The Villager/Downtown Express (sister publications) have endorsed Margaret Chin in the Democratic Primary coming up September 15th. She's one of four candidates taking on incumbent Alan Gerson in the First District City Council race. The downtown newspapers say Gerson's vote to extend term limits was "deeply troubling" but that's not the reason they decided to withhold their support:
Gerson has accomplished some things, but his record is mixed.
Probably his two best achievements as a councilmember were several
years ago, and we don’t see him getting better after eight years. He is
rightfully proud of securing a city agreement that led to the Spruce
St. School and the P.S. 234 annex, and for bringing the problems of
unsafe diesel storage to light, but his more recent record has not been
as strong. Lower
Manhattan may never get a city councilmember who is so well versed in
all of the details of the area’s issues, but Gerson somehow takes that
formidable trait and makes it a flaw. His habit of explaining every
nuance of an issue makes it hard for people to figure out where he
stands. This is not a superficial point — it goes directly to a council member’s effectiveness working with constituents and public
have not just heard about Gerson’s chronic office disorganization from
partisans, we have heard it from supporters, government officials
without an ax to grind, and we’ve experienced it ourselves. Now, in the
last weeks of a close political campaign, he recognizes that it could
be a problem, and says he is willing to use personal funds to get a
consultant’s help. That would have been a really good idea about seven
As for Chin, the newspapers says:
(She) has passion, deep community roots and a strong record of
accomplishment. She has been fighting for Downtowners for decades… (She has) fought hard for affordable
housing all over Downtown and has helped get hundreds of apartments
built in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. She also has worked for
many years on voter registration and rights, and will be good solving
constituent problems. We
did have concerns that she would not focus enough on the west side of
the district, but she has also been active on the quality-of-life
issues, including traffic safety and congestion, as well as schools and
affordable housing, that are issues all over Downtown. She and her
family have lived in the Financial District for more than two decades.
We’re confident she will fight hard for the entire district.
The editors say PJ Kim has a bright future in politics, but needs to gain more experience and spend more time getting to know the neighborhoods of the First District. They said Pete Gleason would be better than Gerson at using the "bully pulpit," but that he should be better informed: "a candidate should know a few specifics on his own key issues, but we
found Gleason woefully under-informed. He did not know what schools
were already under construction Downtown, yet he was certain that Lower
Manhattan would need more schools after they opened." They call Arthur Gregory an effective advocate for businesses, but says his views on other matters are not always clear.
Still to come – the New York Times endorsement.