3 candidates for borough president spar Downtown

BY TERESE LOEB KREUZER

Julie Menin, left, and Councilmembers Gale Brewer and Jessica Lappin debated last week at a forum for candidates running for  Manhattan  borough president. Downtown Express photo by TERESE LOEB KREUZER.

Julie Menin, left, and Councilmembers Gale Brewer and Jessica Lappin debated last week at a forum for candidates running for Manhattan borough president. Downtown Express photo by TERESE LOEB KREUZER.

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There were more similarities than differences among the three candidates running in the Democratic primary for the Manhattan borough presidency who faced off at a forum in Lower Manhattan on March 7. Answering questions posed by Errol Louis, anchor of “Road to City Hall” on NY1, they agreed that affordable housing, job creation, school overcrowding and the need for ball fields and parks were top priorities for Manhattan. They also agreed that something needs to be done quickly to address the implications of climate change for New York City.

Gale Brewer, Jessica Lappin and Julie Menin participated in the forum. City Councilmember Robert Jackson, who is also running, was in the Dominican Republic that morning “on an annual humanitarian mission dedicated to promoting infant and youth health,” as he wrote in a prepared statement.

Three of the candidates are presently on the City Council. They are vying for a position being vacated by Scott Stringer because of term limits. Stringer is running for City Comptroller.

Brewer, 61, has represented District 6 — the Upper West Side and northern Clinton — for 12 years.

Lappin, 37, took office in January 2006 to represent District 5 — the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island.

Jackson entered City Council in January 2002 to represent parts of Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood, all in District 7.

The fourth candidate, Menin, 45, has never held elected office although she served for seven years as chairperson of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan.

“Scott Stringer has shown how much power there is in the borough president’s job and to literally shape the borough and have a big say in what gets built where,” Lappin remarked.

As part of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), the borough president reviews all public and private land-use projects in Manhattan and can recommend approval or rejection of those projects. The borough president also makes an appointment to the City Planning Commission, which has a crucial role in shaping development in Manhattan.

In addition, the borough president appoints all Manhattan community board members, and administers portions of the city’s capital and expense budget, last year amounting to around $20 million. Oversight of quality of life issues such street repairs, housing code enforcement and parks maintenance are also within the borough president’s purview.

Menin said at the forum that she believes land use issues are pivotal to Manhattan’s future.

“Why do we have so many overcrowded schools in New York?” she asked. “Because when large-scale development is being approved, we’re not always looking at the nexus to local school seats and the fact that in certain circumstances, that might put 36 kids in a class and they might have no art room and no computer room.”

She said that she would like to reform the land-use review process.

Among other questions, Louis asked the candidates whether they supported the proposed Hudson River Park Neighborhood Improvement District and whether they thought housing should be built on the upland part of Pier 40 to support Pier 40 and the Hudson River Park Trust.

Lappin called the NID “an interesting idea” and Menin said that she thought it had “potential.”

“We need to look at all options to create revenue for the park,” Lappin said of the plan to impose a park tax on property near the river. “We need more ball fields and playing fields, and if the pier falls into the river, then it’s too late and we won’t get that space back. We need to compromise.”

Menin said that putting housing in a public park would set a bad precedent and that she looked forward to seeing more options to save the crumbling piers.

Brewer, whose district includes the upper portion of the Hudson River Park — a section called Clinton Cove — agreed that housing on the pier was a questionable solution to a thorny problem, and was less definite about the NID.

“There’s no question that the park needs money,” she said. “But the NID has to be worked out.”

She noted that, “The issue of ball fields is number one for many families. There’s not one public school that has enough fields in my district. I would hope that we could do something that doesn’t include high-cost housing on that pier. Is that possible? I think it is.”

Menin, who announced her candidacy in December, is the best funded of the four candidates. She has reached the funding limit of $1 million including expected matching funds. She came to the forum, which was sponsored by the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, with a pile of four-color brochures and a statement of accomplishments headed “Menin for Manhattan.” Brewer supplied her two-page biography from the City Council website. Lappin had no campaign literature to hand out.

In the past, some Manhattan borough presidents have used the position as a stepping stone to running for mayor of New York City — with more or less success. David Dinkins, for instance, was Manhattan borough president from 1986 to 1989 and mayor from 1990 to 1993. Ruth Messinger served as Manhattan borough president from 1990 to 1998. She ran for mayor in the last year of her term as Manhattan borough president, but lost to Rudy Giuliani.

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6 Responses to 3 candidates for borough president spar Downtown

  1. If your grades are bad right now, yes, you will polbabry fail.If not, you most likely won’t fail.And, just as the above poster mentioned, you will have to deal with taking Regents exams, which are statewide all throughout NY and aren’t just limited to NYC, unless you go to a charter school that has a Regents waiver (of which there are about 30 in NYC) and puts more emphasis on student portfolios. All Regents exams are three hours long, but not too difficult if you know your material. They are administered every January, June and August. Generally, the following Regents exams are required to graduate from high school in New York:1. Living Environment, usually administered at the end of your freshman year after a yearlong biology course.2. Global History and Geography: Most people (including myself) take this exam at the end of their sophomore year, and the material encompasses pretty much everything you are supposed to have learned throughout your first two years of high school, world history-wise.3. U.S. History and Government: This normally comes at the end of a junior year course in U.S. History. I got a 99 on it when I took it on June 19, 2007.4. Integrated Algebra: The newest Regents exam, which used to be under the name Math A, and is similar to the Math A predecessor, Sequential I. This exam puts a heavy emphasis on introductory algebra topics like linear equations, quadratic equations, factoring, graphing lines and parabolas, combining like terms, etc., but you will also need to know some basic geometry and stats, plus SOHCAHTOA.5. Comprehensive Examination in English: This is a 2-day exam, which will require you to write 2 essays over 4 days and answer a bunch of multiple choice questions. It’s supposed to assess your listening, writing and reading comprehension skills.You can also take at least 3 additional Regents exams if you want an Advanced Regents diploma, and these exams are:1. Math B (which will eventually be replaced by Integrated Algebra II and Trigonometry in 2010): This exam covers a bunch of advanced algebra topics such as exponential and logarithmic functions, conic sections, function composition, transformations, complex numbers, Binomial Theorem, quadratic formula also a wide array of trigonometric topics like the unit circle, trig identities, trig equations, graphs (properties such as amplitude, phase shift, and vertical translation are important) Law of Sines, Law of Cosines, etc. There will also be stats questions usually dealing with standard deviation, the occasional probability question and at least 1 geometric proof, but usually no more than that.2. Chemistry or Physics: You choose whichever one you want to take, but usually you will only need to pass one to graduate.3. Foreign Language. There are a bunch of foreign language Regents exams (not including stuff like Farsi, Norwegian, Polish, etc.), polbabry including the language you already have prior experience with. Before each written exam, though, you need to do an oral examination with your teacher which will be worth 24 points and will count towards your final exam grade. The multiple choice and essay sections won’t be bad as long as you know your language sufficiently enough.Since you’re new to NYC, you may need to take all these exams in order to graduate (even if you haven’t taken stuff like bio or global in a long time), but if you already have appropriate course credits from your previous school, you might not. Still, remain on alert. Was this answer helpful?

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  4. Im a little csfunoed, cause I thought there was more than one labour candidate for littleworth but this website seems to talk about one, am I mistaken?Many ThanksAl ThomasP.s. Dont want to give my email as I dint want lots of spam

  5. The land review process definitely needs to be reviewed.

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