Saturday, December 27, 2008

Manhattan City Council Candidate: Richard Realmuto

Running for: City Council, 10th Council District, Manhattan

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

I received my undergraduate degree from New York University and my law degree from Bridgeport University School of Law. During my years at law school I found employment as a law clerk at the politically connected law firm of Fischbein, Olivieri, Rozenholc & Badillo. Eventually, I went into private practice as a litigator, representing individuals in a wide ranging variety of legal matters, including Immigration, Landlord & Tenant, Bankruptcy and lawsuits involving Racial and Sexual Discrimination.

I have been married for the past 23 years and my wife Wendy and I are proud parents of our son Christian who attends a New York Public School. For the past 19 years I have been an active member of the West End Collegiate Church, a sister church of the Fort Washington Collegiate Church, located in Washington Heights. Through my church I have offered counsel to children and adults and worked in various church sponsored programs for the community.

In 1995 my family moved to Washington Heights where I continued my law practice and neighborhood community programs with children in J. Hood Wright Park. I have volunteered my time as a baseball manager and coach with the Police Officer Michael J. Buczek Little League and the Inwood Little League. An avid dog lover, I also serve as vice president of the J. Hood Wright Canine Club, an organization, located in Washington Heights, devoted to the nurturing of a safe and positive recreational life for canines.

I bring to my campaign a love of New York and a maturity that comes from my years of experience in business and in life. Experience learned on the job as an attorney, fighting to protect the rights of individuals and as a husband, father and a proud citizen. As your City Council member I vow to fight on behalf of all citizens for lower taxes, safe neighborhoods and greater economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Candidate Statement:

My decision to run for a seat on the City Council comes from a sincere desire to bring reform to the current system and to put more honesty and accountability back in city government. To insist on fiscal responsibility from elected officials who are entrusted with the duty to run our city with the hard earned money they receive from its citizens.

At the present time there is no democracy in New York City politics. The current Democratic machine has a stranglehold on our city government. This has allowed our city officials to apply the familiar axiom: "Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely". How else can one logically explain the recent discovery that millions of taxpayers' dollars had mysteriously made its way into a secret bank account controlled by our city officials? So far the scandal at City Hall has uncovered grants given to phantom organizations, bogus bookkeeping that is the subject of city probes and federal indictments of city officials. The amount of money hidden amounted to more than 17 million dollars during the past 6 years. The City Comptroller has stated "It remains clear, however, that the Council's process was conceived and used to deflect legitimate inquiry into how our tax dollars are being allotted".

Now, the Mayor and members of the City Council have passed legislation that has extended term limits, despite the overwhelming desire on the part of New Yorkers against the enactment of such legislation. The passage of this legislation has overturned two referendums by New Yorkers who have consistently rejected the extension of term limits. The Mayor and City Council officials argue that voters can always vote them out of office, if they choose to do so, but they also know how difficult it is for candidates to run against incumbent officials, who use the power of their incumbency to defeat their opposition and hold on to power for another four years. Clearly, reform is badly needed to address the problems that exist within our city government.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Queens City Council Candidate: Constantine Kavadas

Running for: City Council, 20th Council District, Queens

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Website: Coming Soon

Candidate Bio:

Constantine Kavadas has been a community organizer since he has been a teenager. Constantine was born and raised in Flushing where he is currently running for City Council. One of his concerns has been the complete lack of affordable housing in his district. For instance, Constantine helped fight against a down zoning in Queensboro Hill which would have all but eliminated the chance to construct affordable homes in his district.

Constantine is a well traveled young man who knows and understands the needs of his incredible diverse district. He often states that "Strong Intergroup Relations are necessary for a cohesive and productive community". Constantine is the son of a Queens public school teacher and his father is a small business owner (Food Distributor). He was always interested in ways to improve education in NYC and is well informed on the needs of public school teachers and their students.

Constantine is a member of the Democratic Club Of Flushing, the Kissena Park Civic Association and the Chian Federation based in Astoria, Queens which helps immigrants from many countries find appropriate job placement.

