A few others say they may also join race for Garodnick’s replacement
By Sabina Mollot
As Council Member Dan Garodnick continues to fund raise for higher office, possibly even in a state role, only one person so far, Stuyvesant Town resident Joshua Thompson has been running an active campaign to replace his soon to be vacated seat.
But that seat is still being eyed by at least a few others as well.
One very likely candidate is East Midtown resident Jeff Mailman. Mailman, for the past four years, has worked as legislative director to Queens Council Member Liz Crowley, a job that entails making sure bills are drafted properly and preparing for oversight hearings, as well as working on constituent issues.
If he were to be elected to the Council, the 33-year-old said a priority for him would be public safety, “especially my district, which includes Times Square. Ensuring the FDNY and police have adequate resources, looking at response times for medical emergencies.”
He also would like to see the precedent begun with Garodnick in the East Midtown area of development being tied to infrastructure improvements continued.
“In (City Council) District 4, the stations are overcrowded,” he said. “We’re waiting for the Second Avenue Subway. So any type of rezoning that leads to greater density… I certainly have an interest in making sure that’s very thoughtfully done.”
Education, specifically the state of public schools, is also an issue he said he’s been hearing about from people he’s spoken with in the district.
“I think there’s certainly a lot of room for improvement in public schools,” Mailman said. “Not every school has air conditioning, which I think is outrageous at this state in 2016. There are some things that are not earth-shattering but often overlooked.”
Prior to working for Crowley, Mailman studied law at Cardozo. After graduating in 2009, he did his fellowship working under then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for a few months focusing on consumer fraud. He then went on to teach a course at Cardozo’s legal writing center and from that, the opportunity to work for Crowley opened.
Another may-run is Keith Powers, a resident of Peter Cooper Village who’s worked behind the scenes in politics and recently served as the president of the Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club.
When reached on the phone at work, Powers, the 32-year-old vice president of Constantinople & Vallone, a lobbying/consulting firm for nonprofits and government, said running is something he’s been considering for a while.
Though he still hasn’t made up his mind for sure, he did seem certain about what his priorities would be if he does run.
One would be to protect the rights of tenants, in particular the longterm tenants of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, who, he noted, have a history of having to fight for their rent regulated status. Powers is a third-generation tenant himself.
Other issues of concern to him are classroom crowding on the East Side, responsible development in Manhattan and affordability in general for the middle class.
On the issue of development, he mentioned striking the right balance between developer and community interests. The topic of development is something Powers says comes up as a frequent subject at meetings for Community Board 6, of which he’s been a member for the past five years.
Prior to joining the board he still engaged with it as a liaison when he worked as chief of staff for Upper East Side Assembly Member Jonathan Bing. He also worked as a campaign manager for East Side State Senator Liz Krueger.
Recently, Powers stepped down from his role of president at his political club, instead taking the role of district leader. This, he said, was just to fill a vacancy and a new club president was sworn in last week.
Also considering a run for Council is Central Park area resident Renee Cafaro, who’s sister is Capri Cafaro, a state senator in Ohio.
Cafaro, 32, stressed that she too has not made up her mind about running since she’s already got a lot on her plate. Currently, Cafaro works as a political consultant and fundraiser as well as a writer, having gotten started in consulting and fundraising 11 years ago, as a political action intern for the healthcare workers’ union 1199 SEIU.
She got her taste for politics when she was still in college through her sister whose campaign in 2005 she helped with, doing things like securing labor endorsements and acting as a surrogate speaker. But ultimately, Capri Cafaro ended up losing that race and Renee returned to New York where she then got a job for then-Borough President Scott Stringer as his deputy director of external affairs. She later worked for then-Governor David Paterson, first as a director of scheduling, then later moving to his senior advisers unit. It was in 2010 that she transitioned into consulting and writing.
Currently, she’s the treasurer at Community Board 5, which last year issued a 33-page report detailing the community’s concerns on over-development. Cafaro’s also vice chair of CB5’s landmarks committee, with preservation being a passion of hers.
If elected to the Council, Cafaro said a top priority is affordability and trying to help small businesses remain in place. In her own neighborhood, a concern is over-development of mega-towers at the expense of the community, but she’s also very familiar with the concerns of residents in the lower part of the district, since her boyfriend lives in Stuyvesant Town.
“Whether you’re in Midtown or Stuyvesant Town, and whether you’re rent-stabilized or a millionaire, I feel that affordability and security and being able to stay in your home is becoming a problem, because every building can be bought and redeveloped,” Cafaro said. “Greed is crushing everything that makes New York New York.”
One other person who told T&V he was thinking of running was Andrew Kalloch, the deputy policy director to Comptroller Scott Stringer.
Kalloch, a Hamilton, Massachusetts native who’s lived in Manhattan for the past few years (along with a brief stint in Brooklyn) said he got his interest in politics from his parents. They were both teachers, his father a union chapter leader and his mother “civically engaged” to the point where she would drive neighbors to town meetings.
“That’s one way you get voters out in a small town,” said Kalloch, who’s now a resident of the Lenox Hill neighborhood.
After college and law school, he worked as a staff attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union for two and half years. In 2011, he heard about an opening for a policy advisor for then-Borough President Stringer, and jumped at the chance. Should he run for office himself (which he is still unsure of), issues of importance to him are affordable housing, the lack of green space in the district other than Central Park, transportation and job creation.
In the district, he said, “There’s more we can do to leverage institutions on the East Side to create not only jobs but good jobs for people in the neighborhood.”
While Kalloch, a Community Board 8 member, said the district was more fortunate than some in terms of less poverty and homelessness, he pointed out that anyone in this race has to be perceptive to needs of all the different neighborhoods in District 4.
(The district stretches in its crooked, gerrymandered way from Stuyvesant Town to East 98th Street on the East Side and 28th to 59th Street on the west section, which is still mostly on the East Side.) “You have to run five campaigns to be responsive to the people in all those communities,” Kalloch said.
Who won’t be running
Who won’t be running in this race is Mark Thompson, a Stuyvesant Town resident and former chair of Community Board 6, who had expressed his interest during Garodnick’s brief run for comptroller in 2012. Thompson, who until last week, was the president of the Tilden Democratic Club, told T&V he wouldn’t be throwing his hat in the ring this time.
Other people who’d wanted to run then were Dara Adams and Steven Newmark.
Adams, a former aide to Congress Member Carolyn Maloney, is now director of the New York division of the nonprofit advocacy group Forward US. Adams told T&V she was happy in her job and would not be running for Council this time, though she wasn’t ruling out a future run for the Council or another position.
As for Newmark, an attorney and former president of the Tilden Club, times have changed as well. The Stuyvesant Town resident said he is now very much focused on his duties as a senior health policy advisor to Mayor Bill de Blasio.