Wikinews interviews candidate for New York City mayor Vitaly Filipchenko

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Vitaly Filipchenko.
Image: Campaign to Elect Vitaly for NYC Mayor.

In early May, Wikinews extended an invitation to Vitaly Filipchenko, an independent candidate in the 2021 New York City mayoral election, set to take place November 2nd, alongside other candidates. Filipchenko answered some questions about his policies and campaign during a phone interview.

Filipchenko, registered on the New York City Campaign Finance Board as Vitaly A. Filipchenko, is the first Russian candidate for New York City mayor, being born in Tomsk, Siberia in 1973, according to news agency Sputnik. He has since naturalised as a United States citizen. According to the web site, Filipchenko has been educated in road construction and maintenance and owns a moving services company; he describes himself on his web site as a "small business owner". On his web site's platform page, he says that "[m]y English may not be perfect - but my platform is."

Incumbent Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio, who won re-election in the 2017 New York City mayoral election by 66.5%, cannot run for a third term under term limits. As of April 28, 22 candidates are currently running, the majority of whom are also Democrats. Ahead of the June Democratic primary for New York City mayor, a poll conducted May 23 and 24 by WPIX and Emerson College of 12 Democratic candidates with a margin of error of 3.2 per cent has former commissioner for the New York City Department of Sanitation Kathryn Garcia and Borough President of Brooklyn Eric Adams leading with 21.1% and 20.1%, respectively.

Interview with Vitaly Filipchenko

Interview with New York City mayoral candidate Vitaly Filipchenko, recorded with a mobile phone.
Image: J.J. Liu.

Please introduce yourself, your history and your background, first.

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) Okay. My name is Vitaly Filipchenko, I am an independent candidate for New York City mayor.

 ((WN )) What was it like growing up under perestroika and the Soviet Union's dissolution?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) So, really interesting. Like, basically, if you give a child a little bit more interest and a chance to be, how do I put it, in capitalism; it's like you give a child the stock market. Giving that kind of information: what this mean, what this is, what this for? That time was like that.

 ((WN )) What made you decide to run for New York City mayor?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) I have [not seen] an honest mayor before, trying to see how [immigrants get] marginalised, because all this big money. Doesn't matter where you have it: from Democrats, from Republicans. They just followed that money. And all these big politician people? Its only interest: money, not real problem[s] from the people. They doesn't matter, Democrats, Republicans, they just making money. It's a money machine, for politician['s] gains.

 ((WN )) According to Sputnik News, you're the first Russian candidate for New York City mayor. Do you think that will help you among the immigrant population in the city?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) Not really, because people [are] so afraid. We didn't see the real democracy in New York. Everyone can speak up for democracy, but half of them [are] not registering to vote, half of them, they [do] not believe anymore in politicians — doesn't matter who you are — and a lot of people, just like, they don't care, you know? They can talk too much, but they['re] not doing anything.

 ((WN )) Why should New Yorkers vote for you?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) Because I'm a basic, basically like [the] whole history of, like, American immigrants: I came from nothing, and became a self-[made] businessman, I became [a] hardworking person. And anyone from any kind of country, anyone from any kind of community, they can see [me] reflecting themself, themselves, because they're working really hard. I'm not standing behind any kind of big corporation, I'm not standing behind any kind of money. I'm just a regular guy. I want to be honest, I want to make a real democracy progress.

Boarded New York City restaurant displays sign reading "we're all in this together" during the COVID-19 pandemic on April 16, 2020.
Image: Anthony Quintano.

Lots of people, they just get tons of money, and they don't care. They not, really don't care. They don't have experience [with] what we have a problem in New York. I represent small business owners, I represent immigrants, I represent people who will struggle in this pandemic. Other candidates? They do not represent anyone. They just represent themselves. They are one per cent [of the] rich people. They never have problems, because rich people make more money on this problem. Other population[s], like office employee[s], who've been working in an office in a pandemic, who['re] still working from home, and making more than 100 thousand, and it's working at home! They just [do] not see [the] problem, what's exactly, what's going on right now. They just keep working!

