(Voter Guide) 2017 Democratic Primary – Lower East Side

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Candidates running for City Council in districts 1 and 2.

New York City’s 2017 Democratic Primary is upon us. Ahead of Election Day, Sept. 12, The Lo-Down is publishing a Lower East Side-specific Voter Guide.

(Voter Guide) Aaron Foldenauer – City Council District 1

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Aaron Foldenauer
Residence: Financial District, 12 years
Websiteaaronforcitycouncil.com
Office: City Council District 1
Current Occupation: Litigator/attorney

Why are you seeking this office? 

I’m already standing up to the broken political establishment.  Mayor Bill de Blasio and Margaret Chin tried to censor me and many other community groups at a recent public Town Hall meeting.  They used the police to confiscate flyers and suppress political speech of their opponents.  I fought back.  I’ve filed a criminal complaint with the U.S. Attorney’s Office against de Blasio and Chin.  I will not allow anyone’s rights to be trampled on.

Actions like this combined with my comprehensive platform to protect and support the people of Lower Manhattan have turned my primary challenge into a major threat.

Unfortunately, our current representative, Margaret Chin, has not kept the interests of the community at heart during her eight long and unproductive years on City Council.  I am not a product of the corrupt political machine that has produced Chin and so many like her.

I am a successful litigator and practiced at some of the leading law firms in New York City for over a decade.  For years, I have advocated for the most vulnerable among us and have conducted significant pro bono legal work in the community and for a number of low-income artists.

As your next City Council Member, I will restrict overdevelopment and protect our parks and neighborhoods from the artificial distortions of the real estate market.  Furthermore, I will protect our small businesses from being displaced and prevent the suburbanization of our historic neighborhoods caused by the proliferation of chain retail outlets.  I will also block irresponsible deals, like the current administration’s tragic sale of the historic Rivington House nursing home to real estate developers.

Protecting the environment at the local level is a key priority.  I will plant hundreds of additional trees, convert vacant lots into urban farms, and install compost bins in restaurants, office towers, and residential buildings to reduce the mountains of food waste sent to landfills from New York City.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

Lives depend on the person you elect to serve as your city council representative.  It’s a serious responsibility.

As an attorney working on complex business and intellectual property litigation, I have the ability to fully use the tools of the office to fight for positive change.  Even well-meaning politicians are often unable to execute and achieve real reform.  They end up selling out to—or being pushed around by—special interests.  No wonder that little gets done.

To actually change a broken system requires complicated changes to real laws and closing loopholes that the wealthy readily exploit.  Given my reputation as a fighter and my experience as an attorney, I will be able to draft and pass substantial laws and get them cleared by the courts in order to make sure that real change actually happens.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would introduce if elected?: 

On my first day in office, I will call for a top-to-bottom audit of the New York City Housing Authority to bring real reform to the dilapidated buildings that house our most vulnerable residents.  I will also call for the passage of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, which will give tenants a real seat at the table to negotiate with landlords for fair lease renewal terms.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

Overdevelopment has led to an affordability crisis in the Lower East Side.  Unlike the failed incumbent, Margaret Chin, I will actually successfully work to resolve the housing emergency we have in this City.

One way I will do this is to crack down on the rise of foreign and non-resident ownership.  Housing stock is being purchased by non-residents at an alarming rate.  Not only does this artificially inflate prices and take away housing units from local residents, but also these non-residents do not pay either local or state income taxes, thus decreasing the tax base that pays for the services on which we all rely.

And unlike Margaret Chin’s election-year pandering, I will work to implement real laws and launch real legal battles to fight to put an end towards the outrageously tall, large buildings planned to go up along the waterfront in the Lower East Side.

Education:
University of Virginia School of Law, Juris Doctor (Law Degree)
Hampden-Sydney College, Bachelor of Arts, Economics

Key Endorsements:
The Liberal Party of New York

Financial Summary: Campaign Finance Board

Video Statement: NYC Votes

(Voter Guide) Daisy Paez – District Leader, 65th AD, Part B

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Daisy Paez
Residence: Lifelong resident of Lower Manhattan; I raised both of my children on the Lower East Side.
Website: districtleaders2017.com
Office: District Leader, 65th Assembly District, Part B
Current Occupation: Community Liaison, Educational Alliance

Why are you seeking this office? 

I am seeking the position of District Leader because I strongly believe that our community deserves a stronger voice. Considering the rapid pace of gentrification and overdevelopment in many of our neighborhoods, the concerns of the community are currently not being received with nearly enough care or attentiveness.  I plan to address this ongoing gentrification, where many lifelong residents are losing their housing due to overpricing or displacement, as well as tenant safety issues, overcrowding in schools, and access to transportation. As a lifelong resident of Lower Manhattan and prospective District Leader, I have and will continue to be a liaison between our community and our elected officials. Above all, I would like to bring back the diversity and inclusion that has enriched Lower Manhattan and the Lower East Side for generations.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

I have worked at the Educational Alliance for over twenty years helping to provide social services to the community. During my tenure, I have collected over a thousand petition signatures to regain $75,000 in lost funds for Youth Development programs. Through this funding, we were successfully able to reopen the teen program in 2016.

From 2014 to 2017, I also served as the President of the Grand Street Guild Tenants Association, which represents over 600 tenants. Through the hard work of our Tenants Association, we were able to establish a community center for residents, introduce affordable Time Warner cable packages, and pressure the Guild’s management company, Wavecrest Management Team Ltd, to provide Section 8 housing for the next thirty years.

I have also fought for tenant safety and highlighted community issues with state and city elected officials. For instance, I worked with former New York State Senator Daniel Squadron to propose the Elevator Safety Act (S1945), which would set minimum education and training standards for all elevator mechanics and protect the elevator-riding public from potential accidents.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would advocate for if elected?: 

With seniors making up a large part of our community, I will advocate for legislation that provides better, more robust senior health and mental care services. We must fight to ensure that our seniors have the resources necessary to lead healthy and peaceful lives.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

I believe that the most pressing issue faced by the Lower East Side residents is affordable housing. Considering the number of high rise buildings that are currently being developed in our neighborhoods, many of our residents–some of whom have lived on the LES their entire lives–are unable to keep up with rising rent prices and the Area Median Income. The fact that these new developments continue to be built against the wishes of community indicates that our elected officials are turning a deaf ear to their constituents. I want to change this relationship and make government not only accessible, but responsive to the needs of those it ought to represent.

