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

Candidates: Post Your Bio and Photo Here Free!

Are you a candidate for any elected office in New York City? ChangeNYC.Org wants to help New Yorkers meet you.

We invite all candidates for office in the five boroughs to email us their information to and we'll post them here on our Meet the Candidates blog absolutely free. Think of this as a free web page to promote your candidacy and let your neighbors know what you stand for.

Be sure to include as many of the following as you have:

* your name
* the office you are running for
* where you are running and when the election is
* your party affiliation
* your photo
* your contact information
* your bio
* your candidate's statement

After we receive your information, we'll email or call you to confirm its accuracy. If everything checks out, we'll add you to this site within 48 hours.