Off and Running: 4 Council Candidates in Lower Manhattan Contest
Candidates vying to represent Lower Manhattan in the City Council are, from left: current City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, Aaron Foldenauer, Christopher Marte and Dashia Imperiale. Photos: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib
Three Democratic candidates are challenging City Councilwoman Margaret Chin in her bid for a third term representing Lower Manhattan. Last week, at a forum organized by the Village Independent Democrats, all four candidates appeared for the first time. The Council’s District 1 runs from the tip of Lower Manhattan up to the Lower East Side and parts of Greenwich Village.
Issues regarding affordable housing, overdevelopment and the survival of small businesses dominated the discussion.
Following are brief video segments from each candidate’s appearance at the forum, in their order of appearance. The videos are meant as introductions to the candidates and not as comprehensive statements on their positions on the issues.
A lifelong resident of the Lower East Side, Imperiale is a former tenants association president and activist who counts as her major accomplishment, in 2010, the negotiation “along with city, state, federal agencies and landlord to secure forty years of affordability until 2050” for 600 families in her building on Grand Street. Imperiale did not respond to an email request for her education and work history but, in a reply, wrote, “I have embodied what a true New Yorker is by reinventing myself many times over.” She also noted that she was awarded "Best Director" and "Best Picture" at the 2015 New York City International Film Festival. The movie was produced with her husband, Michael Imperiale. No funds for Imperiale are listed in the most recent filings with the New York City Campaign Finance Board.
The son of Dominican immigrants, Marte, 28, grew up on the Lower East Side and holds a B.A. from Long Island University. He has worked as an intern in the Brooklyn district attorney’s office and as an investment analyst for a banking firm and for IBM. Marte says he has a special interest in prison reform because his brother had been incarcerated. He is now a consultant with an organization, started with his brother, called Conbody, which helps ex-convicts become certified personal fitness trainers. According to his most recent financial filing, Marte has raised $50,489 and has about $46,000 in remaining funds.
Foldenauer, 41, is a native Virginian who lives in the Financial District. He came to New York City 12 years ago after graduating from the University of Virginia Law School and, according to his web site, he has “worked on leading business disputes and intellectual property lawsuits before government regulators and courts across the United States.”
At a previous forum he said that the reason he was running was to “preserve the opportunity for future generations to come to New York and succeed just like I have.” He said he has put his legal career “on hold” to run for City Council full time. According to his most recent campaign finance filing, Foldenauer has raised about $18,000 and has $10,170 in remaining funds.
This is Chin’s sixth City Council race, having lost her first three. First elected in 2010 she won reelection in 2013. She is chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging and serves on Education, Youth Services, Rules and Transportation committees.
Chin, 62, immigrated with her family from Hong Kong at age 9 and grew up in Chinatown. A graduate of City College with a degree in education, she worked with immigrants in LaGuardia Community College’s adult education division and in her job with the advocacy organization Asian Americans for Equality, which she helped found.
According to her most recent campaign finance filing, Chin has raised $52,376 and has $35,448 remaining.
Chin has drawn criticism from Village activists for her support of a plan to build senior housing on what is now the Elizabeth Street Garden and what they claim is a too-close relationship with developers. The video excerpts below reflect her responses to some of those complaints, which came from questions at the forum.