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.
Jacob Goldman (Incumbent)
Residence: East River Cooperative since 1995
Office: Male District Leader, 65th Assembly District, Part A
Current Occupation: Owner, LoHo Realty
Why are you seeking this office?
There are major developments taking place on the Lower East Side that will forever reshape the landscape of our neighborhood. Some of these changes are exciting: The new ferry, Essex Crossing, Trader Joe’s. Yet, for all the benefits these will bring, there are also some complications we need to be aware of and handle. Consider the quality of life concerns, including Grand Street traffic, access to public transportation, congestion, trash, and crowding of public spaces, that come with these advances. We must work together to find solutions before further, problems occur.
Then there is the issue of what we need and expect from our community leaders. Our neighbors and friends need people who will care for and work with ALL of us, not divide or segment us. We are people of ALL backgrounds interwoven, and we all call our wonderful neighborhood home. We need leaders who will do their best to ensure that no one is left behind. I have demonstrated those qualities; the ability to build bridges, to ensure that our diverse groups of residents coexist cooperatively.
Raising my family here, I am not only invested in the community’s success but I am also obliged to serve – to make it better. I was raised with a strong sense of civic duty, and feel it is a privilege to give back to my community. That is why I am running – for my kids, for you, for us.
What are your professional qualifications for this position?
I served as vice president of the Community School Board, fighting hard to establish the school New Explorations into Science, Technology and Math (NEXT+m). I also served on the Neighborhood Advisory Board ensuring that federal funds were fairly distributed among the Community Based Organizations of the Lower East Side.
As a licensed attorney, I have an important skill set that qualifies me for the position of District Leader. The ability to interview judicial candidates for the bench and query their legal experience is an important role of a District Leader that I take seriously. I have had the privilege of participating in the selection of many nominees for the bench while serving on the County Committee, and I will continue to advocate for the most judicious candidates who support the protection of our civil liberties.
Having served as President of my synagogue, I know what it takes to manage religious institutions and not-for-profit organizations, and have indeed become a leader who has built and will continue to build consensus among different constituents with often competing needs.
Top Legislative Priority: What is the first piece of legislation that you would advocate for if elected?
As District Leader, I realize that transportation is vital to our neighborhood and to the city as a whole. I would seek to create complete and easy transparency with the MTA, including unreported schedule changes and sudden service reductions. We also need transparency and more oversight of the Port Authority – which controls so much of New York City and downtown, including the Holland Tunnel and the Downtown Manhattan Heliport. We see from “Bridgegate” that the public’s best interests are often not served.
Also we should look into re-evaluating the 6% commercial rent tax that penalizes businesses in the lower half of Manhattan. In this e-commerce era, many businesses are struggling and we need to help keep and create jobs.
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?
Quality of life – that affects everyone! Transportation, traffic and trash. The three T’s.
You can only deal with it by rolling up your sleeves and working with ALL elected officials, community leaders, community board member, lay leaders to work for common ground and best interest of the community.
Small business retention is a very big problem on the Lower East Side. Commercial rents continue to rise and there is a lack of diversity in our commercial uses. Many property owners look for stable tenants, which are frequently banks, bars and chain stores.
To encourage retail diversity and small businesses retention, I would recommend eliminating the Commercial Rent Tax. The tax is 6% of the base rent and is applied only to commercial properties in Manhattan, south of 96th Street.
Juris Doctor, CUNY School of Law
Bachelors Degree, Communications, Ramapo College
Harry S. Truman Democratic Club
The Jewish Press
Frank Arroyo, Owner of Frank’s Bike Shop
Rabbi Zvi Romm, Rabbi of Bialystoker Synagogue (for identification purposes only)
Ari Gold, Performer and LGBT Activist
Harry S. Truman Democratic Club