Republican candidate runs for Garodnick’s City Council seat

Rebecca Harary at her campaign launch event on March 29 with Council Member Joseph Borelli of Staten Island (Photos courtesy of Rebecca Harary)

By Sabina Mollot

Last Wednesday, Upper East Sider and nonprofit founder Rebecca Harary officially launched her campaign for the City Council seat soon to be vacated by Dan Garodnick.

Harary, who last year ran for Assembly in the 73rd District, is the first candidate to officially declare she’s running as a Republican. Self-described “progressive Conservative” Melissa Jane Kronfeld previously told Town & Village she hadn’t yet committed to running on the GOP ticket, only saying she would not run as a Democrat.

Harary, however, has the backing of Manhattan GOP and has also collected a couple of endorsements from Republican City Council members as well as former Governor George Pataki.

The mother of six this week spoke with Town & Village about her priorities if elected, and why running as a Republican in a mostly Democratic city and district isn’t the lost cause it might appear to be.

When running for Assembly, though she ended up losing to incumbent Dan Quart, she did get the highest number of votes for a Republican running for that position since 2000.

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Council candidate says top priority is affordable housing

Democrat Bessie Schachter is a former aide to State Senator Liz Krueger.

Democrat Bessie Schachter is a former aide to State Senator Liz Krueger. (Photos courtesy of candidate)

By Sabina Mollot

There is no one in New York City who would deny that the rent is too damn high, but in the view of one candidate running for the City Council, tackling that one issue is so important that it would also solve others facing Manhattan’s District 4, like growing retail blight and homelessness.

That candidate is Bessie Schachter, who’s also a state committee woman with the Lexington Democrat Club, and up until recently, an aide to State Senator Liz Krueger.

“It all overlaps and comes back to affordable housing,” she said.

Schachter, a self-described progressive, said her campaign was fueled by the calls she’d get from Krueger’s East Side constituents two or three times a week that were from tenants who were being priced or pressured out of their apartments.

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GOP-leaning candidate enters Council race

Melissa Jane Kronfeld says she’s a “progressive Conservative.”

Melissa Jane Kronfeld says she’s a “progressive Conservative.”

By Sabina Mollot

The race to replace term-limited City Council Member Dan Garodnick has a new candidate in the GOP-leaning Midtown East resident Melissa Jane Kronfeld.

Kronfeld, a former New York Post reporter, said she is not yet sure what party she’ll be running on, although one thing is for sure. It won’t be Democrat. The 34-year-old, a lifelong resident of the City Council District 4, which snakes its way from Stuyvesant Town to the East 90s, identifies as a “progressive Conservative.”

Asked what this means, Kronfeld, known to friends as “MJ,” said, “Being progressive and conservative are not mutually exclusive. Democrats didn’t copyright it. I checked.

“But,” she added, “we don’t bend so far to the left that it’s a free for all for everybody.”

This, she said, means support for immigrants. “There should be a process (to become legal) but I don’t want to send you anywhere because (your) parents didn’t fill out the proper paperwork,” Kronfeld said. “I’m not a conservative who will tell you don’t have the right to choose or that you don’t have the right to hold your husband’s hand if you’re a man.”

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Opinion: The case for photoelectric smoke alarms

By Jeffrey S. Mailman*

On October 8-9, 1871, a massive fire in Chicago claimed the lives of more than 250 individuals. In order to prevent such tragedies from reoccurring, the anniversary week of this Great Chicago Fire has been designated as Fire Prevention Week and fire departments across the country make a concentrated effort to inform the public about the importance of having operable smoke alarms.

However, the message to simply have a working smoke alarm in your home is an inadequate message. You need to have the right type of alarm, namely, a photoelectric smoke alarm. Here’s why. The vast majority of civilian fire fatalities are caused by smoke inhalation, not from burns.

Photoelectric smoke alarms are designed to detect the smoke that causes approximately 50 to 80 New Yorkers to die from smoke inhalation each year.

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THE HOT SEAT

A few others say they may also join race for Garodnick’s replacement

Jeff Mailman (Photo by Liron Amsellem)

Jeff Mailman (Photo by Liron Amsellem)

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.”

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Stuy Town resident running for Council

Joshua Thompson, who’s held government jobs in Newark, New Jersey and Bridgeport, Connecticut, is hoping to replace Dan Garodnick in the City Council. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Joshua Thompson, who’s held government jobs in Newark, New Jersey and Bridgeport, Connecticut, is hoping to replace Dan Garodnick in the City Council. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

With Council Member Dan Garodnick getting term-limited out, a Stuyvesant Town resident, Joshua Thompson, is hoping to succeed him, and has already gotten serious about amassing his war chest.

During an interview over coffee at the Coopertown Diner, which Thompson has come to think of as his second office, the Democratic candidate said his campaign has so far received $20,000. There’s also another $30,000 in pledged support.

Thompson, who’s 30 and from Newark, began his political career there under then-Mayor Cory Booker. Currently, he serves as executive director of external relations for the nonprofit New Leaders, which promotes leadership in education.

He moved to Stuy Town with his wife Julia, who founded the Bushwick location of charter school Achievement First, and the couple’s shih tzu-poodle mix pooch, Cody, in July of 2014. They’d also lived for a while on 85th Street in Manhattan and in Bridgeport, Connecticut when Thompson served as director of education for that city from 2012-2014.

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