All of a sudden, there’s a lot of interest in becoming a district leader on the Lower East Side. The latest contenders are longtime neighborhood residents Daisy Paez and Ken Paskar.
At a campaign kickoff in Little Italy one night last week, they announced a bid to unseat Alice Cancel and Pedro Cardi in the 65th Assembly District, Part B. Last year, Cancel won a special election to replace former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, after the powerful assembly speaker was convicted on corruption charges. She was defeated this past September in the regularly scheduled Democratic primary by Yuh-Line Niou.
Paez and Paskar say Cancel and Cardi have not made their presence felt in the community during the past year. They believe it’s time for change. Paez is tenant president at Grand Street Guild, the large Section 8 complex stretching from Clinton to Pitt streets. Paskar is a well known political activist in Little Italy. Among those speaking on their behalf at Grotta Azzurra Restaurant was former City Council member Alan Gerson.
John Quinn, Cancel’s husband, tells us Cancel and Cardi have every intention of running for re-election.
The district leaders in Part A of the 65th Assembly District, Karen Blatt and Jacob Goldman, also face a challenge this year. Caroline Laskow and Lee Berman are taking them on. In Part C of the 65th AD, Jenifer Rajkumar recently stepped down to take a job with the State of New York. Vittoria Fariello is running to replace her.
District leaders are volunteer local elected officials who serve as a link between community members and higher ranking elected office holders in each political party.