Town & Village co-hosts City Council debate at Waterside Plaza

On Thursday night, an evening of debate among the candidates running to replace Dan Garodnick in the City Council was held at Waterside Plaza. The event’s hosts were Town & Village newspaper, the Waterside Tenants Association and Waterside management with the event taking place outdoors. A story covering the views of the various candidates on affordable housing, small businesses, issues affecting seniors, and the sanitation garage the city plans to build at the Brookdale campus, is forthcoming. Scroll down to see some photos from the debate, where all seats on the plaza were filled with a mixed crowd of community residents and candidates’ supporters.

Richard Ravitch, owner of Waterside Plaza and former lieutenant governor, makes opening remarks. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Crowd at the debate

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal, event co-host

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All candidates set to attend T&V/Waterside Council debate

Democrats Alec Hartman, Bessie Schachter, Jeffrey Mailman, Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Rachel Honig, Vanessa Aronson and Barry Shapiro and Republicans Melissa Jane Kronfeld and Rebecca Harary (Not pictured) Maria Castro

Town & Village has partnered with the Waterside Tenants Association and the management of Waterside Plaza to present an evening of debate between the candidates running for the City Council, District 4. The event will be held on Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. for mingling with the candidates, with the debate beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m. This has become a hotly contested race with 11 candidates hoping to win the seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick. All known registered candidates of both parties have been invited and have confirmed they’ll attend.

The candidates are Democrats Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Jeffrey Mailman, Bessie Schachter, Vanessa Aronson, Rachel Honig, Alec Hartman, Barry Shapiro and Maria Castro as well as Republicans Rebecca Harary and Melissa Jane Kronfeld.

The event will take place outdoors on the Plaza level with Janet Handal, the president of the Waterside Tenants Association, and Town & Village editor Sabina Mollot asking the candidates questions. Due to the number of candidates expected to participate, there will not likely be any time for additional questions from the audience.

If it rains, the event will take place inside 15 Waterside Plaza located on the Plaza. Waterside Plaza is east of the FDR Drive on the East River between 25th and 29th Streets. For directions, visit Waterside Plaza’s website. For more information about the event, contact Sabina Mollot at (212) 777-6611 x104 or editor@townvillage.net.

PCV woman abandons bid for City Council

Diane Grayson (Photo by Emmanuel Moline)

By Sabina Mollot

Diane Grayson, a Peter Cooper Village woman who’d been running for the City Council seat to be vacated next year by Dan Garodnick, has withdrawn from the race.

Reached recently by Town & Village, Grayson explained that she dropped out because she felt the current crop of candidates “represents the interests of the district.”

Grayson, 27, had been running as an Independent who’d promised to spend $50,000 of her own salary, if elected, on some sort of community program or service. Her platform focused on affordable housing and help for small businesses.

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All candidates set to attend T&V/Waterside Council debate

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(L-R) Democrats Alec Hartman, Bessie Schachter, Jeffrey Mailman, Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Rachel Honig, Vanessa Aronson and Barry Shapiro, and Republicans Melissa Jane Kronfeld and Rebecca Harary

Town & Village has partnered with the Waterside Tenants Association and the management of Waterside Plaza to present an evening of debate between the candidates running for the City Council, District 4. The event will be held on Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. for mingling with the candidates, with the debate beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m. This has become a hotly contested race with 11 candidates hoping to win the seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick. All known registered candidates of both parties have been invited and have confirmed they’ll attend.

The candidates are Democrats Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Jeffrey Mailman, Bessie Schachter, Vanessa Aronson, Rachel Honig, Alec Hartman, Barry Shapiro and Maria Castro as well as Republicans Rebecca Harary and Melissa Jane Kronfeld.

The event will take place outdoors on the Plaza level with Janet Handal, the president of the Waterside Tenants Association, and Town & Village editor Sabina Mollot asking the candidates questions. Due to the number of candidates expected to participate, there will not likely be any time for additional questions from the audience.

If it rains, the event will take place inside 15 Waterside Plaza located on the Plaza. Waterside Plaza is east of the FDR Drive on the East River between 25th and 29th Streets. For directions, visit Waterside Plaza’s website. For more information about the event, contact Sabina Mollot at (212) 777-6611 x104 or editor@townvillage.net.

Artist with MS protests Trumpcare by playing dead

june15 Solimanto in coffin

Rosary Solimanto in a handmade coffin in East Midtown (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

 

By Sabina Mollot

A chronically ill artist with a portfolio full of medically-themed performances protested Trumpcare on Tuesday by lying in a coffin on an East Side sidewalk.

For Rosary Solimanto’s newest installation, “Dead Without Health Care,” the performer, who has Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis and a rare condition called hypothyroidism, told Town & Village that she’d be in the coffin for 24 hours. When a T&V reporter got to the scene after 1 p.m. when she began, it was already 94 degrees out, but Solimanto remained in character, lying corpse-like as confused passersby tried to make sense of what they were seeing.

