Council Member Keith Powers has introduced a package of campaign finance legislation that would ease paperwork burdens on smaller campaigns. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
On Wednesday, freshman Council Member Keith Powers turned some of the more frustrating experiences of being a candidate into a package of campaign finance bills aimed at making it easier for candidates to run for office.
The council member said he expects that tweaking the current regulations will lead to less burdensome paperwork, specifically for first-time candidates who don’t expect to rake in big bucks.
“I discovered while running that you had to jump over a number of hurdles to run for office,” said Powers. “(The legislation) can make it easier without undermining any safeguarding around public dollars. So they don’t have to commit all their rime to fundraising, but actually talking about issues.”
The first bill, which lists Diana Ayala as a co-sponsor, would allow candidates to get matching funds for smaller contributions. Currently, a candidate needs a minimum of 75 donations from donors within the district that are at least $10 each. The bill would change the minimum donation needed to qualify for matching funds to $5.
On Saturday afternoon, crowds came out for a meet and greet in Stuyvesant Oval with nine City Council candidates hoping to replace Dan Garodnick next year.
The representatives at the event, which was organized by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, were Rachel Honig (D), Jeffrey Mailman (D), Keith Powers (D), Bessie R. Schachter (D), Marti Speranza (D), Maria Castro (D), Barry Shapiro (D) and Vanessa Aronson. Republican Rebecca Harary, who’s an Orthodox Jew, couldn’t travel on the Sabbath but had a representative there.
When I moved to ST in the 70s, our council district then was more economically homogeneous. It included parts of the East Village, Chinatown, Lower East Side and Soho. Within this district STPCV was a Democratic powerhouse. Not so today.
As incorporated in District 4, STPCV is still a substantial political prize but much diminished. As District 4 cuts from 14th St. to 97th, most of its votes are outside of STPCV. And north of 34th St, most people are co-op or condo owners.
While we in STPCV are still greatly concerned about protections for rent stabilization, north of 34th most folks are concerned about quality of life issues, property taxes and the affordability of maintenance.
The Democratic primary for the City Council and mayoral races is on September 12. There is only one Republican candidate in the District 2 Council race and District 4 race, so there is no Republican primary for either. However, Town & Village reached out to all candidates in the two races, including the Republicans when asking these questions, which helped in this newspaper’s endorsement process. Read on for the answers from all candidates who responded by T&V’s 36-hour deadline on issues of transit woes, small businesses and the recent statue controversy. There was a 50 word limit per question although Town & Village let a few extra words slip in here and there in the interest of not gutting anyone’s answers. Those who didn’t respond were Erin Hussein, Jasmin Sanchez and Jimmy McMillan of District 2 and Maria Castro and Alec Hartman of District 4. Profiles of each candidate can be found on this website.
Last month, our City Council approved a package of tenant-protection bills that will provide legal counsel to low-income tenants facing eviction, and curb tenant harassment. This is a huge victory for tenants, but there’s still much more we must do – especially in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, where rent-stabilized tenants know first-hand the struggles of rising rents. This fall, we must elect a Council Member who will adopt bold, innovative solutions to solve the affordability crisis. That’s why I’ve endorsed Democrat Marti Speranza.
While every candidate talks about affordable housing, Marti has a workable 19 point plan that will protect residents of ST/PCV while preserving and creating more permanently affordable housing throughout the district. A cornerstone of her Plan for A Livable City is creating a citywide Community Land Trust (CLT), a proven method of transforming underutilized land into permanently affordable housing.
Barry Shapiro in Peter Cooper Village (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
In the City Council race for the seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick, a Peter Cooper Village resident has recently stepped in as a candidate, with a platform of affordable housing and maintaining quality of life in the district.
Barry Shapiro, 72, who’s lived in Peter Cooper for 25 years (with another 15 in Stuyvesant Town before that), said he entered the race “quietly” in April and is now in the process of petitioning.
“I know a lot of people are concerned about rent stabilization and the continuation of the Democrats having a majority (in the State Senate),” said Shapiro.
Housing regulations, of course, are determined in Albany rather than in City Hall, but Shapiro maintained that it still helps for the local Council members to fight in the ongoing battle for tenant protections.
Democrats Alec Hartman, Jeffrey Mailman, Keith Powers, Marti Speranza, Rachel Honig, Vanessa Aronson, Maria Castro, Bessie Schachter and Barry Shapiro and Republicans Melissa Jane (MJ) Kronfeld and Rebecca Harary discussed affordable housing, concerns for seniors, the fate of small businesses and the sanitation garage planned for the neighborhood over the course of the two-hour debate. WTA President Janet Handal and T&V editor Sabina Mollot moderated the event, each asking two questions of the nine Democrats and two Republicans on the stage, who are running to replace term-limited Councilmember Dan Garodnick.