Chin is in and the race is on

Councilmember Margaret Chin announced her reelection campaign May 4 ay Independence Plaza. Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel

Councilmember Margaret Chin announced her reelection campaign May 4 ay Independence Plaza. Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel

Sunday morning, under a dazzling Spring sun, City Councilmember Margaret Chin formally announced her campaign for a second term.

Dozens, including local activists and powerhouse political allies like Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez, filled the steps of Independence Plaza North in Tribeca to show their support for the district’s first Asian-American councilmember,

“Councilmember Chin has been one of our community’s staunchest advocates, making sure that as we continue to rebuild, Lower Manhattan receives its fair share,” said Speaker Silver, offering Chin his “strong endorsement.”

Representative Velazquez also praised Chin’s commitment, saying the district needs someone to, “stand up for small businesses, working families, affordable housing and access to better education and child care.”

Chin, who seemed to know every supporter personally, took pride in recounting the accomplishments of the last four years, including gaining protected affordable housing at 505 LaGuardia Place, inclusion of permanent affordable housing at the Seward Park Urban Renewal Site, securing space locally for two new schools and keeping firehouses open.

No detail seemed too small, with the crowd ecstatic at the mention of a new traffic light at Duane and Greenwich Sts. —a long-fought battle that began before Chin was elected in 2009.

With her husband, a public school teacher, standing among supporters, Chin recounted her arrival in the U.S. 50 years ago, recalling how she took care of her younger brothers while her mother worked in a Chinatown garment factory.

Also in the crowd were the parents of U.S. Army Private Danny Chen, who died after a hazing incident by fellow soldiers. Chin said the groundswell of Downtown anger over his death resulted in the discharge of four of the eight soldiers charged in connection with his death.

After the speeches, Chin made sure she greeted and thanked everyone in attendance. Ro Sheffe of Community Board 1 told Downtown Express that Chin has been, “one of the strongest pillars in our community.”

Bob Townley, founder and director of Manhattan Youth, said Chin helped families navigate the Department of Education system.

“Those issues are at the heart of working parents,” Townley said.

“She doesn’t just say the words, she does the work,” said Diane Lapson, president of the I.P.N. Tenants Association. “She’s never failed to support Independence Plaza North’s issues, like preserving affordable housing.”

Chin will face off against Jenifer Rajkumar in the Sept. 10th Democratic primary.

Councilmember Margaret Chin, flanked by U.S. Rep, Nydia Velazquez and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, at her May 4 campaign announcement.

Councilmember Margaret Chin, flanked by U.S. Rep, Nydia Velazquez and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, at her May 4 campaign announcement. Downtown Express photo by Jefferson Siegel.

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15 Responses to Chin is in and the race is on

  1. A new stoplight is great, but what about 100% affordable housing in SPURA (which Chin promised)? What about the NYU land grab? The SoHo BID becoming one more tax on small businesses? What about the insane redirected traffic downtown? What about the landmarking of 135 Bowery? I guess I just don't understand this victory lap Chin is taking. I was really hopeful in 2009, but I've been SADLY disappointed as we've been sold out again and again and again.

  2. Chin's gotta go

    I'll be voting for Jenifer Rajkumar, Chin's spirited and impressive challenger, this year.

    I urge everyone to look at things critically. None of Chin's listed achievements is actually an achievement. The 505 LaGuardia affordability was an incredibly small and narrow victory. Anyone from that area knows that Chin handed over the community to NYU. That's why the influential Village Democrats endorsed Chin's challenger, Rajkumar. It is also probably why you don't see Assembly Member Glick, Senator Hoylman, or Congressman Jerry Nadler at this announcement even though Chin's an incumbent. Everyone knows Chin is a sell out.

    • You got that right. Everyone also knows that Chin handed over the South Street Seaport to developers, angering many. Watch out. If you support Chin, your neighborhood could be next.

  3. haha..without Shelly Silver, Chin would be dead in the water. half the pple in the pic are people who came there just because shelly told them to. i think we deserve better than that. we deserve a real representative who can stand on her own 2 feet and that is why i too am supporting rajkumar…

  4. downtown pioneer

    These comments clearly by the opposition mean nothing,
    other than sad nasty tactics
    but so what else is new?
    Chin is one of the most effective and ardent supporters of downtown.
    That is a fact and just look at her record.