I represent essential business who are really working outside, who are really working with the streets, working with the people who are exactly doing the job for the people. Like, most of them, these employees, this is a high-level money, they['re] just still working from home, and still making [the] same amount [of] money. We, we [are] struggling, because we got big problem[s] with our business: a lot of business[es] get shut down, a lot of business[es] get closed like restaurants, deliveries. And a small business owners, it's like really struggling, and in New York, [the] Mayor has done nothing for this. It's also a horrible person.

 ((WN )) You've criticised to Sputnik News that "if we look at other states, warm Florida, Georgia, their state budgets are not even ten times but 20, 50 times smaller than New York's. And their roads are better." Could you elaborate on that?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) Oh, it's simple. I'm [a] civil engineer. I got a[n] engineering degree for building roads: highway roads, and you can see how the difference [in the] state[s] of New York, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina. In Florida, they got a budget [of] USD4 billion, and the roads are so much better. In New York state, you got like [a] 190 billion budget in the state, and it got ten times worse, because I can see what they're doing right now. They just manipulate the budget.

They're doing one road, and [it's] suppose[d to be] if you do a good job, you can repair this road after ten years. But if you do repairs after like one or two years, they just motion budget, they're just like, obviously they're stealing money. If you're doing the same repair after two years, it's obviously "oh you're stupid, you don't know what you're doing?" They're just a regular: sit, then try to steal the money from the budget. It's called corruption.

And I see all these roads, in New York, I'm not looking from just [the] perspective of like [a] simple idiot who doesn't know how to build the roads — I'm professional, I know how to build the roads — and I saw [in] 2019, on a Brooklyn expressway, there was building [of] two ramps, it's like 500 feet, building completely new, for six months, and a level did not match by like eight inches. They tried to connect to ramp to the main Brooklyn express; the level didn't match [by] like eight inches. They just demolish everything, and start building again from over.

It's like, "Excuse me. You just spent [the] whole budget, and doing [it] again, what does this mean?" It's like, you engineered, your blueprint was non-effectual, or what's wrong? And when I was spoke with other people, it's not only one example in New York. A lot of examples, a lot of—because I'm living in Manhattan, I can see repairing the roads like [the] first time again. They did repair two years ago, and they just repair it again. It's like, "Excuse me. Why [do] you waste a lot of money? And the quality with doing this repair, is, like, horrible!"

Then-commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation Polly Trottenberg on September 23, 2020.
Image: Mark Trottenberg.

We do have Department [of] Transportation, Polly Trottenberg, for eight years, and she's done [a] horrible job. Horrible. I'm a driver. I'm driving every day [in] like a regular car, like a truck. And I know...Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn Expressway — Manhattan, Bronx, Queens — all this road: horrible. Nothing just like pothole repair; in [the] condition [of] who do[es] this job, I don't know who signs in contracts. Was this like a construction company, they do not have experience, or they're just like not qualif[ied] for this job.

And more important: if you['re] Department of Transportation, you have to sign [an] agreement. If you're doing a bad job, you have to repair. Because, how are you going to get paid for [a] bad job? If you do a new job for interview[ing] me, and it's like probably, your boss gonna like "oh, we're not going to pay you because it does nothing." Same thing. This person, Department of Transportation, Polly Trottenberg, they got moved up in Washington DC at a high position. It's like, that's a horrible job in New York, are you guys in DC completely idiots to hire this person, or something is corrupt. Same thing with the Mayor.

And if you start pointing each one corner in New York, you will be surprised. Like, for example, all these candidates who are running like "I have experience, I built so many low-income houses", they didn't do anything, you just negotiated with landlords when you change the zoning from like twenty-story building to forty-story building and asking "give me ten, twenty apartments" and they give you ten, twenty apartments for low-income because you're not building anything! For eight years in New York, low-income NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] didn't build nothing, it's still like negotiators with landlords.

In my position, I travel like New York City, we can build a lot of buildings, for high-quality luxury buildings, can sell it. And all this profit go back to New York budget. We say we can build, like NYCHA building, but actually residents can be like co-op, they['re] allowed to decide where the budget has to go, not like, for example, New York City to decide "well, we have to pay that whole buildings." I don't think they need any kind of painting, they have to just repair like [the] plumbing system, the electric system, and the people are in NYCHA who like co-op can decide it: "okay, we need this first and then this second." And a lot of Mitchell-Lama did not do many more after [the] 50s-60s.

