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Rajkumar Announces Chinese Support; Chin Campaign Emphasizes Opponent’s Resume

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Rajkumar's media event Sunday at Jing Fong.
Rajkumar’s media event Sunday at Jing Fong.

We’re starting to see sparks fly in the District 1 City Council campaign.  Jenifer Rajkumar, a district leader, is taking on first-term City Council member Margaret Chin in the upcoming Democratic Primary.  On Sunday at the Jing Fong restaurant on Elizabeth Street, “Chinese for Rajkumar” which was described as “a committee of labor, small businesses, small property owners, and residents” gathered to speak out against Chin.

A spokesman for the group, Professor Peter Kwong of Hunter College, said Council member Chin had “gone along” with Michael Bloomberg’s development agenda at the expense of middle and low-income residents. “Soon there will be no Chinatown,” Kwong warned. “It will only be for tourists and the rich.  We must stop her from tearing out the fabric of Chinatown brick by brick.”

An East Broadway small business owner, Mei Ring Song, agreed, saying foot traffic is down, prices are rising and she complained that Chin “pushed through the Chinatown BID,” which has created a “new tax” on property owners and struggling entrepreneurs.  Another woman, Trinh Duong, said Chin had refused to help the parents of Shuang Wen, a dual language school that was investigated by the Department of Education.  Also included in the group: Josephine Lee and Wendy Cheung, longtime Chin opponents active in the Coalition to Protect Chinatown & the Lower East Side.  Both Lee and Cheung said they were representing themselves — not the larger organization.

In her remarks, Rajkumar said, “I would like to be an advocate for the working class.”  She said the Chinatown BID imposes “taxation without representation” and she promised to support efforts to dismantle the business improvement district.  Rajkumar said she also supports the “People First Rezoning Plan,” which seeks to keep sections of the neighborhood affordable through the city’s land use process.  You are my community and we are in this together,” Rajkumar declared. “It is time to ask whose Chinatown is this. It is our Chinatown!”

Volunteers train to collect petition signatures for Margaret Chin. Phot supplied by Chin campaign.
Volunteers train to collect petition signatures for Margaret Chin. Photo supplied by Chin campaign.

In response to Sunday’s media event, Chin campaign spokesman Austin Finan said:

These issues have been addressed many times over. The Chinese American community remains strongly in Margaret Chin’s corner because she has been there for them since Day One. The Rajkumar campaign is merely trying to distract voters from the latest revelation that Jenifer embellished her resume in an attempt to deceive voters into thinking she has even a shred of relevant experience.

Last week, the New York Post published a story that carried the headline, “This over-achieving beauty is running for City Council as head of a non-profit that’s only skin deep.”   The reporter, Tara Palmeri, wrote that Rajkumar, 30, boasted online about her non-profit, W-Spin, in spite of the fact that it has no staff or budget and has not launched any programs to further the organization’s goal — empowering women leaders.  While the Rajkumar campaign felt the tabloid story was overblown, Finan argued the issue speaks volumes about the young candidate:

Jenifer’s failed attempt to pull a fast one is consistent with that of a high school student looking to pad her resume to get into a better college, or an unqualified applicant stretching the truth in order to get a job. Either way you slice it, her sorry behavior is reflective of a disturbing trend and reality voters have come to realize about Jenifer Rajkumar – she simply lacks the integrity to hold higher elected office.

This afternoon the war of words continued with this retort from Rajkumar spokesman Darren Johnston:

Margaret Chin’s desperate, flailing campaign can only sling mud while Jenifer continues to pick up steam with community leaders from Chinatown and across the district. This is the problem with Margaret–she is always focused on the wrong priorities. Jenifer will continue talking about how she will join with community leaders to make Lower Manhattan a better place to live, raise a family, and retire affordably.


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  1. Jenifer Sings (Neighborhood of the people for the people) and Chin Slings (Mud).
    We are getting tired of Lulu Chin’s reverse Robin hood. Take it from the poor and give it to the rich (Developers).
    Yes Chin has lot of experience in taking Lulu’s, paling with developers and imposing taxes with misrepresentation ( china town Bid, Soho Bid) which Ms Rajkumar does not have.
    Every body knows except Ms Chin that you can not get in to UPenn and Stanford Law School with bloated resume. If you know that you can Ms Chin, why you did not you try ?. For that matter where did you go to school Mr Finan, Things look easy from peanut gallery or you have been playing in mud so long that you can not see anything else.

    Ms Chin, you need Lulu money so bad ?.
    I am sure developers can give you a attractive deal or perhaps you already have it lined it up.

  2. “no staff, no budget”
    Did not Google start in Garage without budget or staff.
    Ms Chin has staff and budget and we got “Lulu”

  3. Not only are downtowners stunned at Chin and her campaign manager’s sleaze, their resorting to Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing tabloid to besmirch an opponent with bogus accusations, two women’s organizations have gone on record to denounce Chin’s moves as “sexist” and “Fail”

    Notice, also, in the photo of Chin’s volunteers, that they are entirely Chinese.

    People have been saying for years that Chin has no support outside of Chinatown. After 4 years in office, she still can’t show that she can muster a single volunteer from outside of Chinatown. Incredible.

    This insular approach to politics and her reliance of planted, bogus, news stories with sexist overtones in the NY Post, expose Chin’s true nature and why so many people – inside of Chinatown and out – want her gone.

  4. Chin has to go; that’s the short and the long of it. She’s made too many deals that have harmed not just the E.V. but downtown Manhattan, generally. I don’t trust her to do what’s in the best interests of the neighborhood’s residents; she’s made too many deals with developers — NYU being a case in point. I’ve spoken with Jennifer in the past, when she was first campaigning. She was smart and attentive and willing to take the time to listen. Not sure that will always be true, but it’s a good start.

  5. I think Margaret Chin has done an effective job managing the needs of our community. I was especially impressed with how she handled the SPURA issue – she is a longtime advocate for the poor and she worked with the community on a compromise solution that will bring a mix of market rate and subsidized housing to an area that has been abandoned for nearly 50 years because our community could not come to agreement. Which was passed unanimously by the community board.

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