    • NewVoiceNeeded

      "Effective"? Chin is definitely not "effective." In fact, she is known for being one of the more ineffective members of council.

      And Chin's "record" may be long in terms of years, but in her 4 years in the Council, she has not done well. Many of us in the community are unhappy with Chin's work in the Council. She has surprisingly sided against the community on more than one occasion.

  5. The very idea that Chin handed the Seaport over the developers shows a complete lack of knowledge of land use issues and the ULURP process. Chin has the commitment, the experience and the dedication to all "Downtowners" ……….triaits that are sorely lacking in her opponent.

    • TruthToPower

      You must work for Chin, because you are perpetuating her disingenuous statements about the Seaport and ULURP. Believe me, we here in the community know the ULURP process EXTREMELY well. We have been through it many times, with the Seaport, with NYU, etc. etc. etc.

      And what we have seen, is that Chin hides behind that ULURP process to effectively render the community voiceless. ULURP sounds good, but for Chin it is just a formality that she uses to avoid taking a tough stand, rather than any kind of meaningful process. She goes through the steps of ULURP and just gives the developer what it wants at every step, turning her back on the community. Just ask the people in Greenwich Village, or in the Seaport, and you'll see.

  6. chin's a nice lady, just a terrible councilmember.

  7. Council Watcher

    What surprises me in the photo is that there are none of her colleagues in the Council there endorsing her. It is mostly just Shelly Silver and her Chinatown base.

    Wonder why she couldn’t get a broader base of support, considering the size and diversity of the district?

  8. Downtowner Who Knows

    I was there so I can report that over 120 people from ALL over Chin's district were on those steps, including the two District Leaders from Tribeca,( John Scott and Jean Grillo), and one District Leader from the Lower East Side (Alice Cancel) plus Diane Lapson, the IPN Tenant Association President, many people from Gateway Plaza and Fi Di and Battery Park City including many Community Board 1 members from those areas I just mentioned. The head of Smith Houses was there and spoke (that's Lower East Side). Council Watcher needs to look more closely. Margaret Chin's support is wide because she does her homework and delivers.

    • TriBeCa Native

      Incorrect. There weren't "many people" from the West Side there at all. Just a few Shelly cronies, and the rest were from Chinatown.

      But you are correct that Chin delivers. She delivers for developers and corporations, that is. Her constituents are on their own.

  9. NewLeadershipPlease

    I was there too, and 80% of the crowd was from Chinatown. That's really great, but I would have also liked to see more people from the many other neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan too. We really need a council member who takes care of the ENTIRE district, not just one part of it.

  10. Downtowner Who Knows

    PS to Council watcher: Councilmember Rosie Mendez, who is very close to Councilmember Chin, was in Puerto Rico, visiting her mom. But having a US. Congresswoman and the Speaker of the State Senate at your kick off isn't bad for starters. I am NOT on the Chin staff, by the way. I am a supporter who has benefitted from her hard work. I am not interested in dumping on her challenger. either. Or making snarky remarks. Margaret's RECORD of getting things done for our community will be more than enough to show people why Chin will win.

    • Council Watcher

      I watch the work of most council members in NYC very closely, and I don't see that great a "record" with Council Member Chin. She only led on one real bill, to punish consumers of counterfeit goods, and could not even get that through. Her bill was so poorly drafted, even the NYPD said it wasn't enforceable. Further, many of her constituents were baffled that Chin even wanted to make punishing buyers of counterfeit a priority. Why this issue? With all the other issues to legislate on, punishing tourists with 1 year of jail time for buying fake handbags just doesn't seem that significant.

      Also, included in Chin's illustrious "record" are land grabs, where she supported outside developers at the expense of the community's interests.

      You'd be hard pressed to name one real accomplishment that Chin was a LEADER on.

      And for an incumbent to only have one assembly member and one congress member standing with her, is pretty shocking. Most incumbents have the whole establishment lined up with them.

      I'm sure Chin is a very nice person, but we should expect more in a council member, and many have been unimpressed with her work.

      Again, nothing against Chin personally. But I just think we deserve better.

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