Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Index of City Council Candidates Bios

Democratic Candidates for District Attorney Running in September 2009 Primary

Candidate: Leslie Crocker Snyder Borough: Manhattan

Democratic Candidates for City Council Running in September 2009 Primary

Candidate: Yetta Kurland Council District: 3rd (Manhattan)
Candidate: Gwen Goodwin Council District: 8th (Manhattan)
Candidate: Richard Realmuto Council District: 10th (Manhattan)
Candidate: Jerome Rice Council District: 12th (The Bronx)
Candidate: Fernando Cabrera Council District: 14th (The Bronx)
Candidate: Daryl Johnson Council District: 16th (The Bronx)
Candidate: Constantine Kavadas Council District: 20th (Queens)
Candidate: Bob Friedrich Council District: 23rd (Queens)
Candidate: Daniel Dromm Council District: 25th (Queens)
Candidate: Brent O'Leary Council District: 26th (Queens)
Candidate: Mel Gagarin Council District: 29th (Queens)
Candidate: Marquez Claxton Council District: 31st (Queens)
Candidate: Michael Duncan Council District: 31st (Queens)
Candidate: Fred Lewis Council District: 31st (Queens)
Candidate: Jo Anne Simon Council District: 33rd (Brooklyn)
Candidate: Saquan Jones Council District: 36th (Brooklyn)
Candidate: David Galarza Council District: 38th (Brooklyn)
Candidate: Bob Zuckerman Council District: 39th (Brooklyn)
Candidate: Terry Hinds Council District: 45th (Brooklyn)

Brooklyn City Council Candidate: David Galarza

Running for: City Council, 38th Council District, Brooklyn

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Website: http://www.davidgalarza.com/

Candidate Bio:

David Galarza has spent his 20 year professional career engaged in union, political, civic, religious and journalistic activities. As a candidate for the 38th City Council District (encompassing sections of Sunset Park, Red Hook, Windsor Terrace and South Slope) he plans on utilizing his experience to continue his advocacy on behalf of his fellow Brooklyn neighbors.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Sunset Park, David has been active in, and helped establish, numerous local organizations including SPAN (Sunset Park Alliance of Neighbors) a grassroots civic group that works on zoning, land use and housing issues; and the Latino Youth League of Sunset Park, which ran after school and summer programs for youth and in 1993, successfully fought against the building of a sludge treatment plant planned for the area.

David is currently a Communications Specialist for CSEA Local 1000, AFSCME. In that capacity he has helped workers obtain improved safety and health conditions, better wages and benefits, helped organize direct care workers, and fought against the closure of a several State facilities. David began his professional career as a journalist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Miami Herald. He went on to serve as a spokesperson for former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, and worked in the public affairs offices of the New York City Comptroller, the Board of Education and served as a consultant to the non-profit Children’s Aid Society.

A former member of Brooklyn’s Community Board 7, David chaired the Housing Committee. He helped organize the community against the inappropriate use of land and buildings, created an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged abuse of a local family and youth by police officers and assisted local organizations in promoting affordable housing initiatives. David has served on the boards of Latinos for National Health Insurance, The Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition and the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID). In 2003, David was named Community Advocate of the Year by the Sunset Park Lions Club.

David attended Long Island University and is a product of Brooklyn public schools. He and his wife Inez, a New York City public school speech therapist and member of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), are the parents of a son, Sean, a high school junior.

Manhattan City Council Candidate: Gwen Goodwin

Running for: City Council, 8th Council District, Manhattan

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Candidate Bio:

Gwen Goodwin was born on June 8, 1961. She arrived in New York, East Harlem in 1985. She has made her home in East Harlem going on 25 years.

It's no accident that Gwen was right up there with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Gail Collins. Gretchen Dykstra, Tina Fey, Caroline Kennedy, Bette Midler, Eva Moskowitz, Rosie O'Donnell, Sara Jessica Parker , Susan Sarandon, Sue Simmons, Nydia Velasquez and Randi Weingarten, to name a few, recognized by the Daily News of April 24, 2004, as the "100 Women who Shape our City"!