In an initial press release, the address given was Third Avenue in Kips Bay but the event wound up taking place about a mile north. The location was chosen because it was outside the building where New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have offices.

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Former Pataki administration employee running for Council

Rachel Honig, who at one time worked raising money for the arts under Governor George Pataki, is now a Democrat candidate for Dan Garodnick’s City Council seat. (Photo courtesy of candidate)

By Sabina Mollot

In a City Council race that now has 10 candidates, the latest one to attempt to replace a term-limited Dan Garodnick is Rachel Honig, a Democrat who developed her taste for politics when working for a Republican governor.

From 1996-1998, Honig worked under then-Governor George Pataki as special assistant to the chairman and director of special projects at the New York State Council on the Arts. The Council is the grant making body for the arts throughout the state and is based in the city.

Honig later moved on to form her own public relations firm, although since becoming a candidate, she’s severely limited her P.R. work to campaign full time.

Recently, at Madison Restaurant, a diner in her East Midtown neighborhood, Honig discussed her platform and the issues she would tackle if elected, in particular disappearing mom-and-pops, homelessness and quality of life protection.

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Eleven candidates set to attend Council debate on June 22

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(L-R) Democrats Alec Hartman, Bessie Schachter, Jeffrey Mailman, Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Rachel Honig, Vanessa Aronson and Barry Shapiro, and Republicans Melissa Jane Kronfeld and Rebecca Harary

 

Town & Village has partnered with the Waterside Tenants Association and the management of Waterside Plaza to present an evening of debate between the candidates running for the City Council, District 4. The event will be held on Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m. for mingling with the candidates, with the debate beginning promptly at 6:30 p.m. This has become a hotly contested race with 11 candidates hoping to win the seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick. All known registered candidates of both parties have been invited.

Confirmed guests are Democrats Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Jeffrey Mailman, Bessie Schachter, Vanessa Aronson, Rachel Honig, Alec Hartman, Barry Shapiro and Maria Castro as well as Republicans Rebecca Harary and Melissa Jane Kronfeld.

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Pols urging left-leaning NYers to become activists

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with State Senator Liz Krueger (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Local elected officials are urging left-leaning New Yorkers to become political activists, saying there’s been a surge in citizen activism around the country since President Trump took office.

The push was made at an event last Wednesday evening, hosted by State Senator Liz Krueger and State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with an introduction by City Councilmember Dan Garodnick. Garodnick has previously hosted other so-called “State of the Resistance” forums, which offer information about how to get involved in local politics and with non-profit organizations around the city. More than 300 residents attended last week’s event, hosted at the Porshansky Auditorium in the CUNY Graduate Center.

“The state of the resistance is really seen in the burst of local activism since the election,” Garodnick said. “New Yorkers are holding their elected officials accountable. (Constituents) are breaking the all-time record for the number of calls to elected representatives.”

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Kips Bay man faces child porn charges

June1 Jacob Schwartz

Jacob Schwartz (Photo via Facebook)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

New York City employee and Democratic activist Jacob Schwartz, 29, was arrested on child pornography charges inside the 13th Precinct last Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

According to the district attorney’s office, the Kips Bay resident has been under investigation since last November.

Police said that Schwartz gave officers his signed consent to search his laptop on March 29 inside his Third Avenue apartment.

When police searched the computer, they found that he had more than 3,000 images and 89 videos of nude girls as young as six months through age 16 engaging in “sexual conduct” with men, including sexual intercourse and oral sex.

CBS New York reported last Friday that Schwartz had been working in the Department of Design and Construction for the last two years and was the president of the Manhattan Young Democrats.

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Peter Cooper Council candidate has 3 club endorsements, nearly $200G in war chest

Photo courtesy of Keith Powers

Keith Powers, a candidate for City Council in District 4, announced on Tuesday that he’d gotten support from three Democratic clubs on the East Side of Manhattan. The Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club, Four Freedoms Democratic Club and Eleanor Roosevelt Democratic Club (where Powers is a district leader), voted to endorse Powers, a resident of Peter Cooper Village, last week.

In addition, a spokesperson for the campaign said Powers has amassed close to $200,000 in campaign cash.

The rep said Powers has maxed out on his matching funds at $100,100 and has raised $98,000 in private funds. With the two amounts combined, Powers has hit the $182,000 City Council spending cap.

“With our endorsement, we see Keith as the most qualified candidate who has what it takes to protect our party’s values with new and innovative solutions for the unique needs of our community,” said Greg Martello, president of the Samuel J. Tilden Democratic Club.

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Pols pushing mayor to sign Commercial Rent Tax reform bill

Council Member Dan Garodnick, standing next to the bill’s co-sponsor Council Member Helen Rosenthal (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Monday, Manhattan politicians and small business advocates gathered on the steps of City Hall to push the Commercial Rent Tax reform bill sponsored by Council Members Dan Garodnick and Helen Rosenthal.