Education: Touro College

Key Endorsements:
Fernando Mateo, President of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers
United Fujianese American Association
Fujian Association in USA Inc.

Affiliated Organizations:
Grand Street Guild Tenants Association
County Committee Member
Voting Member, Community Board 3 (Parks, Recreation, Cultural Affairs, & Waterfront Committee)
Member, 7th Precinct Community Council

 

 

(Voter Guide) Mary Silver – City Council District 2

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Mary Silver
Residence: Murray Hill/Kips Bay resident for 25 years, and previously lived in the East Village during graduate school at NYU.
Website: marysilvernyc.com
Office: City Council District 2
Current Occupation: Attorney

Why are you seeking this office?

I am running because I want to be a champion for education in the City Council. I have been an education advocate, community activist and attorney for twenty years. I have served as class mom, PTA president, School Leadership Team member, and Community Education Council officer. I now serve on the Community Board focusing on housing, homelessness, human rights and education, as well as on the advisory board for the 30th Street Men’s Shelter. Teachers, principals and public school parents have asked me to run for this open seat. This is not a stepping stone for me, my only focus will be to continue to serve this district as your City Council Member.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

I have a Ph.D. and J.D. from New York University. I am an attorney and a former teacher. In 2010, I received the New York State Senate’s Women of Distinction Award for my community activism and education advocacy. For over 20 years, I have lived, worked and raised a family in Council District 2. My three daughters are graduates of New York City public schools.

I served as class mom, PTA president, member of the Community Education Council in District 2, and currently serve on Community Board 6 and the advisory board for the 30th Street Men’s Shelter. I raised over $3 million in funding for New York City public schools, identified new school sites to ease overcrowding, and expanded after school programs for children.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would introduce if elected?

The Small Business Jobs Survival Act has been delayed in the City Council since the 1980s, despite overwhelming support. If elected, I would make this my first priority. District 2 – and all of New York City – is rapidly losing small businesses. We must do more to protect small businesses and the jobs that they provide.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

The issue I hear most from voters is affordability. We are facing a humanitarian crisis when it comes to displacement in our district. Families, seniors, and young people are being pushed out of their homes and communities to make way for luxury high rises and condo developments.

The City must do more to expand our affordable housing stock and strengthen rent stabilization. Under the Bloomberg administration we lost thousands of precious affordable housing units, and despite the push from Mayor de Blasio, we are still woefully in need of more units.

As City Council Member, I will push to end real estate tax benefits like 421a that give away billions of dollars in tax revenue for far too few new affordable units. We should be using that money to build 100% affordable buildings with supportive housing services.

Education:
BA, Hofstra University
JD, NYU Law School
PhD, NYU

Key Endorsements:
Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA)
Stonewall Veterans Association
New American Democratic Club
New American Women’s Forum
New American Youth Forum

Affiliated Organizations:
Community Board 6, Manhattan
Advisory Board for the 30th Street Men’s shelter
Community Education Council – District 2 (previous)
New York State Bar Association
Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Murray Hill Neighborhood Association
Gramercy Neighborhood Association

Financial Statement: Campaign Finance Board

Video Statement: NYC Votes

(Voter Guide) Ronnie Cho – City Council District 2

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here. 

Ronnie Cho
Residence:
Second Street and Avenue C; East Village for five years
Website: ronniecho.com
Office:
City Council District 2
Current Occupation:
Former Vice President and Head of Public Affairs at MTV

Why are you seeking this office? 

We’re living in challenging times, and we need proactive leaders like me with the experience, grit and fresh perspective that will make New York work for everyone. In January when President Obama delivered his farewell address in Chicago, I heard him speak and he said, “If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.” It was a call for anyone who fought so hard for progressive causes. I have the experience, the passion, and the subject matter expertise that I could provide and be a real asset to the city council and to my neighbors. I have national experience that will bring fresh perspective on how to pass legislation in the City Council and solve our District’s most pressing problems.

I am running for city council because like many of you, I believe the Democratic Party and more importantly, our city needs a new generation of progressive leadership. I believe that New York City has the opportunity to achieve bold progressive change that make us the greatest city in the world. From single payer healthcare, smart solutions that meet the growing need of affordable rents, good paying jobs that protect workers and grows the middle class, and a quality public education system that ensures our kids have every opportunity to live up to their potential.

We can accomplish these goals if we work together to reject the status quo and embrace a future as big and bright as our imagination allows. District 2, I believe our best days are ahead us.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

I have dedicated my whole life to public service. As an aide in the White House, I advanced the President’s agenda on key issues from college affordability to immigration rights for children. I have seen firsthand how to pass hallmark legislation like the Affordable Care Act and how to enact real solutions that proves that government can and should be force for good in people’s lives. When I worked with the FCC to bring broadband access to schools across the United States, I brought 21st century tools and resources to public schools in New York City and District 2. And later I used my knowledge of the public sector to MTV as their VP of Public Affairs. At MTV, I used their large audience to promote progressive causes from transgender rights to combating campus sexual assault to immigrant rights.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would introduce if elected?

The first piece of legislation I would introduce is a small business and minority and women business rent stabilization bill. Small businesses should not be subjected to the arbitrary rent increases as large commercial tenants; it is punitive toward their business success. We need to protect our small businesses, particularly our minority and women owned small businesses, from unscrupulous landlords who raise rents on our hardworking mom and pop shop owners to make way for national chain stores. We need to bolster and celebrate the diversity and unique character of our small businesses and local economy.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

I believe the most pressing issue facing those who live on the Lower East Side is the lack of affordable housing. First, we need to protect the affordable housing we already have and ensure our eligible residents subscribe to the programs we have like SCRIE and DRIE.

Education: BA from Arizona State University

Key Endorsements:
Arne Duncan, former US Secretary of Education
David Axelrod, former Senior Advisor to President Obama
Assemblyman Ron Kim
City Council candidate Alison Tan
Sing Sing Ave A

Affiliated Organizations:
Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation
Creative Council of Emily’s List
Alliance for Youth Organizing
Run for Something
Civic Nation

Financial Statement: Campaign Finance Board

Video Statement/NYC Votes

(Voter Guide) Christopher Marte – City Council District 1

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Christopher Marte
Residence: Lower East Side, lifelong resident
Website: martenyc.com
Office: City Council District 1
Current Occupation: Full-time candidate

Why are you seeking this office?