Gwen's focus has been to preserve East Harlem as a place where regular people, and particularly, those who face systematic discrimination, can continue to live.

Most recently, Gwen has been fighting the "River-to-River Harlem Rezoning" plan, spearheaded by Mayor Bloomberg This plan could erase Harlem as we know it, driving its current populations out. The plan uses the threat of eminent domain to coerce people into relinquishing community based business and property. Gwen is completely opposed to the abuse of eminent domain. The main impetus to Gwen's City Council race is to reverse the ongoing damage by incumbent Melissa Mark Viverito, who actually promotes this plan.

Gwen is most widely known since 1999, for Founding/Coordinating the Coalition to Save P.S. 109, reversing an already ongoing, illegal demolition by the NYC Board of Education. The Coalition to Save PS 109 went on to landmark PS 109 with the help of the NYC Landmarks Conservancy. Gwen won the first Grassroots Preservation Award by The Historic District Council.

In 1997 when the Rent Stabilization laws were threatened by abolition , Gwen singularly saw to it that the tenants' movement provided free bus travel for the East Harlem residents to Albany. She also arranged free lunches, as well as mobilizing a significant contingent.

Gwen was able to acquire the services, pro bono, of the prestigious law firm, Davis Polk and Wardwell to oppose the reopening of the 100th Street Bus Terminal in 2000. The suit alleged environmental racism. East Harlem suffers from the highest rate of asthma in the USA.

Gwen, initiated the "A Breath of Fresh Air" campaign after 9-11. The program was dedicated to and for the New York City Fireman and Policeman. Gwen asked the resort owners of Cape May, NJ, to give first responders free rest and recuperation weekends in the beautiful bed and breakfasts of Cape May . Thirty-five inns and hotels participated as well a five restaurants. Gwen was honored both by the New York Daily News , “Spotlight on People” as well as Channel 7 News, “New York City’s Hometown Hero“, for her effort.

Adaptable and versatile, communicative and witty, intellectual and elegant, youthful and lively, Gwen has extraordinary intensity to get things done. Gwen is a great listener, exploring all sides of a question before taking a stand without ambiguity, wishy-washiness or sellout compromise. Gwen will harness a Gemini-like wisdom and inquisitiveness to be able to master rapidly the procedures in City Council and develop effective strategies.

It is not often that a candidate is so made-to-order to serve the broad public. But, as Gwen says, inspired by the Barack Obama campaign, "We will be waiting forever, until we realize that 'We are the people we've been waiting for!'"

Monday, March 9, 2009

Queens City Council Candidate: Michael Duncan

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

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Website: Michaelrduncan.com

Candidate Bio:

Michael R. Duncan, the candidate, is not simply running for office – he is bringing along the people. He is working to better our lives; to address our issues; to help find solutions to our problems; to bring prestige and untainted values back to our communities. Michael is a long-time grassroots activist and now looks to spearhead the movement to improve our community and our livelihood with the youth and elders being the focal point, two groups of people that have often been neglected and unaccounted for.

Michael has been a part of the 31st Council District community for over fifteen years, committing himself tirelessly to the issues of better education, community affairs, immigration, and police-community relations. As a proven leader, Michael Duncan is unmatched in his ability to inspire people and ultimately stands alone as the most dedicated candidate in recent memory. It is clear that Duncan is for us.

After moving from Brooklyn into District 31 over 15 years ago, Michael devoted his days to re-establishing the Rosedale Soccer Club. Through his previous experience as a part of the soccer program in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, Michael sought a similar opportunity in Rosedale but had not considered the scenario that faced him: there had not been a viable soccer program in Rosedale’s history. It was at that point that Michael pondered to himself, “why is it that other communities can have a program but not ours?” He then asked, “Why do we always look outside for the answer, when the answer lies right here inside our communities?” In other words, if we want to solve our problems, we should be relying on ourselves and only ourselves. Many of the youth in the Rosedale area would travel to Long Island to participate in soccer instead of participating in a soccer program in our community. Rosedale was due for a breakthrough, one that finally occurred at the hands of Michael. After 15 years, the Rosedale Soccer program is thriving on every front, a one-of-a-kind program that extends far beyond soccer.

