The League of Independent Theater's Meet the Candidate Forum
March 12, 7 to 9 p.m. at the Players, 16 Gramercy Park South.
Our Political Research and Outreach Committee created a great event with 20 candidates in races across the city. Questions were put to the panels based on LIT's Performing Arts Platform. You can see a chart with the attendees and their districts HERE.
Members of LIT can vote for the candidates they feel LIT should endorse HERE.
Here are videos from the event:
Introduction by David Pincus, Robin Rothstein, Chris Harcum, John Clancy and current Manhattan Borough President, Scott Stringer.
Opening remarks: Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Chair of the New York City Council's Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee
Keynote speaker: Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President
Tom Allon (Mayoral) CANCELED
Kevin Coenen Jr. (Mayoral)
Robert Jackson (Manhattan Borough President)
Julie Menin (Manhattan Borough President)
Peter Vallone (Queens Borough President)
Corey Johnson (CC Manhattan 3)
Yetta Kurland (CC Manhattan 3)
Ben Kallos (CC Manhattan 5)
Hill Krishnan (CC Manhattan 5) Did not show
Jenifer Rajkumar (CC Manhattan 1)
Marc Landis (CC Manhattan 6)
Mel Wymore (CC Manhattan 6)
Mark Levine (CC Manhattan 7)
Cheryl Pahaham (CC Manhattan 7)
Angel Molina (CC Bronx 8)
Laurie Cumbo (CC Brooklyn 35)
Kimberly Council (CC Brooklyn 37)
William Russell Moore (CC Bronx 18)
Matthew Silverstein (CC Queens 19)
Cathy Guerriero (Public Advocate)
Letitia James (Public Advocate)
Kevin Coenen Jr. (Mayoral) Smithtown High School East New York, State University Of Oneonta New York, C.E.O. Professional Contracting Corp. New York, and Fire Department City Of New York.
Kim Council (CC Brooklyn 37) is concerned about economic development and truly affordable housing. Vice President of the East New York Housing Development Corporation, she has been instrumental in implementing 200 plus units of affordable housing in East New York with additional projects underway. She also assisted in the development of 100 plus units of affordable housing through the Berean Community and Family Life Center. Kim is committed to our youth. She has hosted annual empowerment conferences for youth with workshops on self-esteem, sexual health, anger management, self-empowerment for young women and rights of passage into manhood for young men. She has also had the privilege of working with State Senator Velmanette Montgomery and other CBOs to implement changes in the current juvenile justice system. These changes afford youth the opportunity to reenter their communities through rehabilitative and community-based programming. Kim is a compassionate community advocate. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Berean Community & Family Life Center as its secretary; the Local Development Corporation of East New York as its secretary; Women of Faith Advocating Change; and the East New York Housing Development Corporation as its vice president. She was selected to participate in the White House Community Leader Briefing series in 2011. In Washington, DC she met with White House Senior Policy advisors and leaders in the Department of Education to discuss systemic changes in the nation’s education system. Ms. Council is a Brooklyn native. She resides in Cypress Hills with her son and daughter. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Master of Science in Library Science.
Cathy Guerriero (Public Advocate) knows New York, loves New York and is ready to fight to keep our city great. As Public Advocate she will fight to keep New York a safe and affordable city where all New Yorkers from each of our five boroughs are treated with dignity and respect, where all people have an equal voice in our great city’s future and where all children have access to quality education and resources. Cathy is a fifth-‐generation Staten Islander, who also grew up in Brooklyn; her husband, Anthony Vincent Bova, was reared in Brooklyn and they now live with Annarose, their 2-‐year-‐old daughter, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Dr. Guerriero has been teaching education and politics at Teachers College, Columbia University for close to a decade, as well as the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University. She runs a successful strategic planning consultancy for small business owners and non-‐profit organizations. She served as Director of Strategic Planning for the Archdiocese of New York and Director of Government Relations for Catholic Charities. And she served as Associate Director for the Archdiocese of New York for the Pope Benedict XVI Papal Visit in 2008, managing the travel and safety of hundreds of thousands of people in and out of New York City as well as successfully networking between the needs of the New York City government, the Vatican, the Archdiocese and the Secret Service. She worked for two years in Market Development at Merck Pharmaceuticals and she put herself through graduate school as a Sports Reporter for the Staten Island Advance. Cathy has participated actively the New Era Democrats political club in Brooklyn and the Congress of Italian American Organizations (CIAO) for twenty years. Her political mentor, Democratic political activist Mary Sansone, 96, instilled in her a sense of the political power of community and the almighty power of people’s voices. Cathy also worked on numerous political campaigns.
