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.
Residence: Financial District, 12 years
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.
University of Virginia School of Law, Juris Doctor (Law Degree)
Hampden-Sydney College, Bachelor of Arts, Economics
The Liberal Party of New York
Financial Summary: Campaign Finance Board
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