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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Alan J. Gerson, Dem 11,297 - 46 percent
Margaret S. Chin, Lib 3,696 - 15 percent
Rocky Chin, WF 3,335 - 14 percent
Jordan Robert Kaufman, Rep 3,111 - 13 percent
Kwong T. Hui, Ind 2,926 - 12 percent
Alan J. Gerson 3,310
Brad M. Holyman 2,640
Rocky Chin 2,618
Margaret S. Chin 2,554
John A. Fratta 2,055
Elana Waksal Posner 1,311
Kwong T. Hui 926
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Kathryn E. Freed (can't
run in 2001)
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
to Margaret Chin
to Rocky Chin
to John Fratta
to Alan Gerson
to Brad Hoylman
to Kwong Hui
Elana Waksal Posner has not filed
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
1 candidates' statements on the issues, at Savvyvoter.org
Walk ten minutes from Chinatown's garment district and you are
in the middle of Wall Street. Worlds apart, one area has some
of the poorest, the other some of the richest people in the city.
They are nevertheless part of the same council district.
Whoever wins Kathryn Freed's seat in City Council will face a
unique challenge in trying to address the needs of such an economically
stratified district. . In Chinatown and the Lower East Side, residents
are concerned about issues of race and immigration, poverty and
class. The people who live in Tribeca, Battery Park City and the
other affluent neighborhoods in the district, on the other hand,
focus on historic preservation and land use policy, environmental
protection, and town-gown relations with New York University.
"Any candidate will need to have a foot in each camp," said Freed,
who is running for public advocate and has not endorsed any of
the District 1 candidates. "The person who will win will have
to build coalitions."
Endorsements and fundraising may also play a role. But voter
turnout could be the main determinant of who will next represent
District 1 on the council. The key question is how many voters
from each community will come out on Election Day.
There are six Democratic declared candidates, at least four of
whom have already raised more than $50,000. Alan Gerson, an attorney
and member of Community Board 2, leads in fundraising and is competing
with John Fratta for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's endorsement.
Fratta, who was "born and raised in Little Italy," is a member
of Bronx Community Board 11.
Three Asian-American candidates are each hoping to become the
first Asian on the City Council, although that honor could go
to one of the candidates for the seat from District 20 in Queens.
Rocky Chin, a labor activist and public interest lawyer, has amassed
one of the largest campaign chests and seems to have a solid base
in Chinatown. He hopes to score the endorsement of David Dinkins.
Also vying for the Asian-American vote are housing activist Margaret
Chin and Kwong Hui, who has a history in labor organizing.
Also running is public interest attorney Brad Hoylman, who is
gay, a one-time student activist, and a former Rhodes scholar.
In 1997, Freed defeated an Asian American opponent, prompting
some to say the Asian community did not yet have enough political
clout to elect one of its members to represent lower Manhattan.
According to research by political consultant Jerry
Skurnik, of the 61,574 registered voters in the district,
24 percent have Asian names., which is far below their percentage
of the population.
Things may be different this time around, thanks to efforts to
organize and register Chinese Americans as well as other lower
income people. But with three Asian American candidates, the Chinese
vote may be split, giving none of them enough votes to win.
Rocky Chin hopes to attract support in Hispanic and white neighborhoods
as well. He said that, although he wants to voice the concerns
of Chinatown and the Lower East Side on the council, he is also
in touch with the issues of the city as a whole.
Fratta said one deciding factor could be how all the candidates
- not just Asian Americans - divide their voting bases. Fratta
said that, while his main base of support is in such lower Manhattan
neighborhoods as Tribeca and Battery Park City, he has also attracted
voters in the Lower East Side and the Village. "Given the equal
money, it will be a close race," said Fratta.
The winner could have to run in a completely different kind of
district next time. All the city's districts have to be redrawn
by 2003 to reflect Census 2000, and there is already talk of redistricting
along more economically and socially homogeneous lines.
Glenn Magpantay, a lawyer at the Asian American Legal Defense
and Education Fund, said that District 1 could be changed to include
only Chinatown and the Lower East Side. "The court has said, in
order to draw districts to represent racial minorities, they must
represent communities of common interest," said Magpantay.
There are now eight Democratic candidates running in district
1 and one Libertarian candidate, Jordan Kauffman. Both Elana Waksal
Posner, a 28-year -old attorney and founder of a retail Internet
site that sells beauty products and Julio Arroyo recently announced
their intentions to run as Democrats. Kauffman, Posner, and Arroyo
did not respond to requests for interviews.
Some of the other candidates have been campaigning since January
or earlier and working to get endorsements from some of the major
political communities in the district like Asian-American organizations,
gay and lesbian groups, labor unions, and local Democratic clubs.
