Volume 22, Number 19 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | September 18 - 24, 2009
Margaret deserves her win, and Gerson our thanks
On Tuesday, one of the largest Chinatowns in the country moved toward getting its first Chinese-American to represent them in a legislature. Margaret Chin’s Democratic primary win in the Lower Manhattan City Council race practically assures her of victory in November. Even some who didn’t support Chin have told us it is a good day for all of Downtown and we agree.
Chin was buoyed by a large turnout in Chinatown, but one of the most positive things about her victory is that she was also able to win some election districts in whiter parts of Lower Manhattan like Tribeca and the Financial District. There continues to be an east-west divide in Lower Manhattan, but Chin’s strong showing on the West Side shows us all that this line can fade. It is quite an impressive showing for a challenger to capture nearly 40 percent of the vote in a five-way race.
One of the reasons we endorsed Chin a few weeks ago was she made it clear she was running to represent the entire district, and she has good ideas about bringing the neighborhoods together. We look forward to seeing her begin to put her plans into place, reaching out to opponents, supporters, skeptics and those who haven’t formed an opinion yet.
Chin defeated four opponents including the incumbent, Alan Gerson. We had tough criticisms of him when we made our endorsement, but we also pointed out that he did have a record of some accomplishments including getting desperately needed schools for this area.
We also remember Gerson’s service on Community Board 2, including chairing the board and helping it turn in support of Hudson River Park. When Lower Manhattan was reeling from the 9/11 attacks, Gerson was like a second councilmember before he took office. He has worked hard for the First District for more than eight years and he deserves the gratitude of our community. If he remains in public service, we would welcome it. Regardless, we wish him well in his next endeavor.
Chinatown has been represented well by the last two councilmembers, but any large ethnic community living in a legislative district deserves to have one of their own represent it at least some of the time. The fact that it had never happened in Chinatown was disturbing, and the unbridled enthusiasm at Chin’s victory party was electrifying.
Another positive component of this election was the emergence of PJ Kim, a newcomer to Lower Manhattan. He finished his campaign as graciously as he started and we say again that we hope this bright man stays Downtown and remains active in the community.
We know Chin will be making the Downtown rounds, listening, discussing and working on solving problems. That’s how she ran her campaign and that’s how she has worked for the last few decades here.
To those who say time will prove us wrong, we say if it does, there will likely be a better, stronger candidate to run against her in four years. That’s the beauty of democracy. Downtown showed that Tuesday and that’s something we can all be happy about.