Beyond the community, Duncan has addressed easily one of the most pressing issues of our generation: the economic slump, we now find ourselves in. For those who have blindly laid their trust with the City and local governments, during better times, it was clear then and certainly now, that government cannot and will not solve our problems. Exhibiting uncanny foresight, he created, over a decade ago, the Federation of African, Caribbean, and American Organization, Inc. [Federation] in order to usher in a new approach focused on economic self-reliance. The philosophy behind the Federation is very simple; Each One Support One, in which community members guarantee the support of businesses within the community, and in return local businesses provide an equitable discount. Both the members and the local businesses must be members in the Federation's network. The savings the members received is split between the members and the Federation. As such, the Federation will then utilize its portion of the savings to create much-needed services in the community. As other communities witness the development of this program, they will follow suit.

Widely recognized for his tireless commitment to our youth and the community, Michael Duncan was asked to serve as the Chief of Staff to the 31st Council District. For almost two years, Michael oversaw the 31st Council District which encompasses Rosedale, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens, The Rockaways, parts of Cambria Heights and South Ozone Park

In that time period, Michael managed the entire district and was a strong advocate for the community. His duties included compiling, balancing, and monitoring the budget, the top priority for any incoming councilman with the state of the economy as it is. His wealth of experience with budgetary decision-making will not only prove invaluable in office but allow him to hit the ground running. He has also dealt closely with local community leaders, attended countless civic meetings, and directed the distribution of funds to community organizations. But, above all, he remains a liaison to the people

With each passing day, confidence grows that Michael Duncan is uniquely fit for the difficult tasks that lie ahead and, therefore, unanimously call for him to be the next City Councilman of the 31st District.

Queens City Council Candidate: Brent O'Leary

Running for: City Council, 26th Council District, Queens

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Website: http://www.brentoleary.com/

Candidate Bio:

Brent O’Leary is a business attorney and grassroots politician. He believes that government can be responsive to the people and a tool to make their lives better.

Brent became involved at the grassroots level in politics registering people to vote and going door-to door for candidates. In 2002, while Brent was working in Tokyo, Brent was elected Chair of Democrats Abroad Japan which helps Americans overseas to vote and be involved in the political process. Under his Chairmanship membership more than tripled in 2 years.

In 2004, Brent was elected to the Democratic National Committee where he was proud to vote for Howard Dean as Chairman of the Democratic Party and became a strong advocate of the 50 State strategy. As a Superdelegate in 2008, Brent supported Barack Obama for the Democratic Nomination and when Brent’s term on the Democratic National Committee ended in 2008, he was asked by the Obama Campaign to coordinate Irish Americans for Obama in NY, which he did until the election.

Brent is a top business and finance lawyer. As Brent speaks fluent Japanese, he worked for the New York based law firm, White & Case, in their Tokyo Office. Here Brent worked on many complex business deals and helped countless companies form, obtain their licenses, structured their companies, their financing and their business deals. In 2002, he was named one of the top in-house lawyers in Japan by Asia Legal Business for corporate and e-commerce transactions and, in 2006, Brent became Chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Japan Corporate Counsel Committee.

While in Japan, Brent organized charity events for Make-A-Wish and the Christina Noble Foundation which establishes schools for homeless children. Brent also helped with translations for the Civil Liberties Union in Japan in its efforts against human trafficking.

Brent left White & Case for the position of Senior Legal Compliance Counsel for Bloomberg LP and moved back to New York. In New York, Brent finished his DNC term and then assisted with the Obama campaign.

Brent was born in Jackson Heights, Queens, attended St. Mary's Elementary and Roslyn High School in Roslyn, Long Island and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He earned his law degree from Boston University Law School. While studying at Boston University Law School, Brent was chosen as one of 5 students to go to Oxford University in England to study International Law.

Brent’s grandparents immigrated to America from Ireland and Brent understands the sacrifices made so that he would have the opportunity at a better life. Brent wants to make sure that that opportunity is kept open for all and wants to help the hard working people of his district weather this economic tough time.