I am running for City Council because when my parents immigrated here, it was to give me an opportunity. I had the opportunity to receive a public school education and to grow up in a diverse immigrant community, while my father was able to own a bodega and my family could live in an apartment that was rent stabilized. I grew up with a strong love for my neighborhood, and this has always stayed with me. However the opportunities I was given as a lifelong Lower East Sider are diminishing. The affordable housing that is built is not truly affordable for the community it is meant to serve. There are two public schools in the Village and Lower East Side that were promised to the community, but not a single brick has been laid. Landlord harassment and overdevelopment are forcing small businesses to close, and pricing long-term residents out of their homes.

The people of Lower Manhattan are powerful community activists, and I have fought alongside them to improve tenants rights, increase fair wages, defend our open space, and empower our disenfranchised communities. There are community-based solutions like The Chinatown Working Group plan, and programs like Participatory Budgeting, that would give residents the opportunity to have a voice in land use and budgeting. However we have not had one Town Hall meeting since the incumbent came into office 8 years ago. Residents are deprived of the opportunity to express their concerns or resolve their problems.

I am honored to be running for City Council because this race has given me an opportunity to give back to the community that made me who I am today. As I knock on doors I hear the need for a fresh face with an old story. My immigrant family’s journey is similar to many Lower East Siders, but the transparency, engagement, and commitment that I will bring to this office will be new.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

One of the most meaningful experiences of my professional career was helping previously incarcerated people start their own businesses. I personally mentored 3 people who otherwise would not have been given an opportunity to start over. From financial planning to carrying yourself with confidence, these men and women started from nothing but through their commitment to bettering themselves and their community became successful businesses.

Seeing opportunity where others may not, bringing the voiceless into the conversation, and improving financial literacy against all odds are important skills that I will bring to the City Council.

I was able to help these people develop business plans because I was given the opportunity to work at IBM’s Retirement Fund. I learned how to manage a budget and make long-term decisions. These are integral to a City Councilmember’s responsibilities because policies must be proactive instead of reactive. I will be equipped to anticipate the investments needed to strengthen our District for generations to come.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would introduce if elected?: 

My top legislative priority is passing campaign finance reform. Since the Real Estate Board of New York invested $250,000 in the incumbent’s re-election campaign in 2013, we have seen developments rise from the Lower East Side to Tribeca. Our elected officials should be accountable to those that voted for them, not those that financed their election. My campaign has not accepted any money from developers, and is transparent in disclosing our contributions and expenditures through charts that are publicly available. I will work to close loopholes surrounding campaign finance that allow those that do business with the City to contribute to campaigns they have a vested interest in. I will work to severely limit the influence of special interest super PACs, and increase the City’s matching funds program to level the playing field for grassroots campaigns like my own.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

The lack of engagement with the community lies at the center of the other critical issues in the District. Small businesses are being priced out, overdevelopment is rampant, and tenants are being forced from their homes. None of the activists or victims at the forefront of these issues have a platform to communicate with their representative in City Hall. We have not had a Town Hall meeting in 8 years, but our Councilmember’s absence goes beyond this crucial fact. I am the only candidate that attended every EIS meeting to discuss the community’s concerns with the waterfront developments. Our Councilperson said that these meetings were supposed to be active discussions between the residents and the developers, but she did not show up to moderate this discussion. I stood with my neighbors when they declared that the meetings were not fair to the community, while our Councilperson left out the back door. I will host regular Town Hall meetings so that every issue, whether it relates to a single person, a building, a block, or the entire District, has a platform. I have received the endorsements of those who have been fighting for open space, for waterfront resiliency, for tenant protections, because they know that I will act on the problems that are presented to me. I will implement community-based zoning and participatory budgeting so that those that live here shape my policy, and not special interests.

Education: Long Island University, Brooklyn – BA in Global Studies

Key Endorsements:
Downtown Independent Democrats
Village Independent Democrats
Small Business Congress
League of Independent Theaters
Local 28 – Sheet Metal Workers

Affiliated Organizations: Member, Downtown Independent Democrats

Financial Statement: Campaign Finance Board

Video Statement/NYC Votes

(Voter Guide) Carlina Rivera – City Council District 2

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary. please click here

Carlina Rivera
Residence: Lifelong resident of the Lower East Side
Website: carlinarivera.nyc
Office: City Council District 2
Current Occupation: full-time candidate. Most recently I served as Legislative Director in the City Council for Councilwoman Rosie Mendez.

Why are you seeking this office? 

I have been a lifelong resident of the Lower East Side, born and raised in the district I seek to represent. Together with neighbors and local leaders, I have been a part of successful organizing efforts around social justice and quality of life issues that include housing preservation, education equality, criminal justice reform, small business survival, and disaster preparedness. The partnerships I have formed and cultivated with advocacy groups, tenant leaders and service organizations will be with me in the Council, as we continue to strive to meet the diverse and challenging needs of our communities. I have been asked by neighbors and allies to run because I work collaboratively, and always operate with the facts. We have a strong history of progressive leadership and local movements that have kept our neighborhoods authentic and resilient. I am running because I respect and honor this history and understand the nuances of every neighborhood in the district. I am experienced, compassionate, approachable, trusted and have the best grasp on the responsibilities and demands of this position. I want the residents here to be proud of their representative and I am ready to bring a new energy to our environment that makes government accessible and always puts the people first.

My track record of accomplishment has been achieved through coalition-building and together we have been able to expand affordable housing, enhance senior services, improve school programming and equity, and help preserve mom-and-pop businesses. During this time of Trump, we need someone who has a history of standing up to powerful forces. As a homegrown leader who has battled big industries, my experience professionally and personally has brought me into many spaces to understand the realities of everyday people and politics at every level. I know I am the candidate best equipped to represent every resident and diverse community in District 2, my home and where I hope to age in place.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

Over 15 years, I have developed an unmatched expertise in both policy and direct service.

My biggest accomplishments have come through advocating for more investment and infrastructure in Lower Manhattan as a volunteer on local campaigns, through my commitment as a Director of Programs and Services at Good Old Lower East Side, a local nonprofit, and while working in the CIty Council. Over the years and through coalition work, we have brought over 500 new units of permanently affordable, mixed-income housing; created space for a new public school; and raised hundred of millions of dollars for the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, which will create an accessible waterfront and protect families from future disasters.

