Progressive slate brings the fight for housing justice to City Hall, with the promise of co-governance
Ava Farkas, Executive Director, Met Council Action, said, “For too long, many members of our city council have served real estate interests, approving disastrous rezonings while barely enforcing tenant protections. With these endorsements, we are joining our allies in the housing justice movement to show our fellow tenants which candidates will fight for them, instead of their landlords. With over half of the current council term-limited, this election has the potential to shift the city’s housing priorities away from profits and toward dignified housing for all New Yorkers.”
The endorsements are the product of over two dozen hours of interviews between Met Council Action members and candidates, covering candidates’ views on eviction, homelessness, social housing, rent guidelines, and many other housing-related issues. Several candidates are longtime Met Council Action allies in the housing justice movement. Many have pledged to follow a co-governance model that emphasizes constituent leadership. And for the first time ever, ranked-choice voting has allowed Met Council to support more than one candidate in several races.
Details on the endorsements are below:
City Council District – 1 Manhattan (Battery Park City, Chinatown, Financial District, Little Italy, the Lower East Side, NoHo, SoHo, South Street Seaport, South Village, TriBeCa & Washington Square)
Rank 1 – Christopher Marte, Dual Rank 2: Jenny Low & Gigi Li
Residents of District 1 face mounting pressure from displacement and rezonings, so we are excited to endorse three strong tenant advocates in this district. Our first choice, Christopher Marte, has long been on the front lines of housing justice, such as the campaign to stop the ouster of the tenants of 83-85 Bowery. Our second choice is a dual endorsement: Jenny Low has made an exciting pledge to expand community land trusts to make housing permanently affordable, while Gigi Li’s focus on LGBTQIA tenants shows her commitment to housing justice for all New Yorkers.
City Council District – 5 (Upper East Side, Roosevelt Island, Lenox Hill, Roosevelt Island, Midtown East)
Rank 1 – Tricia Shimamura, Rank 2 – Kim Moscaritolo, Rank 3 – Billy Freeland
We are excited that ranked-choice voting allows us to endorse three candidates in District 5. Our first choice, Tricia Shimamura, is a social worker and longtime advocate who will fight to maintain the rent-regulated status of many tenants in her district. She would also be the first Councilmember of Japanese descent. Our second choice, Kim Moscaritolo, worked alongside us to defeat the turncoat state senators of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC). Our third, Billy Freeland, is a lawyer who agitated for repairs in city public housing.
City Council District – 6 (Upper West Side)
Rank #1. Gale Brewer, #2. Sara Lind
In District 6, we’re making a ranked endorsement for first, Gale Brewer, and second, Sara Lind. Brewer has been a longtime ally of the tenants’ rights movement as Manhattan borough president, fighting against rezonings for luxury housing with a minimal amount of actually affordable apartments. We are also endorsing Sara Lind as a second-ranked vote. She has been a strong immigration advocate who we are excited to see grow into new leadership in the Upper West Side.
City Council District – 7 (Manhattan Valley, Manhattanville, Morningside Heights, Hamilton Heights)
Lena Melendez, a longtime member of Met Council Action affiliate the Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Alliance, is the clear tenant candidate in this race. She came to the tenant movement by organizing her own tenant association and fighting to stay in the apartment she grew up in. During the fight against the Inwood rezoning, she was a leader of Northern Manhattan is Not for Sale, working to reach small businesses who were at risk of being pushed out. She is not afraid to put her body on the line for housing justice, and has participated in several civil-disobedience actions in the fight against the Inwood rezoning, for universal rent control, and for cancelling rent during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is deeply dedicated to fighting for a city where no one is evicted.
City Council District – 9 (Central Harlem, Morningside Heights)
Rank #1. Kristin Richardson Jordan, #2. Cordell Cleare
In District 9, we are proud to support two excellent candidates: first, Kristin Richardson Jordan, and second, Cordell Cleare. Kristin Richardson Jordan is committed to stopping and repairing the damage done to Harlem from rezonings and city neglect. Cordell Cleare, is committed to working to stop the displacement of Harlem residents by protecting ana longtime tenant-rights activist, is one of the people responsible for New York City’s lead-paint laws and has been president of her tenant association for over a decade.
City Council District – 10 (Washington Heights, Inwood)
A leader in the fight against the Inwood rezoning, Johanna Garcia also helped defeat the IDC state senator from her neighborhood. Since then, as chief of staff to Sen. Robert Jackson, she helped him pass the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, tenants’ most important legislative victory in decades. We are excited to endorse her, as we believe she will be a true tenant ally in the Council and a strong voice against future rezonings for luxury development.
