Gotham Gazette Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/component/tags/tag/harlem 2017-12-12T06:42:07+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Holland to Challenge Perkins in Primary for Harlem Council Seat 2017-02-16T22:59:09+00:00 2017-02-16T22:59:09+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6761:holland-to-challenge-perkins-in-september-primary-for-harlem-council-seat Samar Khurshid <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/holland_pic.jpg" alt="holland pic" width="600" height="396" /></p> <p>Marvin Holland (Photo via Holland's campaign)</p> <hr /> <p>Union organizer Marvin Holland, the runner up in Tuesday’s special election for the District 9 City Council seat, has confirmed to Gotham Gazette that he will mount a challenge against the winner Bill Perkins when the seat is up for grabs again later this year.</p> <p>The District 9 seat in Harlem was recently vacated by Inez Dickens, who was elected to the state Assembly, leaving just one year left in the term. A nonpartisan special election for the seat was held on Feb. 14 with nine candidates on the ballot. State Senator Bill Perkins, who held the District 9 seat between 1998 and 2005, won with 3750 votes, about 34 percent of the 11,149 votes cast, according to the New York City Board of Elections’ unofficial results (Final results are certified two weeks after the election). Perkins will serve the rest of Dickens’ term and will have to run for reelection, which will involve a Democratic primary in September.</p> <p>Holland, who came second in the race with 2073 votes, believes that he can build more support and name recognition to pose a stronger challenge in the September primary. “In a few short months, we built a strong, diverse coalition amongst the people most under attack from Trump’s policies, and beat all expectations while highlighting some very important issues facing our community,” Holland said, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “With this race, the foundation has been laid for a new political future for Harlem.”</p> <p>As political director of Transit Workers Union Local 100, Holland built a coalition of labor and community support and his vote totals even surpassed Larry Scott Blackmon, the favored candidate of the Harlem old guard. Blackmon, a FreshDirect executive, came in fourth in the race with 1,324 votes, despite being endorsed by Dickens and former Assemblymember Keith Wright, who chairs the Manhattan Democratic Party.</p> <p>Holland’s campaign pointed out that 66 percent of the voters didn’t choose Perkins, despite his long history representing the neighborhood and his familiarity in the community. “So, their vote could have been an anti-Perkins choice,” said Jon Greenfield, a spokesperson for Holland, in an email.</p> <p>Greenfield said the race ultimately hinged on name recognition and that Holland can spend the next six months building his own. “Marvin can hold his showing in the East Harlem portion of the district (Assembly District 68), build name recognition in central Harlem over the next months, and gather anti-Perkins, anti-establishment votes,” he said.</p> <p>Holland will also continue to consolidate labor support and reach out to Dickens and Wright for their support. “Harlem deserves elected officials accountable to them,” Holland said. “I intend to keep the promises made to the people during this campaign, and will continue the work we have begun to be their candidate in the September primary for City Council.”</p> <p>The race will still be an uphill challenge for Holland. Perkins received endorsements from Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council’s progressive caucus in the special election. He’s confident that he will be reelected and hopes to do as well in September as he did in the Tuesday special. “I have every reason to believe I’ll do even better,” he said, in a phone interview.</p> <p>He wasn’t surprised to hear Holland will run against him, and even welcomed the challenge. “I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the other candidates that participated in the election are considering the same thing,” he said, insisting that he doesn’t take his frontrunner status for granted. Only one other candidate, Shannette Gray, has officially declared a run for the District 9 seat with the Campaign Finance Board. She did not participate in the special election.</p> <p>“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Perkins said of the election. “We just ran the first mile.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

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</p> <p>Note: this article has been updated.</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2017/holland_pic.jpg" alt="holland pic" width="600" height="396" /></p> <p>Marvin Holland (Photo via Holland's campaign)</p> <hr /> <p>Union organizer Marvin Holland, the runner up in Tuesday’s special election for the District 9 City Council seat, has confirmed to Gotham Gazette that he will mount a challenge against the winner Bill Perkins when the seat is up for grabs again later this year.</p> <p>The District 9 seat in Harlem was recently vacated by Inez Dickens, who was elected to the state Assembly, leaving just one year left in the term. A nonpartisan special election for the seat was held on Feb. 14 with nine candidates on the ballot. State Senator Bill Perkins, who held the District 9 seat between 1998 and 2005, won with 3750 votes, about 34 percent of the 11,149 votes cast, according to the New York City Board of Elections’ unofficial results (Final results are certified two weeks after the election). Perkins will serve the rest of Dickens’ term and will have to run for reelection, which will involve a Democratic primary in September.