Having a career that has spanned work in fields that include education and criminal justice, I have seen how public systems can further disenfranchise communities that are historically underserved. As Legislative Director for Councilmember Rosie Mendez, I helped craft legislation and supported projects to address these disparities and tackle issues that include homelessness and tenant harassment, healthful living conditions, the oversaturation of construction, disability rights, LGBTQ protections, animal rights, and to improve inefficiencies within city agencies.

With a background in organizing, I will work to give residents a voice in the process and expand on the skills I have in service and outreach to reach constituents in every demographic across the district.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would introduce if elected?: 

There are a few bills currently in the Council that must be passed now and at the very least during the next legislative term including the Asthma Free Homes Act (Intro 385B) and regulation of what seems to be 24-hour construction (Intro 17). Another top legislative priority is passing the 21st Century version of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act to put power back into the hands of small business owners to negotiate fair leases in an imbalanced real estate market and promote retail diversity. I also want to work with the Department of Environmental Protection on the noise that adversely affects us in our neighborhoods.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

The most pressing issue facing our residents on the Lower East Side is affordability at all income levels. While working at Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), I organized tenants to fight displacement and advocate for resources that keep quality education, healthcare and food within reach. As a Council Member, I will fight for more city, state and federal funding to reduce New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) repair backlogs and address longstanding health, safety, accessibility and resiliency issues; will push for as close to 100% of new units built under the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program to be permanently affordable; and will work with my colleagues to expedite city and state commitments to create supportive housing, which is a proven deterrent for homelessness. Tenants also face quality of life issues that include noise and transportation problems I hope to address once in office.

Education: Marist College B.A. in Communications and Journalism

Key Endorsements:
Planned Parenthood of New York City
League of Conservation Voters of NYC
United Federation of Teachers
Make the Road Action
Stonewall Democratic Club of New York

Affiliated Organizations:
Former Member, Community Board 3
Former Member, Bellevue Community Advisory Board Member, Good Old Lower East Side
Member, Coalition for a District Alternative

Financial Statement: Campaign Finance Board

Video Statement/NYC Votes

(Voter Guide) Karen Blatt – District Leader, 65th AD, Part A

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Karen Blatt (Incumbent)
Residence: Seward Park Cooperative for 18 years
Website: trumanclubdems.org
Office: Female District Leader, 65th Assembly District, Part A
Current Occupation: Co-Executive Director of the Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment

Why are you seeking this office? 

For many years I have been engaged in community service on the Lower East Side and I am enthusiastic about preserving and improving our Lower East Side community. Our schools and long-standing institutions; Henry Street Settlement, Educational Alliance, United Jewish Council and NORC have built the foundation of this diverse community and it is vital that they continue to thrive so that the needs of all our residents are met. I believe our diversity is our strength, and I want to work with my neighbors to build a community that serves the needs of a broad range of residents including seniors, working families and youngsters. As the incumbent Female District Leader since 2014, I have had experience overseeing a number of local elections. I have deep respect for the election process and I am devoted to safeguarding the constitutional rights of all voters. I am committed to ensuring that each and every one of my constituents has a voice.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

As a professional Urban Planner, my entire career has been dedicated to public service. I have held positions with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, the NYC Department of City Planning and the NYS Legislature which make me uniquely qualified for the position of District Leader. In addition to my extensive knowledge of NYC and NYS government, I have also been engaged in community service on the Lower East Side for the last decade. As a Member of Community Board 3, I participated in negotiations that helped shape guidelines for the Essex Crossing Mixed Use Development. I successfully advocated for the inclusion of open space, commercial uses and community facilities so that the entire community would benefit from the development. I also serve on the Transportation Committee of Community Board 3, often utilizing my skills as a traffic planner as we seek creative solutions to reduce the traffic problems on Grand Street.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would advocate for if elected?: 

More state funding of mass transit is my priority. The entire state benefits from our mass transit system and must invest in it. The MTA is a state controlled agency and they must be held accountable for keeping the system in a state of good repair and making sure it is prepared for the increased development and population. We should not have long wait times for overcrowded buses and subways.

Equal pay for women is another priority that I advocate for. The gender pay gap is unacceptable and should be eliminated. The City Council should require employers to be transparent about salaries and provide access to affordable and dependable childcare.

I am also deeply concerned with the growing support for BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions against Israel) and will advocate for the expansion of the anti-BDS law. The law must prevent BDS advocates from using State-funded organizations to advance this form of anti-semitism.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

The Lower East Side is a very desirable place to live. As a result developers are looking to build on every available site. Our community has become overwhelmed with construction sites and all of the congestion, dirt and noise that comes with them. The construction is expected to continue for years to come, yet our infrastructure is not prepared to absorb all of the new development. We do not have enough schools seats, hospital beds or parks to support the increase in population.

The City’s Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) process needs to be overhauled so that developers are held accountable for compromising our infrastructure and impacting our quality of life. I will collaborate with the community and city agencies to troubleshoot areas where there is congestion, ensure public safety and improve our quality of life.

Education:

NYU Wagner School of Public Service, Masters in Urban Planning

Yeshiva University Stern College for Women, BA in History and American Studies

Key Endorsements:

Margaret Chin, Council member District 1
The Jewish Press
Ari Gold, Performer and LGBT Activist
Harry S. Truman Democratic Club
Rabbi Zvi Romm, Bialystoker Synagogue (for identification purposes only)

Affiliated Organizations: 

Community Board 3 Member, former Chair of the Transportation Committee
Essex Crossing Task Force
Harry S. Truman Democratic Club
Riders Alliance
Stanton Street Synagogue

(Voter Guide) Caroline Laskow – District Leader 65th AD, Part A

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Caroline Laskow
Residence: Lower East Side (Seward Park Co-op) since 2003; NYC since 1998
Website: grandstreetdems.nyc
Office: Female District Leader 65th Assembly District, Part A
Occupation: Documentary filmmaker, writer, mother

Why are you seeking this office? 

I want people to know they have District Leaders! So many people in our neighborhood were unaware of this position before our campaign. Let’s expect more from our electeds – yes, even the volunteer, entry-level ones – like proactive visibility.