The oldest of six children raised in a family of teachers and firefighters, Cathy grew up understanding the importance of taking care of others, building a team and working together to overcome hurdles and achieve success.As a Daily News, Staten Island Advance and New York Post All-‐Star high school athlete in basketball and softball, Cathy graduated 7th in her class with International Baccalaureate honors from Curtis High School in Staten Island. As a two-‐sport, full-‐scholarship Division I athlete at Wagner College in Staten Island, she was selected Student Athlete of the Year, served as Editor of the Wagnerian college newspaper and graduated cum laude. She received a Masters in Public Administration at the Robert Wagener School of Public Service at NYU and a doctorate in educational administration from the Steinhardt School of Education at New York University.
This background, founded in faith, family, education, leadership and business development provides a strong and unique base for Cathy to serve as New York City Public Advocate, a watchdog who will make sure that the voices of all New Yorkers are heard and all New Yorkers get the city services they deserve.
Robert Jackson (Manhattan Borough President) Born and raised in Manhattan, Robert and his family have lived in Washington Heights since 1975. He attended New York City public schools and later graduated from State University of New York at New Paltz. He is married, a dedicated father of three daughters and proudly represents parts of Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights, West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.
Corey Johnson(CC Manhattan 3) first came to national attention in 2000 when he became a trailblazer for LGBT youth. As the captain of his high school football team, he took the courageous step of coming out publicly, and kept not only his position of leadership, but also the support of his school and teammates. Corey’s bravery landed him on the front page of the New York Times. As a resident of Chelsea for the last decade, Corey has been deeply involved in local and national progressive causes. In 2005, Corey joined Community Board 4, where he quickly gained the respect and trust of local leaders for his tireless work ethic and ability to build consensus.Corey has volunteered countless hours in the community and has worked hard to make Community Board 4 more responsive, organized, and effective. In 2011, after 6 years of service on Community Board 4, Corey was elected Chairperson by his peers. He is currently New York City’s youngest Community Board Chairperson. Corey is a Director on the Hudson Yards Development Corporation, a Member of the Hudson Yards Community Advisory Committee, a Board Member of Save Chelsea, a Member of the Council of Chelsea Block Associations. Corey is currently on the board of directors of the Ali Forney Center and the board of governors of Stonewall Democrats of New York City.
Ben Kallos (CC Manhattan 5) is a “creative” who produces political events and graphic art that have been recognized in the New York Times and Daily News. He currently focuses his creativity on leading a good government group that has removed corruption from Albany and made government transparent in order to facilitate the free culture he hopes to achieve. As a former Chief of Staff, his Assembly Member represented Museum Mile and carried the New York States Income Tax Arts Check-Off. His campaign is a thriving place for openness, creativity and excellence which has already been dedicated to supporting local arts and culture. A friend to the arts and current front runner in City Council District 5, he offers our community the unique opportunity to elect a “creative” to office who seeks to protect and improve access to our shared culture for a better City.
Yetta Kurland (CC Manhattan 3) is a civil rights attorney, educator, radio host, community organizer, and classically trained trumpet player. Whether it be highlighting performing artists on her radio show, defending artists from wrongful evictions or fighting for arts education and music in our schools, Yetta has been an advocate for the performing arts for over two and a half decades. Yetta has also been a leader on important social justice issues including the fight to restore hospital services since the loss of St. Vincent ’s Hospital. Last month Yetta was featured on the front page of the Nation in a piece curated by Antonino D'Ambrosio of ‘Let Fury Have the Hour’ with artwork by Shepard Fairey discussing creative response in relation to her work. She is proud to have received the endorsements of The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local One, former NEA Chair, Rocco Landesman, Peter Max, and many others.
Marc Landis (CC Manhattan 6) has an outstanding record of accomplishment as a community leader and activist on the Upper West Side, committed to the struggle for economic and social justice, human rights and political and governmental reform. Marc currently serves as an elected Democratic Party district leader, representing 40,000 UWS residents; he works closely with elected officials and government agencies to address constituent concerns including tenants’ rights, education and quality-of-life issues, and organizes Democratic campaign activities in swing states. Marc has been honored for his pro bono legal work by Manhattan Legal Services, Legal Services of New York and the New York State Bar Association and by the Manhattan Spirit as a “West Side Hero” for his advocacy on behalf of community-based organizations. As a court-appointed fiduciary, Marc has sued Fannie Mae and other banks to require them to provide emergency repairs and other services for tenants. Marc is a graduate of Princeton, Penn Law and NYU Law School. He resides on the UWS with his wife, Judy, a freelance television producer, and coaches the soccer teams of their children, Rachel and Barak.