Candidate’s Statement:

Honest & Effective Government

It is time to make government a real tool to make people’s lives better. The first job will be to get us back on the road to economic recovery and make sure the social safety net protects the vulnerable members of our community. We need to create quality jobs, keep the cost of living low and maintain our social and educational services. It will take innovative thinking to find new sources of revenue and make the government efficient. I will fight to protect small businesses, who are the life blood of our community, and make it easier for them to set up and operate. I will fight to provide quality education so that all our children have the opportunity to have fulfilling lives and achieve their dreams.

I will also make governmental reform a centerpiece of my initiatives so that government is responsive to the needs of the community. I will fight to make government both transparent and accountable. The workings of government should be open for all, both to see and to participate in, from the initial discussion to the decision making and implementation stages.

This will be a community effort and I need your help to make it a reality so please join me to make our neighborhood and our City, the community we always wished for.

Brent O’Leary

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bronx City Council Candidate: Fernando Cabrera

Running for: City Council, 14th Council District, The Bronx

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Website: http://fernandocabrera.us/

Candidate Bio:

Thanks for taking an interest in my campaign. I have dedicated my life to serving my family, community and churches. I am running for City Council in District 14 because I have a passionate desire to make a positive difference and bring social transformation in our community. As you know, our community is in desperate need for meaningful change and we cannot no longer afford for the needs of the community to be ignored. It is time for proven leadership to be given an opportunity to bring about changes you have been asking for.

Let me share a few things about myself. I have devoted my life, over the last 20 years to serving the Bronx. My wife, Elvia Cabrera, and my two wonderful children, Lissette Feliciano (27 years old), married to youth leader Carlos Feliciano and Joshua (19 years old) have worked together with me to bring positive change in the Bronx. I recently became a grandfather to my first grandchild Zechariah Feliciano. I am a 44 year old native of the Bronx. I grew up in Carolina, Puerto Rico with my parents, Angelo and Iris Cabrera, and three brothers. From the age of 14, I was raised by my single mother, who gave totally of herself to make sure that me and my brothers would gained the education I needed to live a quality life. In 1988, me and my wife started a life changing church called New Life Outreach International, which now has grown to nearly 400 people. As a pastor, I have led a congregation who have brought about community action against violence, implementation of youth leadership programs, free drug rehabilitation services and support groups, all without receiving a salary. I WORK FOR YOU.

I have worked in leadership positions since my early twenties. I directed one of the most successful rehabilitation programs in the nation called New Life for Youth. I have also worked as a Substance Abuse Intervention Prevention counselor servicing most of the Bronx High School. Working in the substance abuse/alcohol field has enabled me to get a real understand of the lack of funding and services needed. In 1992, I became a bilingual school counselor at Walton High School. Working in our public school system was a rude awakening as to how many public schools are failing our children. I earned my doctorate degree in Counseling from Argosy University and in the year 2000 I became the program director for the Counseling graduate program at Mercy College. I am a firm believer in education and granting access to minority students at the college level. The Counseling program almost tripled under my leadership at Mercy College. I also started the first Mental Health Counseling graduate program in New York State. I was the only Hispanic program director in the New York City area colleges. For the last four years, I have co-chaired the Hispanic-Jewish Relations Task for the Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. We brought communities together to work together, which projects such as “It is My Park” clean up day at St. James Park. I served s a Community District 7 board member from 2004 to 2006. I WORK FOR YOU.

I have lobbied state assembly men to halt the reduction of funding for senior citizens, rehabilitation programs, and schools. Since 2007, I have worked in the process of assuring local jobs for local community members at the Kingsbridge Amory. I led the largest March for Youth in the Bronx, advocating for the old Fordham Library be turned over to the community as a Youth Dream Center. I have coordinated. I have advocated for lower gas and food prices in marches. I WORK FOR YOU.

