There is a discernible difference between the candidates running in the September primary for the newly drawn 27th Senate District in Manhattan.
Tom Greco, business owner and community activist from Hell’s Kitchen, is the best choice. The record of Greco’s opponent, Brad Hoylman, is dubious at best. Sure, he is the hand-picked selection of the Manhattan democratic establishment. However, we deserve something more in our representatives than products of political cronyism. As New Yorkers, we must hold ourselves to higher standards of what we expect from our leaders, and owe it to ourselves to research the candidates, their records and for what they stand.
Greco’s agenda is one of boldness and originality, not acquiescence in the face of struggle. His healthcare plan does not mirror President Obama’s, but further calls for a statewide public option. He explained, “It is my goal to bring a public option to New York, similar to what is instituted in San Francisco.” It’s a system New York Times contributors called, “A public option that works.” [http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/22/opinion/22dow.html]
Hoylman was chief counsel to and lobbyist for the Partnership for the City of New York for over a decade, which took a position against the city’s living wage bill and paid sick leave.
Further muddling Hoylman’s record is the fact that while he claimed to represent Greenwich Village’s fight against Rudin Management as Community Board 2 Chair at night, by day he worked for the Partnership, which has William Rudin [http://www.bloomberglink.com/gatherings_participants_bio.php?gathering=73&Id=2590] on its Board of Directors [http://www.nndb.com/people/427/000162938/]. The hospital was never saved – and Hoylman has made no efforts to secure a new facility. The fact that emergency room waits in New York City are comparable to those in Mississippi is unacceptable.
In a recent debate, Hoylman claimed he disagreed with the Partnership on, “living wage, paid sick [leave] and NYU,” yet he was their chief counsel through these fights. The result of his tenure there, St. Vincent’s is closed and NYU is expanding.
Greco’s housing plan is not only about preservation, but also the creation of new homes. “I would like to bring a program to New York modeled after Mitchell-Lama housing, which was one of the most successful initiatives ever established here,” he said. “We can work with developers to make it fiscally advantageous to build new affordable housing, while strictly regulating they do so through tax incentives and legislation.”
“I want to build a sense of community,” he continued. “In tough economic times, making affordability a component of all new construction is crucial to keeping a healthy tax base in our city, and to providing people working here, like teachers, police officers and firemen, a decent place to reside within the communities they serve. Mitchell-Lama housing was built for middle-income workers like these.”
Greco believes if police knew the children in their neighborhoods they would be much less likely to ‘stop and frisk,’ or suspect them of criminal activity. In turn, children would have greater respect for the officers knowing they were from their community and could understand their problems.
He suggests the same for teachers, “Teachers would be able to relate to the culture and personalities of children better if they shared the concerns of the communities they served, providing them a better education.”
By contrast, Hoylman and the Partnership represented Tishman-Speyer in their effort to evict Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents from their homes – hardly a community building effort.
Tom Greco may not be the politicians’ choice, yet his intentions are clear. Until now he has never run for office. Until two months ago, Hoylman was a candidate for Christine Quinn’s council seat [http://www.cityandstateny.com/brad-hoylman-registers-quinn-seat-living-wage-head], a position he ran for in 2001. Currently, he has three campaign accounts [http://www.elections.ny.gov:8080/plsql_browser/CONTRIB_PRE_A_COUNTY?NAME_IN=Hoylman&OFFICE_IN=ALL&county_IN=ALL&date_from=01/01/2000&date_to=08/24/2012&CATEGORY_IN=ALL&AMOUNT_from=1.00&AMOUNT_to=20,000.00&ZIP1=&ZIP2=&ORDERBY_IN=N]registered for three different seats.
Greco sees this as a problem and so should we. “Until a few weeks ago, he was running for Speaker Quinn’s seat and then turned around to run for senate before anyone else knew Tom Duane had retired,” he stated. “His attempted coronation by elected officials and clubs was orchestrated in the middle of the night, with no consultation from the community and no concern for the Democratic process. I believe in open elections and transparency. That’s why I’m a Democrat. We can’t criticize Republicans for closing off participation while we act the same way in our own house.”
To Greco, and hopefully us, the race will boil down to whom we trust, “My opponent has spent over a decade working for the Partnership for the City of New York, representing big developers, big business and landlords by day, while at night playing community activist. You can’t have it both ways. That’s my message – be transparent about who you are.”