I want people to know what “AD65 Part A” means – and that’s just for starters. An informed electorate offers a kind of herd immunity in a democratic society. Let’s bring back Civics lessons and make it fun and accessible for everyone to feel fluent in our city and state’s labyrinthine political structure. The process of filling Daniel Squadron’s open seat in the state senate gives us an immediate, real-life example to get the ball rolling. Knowledge is power, and we shouldn’t be hoarding or hiding it behind closed doors.

I want to amplify our community’s voices. We have concerns that are super-local (Where will more parking spaces come from? How about that middle school we were promised?) and part of an ongoing national conversation (What can we do to improve our flood resiliency?).

I want to help grow a new political club – Grand Street Democrats – that will bring true progressive Democratic Party representation to our corner of the Lower East Side. That means: pro-choice, pro-LGBTQ, pro-religion freedom, pro-public school, pro-affordable housing, pro-immigrant; anti-corruption, fully transparent, accessible and compliant with campaign/election law.

This is a Democratic Party position, so I want help our community organize and engage in bigger picture campaigns. I phone-banked with many of my neighbors in the weeks before the presidential election, and I know there’s a lot of energy and concern down here for getting Democrats elected far and wide. That could mean working to flip a seat in the New York State Senate, or a road trip with Sister District for the 2018 mid-term elections, and gearing up for 2020.

I had never considered running for office until after the crushing results of the presidential election. Going to the Women’s March in DC on a bus filled with my Grand Street neighbors was inspiring and encouraging, as was attending local rallies. And as I looked to be a more active participant at the local level, I was shocked and truly disappointed that our current District Leaders had not organized a single campaign event leading up to the election, nor any response to any of Trump’s vile, disrespectful and damaging words and actions. Yes, District Leader is a neighborhood, volunteer position, but if we show no engagement at this elemental level, how can we assume any strength higher up? I have been proud to live on Grand Street since 2003 (and even prouder that I encouraged my husband to move here in 2001, when we were still dating). Let’s harness the energy and ability right here in our own backyard and turn AD65 Part A’s rich history into an even brighter future.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

My professional experience – as a documentary filmmaker, cookbook co-author, live event producer and off-off-off Broadway theater director – has been intensively collaborative, and I learned long ago that giving people opportunities to grow and share their skills and passions is key to building a strong team.

All of my projects have been produced on low or ultra-low budgets, and their success has rested largely on my ability to get a broad community of talented individuals involved at every level of production. The documentary my husband (Ian Rosenberg) and I co-produced and directed, “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort,” is a personal favorite. The Kutsher family granted us total access to their life’s work, and we were privileged to witness the last years of this historic hotel, preserving a crucial element of Jewish and American culture for future generations. This film wouldn’t have been possible without builidng trust with the Kutshers to tell their story, and the faith of our incredibly dedicated crew that this story was worth years of their time.

While I haven’t held elected office before, I have honed my skills as an active listener and can synthesize a multitude of opinions to formulate a unified voice. As I continue to meet and talk with my neighbors, discussing our hopes, dreams and concerns for Grand Street, I think this might be my most important qualification.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation you would advocate for if elected? 

Getting the New York Reproductive Health Act (RHA) – currently stalled by Republican leadership in the New York Senate – passed. To quote NOWNYC “Women’s health matters, and access to safe abortion is a cornerstone of defending our women and girls.” When a woman’s control over her own body is compromised, and proper health care defunded, mortality rates rise and economic independence suffers, particularly among low-income women. Reproductive freedom and equal rights are inextricably linked, and New York State should be a progressive model for the country.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

The challenges of worsening traffic congestion, inadequate public transportation and the need for more quality public middle schools are overwhelmingly the unifying complaints I’ve heard when meeting with people in the community. These stem from the same elemental issue of overdevelopment without improving infrastructure. There is no one-time solution that will alleviate traffic approaching the Williamsburg Bridge (which would then allow for better bus service), instantly repair the decaying subway system, and establish the middle schools our kids deserve. Our needs will require ongoing evaluation as the area becomes more populated. So at the DL level, I would ensure: 1) Constant amplification of our collective voice to all the city departments (as we did at a recent town hall held by Mayor deBlasio, when we asked for – and received – a traffic cop at Clinton & Grand); and 2) Open, accessible communication between our community and local elected officials.

Education: BA Communication, Stanford University

Key Endorsements: Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

(Voter Guide) Lee Berman – District Leader, 65th AD, Part A

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Lee Berman
Residence: Born and raised on the Lower East Side, where my wife and I are raising our daughters.
Websitegrandstreetdems.nyc
Office: Male District Leader 65th Assembly District, Part A
Current Occupation: Democratic State Committee Member, 65th Assembly District; member Community Board 3; employed by the City of New York.

Why are you seeking this office? 

I’m running for District Leader to make sure that every resident of the Lower East Side is represented and that their concerns reach those in power who have the ability to help.  After 40 plus years of too many in our community having their voices and concerns ignored Caroline and I want to change that.  With your help and your vote on September 12th, we want to mobilize the community for improvement.  Specifically, inviting elected officials into our community and holding forums and town hall meetings where they can hear your concerns, whether about transportation, development, safety, jobs or housing.  We’ll make sure that lawmakers and agencies give this community what we deserve.  We’ll also be a leading force in rallying against harmful Trump practices that affect the entire country.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

Former member Community Education Council for District 1 (CEC1) and currently work for the City of New York.

Education: Attended the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, received a Law Degree from Yeshiva University’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would advocate for if elected?: 

As District Leader I would continue advocating for greater support of our local public schools.  Our district has only a handful of high achieving schools, however every child in the community deserves a high quality education that will make them college and career ready.  In addition, I will work with our city and state elected officials to make sure that senior funding is increased, rather than cut, so that our community, one of the largest NORC’s in the city can grow old without fear.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

Among the most pressing issues facing residents of the Lower East Side which affect each and every one of us are development, its impact on traffic and the need for improved transportation.  I will advocate for increased community involvement from, and more notice to, our residents who will be directly affected by mega-developments sprouting up all over our community.  I will continue working with government agencies and elected officials, as well as organize the community to press for changes that reduce the dangerous traffic conditions throughout our community, and will continue to demand the MTA improve their deplorable service, whether on the M14A and other bus lines, or on our overcrowded subways, that are the lifelines for many of our residents.

Key Endorsements: Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club

 

 

 

(Voter Guide) Jacob Goldman – District Leader, 65th AD, Part A

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Jacob Goldman (Incumbent)
Residence: East River Cooperative since 1995
Website: trumanclubdems.org
Office: Male District Leader, 65th Assembly District, Part A
Current Occupation: Owner, LoHo Realty

Why are you seeking this office?

