Volume 20, Number 38 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | September 8 - 14, 2010
Maloney for Congress
In the only major race for a Downtown Manhattan seat this primary season, longtime incumbent Carolyn Maloney is facing a spirited challenge from political newcomer Reshma Saujani in the 14th Congressional District. (Listen to the audio debate located at the bottom of this endorsement.)
The East Side district stretches from the East 90’s down through the middle of the East Village, hooks into part of the Lower East Side, and also takes in Roosevelt Island, Long Island City and Astoria.
Maloney has represented the district for 18 years and, since being elected, hasn’t faced a primary challenge.
Saujani, 34, is a bright, articulate candidate with a compelling personal story. The daughter of East Indian immigrants who fled Idi Amin’s Uganda, she hopes to be the first candidate of East Indian descent to win election to Congress.
She readily admits, however, that she and Maloney, 64, agree on “95 percent” of the issues.
One of Saujani’s main arguments for her election, though, is her claim that — as part of a new generation in politics — she would bring fresh energy to the seat. If elected, she said, she would focus on job creation in fields like biotech and renewable energy, and would work to create a public-private “national innovation fund.”
In short, Saujani has some good ideas. And she will have a bright political future. Simply put, we haven’t seen enough of her in the community.
Maloney, for the most part, has been an able representative in her years in office. She’s been a staunch advocate for women’s rights on important issues, such as getting mammograms covered by health insurance. On a local level, she’s ridden the subway with breastfeeding moms to get the point across that it’s perfectly legal to breastfeed in public.
After her years of service, Maloney carries seniority in Congress. Also noted, Maloney recently scored a coup for consumers with her credit card reform law.
On the other hand, Saujani has made campaign statements to the effect that a hand, not a fist, must be offered to Wall St. — leading Maloney and others to paint her as “Wall St.’s candidate.”
We were disappointed, however, that Maloney, by all appearances, ducked Saujani’s challenge to a TV debate. Instead, she agreed to a debate on WWRL radio on Tuesday, meaning relatively fewer people heard the candidates.
All in all, Maloney’s record on issues we consider vital, has been, and continues to be, strong.
In the end, there’s not a compelling argument to fire Maloney.
We support Carolyn Maloney for re-election.
Affordable housing win
It was a watershed moment when the tenants of Independence Plaza found out last week that their landlord Laurence Gluck was court ordered to reimburse rent overcharges. Especially since affordable housing is sparse, or better yet, practically non-existent, in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city and country, Tribeca.
While additional affordable housing is not a likely option in neighborhoods like Tribeca and Battery Park City, the court ruling should give hope to advocates throughout Lower Manhattan that affordable housing is still a priority and is no longer on the back burner. The fastest growing neighborhood in Manhattan will only continue to thrive and attract more singles, families and seniors who do not all work on Wall Street or are independently wealthy.
The mere hope that more affordable housing will be built, most likely on the East Side, makes firefighters, teachers, nurses and even news editors and reporters smile. It would be nice if those who serve these communities could afford to live in them.