Candidate Statement:

"There has been a lot of talk from the mayor and other elected officials recently about fiscal intelligence and what we need to do to help our dwindling poor, working, and middle class families. What I believe is that while fiscal intelligence is important, emotional intelligence is just as important, if not more so. Emotional intelligence means that a candidate should be in tune to the needs and hardships their district residents feel everyday. In other words, a candidate should have the real feel experience to better understand and solve the everyday problems we face. I have this experience because I am a product of a working family and I know how hard my parents worked over the years for me to succeed in what is sometimes an unfair world. What we do not need more of is the same old standard candidates and practices that have plagued this current City Council Body. We need new blood and bold ideas that will help end our sedentary political red tape that prevents real change from happening. I believe that Change - real Change - always has and always will start at the local levels of Government. I believe I am the best Candidate for the poor,working and middle class families who are the bedrock of this great City. I will not rest until there are no more victims of the system." - Sincerely, Constantine Kavadas

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Queens City Council Candidate: Fred Lewis

Running for: City Council, 31st Council District, Queens

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

Frederick A. Lewis II, most often called Fred and “The Voice”, is a multi-talented product of the Bronx, New York where he was born and raised. He attended New York City Public Schools, achieved a Bachelor’s Degree with a dual major in History and Secondary Education from Queens College and did graduate work in Sociology and Criminal Justice at Fordham University.

Fred has an extensive professional history. He is a career State/City Civil Servant, former Law Enforcement Officer, Substitute Teacher - New York City Board of Education, Administrator, NYS Program Specialist and Chief Executive Officer for several community-based organizations. He has served as an Executive Board Member for a Statewide Labor Union, Union Shop Steward, Professional Announcer and Actor.

Fred served as a Community Planning Board and Area Policy Board member in Far Rockaway and was elected as State Committee Member of Queens County. He served as Deputy Public Advocate for the City of New York under Mark Green and as Special Assistant to Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields. Fred has served as a Political Consultant for local, state-wide and Presidential candidates.

Fred had held various Managerial, Administrative and Senior Advisory positions with several elected officials in the NYS Assembly, Senate and NYC Council. These positions enabled him to acquire extensive experience in government, legislative affairs and practical politics. He served as Political Director for the Mark Green 2001Mayoral campaign and Special Advisor for the C. Virginia Fields 2005 Mayoral campaign.

Fred is also a proclaimed Announcer. He has been the emcee for such performers as: Patti Labelle, Freddy Jackson, Ashford & Simpson, Melba Moore, Chuck Jackson, Lloyd Price, Mighty Sparrow, Bryan Cage, Kim Burrell, Mary Mary, Ray, Goodman & Brown, The Manhattans, Stevie Wonder, Al Green, Blue Magic and Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, just to name a few.

Fred has been involved in community and youth related programs since the age of twelve. His early history begins with his involvement at the East Side Settle House- Mill Brook Community Center and extends for the rest of his adult life. He was the founder of the Freddy Lewis Basketball School that prepared promising young athletes for college and athletic scholarships. He worked with neighborhood organizations and civic associations promoting youth programs and special activities for “at risk” young people, conducted education and health related workshops and forums and coordinated voter registration drives.

Fred has received numerous awards for his community and youth service.

Fred’s credo for life comes from the 1994 Inaugural Speech of Nelson Mandela:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that
Other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other
People permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

Candidate Statement:

“The question is not what I will do when elected but rather, what will we do to govern together in an effort to improve our community and the district!”









Queens City Council Candidate: Daniel Dromm

Running for: City Council, 25th Council District, Queens

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat and Working Families

Candidate Bio:

Daniel Dromm is an educator, community organizer, union leader, and political activist. His experience and dedication to the community has led to Dromm being overwhelming elected Democratic District Leader in the 39th Assembly District, Part A (Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona and Woodside in Queens) in 2002 and re-elected in 2004 and 2006.

Daniel Dromm is an award-winning New York City public school teacher. Since 1984, he has instructed and inspired thousands of students at PS 199Q in Queens. In 2006, Dromm was chosen as Outstanding Teacher of the Year by his school's principal. Throughout his career, he has continuously been at the forefront of effective teaching methods. Dromm took a lead role in implementing several successful projects such as the "Philosophy for Children" project and the Integrated Language Arts project. He was hand-picked by the New York City Opera to give a workshop at Lincoln Center on bringing opera into the classroom. In 1997, along with colleague Barbara Baruch, Dromm won the 'UFT Kid's Day on Broadway' grant for his school. He has received awards from both the District and from the PTA for his dedication to students. Dromm is proud to be entrusted with the education of the children from the same community where his Irish immigrant ancestors landed years ago. He credits his mother, herself a lifelong teacher and United Federation of Teachers (UFT) member, with showing him the "tricks of the trade" and instilling in him a love for teaching.

