Volume 22, Number 18 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | September 11 - 17, 2009


Vote on Tuesday

 On Tuesday, Sept. 15, New Yorkers will go to the polls to cast their votes in the Democratic primary elections. We urge all our readers to exercise their democratic franchise.

This year sees some pivotal races in Downtown Express’s coverage area. In Council District 1 — which covers Manhattan south of Canal St., the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Soho/Noho and the South Village — last week we endorsed Margaret Chin. In our view, Chin is the most qualified to lead among the field of five candidates, including the incumbent, Alan Gerson. Chin would bring new energy and, without a doubt, much better organization, to the office. Simply put, it’s high time for a real change in District 1, and we back Chin to bring about that change.

Another race that is drawing interest is in District 3 — covering Greenwich Village, Hudson Square, Chelsea, Clinton, Flatiron District, West Midtown and Murray Hill — where Christine Quinn is up for re-election. As City Council speaker, Quinn pushed the term-limits extension through the Council, allowing herself — and her ally Mayor Bloomberg — a chance at a third term. Once more, though, the term-limits issue is not the final deciding factor in our endorsement. To be clear: In no uncertain terms, we opposed the legislative overturning of term limits; though we do support extending them to three terms — since we think it would result in more effective government — but only if done so by a voter referendum.

As for Quinn’s relationship with the mayor, while it certainly can benefit her district, at times it admittedly has been too close. Should she be re-elected, we hope to see her stake out more independent positions, so that the Council is a bona fide check in city government’s system of checks and balances. Again, we support a full investigation of the City Council’s “slush gate,” and are eager to see the results as soon as possible.

But, despite her flaws, Quinn remains the best candidate by far in her race.

Yes, Quinn can definitely improve, such as, for starters, by ensuring that the Department of Sanitation garage planned at the west end of Spring St. is only built to house two Sanitation districts’ garages — not three. She should take a more forceful role in the negotiations and find a true, workable solution.

In District 2 — the East Village, Union Square and East Side up to the mid-30s, excluding Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village — we endorse Rosie Mendez for re-election. She’s done a good job, knows her district and cares about her constituents.

We have focused our resources on the local City Council races, which have not received enough attention, but there are also primaries for important offices, including mayor, comptroller, public advocate and district attorney. These races have been well covered in citywide media outlets including our sister web site, gaycitynews.com.

In addition to our First District candidates’ chart in this week’s issue, at www.downtownexpress.com we have our previously published interviews with all five candidates, video of our First and Third District Council debates, last week’s endorsement editorials and many more articles on the races.

We wanted to provide useful information to help you make your decision. Now it’s up to you Sept. 15.


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