I want to build this Mitchell-Lama loan, same thing. We didn't have a clinic who wants New York City, because if you build new clinics, if you create a lot of construction job[s] to build, because the city was doing—they just hired a little company with a high-quality payroll and have wasted money again! If you just hire New York City employers to create the New York City jobs, and start building, like, New York City clinics. You can hire a professional physician, all these doctors. It's when we create more jobs, and all these jobs are going to be get paid for New York. It's a simple way: stop wasting money for all these big billionaires; you just put a lot of infrastructure money to these billionaires! We can do that for citizens' sel[ves], to help oursel[ves]. That's my policy.

Just like, I'm doing this from my view, because I'm living every day, one more day on the street, with these problems on the street. I understand what's going on. Most of New Yorkers just see something wrong, it's like "oh, I don't know what's happened, I don't like it". But they never focus what's the problem. What's exactly the base of the problem.

Demonstration against hate crimes directed towards Asian Americans in Chinatown, Manhattan, New York City on April 10, 2021.
Image: Andrew Ratto.

 ((WN )) Your web site has said "I do not want to defund police - but retrain." Could you please elaborate on that?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) Oh, simple way! You have information about, like, what's going on right now in New York. A lot of, it's called 'hate crime', but if you be [specific], what does [it] mean, 'hate'? It mean[s], hate Asian; it's mean[t] for the basic information. What they say 'hate crime', it mean[s] Asian people hate Asian people, but it's not. Right now in New York City, most of 90 per cent [of] black people are completely destroying Asian people, and it's mean[ing] it's not 'hate crime', it's actually a racist crime. I have to be specific, and I have to call [a] specific name [for] what's going on, and they try to cover this and for this to know it's just 'hate crime'.

Not possible, 'hate crime'. It's a completely racist crime! Because most of them, who [are] doing this act, it was like a different ethnicity [of] people. It's a, obviously, race crime. And to find out with this problem, you have to put more officers to work, [it] means you have to pay overtime, and to pay more officers, for example, if you go every day and there's, say, like ten thousand officer[s], you have to put in fifteen thousand, because you have to be undercover, you have to be [taking] more shift[s], you have to be [spending] more time on the job to stop this crime.

If you want to defund police, how are you going to stop the crime? It's like Catch-22: we want to defund police, but we need more security on the streets. That doesn't work. And I say it's like "no, it's not defund police, you have to retrain." Because in my opinion, [a] bad person has to be in a bad place; a good person has to be in a good place. It doesn't matter if police officer, or just regular citizen. If you do something wrong, you deserve to be in the wrong place. Same thing with police! If you're not deserv[ing] to be a good officer, excuse me, we have to fire you. I have to get trained-better police officers; it's better quality.

[In] most of [the] states, for example Vermont, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, District [of] Columbia, a police officer has to pass [a] physical exam every six months. For example, you have to run in 1.7 miles on the time. If you look at the New York police officer? Obviously, after three years, in auxiliary police [officers], I can see half of them cannot run. It means they [are] not physically trained for this job. And if you can see, I'm not gonna blame. I want to say the systems are really bad. And if you try to stop any kind of crime, you have to be physically prepared. And what [do] police officers do? They start shooting. Because they're afraid! They're not physically prepared for any kind of physical violation. They cannot prepare any kind of physical fight: martial arts, boxing, kickboxing, because they don't have experience.

If a person [is] really sick, what's he gonna do, if they have a power? Just going to shoot you. Simple answers. And I saw a lot of New York police: overweight, and not ready for any kind of physical activity. That's a big problem. New York State, they['re] screaming "we Democrats, we['re] for democracy", not actually, not guys. You['re] just hypocrites. They try to blame everyone except themselves.

 ((WN )) How do you plan to, in your words, "support small businesses with rent law changes"?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) Oh, I told everybody. When it was a[n] epidemic—COVID-19 problems, I told everybody [a] simple way, because I was trying to volunteer [for] New York City Cares: it's a food distribution from the city from volunteers, from donors who, like, small business owners that needed the food. Now obviously food bank[s]: not bad, not bad, but again, it's a canned food, not a lot of good food. And, in my opinion, back in the time, [the] city can make a contract with all small business restaurants. Together, for example, for one period [of] time, from like 8am to 10pm, [the] city will pay money for, like, breakfast or lunchtime for homeless people, who lost a job or [have] low-income. People can get [a] normal meal, and in [the] late time, all these restaurant[s] can [be] working like regular restaurants, and you can make your profit and money.