In 1992, Dromm courageously came out as an openly gay teacher. The story became front-page news in daily newspapers throughout the city. The ensuing battle tested Dromm's resolve as a fighter who is unafraid to take on the powers that be. Dromm defeated several unsuccessful attempts to remove him from his job and became a role model for equality in the workplace. This episode in Dromm's life illustrated to him how important tenure is as a protection for teachers.

Dromm has dedicated himself tirelessly to his union. In 2000, he was selected to attend the prestigious New York State United Teachers Leadership Institute at Cornell University where he worked with other local unions from across the state. Prior to being elected as the UFT Chapter Leader at PS 199Q, Mr. Dromm was the school's UFT delegate. He received an Ely Trachtenberg Award from the UFT in 2000. He felt protected by the support he received from Sandra Feldman when he first came out. And, now, more than ever, he is grateful for the leadership and support of UFT President Randi Weingarten.

Dromm attended St. Mary's Elementary and Boys' High School in Manhasset, NY and graduated from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. He earned his master's degree from City College. Prior to working for the NYC Department of Education, Dromm was Educational Director of the Grant Day Care Center in Harlem. It was there, while fighting for the rights of the poor to affordable childcare, social services and education, that he acquired his effective organizing skills.

Deeply committed to civil rights and social justice, Dromm has established himself a fighter against prejudice, discrimination and violence as the founder and former co-chairperson of the Queens Lesbian and Gay Pride Committee. Fifteen years ago, he organized the first Queens LGBT Pride Parade and Festival which he still puts on the first Sunday in June in Jackson Heights. Dromm co-founded the Queens Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG). He helped found Queens Pride House. Dromm also co-founded the Generation Q Youth Services Program in Astoria.

A delegate to the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and a former board member of the JFK Democratic Club in Jackson Heights, Mr. Dromm has tried hard to promote the ideals and values of the Democratic Party throughout Queens. He co-founded the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens.

Dromm is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Jackson Heights and a board member of the Corona-based Community Conciliation Network. He is an active member of the 115th Precinct Community Council. Dromm regularly volunteers with the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and attends the meetings of the Western Jackson Heights Alliance.

Dromm is fluent in Spanish and has been honored by the Sociedad Puertorriquena de Queens for his commitment to the Latino community. He is a member of the NAACP - Corona/East Elmhurst branch and has also been honored by the Korean-American Association of Central Queens.

In October of 2006, Dromm received a Community Leadership Award from the Times/Ledger newspapers. He received the Marsh-Raimo Award from the UFT, which recognizes an individual who has shown continued commitment to the teacher's union through political action.

Daniel Dromm strongly believes that in order to bring about change, one must affect he political structure. To that end, Dromm's latest initiative is creating the New Visions Democratic Club, a progressive local party club decidated to serve our diverse community. Dromm has presided over an incredible expansion in membership of New Visions in 2007. It is creating change that motivates Daniel Dromm to run for City Council.

Candidate’s Statement:

Less than one year from now, you will go into the voting booth and you will select who will represent you in the New York City Council. You're going to have to ask yourself when you vote in the primary in September and in the election in November, "Who will lead us toward a better tomorrow?"

We are at a crossroads in the history of New York City. Our economy is in danger. Our schools are not adequately educating our children. Our streets are dirtier, louder and more dangerous. And our political process is being taken over by corporate interests and self-serving career politicians.

I am running for City Council to make New York City a better place to live. I am running to build a better future for the children and families of Jackson Heights, Rego Park, LeFrak City, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Woodside and Corona.

As a public school teacher for the past twenty-four years, I know first-hand what is working in our education system and I know all too well what desperately needs fixing. As a community activist, I have been at the forefront of making sure that everyone has equal rights and a strong voice in our society. As a district leader, I work with elected officials, businesses, civic groups, and non-profit organizations to make our neighborhoods livable.

A vote for Daniel Dromm is a vote to bring the community together. A vote for Daniel Dromm is for vote for better schools, cleaner and quieter streets, and safer neighborhoods.

Join me in making tomorrow better than today.

Sincerely, Daniel Dromm

Bronx City Council Candidate: Daryl Johnson

Running for: City Council, 16th Council District, The Bronx

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

Daryl Johnson is a longtime Bronx resident who has resided in the Morrisania neighborhood of City Council District 16 for nearly 20 years. He was born in Brooklyn and raised by a single mother who worked hard to educate and send her two sons to both public and parochial schools in the city. Daryl has been a successful risk brokerage professional for more than 10 years and is Assistant to the Chief Financial Officer of a major brokerage firm in Manhattan.

