what I intend to do about it.
Education. A lot of people talk about schools because they are running for office, I am running because I want to talk about schools. We need to focus on education – making a real priority for high quality education accessible to all our students in all our schools – and mobilizing city resources and mobilizing our communities and all sectors of the world. urban life towards a vision that focuses on genuine participation and equity in our schools. This district has made great strides with the District 15 integration plan and needs to support and build on it to deal with the big differences in the way our families experience their local schools. This means working for smaller class sizes, enrichment programs and after-school programs in all schools, investing in individual learning, making sure every school has a nurse and social worker, protecting the privacy of our students’ data and bring joy in our children’s school days.
What are the critical differences between you and other candidates for this position?
There are so many good candidates running for this position, and no matter what the outcome, we will have a good representative for this district. That said, there are two things that set me apart from some of the other candidates for this seat. First of all, my orientation towards schools – this will be my first priority every day of the week to make sure that we are increasing the budgets of all public schools and that we really re-imagine what equitable schooling looks like as we we’re recovering from this brutal pandemic – and because we’re doing better than getting back to “normal”, which just hasn’t worked for many of our students. Second, I have spent my career bringing people together to create bold, incremental change and to move things forward together that we cannot do alone. I’ve used every platform I’ve been a part of – from my role as Director of National Campaigns at MoveOn, to building Living Liberally / Drinking Liberally social communities, to the stage of The Tank to social media to digital organizers. I organized and hosted – to bring diverse communities together to make big, incremental changes. It meant leading organizations, managing teams and budgets, building coalitions and always striving for results, all of which I seek to bring to our city council.
How do you think the local authorities reacted to the coronavirus? What if something would you have done differently?
Brad Lander has done extremely well on several fronts:
– Early organization of large accessible zoom meetings around issues / sectors (gig economy, small business, education)
– Focused on key advocacy fights – rights / protections for worker protection in concert, essential workers bill of rights, calling attention to childcare crisis, streets open for play, recreation and deals
– Provided great sources of information – health, how to support the community – via email and website
One area where I would have worked differently would have been to focus on education earlier and to organize teachers, parents and administrators together more actively by summer 2020 to face the challenges of confusing and chaotic decisions and lack of clarity of vision at city level.
Describe the other issues that define your campaign platform.
School is obviously a priority, but I am also committed to:
-Invest in what makes it a vibrant and livable city: our small businesses, the main streets of the neighborhood, the arts, culture, nightlife, bike and pedestrian-centric design, parks and open spaces.
-Ensure New York is a leader in all respects in dealing with the climate crisis
-Transfer financial power, and also transfer political power from those with wealth – to support small businesses and workers instead of monopolies and big businesses, to give tenants and those in need of affordable housing instead of developers, to invest in public spaces and the public sphere
-Transform the way we police, so we spend less money on excessive policing and more on undoing decades of regressive policies
What accomplishments in your past would you cite as proof that you can handle this job?
As the leader of the School District 15 Presidents Council (which substantially overlaps the District 39 Council), I encountered the challenges of allocating resources for different schools and the structural difficulties helping all schools thrive. And over the past few months, we’ve used our City Council campaign to be part of the advocacy movements that have successfully put pressure on the DOE to end the clawback of the school budget (https://bklyner.com/budget -amnesty-for-public- schools-and-more-education-news /), and demanded an end to the arbitrary two-case rule that resulted in thousands of in-person school days lost across town (https: //www.facebook.com/watch /? v = 446237419967101); our campaign led over a thousand parents, students and educators to request a plan for the fall school year from the mayor (https://patch.com/new-york/parkslope/1- 000-bk-parents-teachers- call-fall-school-reopening-plan) and held workshops on how to advocate for the safe and successful reopening of schools and how to help parents support their children this year; and we stepped in to survey hundreds of isolated families to see what they need to make the next school year a success when the DOE dropped the ball (https://www.amny.com/news/report- 35-of-new-york -the-families-in-the-city-are-afraid-of-sending-children-back-to-classrooms-this-fall /).
In my work as Director of National Campaigns at MoveOn, we have used our platform to defeat Trump’s policies in Washington, particularly by stopping his attack on the Affordable Care Act and helping to fuel the Blue Wave. of 2018. If elected, I will use the city council office to continually demand real accountability and communication from the Ministry of Education and generate tangible incremental change on all fronts.
Finally, The Tank – the theater I helped start 18 years ago and of which I have been the chairman of the board ever since – is a unique institution, supporting thousands of artists each year, including during the pandemic, and offering a different and creative model on how to present new works in all disciplines of the performing arts. My experience supporting our leadership team, navigating real estate, grants, city agencies, budgets and working with artists, audiences, volunteers and other stakeholders will help shape the outlook. that I bring to the city council.
The best advice ever shared with me was:
That it was acceptable, even encouraged, to question the authority