Because you can see a lot of businesses were shut down, because they can't survive. In my opinion, it's completely mismanagement with small businesses. We just can sign the contract. First of all, we can help these people who really struggle with food; they can get a good-quality food. It's like what all deserves.

 ((WN )) How do you plan to, in your words, "Build back a greener, fairer city"?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) First of all, you should notice [the] city's like a cement jungle: a lot of asphalt, a lot of cement. And again, if you notice, we do a lot of bus lane and bike lane, and a lot of people know it's really toxic paint. When you do this painting, you can make it worse for [the] environment. And most important, when you're planning bike lanes, bus lanes not correctly, you create your traffic contractions. When you create your traffic contractions, what's happening? A lot of oxocarbons coming from the cars, a lot is congestion and it's going to be worse.

People say like "oh, we got the bikes, that's safe". No, because we still have stores, we still have deliveries, we still have truck[s that] have to deliver with food, have to deliver it [with] any kind of supplies, material, but where's he going to park? That's no way to find the parking. That's really [going to] have to double park, triple park, and blocking in the street, and it cause[s] congestion. And the people still like to stop because they have to deliver, they have to support small business. But city can't violation, one, second, well, it's a big traffic, sort of with conjunction with oxycarbonite. This means there was planning completely not, how would [I] say in really nice way...completely stupid.

A forested flyover in Fujieda, Japan on June 30, 2010.
Image: Aimaimyi.

Because I see all this planning was like, they created, okay, for example, if you notice a lot of parking spots for trucks, for cars, for deliveries, it was [a] parking zone. But, because restaurant[s were] struggling, they put in extra seats from the parking spots. It means they took all the parking spots for cars, but the cars have to deliver the food, and they have to plan, where they have to park? Nowhere. It's deteriorated worse and worse, this was planning completely stupid. If you plan in [a] correct way it deserves, like different countries Norway, like British, you can see exactly how the location [of] the parking spot. How [it's] allocated all this green zone.

If you put in a lot of bushes, if you plant in a lot of green trees, and then you make it a better environment. If you create it like [a] sidewalk over the road, nothing across the road like a lot of China, Korea and Japan, they created crosspasses over the road. It's like small parks, each one intersection is like [a] tiny park with the trees, with benches, and it's [safe]! People can cross over the road, and they have to cross the road, they go over the path, there's a small—tiny parks, it's a great idea [that] already exists in China, and in different countries.

And I was planning the same thing to create in New York City but again, all these candidates [are] screaming "I'm going to put in four billion dollars on the parks", "I'm going to put ten billion over that", guys. You just drop the name and numbers. You never offered any kind of specific job. Like for example, I live in New York City, Manhattan, where you have East Side Park. And now Mayor put it in the budget 1.2 billion dollars to renovating the park. But [the] park is functional. It exists, and I'm running every Sunday there. It's working really good, but you want to do the repair, idiot. There really exists this park, you have to create a different one which does not exist and will, like for example Bronx, Queens, they need more parks for people. Why focus all big money for little Manhattan?

A portrait of Andrew Cuomo taken September 22, 2010.
Image: Pat Arnow; Upstate NYer.

And to figure out exactly where is the problem, where the problem is actually that we have the big pollution. Then you have to create a park in that area. Over here, what they're doing is just try to create it, like, new park, and new park is bad, and they see like all this rail and space to high landlords, therefore the price skyrocket[s]. Because he got a better park, he got more trains. Same with Andrew Cuomo. He tried to create a more normal train station. We already have enough train stations. Like family, four years ago they built four extra stuff for Q trains, they spent four billion dollars. For four billion dollars, you can buy Stuyvesant-Cooper with the 20 thousand apartments for [the] same price. 20 thousand apartment[s], you can put all these people who [need] a low-income property. To pay it all, it's a lot of apartments.

And I see all this planning, what's going on in New York, it's just like it's a waste of money. They['re] pretending we need to build train station, of course we do, but we've have to look with the needs first.

Andrew Yang speaking in New Orleans, Louisiana on April 30, 2018.
Image: Collision Conf.