There are major developments taking place on the Lower East Side that will forever reshape the landscape of our neighborhood. Some of these changes are exciting: The new ferry, Essex Crossing, Trader Joe’s.  Yet, for all the benefits these will bring, there are also some complications we need to be aware of and handle. Consider the quality of life concerns, including Grand Street traffic, access to public transportation, congestion, trash, and crowding of public spaces, that come with these advances.  We must work together to find solutions before further, problems occur.

Then there is the issue of what we need and expect from our community leaders.  Our neighbors and friends need people who will care for and work with ALL of us, not divide or segment us. We are people of ALL backgrounds interwoven, and we all call our wonderful neighborhood home. We need leaders who will do their best to ensure that no one is left behind. I have demonstrated those qualities; the ability to build bridges, to ensure that our diverse groups of residents coexist cooperatively.

Raising my family here, I am not only invested in the community’s success but I am also obliged to serve – to make it better. I was raised with a strong sense of civic duty, and feel it is a privilege to give back to my community.  That is why I am running – for my kids, for you, for us.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

I served as vice president of the Community School Board, fighting hard to establish the school New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEXT+m). I also served on the Neighborhood Advisory Board ensuring that federal funds were fairly distributed among the Community Based Organizations of the Lower East Side.

As a licensed attorney, I have an important skill set that qualifies me for the position of District Leader. The ability to interview judicial candidates for the bench and query their legal experience is an important role of a District Leader that I take seriously. I have had the privilege of participating in the selection of many nominees for the bench while serving on the County Committee, and I will continue to advocate for the most judicious candidates who support the protection of our civil liberties.

Having served as President of my synagogue, I know what it takes to manage religious institutions and not-for-profit organizations, and have indeed become a leader who has built and will continue to build consensus among different constituents with often competing needs.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would advocate for if elected? 

As District Leader, I realize that transportation is vital to our neighborhood and to the city as a whole. I would seek to create complete and easy transparency with the MTA, including unreported schedule changes and sudden service reductions. We also need transparency and more oversight of the Port Authority – which controls so much of New York City and downtown, including the Holland Tunnel and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. We see from “Bridgegate” that the public’s best interests are often not served.

Also we should look into re-evaluating the 6% commercial rent tax that penalizes businesses in the lower half of Manhattan. In this e-commerce era, many businesses are struggling and we need to help keep and create jobs.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

Quality of life – that affects everyone!  Transportation, traffic and trash.  The three T’s.

You can only deal with it by rolling up your sleeves and working with ALL elected officials, community leaders, community board member, lay leaders to work for common ground and best interest of the community.

Small business retention is a very big problem on the Lower East Side. Commercial rents continue to rise and there is a lack of diversity in our commercial uses. Many property owners look for stable tenants, which are frequently banks, bars and chain stores.

To encourage retail diversity and small businesses retention, I would recommend eliminating the Commercial Rent Tax. The tax is 6% of the base rent and is applied only to commercial properties in Manhattan, south of 96th Street.

Education:
Juris Doctor, CUNY School of Law
Bachelors Degree, Communications, Ramapo College

Key Endorsements:
Harry S. Truman Democratic Club
The Jewish Press
Frank Arroyo, Owner of Frank’s Bike Shop
Rabbi Zvi Romm, Rabbi of Bialystoker Synagogue (for identification purposes only)
Ari Gold, Performer and LGBT Activist

Affiliated Organizations:
Bialystoker Synagogue
Harry S. Truman Democratic Club

 

(Voter Guide) Jorge Vasquez – City Council District 2

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Jorge Vasquez
Residence: Lower East Side right now with my beautiful mother, I was born and raised here, and only left to pursue education elsewhere; planning to stay in the community with my fiance.
Website: jlvas.nyc
Office: City Council District 2
Occupation: Full-time candidate; previously a public interest attorney

Why are you seeking this office?

I was born and raised in NYCHA houses, with a supportive single mother, right here in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, right around the corner from my campaign office and where I live. I was a veteran of the NYC public school system, and truly relied on the community resources this District took for granted to get where I am today. I pursued a law degree and, further, an LLM, to understand how to best help people. I, then, returned to my roots to work on behalf of the NYC Government prosecuting human rights violations, and I am a public interest attorney by trade.

I have spent my entire adult life dedicating my efforts to helping those who needed the help. My doors were open to those who required legal services but couldn’t afford it, and I have since been more than happy to provide pro-bono legal advice to anyone that sincerely needed it (including multiple other candidates within this very race). I was a high school guidance counselor, and understand the gravity of problems within our public schools and the emotional impact it has on our students. In similar fashion, I try to make people’s lives easier now by making sure they understand what resources are currently available to them, and what laws fall in their favor.

Unfortunately, more and more have we seen our legislature create laws that are grandiose in goals, but haven’t been matched with the legal competence to assure they are actionable and have oversight. I currently cannot refer my constituency to resources that could’ve helped me as a kid, simply because they no longer exist. I cannot properly guide an abused tenant or anyone with a major issue through the legal process they deserve, because the infrastructure is so broken. As your next City Council Member I intend to work on fixing the minutia in these existing laws to make them enforceable, rejecting the influence of parasitic developers ruining the historical integrity of the LES, East Village, and above, and, finally, creating the laws necessary to make us a progressively proactive City, rather than one with thousands (if not millions) of silent sufferers.

We’ve run what I can proudly say is a truly transparent, grassroots, campaign. Our office may be the size of a closet, but we understood the most important thing was walking the streets and shaking hands with anyone we could and LISTEN to their grievances. Quality of life is what we are all looking for, and this District has been faced with candidate baton-passing for two decades, which has only alienated entire parts of the District, but even more disappointingly, has allowed our community to become a one-bedroom, empty storefront, chain-store haven, where families cannot expect to plant their roots (for totally legitimate reasons). I’ve spent my life seeking out those to help, but I am humbly asking for your vote on Sep. 12th to give these folks a place they know they can find me.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

Nobody mistakes me on the street as a lawyer, but I’ve spent years as a guidance counselor, a public interest attorney protecting and litigating for tenants facing abusive landlords & providing pro-bono work to those in need. I am the most educated candidate in the field, and my experience with the law, and developing the law, gives me a clear understanding of how legislation MUST be written to avoid falling through. I have a J.D. and an LLM, and, most importantly, came back to the District to pursue work here. I know I couldn’t have gotten where I am without the District, so I intend to continue helping others who deserve the same opportunities I was awarded.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would introduce if elected?