Mark Levine(CC Manhattan 7) For more than 20 years Mark has been in the trenches fighting to advance the progressive cause--as an educator, non-profit leader, and political organizer. He began his career as a bilingual math and science teacher at JHS149 in the South Bronx. He went on to found a community development credit union in uptown Manhattan which has helped thousands of low-income families gain access to loans and financial literacy education. Mark is a Democratic District Leader and founder of the Barack Obama Democratic Club, which has become a progressive, activist force in Upper Manahttan. He and his wife Ivelisse live in Washington Heights with their two boys, who attend PS/IS 187. Mark is a fluent Spanish.
Angel David Molina (CC Bronx 8) is a Brooklyn native and a product of the public school system. He attended P.S. 59, I.S. 318 (known for its famous chess club) and East New York Vocational and Technical High School where he majored in Carpentry and graduated with honors. Mr. Molina was also Photography Club President, portrayed “Procolo” in the Drama Club’s rendition of “The Ritz,” was a member of the Honor Society, Student Government Treasurer and Editor of the school’s Yearbook and Newspaper. Molina went on to study Photography at Pratt Institute. He was a recipient of the Leica and Leitz award to study photography in Paris, France and later pursued a career in photojournalism. While at Pratt, Mr. Molina worked nights to put himself through school and taught remedial skills to school-aged children in his spare time. In 2010, Mr. Molina was selected into the National Urban Fellows leadership development program where he earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Baruch College. He has a distinguished twenty-year career in public service with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Mr. Molina is married to Gigi Loizzo. They have three children and reside in the Mott Haven section of The Bronx, along with several rescued pets.
William Russell Moore(CC Bronx 18) graduated with an Associate Degree in Computer Information Systems and a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Farmingdale and Stony Brook in Long Island. Prior to graduating from SUNY Stony Brook, William landed a summer job working as a Special Assistant to Commissioner Richard Murphy at NYC Department of Youth Service (DYS. He was later tapped by Mayor David N. Dinkins to work in his Press and Speech Writing Offices and succeeding Mayor Rudolph Giuliani did the same. Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer recruited William to The Bronx and gave him a deputy press position in his Communications Office. As a seasoned public servant, William was also tapped by Councilwoman Una Clarke of the 40th City Council District in Brooklyn to serve as her Chief of Staff and Communications Director, overseeing operations at City Hall and District Offices.
Cheryl Pahaham (CC Manhattan 7) has lived in New York City for twenty years and in northern Manhattan for more than a decade. She completed a doctorate in Sociology from The New School in New York City; her studies focused on poverty, cities, race and ethnicity and labor. Cheryl’s civic and political activities include assisting in organizing and participating in protests and citywide issue campaigns, supporting the Working Families Party, and serving on Community Board 12. She is the treasurer of the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) co-op north of 96th Street, which provides low-cost, organic locally grown produce. Prior to running for office, Cheryl worked in State government as a fiscal monitor and audit planner, where she learned that an efficient and fiscally fair government is possible, and that there is always a way to reduce waste and to better use scarce resources. She believes that budgets cannot be balanced solely by cutting services and that investing in human development is essential. Transparency, accountability and shared responsibility embody Cheryl's vision of government. She is married to Robin Le Baron, who worked for over a decade to develop and protect affordable housing in New York City, and who now supports programs that make homes more energy efficient.
Jenifer Rajkumar (CC Manhattan 1) was elected Democratic District Leader in Lower Manhattan, defeating a 20-year incumbent with 70% of the vote in a remarkable grassroots operation that brought out new voters. She was named a 2012 Rising Star in City & State's annual “40 Under 40" list. She was hailed by The Villager as “blazing a new path in politics and for women” andby The New York Daily News as a surprise insurgent of 2011. A social justice lawyer who has dedicated her career to giving a voice to the voiceless, Jenifer is a civil rights attorney at Sanford Heisler, one of our country’s foremost civil rights firms. She also worked in policy at the National Women’s Law Center, where she helped launch the successful “women are not a pre-existing condition” campaign, cited by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and others upon the health care reform bill’s passage. She is a graduate of Stanford Law School and the University of Pennsylvania. She was awarded the 2012 Young Woman of Achievement Award by WIN, an organization that supports the next generation of democratic women leaders.