Since 1996, Daryl has been President of the Morris Avenue Tenants Coalition, a community-based organization representing over 60 families and local businesses in the Morrisania and West Bronx communities. As President of one the largest resident coalitions in the Bronx, Daryl works to improve the environment and quality of life for all residents. By working closely over many years with elected representatives at all levels, including — the NYPD, NYC Dept. of Education, Dept. of Sanitation, Parks & Recreation, Dept. of the Aging, Dept. of Health and local Community Boards among other organizations — Daryl has effectively communicated, improved, expanded or brought new services to the community and by extension has lessened the burdens on local government with community-based solutions.

Daryl has proved himself to be a responsible and dedicated leader in this community of approx. 200,000 by serving as the “go-to” resource on residential and business issues. Daryl is committed to engaging the community to get better access to government. He has new and fresh Democratic ideas for addressing challenges in our community and improving the overall delivery and quality of city and other services.

Daryl is known for taking on the tough issues when others could not, or would not…and then getting results! He is a smart, caring and truly effective individual committed to answering to the needs of people.

Candidate Statement:

I’m NOT running for myself…but for YOU and I mean it!

I live here in this community and win or lose I’m not going anywhere. As City Councilmember, I will make a difference that you can see with your own eyes. I didn’t just up and start serving my community because I wanted to run for City Council. In fact, running for office never even entered my mind. Believe me, I’m content just being an ordinary resident here, I would actually prefer to continue just to ride the D and 4 trains home like you and go about my life. However, as a resident like you who genuinely cares about this District, I refuse to accept that the needs and will of the people of this District and City continue to be ignored...and that’s why I am running — not to work alone for my own interest but to engage my community for talent and more importantly ideas. I don’t have all the answers and anyone who claims they do has told you the first lie. I will aggressively recruit talent from our own community to work with the community. I can assure you that as your City Councilmember, you won’t have to look for me because I plan to come to you, in your neighborhood, at your time, to help you.

Like most of you, I’ve become disgusted with politics. You vote for and elect someone to represent you and your family, they tell you they are Democrat like you and they care about you and your issues. Then what happens, they (politicians) get in and if your area is anything like our District, you never see or hear from him or her again until the next election.

For too long some elected representatives have clearly been in this for themselves and not for you and me — the residents and voters. They will tell you and try to fool you into thinking that they’ve made a difference — but we’ve all got eyes and know when someone has been spoiled by the trappings of politics. This “do-nothing” culture will end when I am elected as your representative. I promise to lead and always be accountable to this community.

Every voter whether they voted for one side or the other is owed honesty. In order that I can be a more effective human being and then public servant, I must first be honest with myself and next with you — my neighbor and friend. I’m in this contest to make a difference for you and your family and not myself. My mother always said to me that in this world you can be a leader, a follower or you can get out of the way…I choose to lead.

Thank you for your support.


Bronx City Council Candidate: Jerome Rice

Running for: City Council, 12th Council District, The Bronx

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

Jerome Rice, a long time Bronx resident is a family man who has served 22 years in the Armed Forces, and 21 years in the NYC Department of Correction, currently holding the rank of Captain. Jerome Rice attends church in the Bronx, where he serves as both Trustee and Co-Chair to Public Safety. Jerome has both a Master degree in Business Administration and Associate in Computer Science from Monroe College. While serving as Director of Community Empowerment for 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, Jerome Rice has both created and facilitated workshops on issues that are currently affecting our community, such as:

•What to do, when stopped by the police
•Gangs Awareness / Prevention
•What to do when you go to court, it’s Just-Us
•Disaster Awareness for Community preparedness “New York’s Katrina”

Public Safety

Fight for more Police Patrols in areas that are impacted with crimes. Also call for better Police relationship between both NYPD and the communities they serve. I will fight to keep both our schools and communities, free of Gangs and Gun violence.

Economic Development

Bring in new business and support existing business that will cater to all people of various cultures. Homes are currently being built in our community that we can’t afford. We need homes to be affordable. More Funding is needed to go towards better facilities for our Senior citizens, Veterans and our future (Youth).


Our youths must receive the proper education to prepare them for the Real World. We also need our local business to invest in our future (Youth), by hiring residents from the community.