Many of the endorsements went as one might expect -- the Gay and
Lesbian Independent Democrats, for example, endorsed openly gay
candidate Brad Hoylman -- but there were a few exceptions. Alan
Gerson gained the support of the United Democratic Organization
of Chinatown and Margaret Chin received the Liberal Party endorsement,
which will allow her to run in the November general election regardless
of the results of the September Democratic primary. See the Campaign
Trail below for details.
Margaret Chin, deputy executive director of Asian Americans
for Equality, was a bilingual teacher for a brief period before
directing the Chinatown Center. In 1991 and 1993, Chin ran for
City Council unsuccessfully. She received her BS in Education
from City College and a Masters Degree in Economic Analysis and
Public Policy from Baruch College.
Rocky Chin, a civil rights attorney for the New York City
Commission on Human Rights, helped organize the campaigns of David
Dinkins and Jesse Jackson and worked as a campaign manager for
Sau Ngar Li and Danny Yip, two successful Asian American candidates
for Community Board 2. Chin received a Masters Degree in City
Planning from Yale University and a law degree from the University
of Southern California.
John Fratta was born and raised in Little Italy. He has
been active in politics for 30 years, most recently as the district
manager of community board 11 in the Bronx and as a Democratic
district leader on the Lower East Side.
Alan Gerson, an attorney at Kelley Drye, served as the
chairman of community board 2 in Manhattan from 1998-1999. He
created a swimming team for young people in Lower Manhattan and
has worked on reducing noise form motorcycles and bars. He also
initiated the Heart Defibrillation Public Health Pilot Program.
He received his JD from Columbia University Law School and his
BA from Columbia College.
Brad Hoylman, a nonprofit lawyer and former Rhodes Scholar,
was an organizer in New York City for the 1992 Clinton campaign.
As a member of community board 2 he helped form the Creative Community
Task Force for cancer research and serves as counsel to the New
York City Partnership where he developed programs to build affordable
housing and recruit public school teachers. He is the executive
officer of Gay and Lesbian Democrats. He grew up in West Virginia
and went to Harvard Law School after he attended a state college.
He moved to New York City ten years ago.
Kwong Hui helped win settlements for workers working in
sweatshop conditions and has fought for minimum wage increases
for thousands of tip-earning employees. He has been a member of
Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence and the Chinese Staff &
Workers Association. Before attending Brooklyn College for his
undergraduate degree, he served in the U.S. Army until he received
an honorable discharge in 1987.
Jordan Kaufman (no information available)
Elana Waksal Posner is an attorney who grew up in lower
Manhattan. After receiving her JD from Benjamin N. Cardozo School
of Law, she co-founded ibeauty.com, an internet retail site for
beauty products. Posner interned for Governor Mario Cuomo, Geraldine
Ferraro, as well as the Democratic National Committee. As an undergraduate
at New York University she led an initiative to help clean up
Washington Square Park. She is currently working on the restoration
of the Roebling building, located in the Tribeca Historic District.
One of the city's biggest supermarket barons is
giving special help to first-time City Council candidate Elana
Waksal Posner - he's stuffing shoppers' grocery bags with her
campaign literature. Gristedes chain owner John Catsimatidis is
using his Battery Park City store at 71 South End Ave. to dole
out material for Posner, who is running for the seat being vacated
by Kathryn Freed in lower Manhattan. (New
In 1991, when the City Council was expanded to add more minority
members, the new First District in Chinatown was expected to produce
the city's first Asian-American elected official. With that in
mind, Chinatown's leaders debated whether it would be better to
yoke their neighborhood to the heavily Latino East Side, which
might share its concerns about bilingual education, health care
and housing, or the whiter, more affluent West Side, where Asians
would be the predominant minority. The West Side won out, producing
a district that includes parts of the East and West Village, SoHo,
TriBeCa, Little Italy, South Street Seaport, Wall Street and Battery
Park City - but, so far, no Chinese-American council member. With
the field wide open, there had been much talk in the district
that this year, that could change. But of the six candidates in
the race who are participating in the city's campaign finance
system, the three who are Chinese-Americans are lagging in fund-raising
and endorsements behind two white candidates, Brad M. Hoylman
and Alan J. Gerson. (NY
The New York Times today endorsed a candidate in this race.
First District (Lower Manhattan): Seven candidates are competing
in this diverse district, three of whom stand out. They are Brad
Hoylman, a former Rhodes Scholar, gay activist and counsel to
the New York City Partnership; Alan Gerson, a lawyer with a solid
record of community service; and Rocky Chin, a civil rights lawyer
for the New York City Commission on Human Rights. We endorse Brad
Hoylman, who promises to serve the entire district in a thoughtful
and lively way, focusing on broader democratic reform of the Council
as well as district needs for housing and expanded city services.
The New York Times called this one of the ten races to watch.