 ((WN )) Why have you decided to run as an independent candidate?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) Because the problem is that Democrats and Republicans: they just, most of them, they say they're for people. But actually they're not for people, they're just for money. Because if you['re] like, for example, Andrew Yang, for example. "I want to help the people". Dude, you already got your business, you're getting millions dollars, you already spent like a hundred million dollars when you're running for President in the United States, now you're running for mayor. Dude, you already got power, you got business, you can help them as anyone else.

I don't have a power, I just to be like speak out from the people who really deserves the help. Because I'm living in this problem, and as you guys are not living the problem! Because they're just looking above us, because they have [a] different style [of] life, they own the apartments, they own the houses, they got assets of millions of dollars. I'm just a regular guy! I can speak up for everybody. That's my main form because I try to help people, because I know the problem. I'm living the shoot with these people.

 ((WN )) What has [current mayor] Bill de Blasio not done that you would like to do instead?

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio riding the bus on April 30, 2021.
Image: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York.

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) Oh first of all, he completely screwed the city. If you remember back with COVID-19 became; he said like "okay, guys, I give you free bus rides" instead [of] say[ing] like "no, no bus rides, no any kind of train", and if I was the mayor I can say "you know, people, you can use the bikes, like whatever Citi Bikes for free, Citi pay [to use], if you guys drive in the car, you have to work", like for example I was talking [to] a lot of nurses and doctors. Do you know how many tickets they got through parking violation because they have to work, they can't find the parking spot and again paying a lot of money.

As for me, if you drive a new car, you got a big distance from anybody else. It's [the virus] is not spreading out. But back in the time, de Blasio said like "okay guys, everyone in the MTA [Metropolitan Transportation Authority] is essential business". But bacteria don't care [about] essentially; you're not essential, you just spread disease. And instead he said like "all these busses [are] free in New York." Really, and all that mentality for people, free bus can get more riders in the bus, and he obviously just spread[s] more and more COVID-19. That's a big problem.

And if you want to do essential business, okay, I understand! Some people [don't] have a car, some people—like for example, do you know many nurses live in Long Island, they have to drive their car? A lot, a lot! And if you try to create, you have to do, for example, like China, Korea or Russia. What['ve] they done? They created more jobs, they put a person who was working on a station to check your temperature, and if you see the high fevers like, if you necessarily have to go back home, you cannot spread the fever. That's how they created the job, and that is how they stop the spread.

Because I remember back, I would always wake up six in the morning, I walk in flat six stor[ies], and I see [it] packed: whole train, whole bus, was packed. Even right now, even two months, five months, six months, because I wake up, I'm working to go work by the train, by the bus. And I see it's completely packed.

If you want to do a better job, you can send to people who can do like, you know, like cashiers, or like managers of like jet skis, like excuse me guys, in this wagon: 20 people, next wagon please, 20 people. To get the distance. Back in the time, why this was so horrible, COVID-19 struck in New York with people spreading through the empty [space] in their busses because nobody came [at] a distance. That was bad, bad, horrible, it was [a] bad job for a mayor, and bad job for Governor Cuomo. Both of them did a horrible job.

 ((WN )) Who did you support in the 2017 New York City mayoral election, if anyone?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : 2017? One time I think...2017...'17 I don't remember, but the first one [when] de Blasio came, I was supporting him, I didn't know him better, and obviously it was my big mistake. I was thinking "okay, nice family, good guy", I was then from his house. Then later [by a] couple months, I was like "nope! Same, same corruption."

Because you know, some people, they pretend, it won't help. But when you get more information—because most of them, you can see information [for] any kind of candidate because they got more money, so they can post themselves but from better sides. But like for example, like immigrants like me, they get marginalised. Because why do I have to put "simple guy" to be a mayor? Because [the] one per cent in New York City, they never get to problem, because rich people want to say in New York, they feel good. All these guys who is represent[ing] New Yorkers, they [are] the one per cent. You got [a] high-payroll job, got tons of money. Guys, you don't know the problem, how do you know it helps the poor person, if you never live in his shoes?

That's a big problem. Because I came here in this country. Tourist visa. Overstayed, not legal. [I] was afraid to get kicked out by ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]. Then I got married, and [got] green cards, then I got citizenship, then I got my company. I run [a] moving business for ten years. Every day working hard, every day on the street I know what's going on, what kind of problem.