The first piece of legislation I would introduce is the Small Business Job Survival Act. The SBJSA has been stuck in committee for almost three full decades now, which is unacceptable. We need to clarify the misconceptions behind this bill, and see what arguments come to the floor. Immigrant business owners are abused, frequently, by landlords who hike up rent prices and keep storefronts empty. This MUST change to preserve our history, character, and increase the safety of our streets. More eyes and ears must exist in order to keep our streets safe. It’s no surprise sexual violence within the District has increased by triple digit percentages.

The first piece I would write would be a bill creating a registration system for landlords, with an accountability mechanism that could actually enforce the laws we have on the books. Without an enforcement mechanism, our landlords can hold tenants hostage and avoid providing them basic services required by the City and outlined in their leasing agreements. The bill would also regulate “bad” tenant registries that gets circulated to landlords, which list “problematic” tenants who in many cases were only problematic due to abusive landlords not doing their jobs. There’s no way to fix these problems without a registry of landlords so we know who to hold accountable, and a problem reporting registry that works and is well advertised within the City.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

The loss of affordable housing, and I certainly don’t believe this is limited to the Lower East Side. What most elected officials do not seem to understand is the interconnected nature of the problems we see to the survival of small businesses. As storefronts remain empty, there are less jobs for the community, and in turn less people can afford to live in the area. As retailers move in, the price of goods go up and the cost of living follows. As cost of living increases, RENT increases. So, in short, we must deal with developers in a more transparent way. Whether that be utilizing the Cooper Union community land trust model, or demanding that residents are aware of development and have a say regarding what they want in return. I intend on furthering community dialogue. The LES doesn’t need more gardens, we need more affordable housing. We need incentives promoting HDFCs, not regulations dismantling them. We need someone who is willing to sit at the table and assure development favors our small business owners and our affordable housing stock, and I hope I’ve proven this to be the case by not accepting any real estate money, or indirect money from other politicians who are supported by real estate developers. I owe no favors.

Education:
University of Albany – B.A.
University of Albany – M.A.
Seton Hall University – School of Law J.D.
Temple University – Beasley School of Law L.L.M. in Trial and Advocacy

Key Endorsements: Small Business Congress of NYC. We adamantly opposed political endorsements during the campaign. Perpetuating the idea of politics as usual is hugely disadvantageous to the City and the District.

Affiliated Organizations:
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
Hispanic National Bar Association
Metropolitan Black Bar Association

Financial Statement: Campaign Finance Board

Video Statement: NYC Votes

(Voter Guide) Ken Paskar – District Leader, 65th AD, Part B

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Ken Paskar
Residence: Little Italy for 25 years; born in Washington Heights
Website:  districtleaders2017.com
Office: Male District Leader, 65th Assembly District, Part B
Current Occupation: Aviation consultant

Why are you seeking this office? 

The 65th AD Part B has been continually declining in virtually every aspect of community life from access to affordable housing, education, economic opportunity, quality of life, access to government services, language barriers, revitalization, land use and public transportation.  The incumbents, Alice Cancel and Pastor Pedro Cardi have failed our community for years and have no record of accomplishment on which to run.  Extell’s towers are going up while at least three others are currently being promoted all on their watch with no planned infrastructure such as schools and public transportation to support the thousands of residents that will move in.  Many of our residences (i.e. Smith Houses Building 11) live in horrendous conditions and go hungry almost every day and suffer from mental illness such as depression and anxiety.  This is not just unacceptable, but, unconscionable and we’re going to fight like hell for change.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

Former VP Lower Manhattan Democratic Club, Board Member, former Judicial Delegate, Board Member – Synagogue for the Arts, Board Member – Sophie Gerson Healthy Youth, Volunteer and Supporter of the NY City Center for Space & Science Education in the LES, Little Italy community leader.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would advocate for if elected?

Prioritize Affordable housing over the construction of market rate residential towers.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

Economic Discrimination.

Education: Sde Boker International High School in Israel, attended Boston University.

Key Endorsements: The Community who asked me to run because they desperately need change.

(Voter Guide) Jasmin Sanchez – City Council District 2

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Jasmin Sanchez
Residence:
Born and raised on the Lower East Side/Baruch Houses
Website:
peopleforjasminsanchez.com
Office: City Council District 2
Current Occupation:
Program Director, Partnership with Children

Why are you seeking this office? 

I am seeking the office of City Council for District 2 because I am tired of the same elected officials being recycled to represent us.  For over 20 years we have seen the same leadership and things have not gotten better.  After 24 years of service to the district in several capacities such as, the founder of a volunteer based non-profit, a softball coach, a community activist and a community liaison for State Senator Daniel Squadron, I have established the position that this district has been sold off. I am boldly making a statement that I am for “We the People.” Not: Partisanship, Corporations, or Special interests.

For too long, constituents have felt abandoned by their elected officials. In 2017, we must say never again.  Our district and our community have many individuals who can represent us.  However, our current elected officials (district leaders to city council member) have stripped an entire generation of leadership, making us vulnerable.  They have decided not to invest into providing us education, resources or preparing the next wave of leaders so that they can continue to monopolize local politics. In 2017, we must say never again.

I am not the machine candidate, which means I am not owned by anyone, owe anyone, I do not accept contributions from PAC, Super PAC, real estate agencies or agents.  I am the people’s candidate, which means that you will always receive transparency, open communication and a seat at the table. I will never make deals that will jeopardize District 2. I serve you and will ensure that all my efforts are to enhance our district and ever constituent.

From Water Street to 35th Street, this is my neighborhood. District 2 is home to the world’s most innovative & hard-working people, yet we’re crushed by murder in the streets, substandard schools, dilapidated housing, mismanagement of NYCHA, mom & pop shops disappearing, homelessness, lack of low income housing, displacement; lack of open spaces, failing youth and senior programs & lack of safety in our community.