</p> <p>Holland, who came second in the race with 2073 votes, believes that he can build more support and name recognition to pose a stronger challenge in the September primary. “In a few short months, we built a strong, diverse coalition amongst the people most under attack from Trump’s policies, and beat all expectations while highlighting some very important issues facing our community,” Holland said, in a statement to Gotham Gazette. “With this race, the foundation has been laid for a new political future for Harlem.”</p> <p>As political director of Transit Workers Union Local 100, Holland built a coalition of labor and community support and his vote totals even surpassed Larry Scott Blackmon, the favored candidate of the Harlem old guard. Blackmon, a FreshDirect executive, came in fourth in the race with 1,324 votes, despite being endorsed by Dickens and former Assemblymember Keith Wright, who chairs the Manhattan Democratic Party.</p> <p>Holland’s campaign pointed out that 66 percent of the voters didn’t choose Perkins, despite his long history representing the neighborhood and his familiarity in the community. “So, their vote could have been an anti-Perkins choice,” said Jon Greenfield, a spokesperson for Holland, in an email.</p> <p>Greenfield said the race ultimately hinged on name recognition and that Holland can spend the next six months building his own. “Marvin can hold his showing in the East Harlem portion of the district (Assembly District 68), build name recognition in central Harlem over the next months, and gather anti-Perkins, anti-establishment votes,” he said.</p> <p>Holland will also continue to consolidate labor support and reach out to Dickens and Wright for their support. “Harlem deserves elected officials accountable to them,” Holland said. “I intend to keep the promises made to the people during this campaign, and will continue the work we have begun to be their candidate in the September primary for City Council.”</p> <p>The race will still be an uphill challenge for Holland. Perkins received endorsements from Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council’s progressive caucus in the special election. He’s confident that he will be reelected and hopes to do as well in September as he did in the Tuesday special. “I have every reason to believe I’ll do even better,” he said, in a phone interview.</p> <p>He wasn’t surprised to hear Holland will run against him, and even welcomed the challenge. “I wouldn’t be surprised if any of the other candidates that participated in the election are considering the same thing,” he said, insisting that he doesn’t take his frontrunner status for granted. Only one other candidate, Shannette Gray, has officially declared a run for the District 9 seat with the Campaign Finance Board. She did not participate in the special election.</p> <p>“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Perkins said of the election. “We just ran the first mile.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p> <p>Note: this article has been updated.</p>
Special Election for Harlem City Council Seat Kicks Off 2016-12-12T05:00:00+00:00 2016-12-12T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/?id=6665:special-election-for-harlem-city-council-seat-kicks-off Ben Max <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/marvin_holland_sylvia_tyler-crop.jpg" alt="marvin holland sylvia tyler" width="600" /></p> <p>Council candidate Marvin Holland, right, with Sylvia Tyler (photo via Holland on Twitter)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">It’s going to be a sprint of an election -- though it’s not clear how many candidates are running or how many voters will participate -- with ballots likely to be cast sometime in February.</p> <p dir="ltr">The election of New York City Council Member Inez Dickens to the State Assembly creates an open seat in Council District 9 in Harlem, and a number of contenders have thrown their hats in the ring. As soon as Dickens officially vacates her Council seat, Mayor Bill de Blasio will be required to call a nonpartisan special election.</p> <p dir="ltr">Among the candidates running for Dickens’ seat are union organizer Marvin Holland, State Senator Bill Perkins, community activist Charles Cooper, and Troy Outlaw, who serves on Dickens’ Council staff. Other, lesser-known candidates include Donald Fields, a local businessman and advocate, immigration advocate Mamadou Drame, and Shannette Gray. <a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/40under40/2016/Benjamin">Brian Benjamin</a>, who works in real estate and is involved in the local community board, is rumored to be considering a run, but hasn’t filed paperwork yet.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many have been waiting to see if Assembly Member Keith Wright will join the race. A Democratic power-broker who Dickens is replacing, Wright declined to run for Assembly re-election after pledging not to during his attempt to win Charles Rangel’s Congressional seat. Some say that Benjamin could be Wright’s favored candidate, though the uptown establishment could support Outlaw, or another candidate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Holland, the political director of Transit Workers Union Local 100, came out of the gate fairly early. In a recent interview, he said he is confident about putting together a broad coalition. “I’m well-rooted throughout the Harlem community, with young and old members,” said Holland, who sits on the boards of a number of community organizations including the Latino Leadership Institute, the NYC Labor-Religion Coalition, the the Mid-Manhattan Branch of the NAACP, and Community Voices Heard’s solidarity board.