This was my main idea because I know the problems. I'm not conceived from any kind of paper, or statistic, or anywhere in [a] computer. No, I really live this problem. Other guys? They try to pretend to be living the problem. But you never know the problem. How do you [be] like a person who's struggling for food, trying to listen for Uber Eats. Since right now, same thing.

 ((WN )) Who did you support in the 2018 New York State gubernatorial election, so, the one for governor, basically?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : No, I did not support anyone.

 ((WN )) Who did you support in the 2020 presidential election, if anyone?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : Secret information, private information.

 ((WN )) You lived in Russia, so, who did you support in the 2018 Russian presidential election, if anyone, if you want to say?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : I [did] not vote that time.

 ((WN )) Well yes, but did you support anyone, any one candidate?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : I cannot tell all the full information, because it can be really bad for my family because they're still in Russia.

Anthony Fauci speaks at a coronavirus update briefing at the US White House, flanked by then-Vice President Mike Pence on April 6, 2020.
Image: The White House.

 ((WN )) New York City has been notorious for being one of the heaviest-affected cities at the start of the pandemic, and still the city has over 930 thousand total reported cases of COVID-19 [and] over [32] thousand deaths. How will you address this, if elected?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : Okay, first of all, you have to give the full information. If you remember Dr Fauci, he said "oh, we don't have enough PPE [personal protective equipment], we don't enough supplies, oh, guys, don't use your mask, we need this mask for all these nurses." It's a big mistake, big mistake. When he opens his mouth, people [are] like "okay, we don't have to", and it was really ridiculously spreading out. Because if you get a high position, even open your mouth, you have to think about twice, but he did not think about.

Because I spoke [to] a lot of Russian doctors, American doctors, skilled professionals; because if you do any kind of procedure, you have to put it in mask. You go to your patient, you write it down: information, you check this person, then you get out from the room. You take it (mask) off, and throw [it] away because [it's] already hazard material. You cannot go, with this mask, in a different room.

And back in the time, they didn't give you full information: how to operate it, what they have to do; because a lot of people [don't] know to put it, gloves, how taking off this gloves. Because when I was an auxiliary, I was training for CPI, and they explained how to use the mask, how [to] use the glove[s], how taking off this gloves. But this high-quality position person got access for TV, never [gave] you free classes [to] explain how this work[s], how to use your mask because I will see on the street people holding the cell phone, MetroCard, put it in the—second, swipe it, put it in the pocket, and still using gloves. Guys, you cannot touch this stuff in the gloves and put it in the pocket because when you're coming back home, you pull it out [of] your wallet without gloves, and all this bacteria going to spread it out.

Workers sanitise a Metropolitan Transportation Administration (MTA) bus on May 6, 2020.
Image: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York.

Another big problem: most of the foreign countries, they did sanitise the street. They did [it] using, like, UV light, they've been using special spray[s] on the street because when you walk, where usually goes the virus? It's on the ground. And you step in your shoe, whatever you got the mask, whatever you got any kind of gloves, you're going to bring them home in your shoes. But other countries, they're doing better because they did disinfect the stret. New York City [has] done nothing because they['re] like "oh, we want to put more money over there, over there", but it didn't do exactly the job what it needs.

Even they started disinfecting [the] MT[A] after six, seven months later, is it like, ridiculously stupid?

 ((WN )) How will you help racial and ethnic minorities, if elected?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : Again, I will tell it a simple way. All these people who [are] working really hard, deserve the better expectation for benefits, for any kind of credits, for any kind, like, loan, because right now, you can see all these big businesses get a lot of loans, regardless like tax break, but regular people who [are] working really hard, who [love] their jobs, they don't have anything!

For my opinion, I would like to create a lot of extra classes: re-qualification, because if you created more green jobs, for example, [in the] community, we have to grow a lot of trees and bushes and small community gardens to get organic food, to teach the kids. Because I grew up in Russia, everybody knows because everybody [has] a дача ((ru))Russian language: ‍country house when we grow, like, all these vegetables or just fruits, and we learned how to do this. American kids [don't] know because they don't have a lot of programmes, and if you created everything back to community, to school, to give them gardens, to colleges, to any kind [of] big—for example, like...