We do not have to march, rally, or protest every time we feel our rights are being threatened. We, the people have the power to elect politicians that will advocate on our behalf. It is their job to serve, aid, and protect us, to strengthen our families and communities, to listen and keep our best interests in mind. That is why on September 12th let your voices be heard and vote for Jasmin Sanchez to represent District 2.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

Jasmin Sanchez has been a recognized leader for the last 24 years.  Jasmin is known for her public service and strategic visions to improve her community.  She has built a list of accomplishments through her compassion and commitment to help others.  Her efforts were recognized by NY1 as she was featured as their New Yorker of the Week and the LoDown as she was featured in their My LES Series. Running for City Council is a natural extension of who Jasmin is.  She is a true, hands-on advocate for issues facing the East Village, Gramercy Park, Kips Bay, Lower East Side, Murray Hill and Rose Hill.

Over the course of her career, Jasmin has noticed that the Southern part of the district has been forgotten, however, she has learned that the Northern part has not received their fair share either. Jasmin founded her own nonprofit organization focused on assisting residents with education, housing, green spaces preservation, economic development and service learning.  Jasmin has volunteered with coalitions focused on homelessness, healthcare access and management of nightlife.

Although, Jasmin was born, raised and still resides in the Lower East Side, she considers herself a District Kid turned Community Leader.  She attended PS 142, JHS 22 and Norman Thomas High School, all within District 2. Jasmin received her B.A. in Political Science with minors in Africana Studies and Latin American Caribbean Studies.  She is enrolled in Long Island University – Brooklyn Campus’ MPA Program.  Jasmin currently works for Partnership with Children as a Program Director.  There she manages a staff of 20 and provides direct services to over 500 families.  She also is responsible for two 3 year city contracts with annual budgets of over $300,000.  She has the experience in budget management, grant writing, curriculum development and city/state policies that directly impact our communities.  She will use this knowledge to write legislation and will have a profound impact on our district. Jasmin will Bridge the Gap between the various communities in District 2 and work for all.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would introduce if elected?: 

There are a few priorities in our district but two of the things I would start working on immediately are investing and providing resources in mental health care and urgent care units.  I will implement community health models within schools, community centers and senior centers.  These models will look like the former Boys Club of NY on Pitt Street and PS 188. It will allow direct healthcare access to residents.

I will declare historic districts which will help preserve the current affordable housing stock and prevent mega towers from being built. I will ensure that we receive 50-100% affordable apartments and that our community be given first priority when new developments happen.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

Small business displacement is an issue for our district. I’m proposing a Loisaida BID (Business Improvement District) which will focus on the area of Houston Street to 14th Street from Avenue A to Avenue D. This will help preserve the current small businesses.

Education & youth development are clearly important to me. I want to remove state exams, discrimination, bullying & segregation from our schools. There is funding for PS 15 that has not been distributed for close to 2 years, I will fight to get that money allocated. Community Board 3 needs to have a committee solely focused on education. I will fund more after-school, evening & weekend programs.

NYCHA residents are treated like second class citizens, living in horrific conditions. I know this because I was born & raised in NYCHA (Baruch Houses). NYCHA needs a reform from the chair to management.

Education:
PS 142
JHS 22
Norman Thomas High School
SUNY Stony Brook, BA in Political Science
MPA Graduate Student at LIU – Brooklyn Campus

Key Endorsements:
Liberal Party
Pastor Carlton Jones
Minister Deborah Quintero
Dodge Landesman
Tenant associations of Gompers, Baruch, Wald, Riis Houses

Affiliated Organizations
Collegiate member of SHPE, NAACP & LASO

Financial Statement: Campaign Finance Board

Video Statement/NYC Votes

(Voter Guide) Alice Cancel – District Leader, 65th AD, Part B

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This candidate statement is part of The Lo-Down’s 2017 Voter Guide. To view the main page and to learn about other candidates on the ballot in New York City’s Sept. 12 Democratic Primary, please click here

Alice Cancel (incumbent}
Residence: South Bridge Towers/Lower East Side. Previously: Knickerbocker Village, South Bronx, Puerto Rico.
Website: alicecancel.nyc
Office: Female District Leader, 65th Assembly District, Part B
Current Occupation: Temporarily retired

Why are you seeking this office?

My community is my family. I’ve raised my children in our community and now my grandchildren.  I have a well-known reputation as a housing and education advocate. For many years I have successfully fought for tenant rights, winning numerous cases against landlords as well as NYCHA. The changes that are coming to our community energize my committment to protect and fight for my neighbors and friends.

This is a Democratic party position. I have been a Democrat all my life, even as a child going with my mother to Albany to fight for school aide. The Democratic party needs to evolve and change. It needs to step away from the developers and those who would destroy our beautiful and historic Lower East Side. I will be there for our community as I always have been.

What are your professional qualifications for this position? 

Before becoming a district leader I was a community organizer. I founded the 5th Precinct youth council and worked closely with tenant associations leaders to empower our community. I organized community rallies to school district 1 board meetings to protest our failing schools. I was instrumental in electing the first Hispanic to school board 2,  Gloria Martinez, and helped turn around our failing PS126 and make it the successful school it is today. I worked for State Senator Connor, for 15 years, one year for Councilman Gerson, and 5 years for the comptroller’s office as community liaison. I have extensive experience in NYC government and know how to make it work for my community. I served briefly as your Assembly member and I’ve seen first hand the dysfunction of Albany. I fought for change but I wasn’t part of the Albany clique.

Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would advocate for if elected?

I have fought alongside Council member Margarita Lopez and Rosie Mendez, for many years to provide funding for housing. Today, however, we are being inundated with LUXURY towers and over-development. Our already over stressed infrastructure is being pushed to the breaking point. Water treatment, transportation, traffic and schools are not being addressed by our government. Along with many community leaders and elected officials I am pushing for legislation to halt tower construction until these infrastructure issues are resolved.

In your opinion, what is the most pressing issue faced by the people who live on the Lower East Side? How would you deal with this issue as an elected official?

Our community is changing as do all communities, however we have no long term plan for the future of this historic and vibrant community. NYC Department of City Planning is mandated to present a plan for the future of our neighborhood. I am working with LESON and other community organizations to demand a plan for the future of our community to be approved by the residents.

Education: Benjamin Franklin Senior High School

Key Endorsements:
Councilwoman Rosie Mendez
Democratic District Leader Paul Newell
Alfred E Smith Tenant Association President Aixa Torres
Grand Street Guild President Sandra Struthres
Lands End II Tenant Association President Tanya Castro

Affiliated Organizations: Lower East Side Democratic Club