He fought against:
•Wrongful Police shooting
•NYPD’s policies on Stop & Frisk and Operation Luck Bag
•Disparate Treatment of Blacks& Hispanic arrested for lower crimes,
•Rezoning of Harlem
•Changes in Term Limits.

Candidate Statement:

There is a call for change with our local elected officials. District 12 needs a leader, not a title holder who chose to ignore the will of the people. Our local elective officials must be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

“Giving power back to the community”

I always believe that the people, who are paid to protect us, must also respect us. I have an extensive track record of reaching out to various communities, educating them on various survival workshops, such as: what to do, when stopped by the police and stop & frisk. I have always say, that your civil rights are not for sale. Unlike many of my constituents, who decided to enter into the witness protection program, when comes to fighting for people rights, I will continue to be in the forefront for justice. I have always believed that there is strength in numbers and there is numbers in the community. I will also continue the fight against gang violence, because our senior citizens and youth should not be forced to live in fear. I will ensure that all funding that are allocated for the community, goes to the community. The time of taking money from the community, are over. The time of hiding, when a call for justice is needed is over. I will have representatives in every community, who will have a direct access to both me and my office on anything that is affecting the community. It is time for the community to regain its power and hold those who are elected accountable.

District 12 needs a change, not more of the same. District 12 need someone who is willing to lead, not be led and hold all those responsible accountable. As your next City Councilmember for the 12th District I will make the following issues a priority:

•Economic development / Employment
•Public Safety
•Senior Citizens Services
•Veteran Services
•Youth Services
•Diabetes & Child Obesity awareness

“The time for change is now; we need leaders that are willing to fight for the people they serve”.

Queens City Council Candidate: Marquez Claxton

Running for: City Council, 31st Council District, Queens

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

After a stellar 20-year career in the New York City Police Department, City Council candidate Marquez (Marq) Claxton remains committed to public service. Whether on duty assigned to uniformed and plainclothes enforcement or off duty as a Queens resident and co-founder and spokesperson of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, ‘Marq’ continues to work tirelessly and vigorously to serve the public.

Marq utilized his training and experience as a NYPD Detective to educate communities throughout New York on a variety of issues concerning law enforcement. As a co-founder and spokesperson for 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, he was instrumental in developing innovative programs that continue to address a wide range of issues including Police Community Relations, Conflict Resolution, Gang Prevention and Awareness as well as Child Safety to name a few.

Because 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care is an active & relevant civil rights organization, Marq Claxton often presented the organization’s official position on a wide range of issues involving Senior Citizens, Childhood Education, and Housing displacement. Whether Marq was assigned to uniformed or plainclothes patrol or in the Narcotics Division as an undercover and investigator or assigned to the Precinct Detective Squad as the Coordinator of Domestic Violence/Child Abuse, he has used his training and experience to enhance the quality of life for New Yorkers.

In his current capacity as chair of the Public Safety Committee for Community Board 13 in Queens, Marq consistently demands accountability and quality from the agencies charged with providing services. In addition to his Community Board chair position he serves on the Community Board’s Transportation, Land Use and Health, Mental Health & Hospitals committees.

Marq is co-chair of the “Gangs, Guns & Gainful Employment” subcommittee of the New York State Democratic Conference’s ‘Operation S.N.U.G., a member of the New York State Blue Ribbon Commission of Gang Violence Prevention as well as a member of Blacks In Government, the N.A.A.C.P., the National Organization of Black Law Executives, C.E.M.O.T.A.P. (Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African People) and Operation P.O.W.E.R. (People Organizing and Working for Empowerment and Respect) Marq is a frequent and regular commentator on New York radio stations WBLS (107.5 fm), WRKS (98.7 fm), WLIB (1190 am) and WBAI (99.5 fm). Marq has appeared on National television broadcasts including Court TV’s “Catherine Crier Live”, MSNBC’s “The Abrams Report”, FOX TV’s “Hannity & Colmes”, CNBC’s “Rivera Live” and a host of local television programs.

For Marq public service is an obligation. He has partnered with hundreds of community organizations to assist them on a wide range of issues. Always outspoken, he has publicly challenged politicians and policies that work against the interests of people. Whether at a New York City Council hearing or on a national television program or on local and national radio, Marq has defended the interests of a largely disenfranchised, resource-starved community. Marq continues to fight for justice and equitable resource allocation. Marq has spent years giving voice to the voiceless and fighting to empower the powerless.

