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Downtown Council Campaign: Rajkumar’s Non-Profit, Endorsements on Both Sides

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margaret chin, jenifer rajkumar

The City Council campaign downtown is starting to heat up.  With a little more than three months to go before the September 10 Democratic Primary, District 1 Council member Margaret Chin and challenger Jenifer Rajkumar are collecting more endorsements and sharpening their messages to voters.  Here’s an update.

In a story today carrying the sub-headline, “do-nothing pol’s overblown candidacy,” the Post looks at Rajkumar’s non-profit, W-Spin Inc., which is meant to propel women into leadership roles.  The Post reports:

A young City Council candidate who readily boasts about her experience as founder and CEO of a local nonprofit admits her 3-year-old organization has never done anything.  “It has yet to get off the ground. It has no staff and no budget,” downtown Democratic District Leader Jenifer Rajkumar told The Post in response to questions about W-Spin Inc., which she has prominently touted in her fledgling political career… On its Web site, W-Spin claims to have a mentoring program that “educate[s] 8 to 12 year old girls all over the world on political leadership,” as well as a program that teaches “young women from Abu Dhabi to Cairo” the story of “forgotten heroines all over the world.”

In other campaign news, Rajkumar picked up the endorsement of Village Independent Democrats. Chin’s handling of New York University’s expansion plan has been a significant issue in the Village.  Another downtown club, CoDA, chose not to endorse any candidate after backing Chin in her successful bid for the District 1 seat in 2009.  Lower Manhattan Democrats voted to endorse Chin this year. The New York City Labor Council, AFL-CIO, also recently announced it’s backing Chin. Additionally, she picked up the endorsement of U.S. Congresswoman Grace Meng.


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  1. changeitnameit.org reported and I agree.

    Picture this: you have a candidate who is running for District 1
    Council member in Lower Manhattan. The candidate graduated from StanfordLaw School, is legal director of the New York State Young Democrats, a civil rights attorney at Sanford Heisler, founder of a non-profit organization, and Democratic District Leader in Lower Manhattan. How would you describe this candidate? Ambitious? Determined? Influential? I’m sure over-achiever didn’t cross your mind, or if it did, it didn’t have a negative connotation. Well The New York Post seems to think “over-achiever” is a bad quality in a political candidate.

    With the Democratic Primaries for Lower Manhattan approaching in
    September, incumbent Margaret Chin and opponent Jenifer Rajkumar are
    both vying for the position as District 1 Council member. But the New York Post ‘s
    Tara Palmeri decided to focus on Rajkumar’s appearance and diminish her
    achievements in the article with a loaded and biasing headline: “This over-achieving beauty is running for City Council as head of non-profit that’s only skin deep.”

    “This over-achieving beauty?” Really? Why does Palmeri feel as if
    there is a need to comment on Rajkumar’s looks at all? We get that
    Palmeri thinks she’s pretty clever being able to use Rajkumar’s “beauty”to joke that her non-profit organization is only “skin deep” but it’s an incredible stretch for some sexist (and weak) word play. There is no correlation with Rajkumar’s beauty and her career. So why add the “beauty” comment if not to undercut Rajkumar’s credentials with sexist cheap-shots? (It’s not like such commentary is harmless.)

    Palmeri makes other claims to try to convince her audience that
    Rajkumar is not qualified to become a Council member. Unfortunately, by calling Rajkumar names that are inherently sexists make us loose all credibility in Palmeri’s reporting. Palmeri, next time you try to criticize a candidate, maybe try going beyond the “skin deep” issues.

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