This was the third public announcement in recent months about the bill, which so far the mayor hasn’t committed to supporting.

Garodnick said at this point, the Council has had a hearing on the CRT bill and although there’s been no vote yet, 38 of his colleagues have signed on as co-sponsors. Asked why there hasn’t been a vote, Garodnick said Council members usually first want to know if the mayor “will support it rather than veto it.”

Rosenthal later said, “We are optimistic that he will embrace it.”

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Opinion: Trumpcare is no care bill at all

By Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney

Last week, House Republicans voted to rob millions of Americans of affordable healthcare when they passed the so-called American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare. This bill, should it become law, will devastate our healthcare system, drive up healthcare costs, and cause enormous harm to millions of American families. It also has several pieces that single out New York, making it particularly harmful to our state. That’s why dozens of medical associations, patient advocates and public health experts joined me and every single Democrat in the House to oppose this bill and it’s why I hope this bill goes nowhere in the U.S. Senate.

Trumpcare is probably one of the most damaging and devastating bills to pass the House during my time in Congress. It will result in at least 24 million Americans, including 2.7 million New Yorkers, losing their healthcare coverage. For those that do not lose coverage, Trumpcare dramatically increases your out-of-pocket health costs – including premiums, deductibles, and other copays. The average marketplace enrollee will see costs rise by $3,174 in 2020 and individuals with incomes below 250 percent of the poverty line will see their costs increase by $4,815.

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Former teacher enters race for City Council

Vanessa Aronson says her priorities include improving schools and help for immigrants. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The race for the City Council seat currently held by Dan Garodnick has its newest candidate in Vanessa Aronson, a former teacher who previously held a federal government job.

Aronson, an Upper East Sider, officially joined the race a little over a month ago as a Democrat.

Recently, over coffee at Juan Valdez on Lexington Avenue, she discussed her platform, which focuses on education, better access around the city for the disabled and helping immigrants.

Aronson, who taught six and seventh grade science at a public school in Washington Heights until becoming a candidate, said her students and the problems they faced were among the reasons that inspired her to run for office.

“When I became a teacher I wanted to make a difference, because education opened up a lot of opportunities for me,” she said. “But what I learned was that the biggest challenge facing my students wasn’t homework but the instability of urban life.”

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Garodnick: Travel ban will hurt NYC economy

Council Member Dan Garodnick

By Sabina Mollot

Concerned about the potential impacts the federal travel ban could have on New York City’s economy, Council Member Dan Garodnick chaired a hearing on the subject, where speakers said the ban has already caused financial losses.

Speakers from different organizations testified against the ban, with the takeaway message being that not only would it cut off access to business opportunities, but that New York has already suffered because of the ban — even without it having gone into effect. Garodnick, who chairs the Council’s Economic Development Committee, has openly blasted the president’s order as the “Muslim Travel Ban,” as it aimed to suspend entry to the United States by visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries. While federal courts ultimately were able to temporarily block the executive order, “the damage was done,” Garodnick said. He also referred to a more recent ban of electronics bigger than a cellphone on flights to the United States from 10 airports in the Middle East and Africa.

“Let’s get real,” said Garodnick. “Prohibiting a business traveler from accessing a laptop or tablet during a 13-hour flight does more than create an inconvenience. It means an entire day of lost work — and productivity on the plane.” He also argued that any motivated terrorist would just find a way around the rule, anyway.

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Tenants lose bargaining power under new state budget

State Senator Brad Hoylman (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

On Sunday night, when the New York State budget was passed by the Senate, landlords won an extension of the 421 tax break for new developments while tenants lost some leverage in the ongoing effort to renew and strengthen the rent laws.

The combined budget bills had totaled nearly 2,000 pages, as noted by State Senator Brad Hoylman last week. He’d voted no as a protest to being expected to review a Bible-sized stack in a matter of hours.

However, with the voting now over in the Senate as well as the Assembly, Hoylman gave Town & Village a recap.

The 421a tax break for developers, which was included in the budget, will no longer sunset at the same time as the rent negotiations. The timeline had previously been seen by tenants as an opportunity to bargain for stronger rent laws.

“The fact that the 421a real estate tax exemption was negotiated behind closed doors is scandalous,” said Hoylman, “but what is also extremely scandalous is that it was not linked to renewal of the rent laws. Albany made a colossal mistake in de-coupling the renewal of 421a with rent laws. That was a major leverage point.”

Additionally, ethics reforms, including the closure of the LLC Loophole (which allows donors to give nearly limitless campaign cash to politicians through LLCs), were not included.

“There was no mention of ethics reform in any part of the budget,” said Hoylman, “which is extremely disappointing. Not an iota. They blocked the LLC Loophole (closure), they blocked measures to limit outside income. Once again the Senate majority refused to take action. The budget process itself was dysfunctional.”

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