Marquez Claxton will bring the same level of commitment and dogged determination to City Hall that he has exhibited throughout his life.

Candidate Statement:

There is a desperate need for elected representation that is not ignorant of the needs AND wishes of their constituency. Given the current political climate, elected representation must be knowledgeable, courageous, honest and possess vision.

“RETURNING POWER TO THE PEOPLE” - With my documented record of both public service and community activism, my constituents, who are my neighbors, have a clear picture of how tenaciously and vigorously I will push forward an agenda to increase resource allocation, demand information and better service from agencies that operate on our tax dollars while challenging the status quo in City Hall that has abandoned a large segment of this City.

No longer will my community be silent in the face of governmental apathy. I will be a vocal, visible, available advocate who will promote the interests of my constituents and the City at large. The message that I will deliver in City Hall will be based on the communication that I receive from the community and with their best interest in mind. Silent, compliant, co-opted political cowardice in the face of failed government strategies and initiatives have placed my community at risk. We will regain our stature, improve our condition and plan for the future as a strong and unified force.

The 31st District desperately needs a strong voice that understands the difference between intelligent negotiation and submissive surrender. As the City Councilmember for the 31st District I will focus on:

· Education
· Employment / Economic Opportunities
· Preventative Health Initiatives
· Senior Citizen Services
· Youth Services
· Housing & Predatory Lending
· Public Safety & Justice

Reject politics as usual, it is time for effective elected leadership. I will not place politics ahead of the People.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Brooklyn City Council Candidate: Jo Anne Simon

Running for: City Council, 33rd Council District, Brooklyn

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

Jo Anne grew up in working class Yonkers, NY, the oldest girl in a family of five. She learned early the value of family, commitment and respect for others. These are the values she brings to her profession and her community. Jo Anne moved to Brooklyn in 1981.

The first in her family to go to college, she graduated from Iona College with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication Sciences, Gallaudet University with a Master's Degree in Education of the Deaf, and Fordham University School of Law, where she earned her law degree at night while working full-time. After stints as a judicial law secretary and teaching in Hofstra University School of Law's clinical program, she now maintains a specialized disability civil rights law firm in Downtown Brooklyn and is an adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Fordham.

Jo Anne Simon is the Democratic District Leader and State Committeewoman for the 52nd Assembly District in Brooklyn. A community and education leader for nearly 30 years, she was recently elected President of the New York Dyslexia Association. She is a sought-after speaker and recently testified before the U.S. Senate on issues related to discrimination in standardized testing and education. A former teacher of the deaf, President of the Boerum Hill Association, Chair of the Gowanus Expressway Community Stakeholders Group and co-founder of the Downtown Brooklyn Coalition that persuaded the City to recognize traffic issues in the upzoning of Downtown, Jo Anne combines her commitment to our community with her legal expertise to fight for our neighborhoods on issues including land use and development, education, transportation, open space and transparency in government. Jo Anne has been a strong voice against the City Council’s bypassing a voter referendum and extending term limits by legislation.

Jo Anne currently serves as female Democratic District Leader and State Committeewoman for the 52nd Assembly District. She and her husband Bill Harris, make their home in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

Candidate Statement:

The City Council is the elected body closest to the people. It is where the rubber meets the road, where ideals and policy get translated into action; where commitment to community counts. That’s why I am running for City Council.

Your city council member needs to understand the issues and how they affect the people in her district -- why meaningful public involvement is central to our having successful schools and successful students; to achieving the necessary balance between a growing New York City and keeping Brooklyn's neighborhoods vibrant and safe places to live, work and play, yet keeping Brooklyn the special place it is.

You need a city council member who's committed to the community and to making government work for people again, who's willing to roll up her sleeves and plunge in; someone with a "can do!" attitude. As a grandmother of two young children, I know why we need to change things around.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brooklyn City Council Candidate: Terry Hinds

Running for: City Council, 45th Council District, Brooklyn

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

Mr. Hinds is a product of our public school system, a lifelong member of the East Flatbush community, a small business owner and an advocate fighting for our rights.

The child of two educators from Barbados, Terry Hinds is a proud graduate of P.S. 244, Meyer Levin Junior High School and Samuel J. Tilden High School.

