Hussein drops out of District 2 Council race, endorses Vasquez

Erin Hussein

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

East Village resident and City Council candidate Erin Hussein ended her campaign to replace Councilmember Rosie Mendez in District 2 on Thursday. Hussein announced that she would be supporting Lower East Side resident Jorge Vasquez in the election.

She said that one of her primary reasons for withdrawing from the race and putting her support behind Vasquez is his background.

“I’ve lived here for a long time and got to know it even better during my campaign, but at the end of the day it makes the most sense to have the district represented by someone who is Latino, because he can speak to the unique issues from that part of the district,” she said. “The demographics are changing but that’s still true for the most part.”

Hussein added that she also felt Vasquez would fight for the issues important to the district, such as pushing for a public hearing on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act and advocating for rezoning around the proposed tech hub on East 14th Street to prevent out-of-context high-rises from popping up in the neighborhood, and was encouraged that Vasquez has not received donations from real estate developers.

“He gave me his word of honor that he would fight for a full hearing for the SBJSA and wasn’t going to vote in favor of the tech hub unless contextual rezoning was part of that, and his fundraising record doesn’t give me any reason not to believe him,” she said. “That made me feel very comfortable that I could take myself out of the equation and still win, in a way.”

Vasquez said that he was happy to receive Hussein’s endorsement.

“She has run a positive campaign about important issues in our neighborhoods, and I look forward to working with her moving forward,” Vasquez said. “I’ve been passionate about our community for my entire life, and I will use my energy, commitment, and experience to bring about real change.”

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Letters to the editor, Aug. 31

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Speranza will protect affordability

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.

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(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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Council candidate focused on housing, mental health services

Jasmin Sanchez (Photo courtesy of Jasmin Sanchez)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

Lifelong Lower East Side resident Jasmin Sanchez had already been working in public service for most of her career when she decided to try to transfer those skills to the City Council.

Sanchez, who still lives in Baruch Houses in the Lower East Side where she grew up, has experience in the nonprofit sector, working with community leaders at Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES) and in State Senator Daniel Squadron’s office, which is where she said she learned how to be a community advocate. She is running for the Council seat in District 2, with City Councilwoman Rosie Mendez being term-limited out next year.

A major focus of Sanchez’s campaign is mental health services, primarily because it’s an issue that ties into not only healthcare, but can affect housing and education as well, and has an impact on homelessness. She added that she feels having affordable housing can sometimes be the lynchpin for communities and families, and that it can be especially detrimental for students if they have a tenuous living situation.

“If you don’t have housing, you don’t focus as much on everything else and your performance suffers,” she said.

“It’s not a stable life for kids from shelters. It can be very stressful for them not to have a stable place to live. Schools have mental health services but they have to be holistic and make sure that families are receiving those services as well.”

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Letters to the editor, June 29

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Not everyone should have a shot

I read your editorial of Thursday, June 15, 2017.  Given its headline, “Outdated rule makes running for office even more difficult,” I thought I’d be reading about the State Supreme Court Nominating Convention, which one former district leader described as byzantine.

Instead, I read about a so-called “archaic” rule that candidates “are at risk of being booted off the ballot” for duplicate signatures. Well, after slipping through a gauntlet of Vanessa T. Aronson’s petitioners to enter the Stuyvesant Town gates at 18th Street and First Avenue, I ran into my upstairs neighbor who offered me a big handshake. We started talking and soon he was yelling at the petitioners.

I said, “Dude, what’s up? They’re entitled to try to get signatures.”

He wanted no part of it and I had to hold him back from going after the two of them.

I said, “What did they say? Did they demean you, or your family?”

I would have gone over to the petitioners and tried to mop it up had he given me some grist. Instead, he then turned on me while the petitioners yelled, “Go Democrats!”

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