Stuy Town resident quits mayoral race, joins Massey’s campaign

Aug11 Joshua Thompson1

Joshua Thompson, pictured in Stuyvesant Town last summer (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Joshua Thompson, the Stuyvesant Town Democrat who ditched a campaign for City Council last year to run for mayor has announced he is “suspending” that campaign to serve as senior adviser to another candidate for mayor, Republican developer Paul Massey.

In an email blast on Thursday, Thompson, 31, said that although he’d raised nearly $200,000, it was “time to put values before party politics.”

“I believe deeply in his vision for this city and believe that consolidating resources is the best way to spread our message and affect the lives of New Yorkers,” Thompson wrote.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Thompson’s title will be director of policy and outreach for the campaign and he’ll be focusing on education and homelessness.

Thompson previously worked for the Cory Booker administration in Newark, New Jersey, as well as having held a government position in education in Bridgeport, Connecticut from 2012-2014.

He’s lived in Stuyvesant Town since 2014 with his wife, Julia, who runs a Brooklyn charter school.

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Editorial: When affordable housing is a prize

Last week, Blackstone reopened its lottery for reduced rent apartments in Stuyvesant Town, an announcement that was welcome news to the rent burdened but still raised the inevitable question of whether a discount of a few hundred bucks on rents that would otherwise start at over three thousand is truly affordable.

The answer is of course it is not, and it’s still hard to grasp — at least to us — how things got to the point where in order to get an affordable place to live in New York, one literally has to win a lottery. It feels a bit like a dystopian cautionary tale of what could happen when a wealthy politician, untouched by the people’s concerns about the need for affordable living, prefers to simply let the market do its thing. Oh, wait… that actually happened.

Fast forward to the present. Mayor Bill de Blasio has been quick to tout the affordable housing he’s built and preserved, as he promised to do on the campaign trail, but again, the Devil’s in the details. In the case of Stuyvesant Town, the 5,000 units committed to so-called affordability (which start at $2,800 for one-bedrooms) only become available as each rent-stabilized unit turns over. Additionally, half of those units, once vacated due to a tenant moving out or dying, will become market rate. So income eligible market rate residents and others hoping for at least some relief may be in for a very long wait. Note: We don’t blame Blackstone for this 50/50 arrangement, which seems fair, or for reopening the lottery, which as we also reported last week, prompted a few hopeful people we spoke with to try their luck.

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ST mayoral candidate focused on charters, affordable housing

Stuyvesant Town resident Joshua Thompson, formerly an employee of the Cory Booker administration in Newark, New Jersey, recently ditched a City Council campaign to run for mayor instead. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town resident Joshua Thompson, formerly an employee of the Cory Booker administration in Newark, New Jersey, recently ditched a City Council campaign to run for mayor instead. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Back in February, Town & Village interviewed the first person to officially become a candidate for the City Council seat currently occupied by a term-limited Dan Garodnick. That individual was Joshua Thompson, a resident of Stuyvesant Town who previously worked for then-mayor Cory Booker in Newark, New Jersey as well as for the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut. His platform, he admitted, was still in the works, but he considered education and affordable housing priorities. Then, in May, as T&V first reported, Thompson dropped out of the race, because he was running for mayor instead.

On a recent afternoon, Thompson met with a reporter to discuss his campaign and his surprising decision to run against an incumbent mayor (albeit an embattled one), as an unknown in the world of New York politics.

Asked if running for mayor was the plan from the beginning, Thompson said no. He’d been interested in running for the Council but later felt he wanted to help more under-served communities than those in the 4th District (which runs in a crooked, gerrymandered way from Stuyvesant Town to 96th Street along the East Side of Manhattan).

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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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