</p> <p dir="ltr">Holland’s message is “Harlem belongs to us,” he said, stressing that investment in the neighborhood needs to benefit its residents rather than creating forces of gentrification and displacement. He wants to create jobs and infrastructure in the community, relying on his experience as a union leader to navigate the complexities of economic policy. “My first priority,” he said, “was to show people I’m a serious candidate...I’m in this race 100 percent to win it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In a crowded race, anything can happen, but Perkins is especially formidable given his position as an elected official with at least some name recognition in the community.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I would say Bill Perkins probably has the most infrastructure and support in the district,” said Dr. Christina Greer, political science professor at Fordham University. Pointing to the fact that State Senator Adriano Espaillat has been elected to replace Rangel, Greer said the community may be motivated to electe a black City Council member to replace Dickens, who is black. “It’s within U.S. Congressional District 13 and because there’s no African-American representative, Perkins will resonate with some voters who want to see an African-American representative in the district,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Greer said that Perkins’ chances could change significantly if Wright were to jump into the race, though he seems hesitant to do so at this point. It’s unclear whether Wright will be involved in the District 9 race at all. He was not made available for comment for this article. Dickens’ Council office also did not respond to a request for comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">In phone interviews with Gotham Gazette, Holland, Perkins, Cooper, Fields, and Drame all indicated a similar initial approach to the election, formulating coalitions across the community and drumming up support on the ground. Each mentioned several of the same issues, chiefly focusing on creating and preserving affordable housing while bringing more development and jobs to the community. Calls to the candidate committees for Outlaw and Gray went unanswered.</p> <p dir="ltr">Perkins previously held the Council seat for seven years before becoming a state Senator in 2006. He said his decision to attempt a return to city government was based largely on the opportunity to make more of an impact, which has been denied to Democrats who have been in the minority in the Senate. “I’m going to essentially be serving the same neighborhood with an opportunity to not only serve but to deliver,” Perkins said of potentially rejoining the Council, which currently has 48 Democrats and three Republicans.</p> <p dir="ltr">Recalling his days in activist-oriented community work, Perkins said he is focusing on galvanizing community support. “It’s a winning formula for me,” he said. “I’m not a big moneymaker..I’m going where my strengths are, with the community, with the people.” &nbsp;And he believes he has a good chance of winning the seat. “There’s nothing guaranteed but I feel that my support in the past for elected office has been encouraging,” he said. “I feel in sync with this district. They’re familiar with me over the years, they’re familiar with the work I’ve done.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Perkins and Wright are not close. Wright is the leader of the Manhattan Democratic Party and a key cog in the state’s party infrastructure. Perkins is not expected to have a lot of institutional support, whether Wright runs or not. Because it is a city-level special election, there are no traditional party lines. The winner will serve for less than a year before having to run again in the fall, when all 51 Council seats will be on the ballot, as well as borough- and city-wide posts.</p> <p dir="ltr">Perkins promised, if elected, to seek out alliances within the Council and join its Progressive Caucus. He’ll focus on affordable housing, he said, “not as it’s defined by developers but as defined by what’s in the pocket of the people in the community.” He said he’s not overly confident, stressing that the race will be competitive.</p> <p dir="ltr">Perkins’ entry into the race hasn’t discouraged Holland, who is confident, especially given his union ties and organizing experience. Holland said in an interview that he is building a broad coalition of support including unions, district leaders, activists, and tenant leaders; he officially opened his new campaign headquarters Dec. 7.</p> <p dir="ltr">For Charles Cooper, the election is an opportunity to get Harlem residents involved in community decisions. “I think oftentimes, especially in a special election, you have very low turnout which isn’t representative of the district as a whole,” he said, underscoring the need to spread awareness of the election and to get voters engaged. Special elections are notoriously low-turnout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cooper stressed the importance of people’s involvement, particularly after the election of Donald Trump as President. “We need to focus more and more on our local politics,” he said. “The City Council has a direct impact on the resources that come to our community.” Cooper, much like his opponents, said his campaign is a district-wide coalition of groups that will highlight issues of job creation, education, public safety, and housing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Immigration advocate Mamadou Drame said he’s been planning his run for District 9 for the last two years, spurred into action by an older generation that has been more passive towards politics. He said he’s lost faith in the current crop of elected officials, who “come to the district every four years for your vote and then forget about the community.