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.
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.
Vanessa Aronson, one of the candidates hoping to replace Dan Garodnick on the City Council, has come up with a plan specifically for the residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, aimed at maintaining quality of life for residents as well as affordability.
That plan, which she outlined in an eight-page document provided to Town & Village on Monday, includes preparing for the L shutdown by implementing a free shuttle bus along 14th Street, turning ST/PCV into a single school district, educating seniors about rent freeze programs and even helping the owner keep the property’s open spaces their greenest, possibly through city funding. She also calls for advocating at the city level for repeal of the Urstadt Law, empowering local tenant boards and making the MCI (major capital increase) process more transparent.
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.
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.”