After graduating from college, Mr. Hinds worked in the public school system as a substance abuse prevention and intervention specialist. As a substance abuse counselor, Mr. Hinds worked to prevent drug use by students who had not yet tried drugs and intervened with those who had. The privilege of working with our children had such a profound effect on him that he decided that he wanted to do more to help.

Remembering the lessons that his parents taught him about education, Terry Hinds left the Board of Education in order to attend law school. While attending law school, Mr. Hinds served as a legal intern in the Harrisburg Civil Law Clinic, where he represented clients in matters involving wrongful termination hearings, illegal eviction proceedings and actions to obtain medical benefits. After he graduated from law school, Mr. Hinds again returned to our community and immediately began to make good on his promise to help the residents.

Locally, Terry Hinds has created a free landlord/tenant consultation program that worked with the landlords and tenants, helping them resolve their legal disputes through mediation, without having to take these matters to court. Through this program, Terry Hinds had the opportunity to assist tenants fighting to hold on to their apartments and senior citizens on the verge of losing their homes.

Additionally, he served as the President of Erasmus Neighborhood Federation, a not-for-profit organization based in East Flatbush. This organization helps the elderly to apply for senior citizen rent exemptions, provides free immigration assistance to residents, offers home improvement grants and educates homeowners and potential home buyers on the dangers of foreclosure.

Terry Hinds has also been appointed to serve as a member on Community Board 17. As Chairperson of the Transportation Committee, Mr. Hinds worked to bring attention to the illegal truck traffic problem affecting on our local streets and worked tirelessly with members of the community to draw attention to the horrible road conditions along Church Avenue. As a result of these efforts the Department of Transportation has made a commitment to the community to perform a total reconstruction of Church Avenue. Terry Hinds has also worked with the members of the community on the co-naming of Snyder Avenue from Utica to Nostrand in honor of two of our communities fallen detectives.

Terry Hinds is also an entrepreneur within our community. As the owner of Sterling Real Estate Group LLC, Mr. Hinds holds free seminars in the community on the purchase, protection and investment of real estate. Mr. Hinds also serves as an attorney for The Hinds Firm LLC.

Manhattan City Council Candidate: Yetta Kurland

Running for: City Council, 3rd Council District, Manhattan

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Candidate Bio:

Yetta Kurland has been a leader in progressive politics and social justice for over two decades.
Striving to empower those around her, Yetta’s long history of activism includes community based initiatives, as well as work through both judicial and legislative channels to advocate for civil rights, education, arts and culture, affordable housing, employment rights and health care issues.

Yetta Kurland has strong roots in the community, and has been a leader in the field of education, becoming a teacher and founding a language arts school in her early twenties.

As a tenant rights activist, Yetta has worked on creating sustainable and affordable housing solutions for New Yorkers, and has defended tenants in eviction proceedings to protect their rent stabilized and rent controlled homes throughout the City.

As a civil rights attorney, Yetta has worked to provide legal services to underrepresented communities. She has fought tirelessly to protect workers in both private companies as well as those working for the City of New York. Yetta is currently representing Emergency Medical Services workers suing the City for unfair promotional practices. She is also representing an individual wrongfully arrested during the 2004 Republican National Convention and has recently settled a suit against a City hospital for failure to provide proper medical care.

Yetta Kurland has worked on a city and state level to help legislate on important issues such as safety and education as well as constitutional issues such as the rights to assemble, freedom of speech, and the right to due process.

A resident of the New York City Council’s Third District for almost 15 years, Yetta lives in Chelsea with her partner Elizabeth and their two Italian Greyhounds, Sal and Luca.

Yetta Kurland has proven herself to be a compassionate leader and an independent thinker. She is a champion of the underrepresented. As our City Councilmember, Yetta Kurland will bring her courage, compassion and experience to ensure we have a voice in local politics and access to City government.

Brooklyn City Council Candidate: Bob Zuckerman

Running for: City Council, 39th Council District, Brooklyn

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Contact Info:

Candidate Bio:

As the current Executive Director of the Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation (GCCDC) and Gowanus Canal Conservancy (GCC), Bob is implementing programs to encourage smart development along the Gowanus Canal corridor, helping area residents to access affordable housing, cleaning the Canal through environmentally sound strategies, and creating new parks along the waterfront.

Additionally, Bob proudly serves as President of the Independent Neighborhood Democrats (IND), a progressive Democratic club that builds coalitions with community organizations to encourage civic engagement.

