City Council District 4
Occupation: Attorney, Bloomberg, LP
Education: University of Texas, Austin (B.A., English; B.S., Biochemistry); Fordham University Law School (J.D.)
Campaign website: http://www.chandrafornewyork.com/
Ashok Chandra, a new parent who works as an attorney at Bloomberg LP, said he is running because as someone who is raising a family in Manhattan he believes the city has become too expensive for many, and he would like to introduce changes that would make the city more livable and allow families to stay in New York. In addition, as a Republican, Mr. Chandra said he wants to provide a voice for other Republicans in the city. He would be supportive of reducing the unincorporated business tax, which he believes is within the power of the council to change. As a way to increase tourism to the city, and boost the economy, he would also like to see more spaces for art exhibits around Manhattan that he believes attract visitors, and would even recommend that vacant businesses be used to exhibit art. On education, he would push for the elimination of “rubber rooms” which are used as holding area for teachers awaiting the verdicts of complaints filed against them, as he sees them as a waste of resources. He is a strong supporter of charter schools and their potential to provide a better education to the city’s children. In addition, he would work to create incentives for big businesses to stay in New York, like exchanges that provide a company like Dell tax breaks if they agree to provide computers to schools.
Mr. Chandra, who supported many of Citizens Union’s reform items, said he was not supportive of the council’s recent term limits extension and that a referendum would have been the only appropriate avenue for such a change. He also supports election reform, and particularly ballot access, since he understands firsthand the difficulty of getting on the ballot, but he is opposed to raising the pay for poll workers who serve on Election Day. He believes that instead these workers should be willing to serve as a civic duty, and that the extra pay would not necessarily attract the higher quality workers it is intended to, however, he does recognize that poll worker pay should track the rate of inflation. With regard to transferring prosecutorial power to the CCRB, Mr. Chandra would be concerned that the measure might have a chilling effect on the police department and the potential influence the board might experience from outside entities, like the ACLU. Mr. Chandra, who philosophically characterizes himself as a libertarian, expresses an interesting and different perspective not often heard in New York City. His strong interest in improving the city for families and his fresh perspective are what make Mr. Chandra Citizens Union’s preferred candidate is this Republican Primary.
[Candidate did not return questionnaire and could not be scheduled for an interview.]
Campaign website: http://www.nealforcitycouncil.org/