In a crowded race to fill the seat held by Kathryn E. Freed, the
contest in this district, which includes Chinatown and Lower Manhattan,
is likely to be a high-spending competition because one candidate,
Alana Wachs-Posner, is not participating in the city's program
of public financing for campaigns. That lifts the spending limits
for the other six candidates. Another question: Will this district,
with three Asian-American candidates, elect an Asian-American
Council member? (New York Times)
The hotly contested race to succeed Councilwoman Kathryn E Freed
in Lower Manhattan, which has a sizeable gay population, has splintered
gay political leaders, despite the presence of a gay candidate.
To be sure, Brad Hoylman, a 35-year-old lawyer who lives near
Washington Square Park with his male partner, has won the endorsements
of most gay groups and politicians. But in a field where most
of the candidates have strong records on issues of importance
to gay men and lesbians, some politicians have cited other factors
in endorsing the other candidates. Assemblywoman Debroah Glick,
the first lesbian to be elected to statewide office and a past
president of the Gay and Lesiban Independent Democrats, endorsed
John Fratta. The Stonewall Democrats, and Aubrey Lees, new chairwoman
of Community Board 2, endorsed Alan Gerson. Some observers see
this as a sign of the gay community coming of age politically.
Elana Waksal Posner, the 28-year-old attorney, and possibly New
York's first dot-com candidate, is shaping up as the Mike Bloomberg
in the First Councilmanic District, which covers a good chunk
of Lower Manhattan. (Downtown
Adding some West Side and gay clout to his Lower East Side/Little
Italy base, John Fratta last week captured important endorsements
from Assembly member Deborah Glick and two prominent gay men,
Alan Roskoff, a Village activist, and Troy Masters, owner/publisher
of LGNY, a gay and lesbian weekly newspaper. (Downtown
Five of the seven Democratic candidates for the Lower Manhattan
First City Council District outlined their positions on issues
of concern to the business community such as the proposed Stock
Exchange and Guggenheim projects, at a June 20 forum at the Regent
Wall St. (Downtown
Elana Waksal Posner, a 28-year-old attorney from a wealthy family,
has done everything a City Council candidate would do except announce
her candidacy officially. Posner has been collecting signatures
to be placed on the ballot for the Sept. 11 Democratic primary.
City Council candidate Margaret Chin, deputy executive director
of Asian Americans for Equality, has won the Liberal Party endorsement
for City Council and said she will run in the November general
election regardless of the results of the Sept. 11 Democratic
primary. City Council candidate Rocky Chin, an attorney on leave
from the city's Human Rights Commission, won the endorsement of
the Working Families Party, which increasingly becoming the political
voice of pro-labor, progressive Democrats. (Downtown
City Council candidate Brad Hoylman talks about his career in
public service and being gay: "I grew up believing public service
is a noble calling. I was concerned I would not be able to pursue
a career in public service because I'm gay. That's why I'm so
grateful to be living in New York City and having the opportunity
to run for City Council as an openly gay man." (Downtown
Rocky Chin, an early front-runner in downtown Manhattan's City
Council, did not get endorsed as he had hoped by the Gay and Lesbian
Independent Democrats or the Village Independent Democrats. But
with the Working Families endorsement, Chin remains hopeful that
he may become the first Asian American City Council representative.
John Fratta won endorsements from both Assembly Speaker Sheldon
Silver and State Senate Minority Leader Martin Connor. Brad Hoylman
grabbed the endorsements of both the Gay and Lesbian Independent
Democrats and more surprisingly of Village Independent Democrats.
Alan Gerson - who earlier had been endorsed by Ed Koch and Borough
President C. Virginia Fields - won the support of Downtown Independent
Democrats, and United Democratic Organization of Chinatown. (The
Six Democratic candidates vying for City Councilmember Kathryn
Freed's seat shared their views on everything from public parks
to the death penalty. (The
Former Mayor Ed Koch has endorsed Alan Gerson in the race for
City Council from the 1st District. Koch said Gerson "worked on
all of my campaigns, and I know he is first rate." Gerson also
got the nod from Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields
who said Gerson's experience as the former chairperson of Community
Board 2 would be invaluable on the Council. (The
Manhattan's Chinatown is home to two well-known contenders
to be the City Council's first Asian-American rep. But the smart
money is betting on Flushing's John Liu to actually get the seat.
There are six candidates for Kathryn Freed's City Council seat,
in District 1: Rocky Chin, an attorney with the New York City
Commission on Human Rights; Margaret Chin, an executive with a
non-profit advocacy group, Asian Americans for Equality; Democratic
District Leader John Fratta; Community Board member Alan Gerson;
Brad Hoylman, an attorney with New York City Partnership, and
Kwong Hui, who has worked closely with a labor advocacy group,
Chinese Staff and Workers Association. Assembly Speaker Sheldon
Silver says he will endorse either Fratta or Gerson. (Downtown
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver plans to endorse either Fratta
or Gerson. (Downtown
Election 2001 Overview (Village
Bob Liff gives a run-down of some crowded City Council races.
Six candidates declared for Lower Manhattan Council race. (Downtown