I am presently leading and working in an innovative joint venture to create 80 apartments and community space. The housing development project will create one of the news green buildings in the area. It is time to green up the Bronx. Having suffered from asthma as a child, and with one third of Bronx children suffering from asthma, I am committed to create a Bronx where children are not so susceptible to asthma prone conditions. I have co-sponsored the Dare to Inspired concert series at St. James Park, providing free first class entertainment to youth and adults. I WORK FOR YOU.

Throughout the years, I have been honored by numerous organizations and political figures, such as a Citation of Merit from Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, Latin and African American Chaplain organization, and other organizations. But my biggest honor has been to have a wife, children, church and community worked together to bring social transformation in our community.

I love the Bronx. That love has brought me to this point and what I hope will be the opportunity to serve the Bronx as the City Councilman in District 14. The Bronx’s future is promising, but we need strong leaders to guide and shape that future. While all the candidates are good people, I am the only one that has the track record of accomplishments and a vision for the future. Further, no other candidate has the education, experience and understanding of the issues that I do. I am the candidate best equipped to serve you in making our city even greater. I hope that you’ll support me as I try to make a difference AND WORK FOR YOU!

Queens City Council Candidate: Bob Friedrich

Running for: City Council, 23rd Council District, Queens

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Website: http://www.bob2009nyc.org/

Candidate Bio:

Think all candidates are the same? Think again. Bob is NOT a politician, Never worked for one and has been fighting for our community as a Civic Leader for two decades. Bob represents the best of civic responsibility – Honesty, Integrity and Leadership, all achieved as a Volunteer Civic Leader while working full-time!

Bob Friedrich is a lifetime resident of Queens, attended only NYC Public Schools, graduated from Queens College with a degree in accounting and finance, served on Community Board 13, and is President of Glen Oaks Village – New York’s largest garden apartment co-op with 10,000 residents and a microcosm of the district.

A short list of Bob’s Solid Record of Action, Not Promises:

· Led a 3-year battle through a maze of regulatory agencies giving residents of our co-op the unprecedented ability to utilize unused attic space by raising their roofs. This has substantially reduced the residency turnover rate as people choose to enlarge their co-op apartments for their growing families. This has strengthened our community with long-term residency at an all-time high.

· Pet Lovers: Made NYC’s largest garden apartment complex Pet-Friendly by allowing residents to own dogs and cats provided they followed a set of fair and reasonable rules. Created White Whiskers Program, providing services and funding to volunteers to humanely reduce the feral cat population via the Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) program which is recognized by humane societies worldwide as the best way to control feral cat populations. Bob is working to establish a dog run in an underutilized neighborhood park.

· Created the Presidents Co-op Council a think tank of local co-op board presidents representing 20,000 units of residential co-op housing in eastern Queens. Our mission is to share ideas, gain political clout and seek bulk-purchase discounts with a goal of improving the way co-ops are run and improving the quality of life of our residents.

· Created Green Thumb Eco-Program in Glen Oaks Village which has been responsible for planting more than 100 trees throughout the community, transforming a mile long stretch of Little Neck Parkway from a weeded eyesore into a Greenstreets and helping support the Queens County Farm Museum. Bob is fighting with other community leaders to save the Klein and Cornell Farms – the last remaining farms in Queens.

· Written about and exposed unfair co-op taxing policies and successfully argued a co-op tax audit case saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for community residents. As an accountant Bob understands tax issues and will aggressively pursue property tax relief for single-family homeowners.

· Bob has actively opposed double-digit water rate hikes and has proposed allowing co-ops and single-family homeowners full deductibility of future water rate hikes in excess of inflation from their property tax bills. Voila! -- a simple solution that will cap these unconscionable annual rate increases.

· Bob proposed A Better $400 Tax Rebate Plan. Bob’s plan would have had the city issue $400 Stimulus Certificates instead of a $400 rebate check. The Stimulus Certificates could only be used at NYC businesses. Bob’s idea would inject an immediate boost into the city’s economy. It would be good for business, good for consumers and great for the economy.

· Mom & Pop Shops need our help. Bob proposes a “1st-Half Hour Free” parking at Muni-meters located on commercial strips – the home to MOM and POP shops competing with large box stores that all offer free parking. This will encourage local shopping and give a boost to these endangered small businesses.