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A Senegalese immigrant who has worked for years in immigrant services, he believes he’ll get support from the African immigrant population in Harlem. He’ll appeal to millennials and seniors alike, he said, with a campaign centered on reducing unemployment and “an inclusive approach to gentrification” that helps the community. “The question is, ‘how can we embrace development?,’” he said, “We can’t always be fighting it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We need to forge a path of new leadership,” said candidate Donald Fields, a managing partner at Fields &amp; Associates, a consultancy, who previously worked for the city’s child welfare agency. Fields emphasized the need for new blood to replace the “old guard” that has dominated the Harlem political scene for years. Although Fields said he respects them and their work, he believes that younger leaders will be able to bring about faster change.</p> <p dir="ltr">Like Holland others, Fields is also undeterred by facing Perkins in the race. “It hasn’t slowed down my passion,” he said. “It hasn’t stopped my zeal to win or my focus on what the district needs.” His biggest priority is fighting gentrification while encouraging necessary development.</p> <p>“Whoever wins this race must have a vision for the district and must be committed to deliver that vision,” Fields said. “That cannot be tied to backroom politics and special interests.”</p> <p>

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by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/marvin_holland_sylvia_tyler-crop.jpg" alt="marvin holland sylvia tyler" width="600" /></p> <p>Council candidate Marvin Holland, right, with Sylvia Tyler (photo via Holland on Twitter)</p> <hr /> <p dir="ltr">It’s going to be a sprint of an election -- though it’s not clear how many candidates are running or how many voters will participate -- with ballots likely to be cast sometime in February.</p> <p dir="ltr">The election of New York City Council Member Inez Dickens to the State Assembly creates an open seat in Council District 9 in Harlem, and a number of contenders have thrown their hats in the ring. As soon as Dickens officially vacates her Council seat, Mayor Bill de Blasio will be required to call a nonpartisan special election.</p> <p dir="ltr">Among the candidates running for Dickens’ seat are union organizer Marvin Holland, State Senator Bill Perkins, community activist Charles Cooper, and Troy Outlaw, who serves on Dickens’ Council staff. Other, lesser-known candidates include Donald Fields, a local businessman and advocate, immigration advocate Mamadou Drame, and Shannette Gray. <a href="http://www.crainsnewyork.com/40under40/2016/Benjamin">Brian Benjamin</a>, who works in real estate and is involved in the local community board, is rumored to be considering a run, but hasn’t filed paperwork yet.</p> <p dir="ltr">Many have been waiting to see if Assembly Member Keith Wright will join the race. A Democratic power-broker who Dickens is replacing, Wright declined to run for Assembly re-election after pledging not to during his attempt to win Charles Rangel’s Congressional seat. Some say that Benjamin could be Wright’s favored candidate, though the uptown establishment could support Outlaw, or another candidate.</p> <p dir="ltr">Holland, the political director of Transit Workers Union Local 100, came out of the gate fairly early. In a recent interview, he said he is confident about putting together a broad coalition. “I’m well-rooted throughout the Harlem community, with young and old members,” said Holland, who sits on the boards of a number of community organizations including the Latino Leadership Institute, the NYC Labor-Religion Coalition, the the Mid-Manhattan Branch of the NAACP, and Community Voices Heard’s solidarity board.</p> <p dir="ltr">Holland’s message is “Harlem belongs to us,” he said, stressing that investment in the neighborhood needs to benefit its residents rather than creating forces of gentrification and displacement. He wants to create jobs and infrastructure in the community, relying on his experience as a union leader to navigate the complexities of economic policy. “My first priority,” he said, “was to show people I’m a serious candidate...I’m in this race 100 percent to win it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In a crowded race, anything can happen, but Perkins is especially formidable given his position as an elected official with at least some name recognition in the community.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I would say Bill Perkins probably has the most infrastructure and support in the district,” said Dr. Christina Greer, political science professor at Fordham University. Pointing to the fact that State Senator Adriano Espaillat has been elected to replace Rangel, Greer said the community may be motivated to electe a black City Council member to replace Dickens, who is black. “It’s within U.S. Congressional District 13 and because there’s no African-American representative, Perkins will resonate with some voters who want to see an African-American representative in the district,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Greer said that Perkins’ chances could change significantly if Wright were to jump into the race, though he seems hesitant to do so at this point. It’s unclear whether Wright will be involved in the District 9 race at all. He was not made available for comment for this article. Dickens’ Council office also did not respond to a request for comment.