Previously Bob served for over two years as Executive Director of the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. During his time at the Chamber, Bob successfully doubled membership, started the Non-Profit and LGBT Committees, created "Out to Work: The LGBT Career Fair," and advocated on behalf of small businesses before the City Council.

Prior to these appointments, Bob was Executive Director of the New York Nightlife Association, a trade association representing the hospitality industry, and served as Assistant Director of Development for the LGBT Community Center in New York

Bob holds a Juris Doctorate from American University and received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Emory University.

He lives in Park Slope with his partner of 11 years, Grant Neumann, and their feline companions, Ozzie and Willie.

Brooklyn City Council Candidate: Saquan Jones

Running for: City Council, 36th Council District, Brooklyn

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Contact Info:, 917-776-3261

Candidate Bio:

Saquan Jones, no stranger to overcoming adversity, grew up in Queens, New York and is proud to be a part of the great tradition of Brooklyn. Born June 18, 1976 and raised in the Queensbridge Housing Project; Jones is the eldest of two children and was raised by his single mother.

An attendee and graduate of public schools throughout Queens (P.S. 76 and J.H.S. 204) and Manhattan (Martin Luther King Jr., High School), Jones, who became a father at the age of 19, was able to earn scholarships from the United Negro College Fund to attend Virginia Union University located in Richmond, Virginia. During his undergraduate tenure, he majored in both History and Political Science with a minor in Secondary Education, earning his Bachelors of Arts in May of 1999.

Following his graduation from Virginia Union University with honors, Jones obtained his New York State Public School Teacher Certification and went on to pursue a post graduate degree at Pace University in New York. Graduating from the nationally ranked Lubin School of Business with an MBA in Financial Management, he has served in a number of different capacities for various Fortune 500 companies.

While building a successful career in the private sector, Jones continued his commitment to societal issues, specifically those impacting family and community. This drove him to take lead roles in various community service initiatives including fund raising efforts for the United Way and even using his own resources to secure and provide housing for underprivileged families.

Jones' personal life experiences make it easy to understand why he maintains an unwavering devotion to become an advocate for the residents of Brooklyn's 36th City Council District.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Queens City Council Candidate: Mel Gagarin

Running for: City Council, 29th District, Queens

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat


Contact Info:, 347-561-4391

Candidate Bio:

Melquiades Gagarin was born in Elmhurst, Queens to a diverse family background. His father was raised in the Philippines and moved to New York to pursue a better life. Gagarin's mother is a first generation New Yorker born to Puerto Rican parents. Mel was raised largely by his grandmother Ramona and mother Maria, a nurse at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Both women emphasized the value ofhard work and education.

After graduating from Archbishop Molloy High School in Jamaica, Mel took the values instilled by his family and attended The American University in Washington, D.C. Earning his degree in Political Science, it was at American where Mel developed his passion for public service, and met hisfuture wife, Aleda. After graduation, Mel served as a Board Liaison for the National Foundation for Women Legislators in Washington, a non-profit organization that helps female state legislators develop leadership skills.

In the fall of 2005, Mel and Aleda returned to New York and moved to Kew Gardens. That same year, Mel served as the Communications Liaison to New York State Senator José Serrano in East Harlem. His work in Senator Serrano's office attracted the attention of Congressman Anthony Weiner, who hired Mel as his Community Representative.

It was in Congressman Weiner's office that Mel had the opportunity to meet with many individuals in the community. Mel became familiar with the hurdles that the average New Yorker faces in having their basic needs met by the different levels of government. Gagarin brings this same desire into his campaign to represent the 29th Council District. "Our neighborhoods need a new and vibrant vision at City Hall," says Gagarin. Our city must remain a haven of shared prosperity for New York's middle-class. Our future demands action that cannot wait."

Mel currently works as the Media Manager for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, where he is responsible for disseminating the organization's message of equality and justice for all Americans. Mel is a member of the New York State Young Democrats and the National Association of Black Journalists. He is also working with a group of his neighbors in Kew Gardens who areunited against irresponsible development.

Mel lives with his wife Aleda and two year old son Micah. They are expecting their second child in time for the New Year.

Candidate Statement:

My name is Mel Gagarin, and I am running for City Council.

I believe our neighborhoods need a new vision and an energetic leader to tackle the tough issues facing our community.

As a man who has worked for elected officials, and a father raising a family in our community, I have a personal understanding of the challenges facing middle-class New Yorkers. As your City Council representative I will work to prepare our neighborhoods and our city to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

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