Matthew Silverstein (CC Queens 19) is running for NYC Council in the 19th Council District. Matthew has been the Democratic State Committeeman for the 26th Assembly District since 2010. Matthew is the 2nd Vice President of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance, which is the official civic association for the Bay Terrace (Queens) community. Matthew is a blogger for the Queens Courier newspaper and Director of Public Affairs for America Works of New York, Inc. At America Works of New York, Matthew helps find jobs for low income New Yorkers including Veterans, homeless people, people receiving SSI/SSDI and people receiving TANF & food stamps.
Council Member Peter F. Vallone Jr. (Queens Borough President) represents Astoria and the surrounding communities and serves as Chair of the Public Safety Committee. As Chair, he successfully led the fight against having the 9/11 terror trials in New York City, and has fought to stop cuts to the NYPD, add more officers to local precincts, and for New York City to get the money it deserves from the state and federal governments.
As the father of two young girls, he knows the importance of a safe learning environment. He wrote the law that helped put security cameras in all New York City public schools. He also sponsored legislation which would require the New York City Department of Education to provide security measures for nonpublic schools, and would allow schoolchildren to carry cellular phones to and from school. He has given millions of dollars to schools in his district to improve facilities, install computers and ensure that afterschool programming is never an afterthought. Dubbed ‘The Man Who Hates Graffiti’ by the New York Times and ‘Graffiti Public Enemy No. 1’ by the Staten Island Advance, Vallone has waged war against graffiti vandals. Recognized worldwide as an anti-graffiti crusader, Vallone’s legislation has made it illegal to sell graffiti tools to minors and imposed a requirement that affects larger buildings and stores to clean graffiti from their property. Vallone expanded the ever-growing graffiti-fighting arsenal to include regulating the sale of etching acid and pens – often used to scratch surfaces.
Perhaps Vallone’s most lasting visible legacy is his law requiring that all new roll-down security gates be see-through. As foreboding solid gates are phased-out, canvasses for graffiti are eliminated and replaced with a vibrant streetscape.Vallone’s legislation is as varied and diverse as the community he represents – ranging from banning trans fats and establishing plastic bag recycling to his recent efforts to remove the addition of fluoride in our water supply. He has been honored for his work to protect our most vulnerable, which includes awards from the Council of Senior Centers and Services of New York City, the Immaculate Conception Youth Program (ICYP), the League of Humane Voters, and countless other organizations. Vallone has led the fight against the proliferation of power plants and represented C.H.O.K.E.(Coalition Helping Organize a Kleaner Environment) and Astoria residents in court, winning a major victory against the New York Power Authority that lead to the closing of the Charles Poletti Power Plant in 2010, the worst polluter in the city. Vallone got his start at the Manhattan District Attorney's office, where he successfully prosecuted thousands of criminals and compiled an impressive trial record of 40 top count convictions against one acquittal. An accomplished athlete, Vallone was invited to play against the Chinese National Ping-Pong team on ABC's Wide World of Sports, was Co-Captain of the Astoria Civic City Champion Football and Softball teams and continues to play as much indoor and beach volleyball as his busy schedule permits. He is also a professional musician, playing four instruments, an avid scuba diver and is often seen riding his motorcycle or bicycle around Astoria, where he was born and raised. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Fordham College and from Fordham Law School. He has two daughters, Catherine and Caroline.
Mel Wymore (CC Manhattan 6) For more than 20 years, Mel Wymore has produced tangible results for the Upper West Side -- quality schools, housing people can afford, community centers for seniors and youth, safe and accessible streets, expanded parks, and support for local businesses. As former Chair and 17-year member of Community Board 7, Mel has a demonstrated commitment to building community that is inclusive, vibrant and sustainable with unparalleled quality of life for all. An engineer with degrees in mathematics, communications, and systems engineering, Mel has a gift for bringing people together, developing common vision, and achieving solutions that last. Stratford Arms Meal Program, The West Side Y Community Theater, The Gertrude Ederle Recreation Center, A K-8 school planned for Riverside Center, $20M for Riverside Park, First in District Permanent Affordable Housing (600K SF), First in District Protected Bike Lane, First in City Storefront Zoning to Protect Small Businesses, Grovesnor Center -- Head Start, GED, Job Training, and Immigrant Services.