To see more of Bob’s record of “Action, Not Promises” and more of his innovative and creative solutions to community problems, go to www.Bob2009NYC.org

Monday, January 12, 2009

Index of District Attorney Candidate Bios

Democratic Candidates Running in September 2009 Primary

Candidate: Leslie Crocker Snyder (Manhattan)

Manhattan District Attorney Candidate: Leslie Crocker Snyder

Running for: Manhattan District Attorney

Year Running: September 2009 (Democratic Primary)

Party Affiliation: Democrat

Candidate Bio:

Leslie Crocker Snyder is a nationally recognized leader in the fight against crime, having spent 35 years protecting New Yorkers as a prosecutor, judge and devoted public servant.

As an Assistant District Attorney, Leslie was the first woman in the New York County District Attorney's office to try both felony and homicide cases. During her nine years in the office, she founded and led the Sex Crimes Prosecution Bureau, the first in the nation and a model throughout the country. Additionally, she is the co-author of legislation including New York's Rape Shield Law and other reforms of the Penal Law.

After leaving the Manhattan District Attorney's office, Leslie became a Special Assistant Attorney General, prosecuting corruption in the criminal justice system. She then went into private practice for three years before returning to public service by becoming Deputy Criminal Justice Coordinator and head of the Arson Strike Force at the Office of the New York City Criminal Justice Coordinator.

In 1983, Leslie was appointed as a Judge to the Criminal Court of New York City. Subsequently, she was appointed to the New York State Supreme Court and the Court of Claims. Leslie presided primarily over the highest level "A-1" multiple defendant narcotics felonies, drug gangs, organized crime and "white collar" criminal cases. She presided over the trials of New York City's most violent drug gangs: the "Gheri Curls," the "Wild Cowboys," the "Young Talented Children" and the "Natural Born Killers," among others. She also presided over the carting or "Garbage" case, which led to the reform of the private sanitation industry in New York City.

While on the bench, Leslie adopted a public school for ten years to provide students with a hands-on introduction to the legal process. A committed community advocate, Leslie is a board member of the Kips Bay Boys' and Girls' Club, D.A.R.E., and the holistic rehabilitation program Abraham House. She spent 6 months in 2007 on a Justice Department Grant, prosecuting career violent felons in New Orleans and assisting the criminal justice system there with post-Katrina problems.

Leslie is the recipient of many awards, including The Hogan-Morgenthau Award, The Florence Allen Award, The Radcliffe College Distinguished Alumnae Award, The Abraham House 'Justice and Compassion Award' and The Frank S. Hogan Associates Award. Most recently, in 2007, Leslie received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of her achievements in the field of criminal justice.

Leslie is the author of "25 to Life" and is currently a partner at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP. She has appeared on numerous television news and documentary programs and has been profiled in several, such as "60 Minutes."

She is married to retired pediatrician (and aspiring artist) Fred Snyder. They have two grown sons.

Candidate Statement:

The Manhattan District Attorney for the 21st Century must be bold, innovative and a leader in criminal justice reform. The DA must be tough on violent crime, as well as proactive in all areas of criminal justice: utilizing modern technology to assist in crime prevention and crime solutions, recognizing the continuing threat of terrorism and cooperating with others to prevent its recurrence, guarding against gang violence and its effect on our communities, and seeking treatment and diversion from the criminal justice system where appropriate. Above all, the DA for the 21st century must be committed to keeping every family safe, and to always doing what is right and just for all.

I am running to be that District Attorney for the people of Manhattan. I have spent more than 35 years in public service, first as a prosecutor and then as a judge for over 20 years. In that capacity, I interacted daily with the Manhattan DA's office, giving me an ideal perspective on what improvements and innovations are critical to ensure that the office is doing all that it can to keep New Yorkers safe.

There are many issues which need to be addressed in depth such as drug law reform, domestic violence, alternatives to incarceration, crime in our schools and public housing. These issues, and others, will be addressed regularly on my issue pages.

Please visit my campaign website and take the time to learn more about me and what I stand for. I hope I can count on your ideas, as well as your support.