Education: Queens College (degree not provided); Cardozo School of Law (degree not provided)
Costa Constantinides has lived in the district his entire life and has spent the past few years as Deputy Chief of Staff to Councilmember James Gennaro. He views himself as a civic activist and is running for election to continue to fight for issues important to the district. On reform issues, Constantinides is committed to reforming the City Council first in order to close the trust gap between the public and government. He would do this by making the job of Councilmember a full-time position and through the elimination of all lulus because, as Constantinides highlights, even donating lulus to charity can become problematic. Concerning discretionary funding, Constantinides has a nuanced position, stating that good organizations get member items, but the process should be more transparent such as reporting where the money is going and why. Other issues that Constantinides is passionate about include improving air quality by making power plants “better neighbors,” improving education by getting kids out of temporary classroom trailers and cleaning up the neighborhood. Overall Citizens Union believes that Constantinides has the experience to hit the ground running, as well as the relationships to build coalitions for reform, which are all reasons why we endorse his candidacy.
Education: Dartmouth College (BA)
Lynne Serpe first ran for office in 2009 in response to the overturning of term limits and is running for the second time on the Green Party line. Serpe highlighted her experience in getting things done, such as expanding greening initiatives for Queens Libraries. On reform issues, Serpe authored a 2008 report while working for FairVote on Instant Runoff Voting and strongly supports its implementation. She also supports non-citizen voting which would allow legal immigrants to vote in municipal elections. She believes the campaign finance system in New York can be improved, specifically that those who have competition in both the primary and general election can spend twice as much as those who only participate in the general election. In addition to reform issues, Serpe is a strong advocate for increasing access to healthy foods in the district, affordable housing and increasing library hours, while noting that all these issues are interconnected. While Serpe was knowledgeable on reform issues, her focus on the Green party platform was felt to be too narrow when compared to her opponents’ broader message and appeal.
Education: Degree-granting institution not provided (AS)
Daniel Peterson was motivated to run for office after a property tax increase of 18.5% went into effect in 2003, and he strongly believes that in the two-party system, an opposition voice is vital. Peterson considers himself the truly independent candidate in the race and highlights his private sector experience. Regarding reform issues, his plan to move nonpartisan elections forward includes a proposal to make certain off-year elections nonpartisan, stating that nonpartisan issues should have nonpartisan elections. Peterson also supports the nonpartisan election of school superintendents in addition to online voter registration. Peterson is also an advocate for lower tax rates, shrinking city government by consolidating redundant agencies and implementing a small business initiative. Citizens Union believes that Peterson is a well-meaning candidate but lacks the depth and knowledge of reform issues which his opponents possess.
Danielle M. De Stefano (C)
Gerald F. Kahn (P)