And you can't see it, you got a big square roof, and you can plant the garden over there. Any kind of building can create a small garden with that. You can create it, more oxygen with all this green, because it's a simple, it's a biological process. You have to put [in] more green, and if you create it to start back to community, that will be co-operation. You can help all these people who really struggle: any kind of minority, any who's struggling for new job, we can [create] the job. Stop giving away money in jobs for big corporations; [they] already have enough money.

You have to focus on ethnicity, on the people who lost [their] job. Don't forget: New York City still [has] age discrimination. Try to get a job: if you're wrong, you can get a job! If you['re] getting over 50, no way! That's a big problem. It doesn't matter who you are: Russian, Asian, from Africa; if you're over 50, [it's] really difficult. And if you['re] an immigrant, no, harder, because we['ve] got [a] second language. And then, they['re] looking at nothing but like "oh, you can't speak English." Yes we can, but we got accents." Doesn't matter.

We saw people coming from different countries, got two or three education[s], two or three colleges. But you know, in America, if you['re] someone [that's] got [an] accent, already it's like "foreigner." I know some people who told me on the street "go back to your country." Doesn't matter, but I'm still here because I love this country.

 ((WN )) Data collected by CBS News finds homeless New Yorkers are two to three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population, and homeless students graduate at a sixteen per cent lower rate. 88 per cent of individuals facing homelessness in New York City are black or Latino. How will you address the homelessness crisis, if elected?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : Okay first of all, again, they try to—"oh, we got a lot of homeless people", yes, I know. But, for example, you have to start from basic. Each one person who is on the street homeless [is] because they lost their job. It's like thirty per cent: thirty per cent are getting drugs, thirty per cent have got some kind of issue previously. For me, that's what I said: we have to create new jobs.

We have to participate each one person who loves their job, retrain and give one more chance to get a new job. That's why my plan to build new houses using people for the city, that's when I created [for the] city: more jobs. Because you're going to get more salary, you're going [to] get more insurance and they get medicine. That's when I'm planning to build medical buildings and, as they build on by city, it's like if you created more jobs, all these people from the homeless, they can get retrained.

Cropped portrait of President Joe Biden taken March 3, 2021.
Image: Adam Schultz.

Most important for me: all these college students who [are] in New York, people try to—"oh, I'm going to give you for free college tuition, blah blah blah", even Biden said that, but we have zero. For me, honestly, I'm not going [to] promise any kind [of] free college but, I got a guarantee: if you go to New York City College, you're going to guarantee to have a job in New York City because [the] city gonna create a lot of jobs, and [it's] gonna be enough for everyone.

Then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signs the Wagner-Peyser Act on June 6, 1933, establishing the United States Employment Service.
Image: FDR Library/Associated Press.

It's like with FDR: [he] created more jobs with more money, exactly in all the cit[ies] in all the state[s], not only for people who gives this opportunity to live [a] good life, not for big corporation[s], because big corporation[s] already got enough money, why [do] they have to sign this big corporation contract if I keep creating a lot of small jobs? Focus on the people, not on the big money.

 ((WN )) How will you handle the vaccine rollout?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : Okay, simple way. I grew up in Russia. Each one person in Russia know[s] vaccine is good. What we['re] having right now, it's a misinformation from vaccine. People like "oh, I represent whatever, what it's called, I will beat SARS, let's do this, I represent this ethnicity, let's do that," this is the simple way: you have to give the classes. Some kind of classes' information: how [does] vaccine work, it's what's better, what's worse.

Because right now, people, most of people [don't] have education and they're thinking like "vaccine is so stupid", but if you created some kind of classes. And again, if you created classes, you created the job: who is going to be training on these classes, who gives this—provides this information for community. I mean, we already solved two problems: we created more jobs to give better education for communities.

Because right now, people, they don't care: "oh, government always gonna lie to us." And if you created this information in classes, people can believe it, what's going on. And you have to give some kind of example, not just say "we have to be vaccinated." If you show how it's work, what is the problem and how does it solve this problem. It's when you give information, and the people will decide better because they got better information. Right now, we don't have any kind of information. Why [do] they have to get this information from the governments who don't care about me? They just offered me to put it, vaccine, but didn't explain in [a] simple way for simple people.

