(UPDATED) Council candidate, booted off ballot over late filing, trying to get back on

Bessie Schachter, pictured at last month’s debate next to fellow candidate Jeff Mailman (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

UPDATE July 27 at 2:15 p.m.: Schachter contacted Town & Village on Thursday afternoon to say she was reinstated by court order.

By Sabina Mollot

On July 13, all candidates running for City Council races were required to submit petitions with a minimum of 450 signatures — or more if they expected to ward off challenges.

But one candidate, who said she actually got over 5,000 signatures, was knocked off the ballot for filing her paperwork a day late, and is now attempting to fight her way back on. That candidate, Bessie Schachter, told Town & Village she does expect to be on the ballot in the September 12 primary, though, calling the problem a “minor, technical” one.

According to an employee at the New York City Board of Elections, Schachter was removed on July 20 for responding a day late to a noncompliance notice. The notice had indicated a problem with her petition’s cover sheet, since cover sheets must mention how many volumes are included, and each volume must have its own identification number. Schachter had to have filed it within a three-day notice period that ended on July 19, but she filed the next evening, he said.

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Kronfeld drops out of City Council race

MJ Kronfeld at T&V’s debate last month

By Sabina Mollot

Melissa Jane Kronfeld, one of two Republican candidates running for the City Council seat now occupied by Dan Garodnick, has dropped out of the race.

Kronfeld, better known as “MJ,” offered no explanation for her change of heart after having been an active candidate, even participating in a debate co-hosted by Town & Village at Waterside last month.

The self-described “progressive Conservative” announced her withdrawal in an email to supporters on Thursday evening and in a Twitter post.

“It is with great humility and gratitude that I am writing to let you know I will no longer be seeking the City Council seat in Manhattan’s District 4,” she said. After expressing gratitude to her supporters, she added, “I look forward to the next opportunity to continue my service to my community, city, state, country and all humanity in the months and years to come.”

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PCV Council candidate fighting for 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.

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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.

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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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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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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