On September 10th, registered Democratic voters in far eastern Queens will go to the polls to cast their votes in the 23rd Council District primary. The winner will likely be a heavy favorite in the November special election to replace former Council Member Mark Weprin, who resigned earlier this year to join the Cuomo Administration.
The six candidates are a diverse bunch, and three seem to stand out as the leading contenders: Barry Grodenchik, a former Assemblyman who now works for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; Rebecca Lynch, who recently left a senior post in Mayor de Blasio’s Community Affairs Unit; and Ali Najmi, an attorney and former aide to Weprin.
Despite the attractiveness of these candidates, however, StreetsPAC has decided against making an endorsement. While Lynch and Najmi, especially, have spoken to the need to make transportation and street safety a priority if elected, none of the candidates were willing to pledge to oppose any and all attempts to weaken New York City’s right-of-way law, Section 19-190 of the Administrative Code, which has been under assault by the Transport Workers Union and its allies in the City Council and State Assembly. We consider the right of way of vulnerable street users to be an essential, inalienable tenet of Vision Zero. Furthermore, there’s precedent for strong street-safety cred in the 23rd Council District, since Mark Weprin was a co-sponsor of the Council legislation that created the right-of-way law (and an outspoken supporter of the Move NY plan, to boot).
Therefore, we will remain neutral in the race for the 23rd Council District, but we look forward to working closely with the eventual winner on addressing eastern Queens’s transportation needs and street-safety challenges – and on educating the future Council Member on the fundamental importance of the right-of-way law.
– The StreetsPAC Board