</p> <p dir="ltr">In phone interviews with Gotham Gazette, Holland, Perkins, Cooper, Fields, and Drame all indicated a similar initial approach to the election, formulating coalitions across the community and drumming up support on the ground. Each mentioned several of the same issues, chiefly focusing on creating and preserving affordable housing while bringing more development and jobs to the community. Calls to the candidate committees for Outlaw and Gray went unanswered.</p> <p dir="ltr">Perkins previously held the Council seat for seven years before becoming a state Senator in 2006. He said his decision to attempt a return to city government was based largely on the opportunity to make more of an impact, which has been denied to Democrats who have been in the minority in the Senate. “I’m going to essentially be serving the same neighborhood with an opportunity to not only serve but to deliver,” Perkins said of potentially rejoining the Council, which currently has 48 Democrats and three Republicans.</p> <p dir="ltr">Recalling his days in activist-oriented community work, Perkins said he is focusing on galvanizing community support. “It’s a winning formula for me,” he said. “I’m not a big moneymaker..I’m going where my strengths are, with the community, with the people.” &nbsp;And he believes he has a good chance of winning the seat. “There’s nothing guaranteed but I feel that my support in the past for elected office has been encouraging,” he said. “I feel in sync with this district. They’re familiar with me over the years, they’re familiar with the work I’ve done.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Perkins and Wright are not close. Wright is the leader of the Manhattan Democratic Party and a key cog in the state’s party infrastructure. Perkins is not expected to have a lot of institutional support, whether Wright runs or not. Because it is a city-level special election, there are no traditional party lines. The winner will serve for less than a year before having to run again in the fall, when all 51 Council seats will be on the ballot, as well as borough- and city-wide posts.</p> <p dir="ltr">Perkins promised, if elected, to seek out alliances within the Council and join its Progressive Caucus. He’ll focus on affordable housing, he said, “not as it’s defined by developers but as defined by what’s in the pocket of the people in the community.” He said he’s not overly confident, stressing that the race will be competitive.</p> <p dir="ltr">Perkins’ entry into the race hasn’t discouraged Holland, who is confident, especially given his union ties and organizing experience. Holland said in an interview that he is building a broad coalition of support including unions, district leaders, activists, and tenant leaders; he officially opened his new campaign headquarters Dec. 7.</p> <p dir="ltr">For Charles Cooper, the election is an opportunity to get Harlem residents involved in community decisions. “I think oftentimes, especially in a special election, you have very low turnout which isn’t representative of the district as a whole,” he said, underscoring the need to spread awareness of the election and to get voters engaged. Special elections are notoriously low-turnout.</p> <p dir="ltr">Cooper stressed the importance of people’s involvement, particularly after the election of Donald Trump as President. “We need to focus more and more on our local politics,” he said. “The City Council has a direct impact on the resources that come to our community.” Cooper, much like his opponents, said his campaign is a district-wide coalition of groups that will highlight issues of job creation, education, public safety, and housing.</p> <p dir="ltr">Immigration advocate Mamadou Drame said he’s been planning his run for District 9 for the last two years, spurred into action by an older generation that has been more passive towards politics. He said he’s lost faith in the current crop of elected officials, who “come to the district every four years for your vote and then forget about the community.”</p> <p dir="ltr">A Senegalese immigrant who has worked for years in immigrant services, he believes he’ll get support from the African immigrant population in Harlem. He’ll appeal to millennials and seniors alike, he said, with a campaign centered on reducing unemployment and “an inclusive approach to gentrification” that helps the community. “The question is, ‘how can we embrace development?,’” he said, “We can’t always be fighting it.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“We need to forge a path of new leadership,” said candidate Donald Fields, a managing partner at Fields &amp; Associates, a consultancy, who previously worked for the city’s child welfare agency. Fields emphasized the need for new blood to replace the “old guard” that has dominated the Harlem political scene for years. Although Fields said he respects them and their work, he believes that younger leaders will be able to bring about faster change.</p> <p dir="ltr">Like Holland others, Fields is also undeterred by facing Perkins in the race. “It hasn’t slowed down my passion,” he said. “It hasn’t stopped my zeal to win or my focus on what the district needs.” His biggest priority is fighting gentrification while encouraging necessary development.</p> <p>“Whoever wins this race must have a vision for the district and must be committed to deliver that vision,” Fields said. “That cannot be tied to backroom politics and special interests.”</p> <p>

***
by Samar Khurshid, City government reporter, Gotham Gazette
     

Read more by this writer.

</p>