 ((WN )) If you couldn't vote for yourself, who would you vote for?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : I don't know, probably someone who is like similar like me, who is [an] immigrant, who understands the problem, who did in my shoes, because I cannot vote anyone else who['s] just like "I'm going to support black and blah, brown community, blah blah blah." It's a bullshit. I want to know who person who will struggle is, because most of them, like, they get tons of money, you know, and they have alternative: if you're not gonna win, you['re] still in [a] comfortable life, with a comfortable payroll, with a comfortable community. I need a person like me who can use it; it means like he's got only one chance to help [the] community.

A portrait of then-President Abraham Lincoln taken November 8, 1863.
Image: Alexander Gardner.

That's more important for me. If you're looking back like Lincoln President, he was starting from an axe-man, the chuck in the woods, then he became like postmaster, delivering the mail for [the] community, and he would talk to each one person when delivering the mail.

You have, you know, like most of these candidates, they just doing; promote themselves. They're not really believe in our needs for people who [are] really struggling. Because I represent like immigrants, I'm represent[ing] small business owners, I'm represent[ing] like part of police, I'm represent[ing] part of MTA because I've been in one's infrastructure, and it's always a problem. Because I have overview in which one solution. And other candidate[s], to be honest, they['re] dropping the cool name or any kind of programme: "you can see with my web site one hop and step for each one day what I'm gonna do." Excuse me, I want to hear you right now, simple explanation.

Because people want to know how. And when. Because I want to see the numbers. Because I want to know exactly how it's work, because I'm a simple guy, I'm not going to be playing like someone cannot calculate it, because I'm [an] engineer, I know how to calculate, how [to] measure it, how created this stuff. That's what was studied in college.

 ((WN )) What are some reasons people might not vote for you?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : Some reasons? I don't know, probably my accent. We still have a lot of racists in New York state, we still have a lot of arrogance. Every time I go to collect the signature[s], a lot of Democrats, they said like "oh, [al]ready [chose] one." That's like excuse me, I must get to sign my petition. It's a petition, you just give me chance[s].

In the basic democracy, everybody get[s] the same chance to speak up, explain what they're doing, have opportunities to be on the ballot. And these arrogant Democrats, it's like "already [chose] one, I don't want to vote for you." You're not voting for new—simple explanation. You don't know the rules. You're ready not to represent democracy, democracy exactly are opposite. You have to give the chance for everybody, you have to help everyone, that's how it works because democracy, when you get a process discussion, when you get across in a debate, it's coming [up with] a real, true solution. That's how democracies work.

That's always really surprising New York. A lot of people? "I don't know, I love this guy, I love this guy." Excuse me! If you want to get real democracy, you have to give chance[s] for everybody, when they coming time to debate, discuss, you can figure out who is better. Because if someone got money, okay, what is about money? Everybody who's [a] successful businessman I'm going to ask a simple question: "are your employee[s] union[ised] or not?" That's it! Because big corporations never want to have the union guys, because union guys can be protected by government. That's my answer.

Obviously, all this who's running, they don't care, they just care [about] themself. And if you see how [many] contributions they have I suggest it's lying, you know what contributions: you have to match one to eight? And all these candidates got like one million, got contribution from city five million, another one got like half million, got contribution three million. Guys, you still have money, who need[s] it?

Because all this money for taxpayers who really suffer right now, who need a day, who loves the job, who cannot pay rent, you guys promised to help it and then taking this money from mentioned five, ten contributions and spend it for advertising millions? I think it's hypocrisy. Who try to promise our poor people, and spend money for advertising. Is it hypocrisy?

 ((WN )) Which person from history do you identi-

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : Lincoln. It's the best, my, president.

 ((WN )) Anything else you would like to say, then?

 ((Vitaly Filipchenko )) : You're going to put in information, I'm going to say simple way: I'm a, like, regular guy, from New Yorkers. I just wanna ask if someone wanna help me with volunteers, collect the signatures for petition, please be really welcome, because you can find my web site; f-o-r Because if you believe it, we can win. Because simple people like me with our more important power, our votes, we can change a lot of things.

Because other people, other candidates, they just buy people who collect the signature. I'm not buying, because I don't have any money, I'm not behind any kind of big corporation, I just do it by myself. If someone's interested and believe me, they can contact me on my web site, through my e-mail, office @, and please, if you can help, we can win. We can prove it: immigrants can get job done!


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.