City Council District – 14 (Kingsbridge, University Heights, Fordham, Kingsbridge)
Adolfo Abreu is the former Organizing Director at the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition and has been a lifelong community organizer in his neighborhood of Kingsbridge Heights. As Field Director for the campaign of State Senator Alessandra Biaggi, Adolfo helped defeat the Independent Democratic Conference. And as a housing organizer, he worked with community leaders across the state to pass historic tenant protections in 2019. Dedicated to a vision of people power, we believe Adolfo will be accountable to the grassroots, and we look forward to working with him.
City Council District – 18 (Soundview, Castle hill, Parkchester)
In District 18, Amanda Farias is a community-supported candidate going up against the Bronx Democratic Party machine, and we’re excited to endorse her in the fight. She’s committed to funding public housing and growing tenant organizing in her district. As a member of New York Teamsters Local 210, she’ll bring her union organizing experience to City Hall and work alongside the rest of our grassroots slate to represent all New Yorkers.
City Council District – 21 Queens (East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Corona, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Lefrak City)
Ingrid Gomez is a true tenant ally, committed to helping the tenants of LeFrak City fight for much-needed repairs, while halting their landlord’s many attempts to impose Major Capital Improvement rent increases. They and other tenants deserve a representative who is on their side, and she has proven that’s where she’ll be in City Hall.
City Council District – 22 Queens (Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Woodside)
Tiffany showed her commitment to housing justice in her earlier run for Queens DA, and we are excited to endorse her for city council. She is a champion of the homes guarantee and is committed to using a racial justice lens in the many land-use decisions that come before City Council.
City Council District – 23 Queens (Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens, Queens Village)
A lifelong resident of her district, Jaslin showed her commitment to her neighbors with her opposition to the disastrous Flushing rezoning. She has pledged to fight for decommodified housing and would be the first woman and first person of color to represent her district.
City Council District – 24 Queens (Kew Gardens Hills, Pomonok, Electchester, Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Jamaica Estates, Briarwood, Parkway Village, Jamaica Hills, Jamaica)
Over the past year, Moumita took many hours out of her busy campaign schedule to join us at Housing Justice for All rallies, where she handed out PPE to help keep us safe. We are excited to endorse such a strong tenant ally for City Council, where she will fight to make sure her heavily Covid-impacted district is not left out of pandemic recovery.
City Council District – 25 Queens (Elmhurst, Jackson Heights)
In her previous work with the city council, Carolyn dedicated herself to making city planning culturally and linguistically inclusive for one of the most diverse districts in New York. She will bring her strong relationships with all the immigrant communities of District 25 to the city council. We are excited to endorse a candidate who will ensure that all her constituents – and those outside her district, too – can participate in decisions that affect them in their own languages.
City Council District – 27 Queens (Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village, and Springfield Gardens)
As a former organizer with New York Communities for Change, Harold is a familiar ally in the movement for housing justice. We are excited to now endorse him for city council, where he will bring an organizer’s spirit to City Hall.
City Council District – 30 Queens (Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven, Woodside)
Working with local tenant organizers and a legal service nonprofit, Juan Ardila has been a crucial part of shifting the conversation about meeting the needs of our homeless neighbors. We are excited to endorse such a strong advocate of Housing First policies in his run for City Council!
City Council District – 32 Queens (Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach, Woodhaven)
Felicia brings a deep understanding of the many intersecting crises facing her district, particularly taxicab medallion debts and widespread foreclosures. We are excited to endorse a candidate who so clearly sees the connection between economic and housing justice and look forward to working with her in City Hall.
City Council District – 34 (Williamsburg, Bushwick, Ridgewood)
To stem the tide of gentrification in Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Ridgewood, Jennifer Gutierrez is committed to fighting for the expansion of Right to Counsel, winning Good Cause Eviction protections at the state level, and investing in public housing and Community Land Trusts. As chief of staff for Council Member Antonio Reynoso, Jennifer has been serving the tenants of District 34 for almost a decade, and we think she will be an important advocate for all tenants in City Hall.
City Council District – 35 (Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights)
We’re proud to endorse fellow tenant organizer Michael Hollingsworth, a longtime member of Crown Heights Tenants Union and an active member of the Rent Justice Coalition. He has a keen understanding of the challenges facing renters, particularly in Black and brown communities, and is ready to fight alongside us for the decommodification of housing in NYC.
City Council District – 37 (Cypress Hills, Bushwick, Ocean Hill, Brownsville, East New York)
We’re thrilled to endorse our longtime ally, Sandy Nurse. Co-founder of community organizing hub May Day Space and founder of local composting initiative BK ROT, Sandy is a lifelong activist with a strong record of fighting for tenants and against gentrification. Few candidates embody the mutual aid ethos of Met Council Action as Sandy does; we’ve watched her put her politics into action throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s committed to co-governance and will truly bring her community with her to City Hall.
City Council District – 38 (Red Hook, Sunset Park)
Rank #1. Rodrigo Camarena, #2. Alexa Aviles
In District 38, thanks to ranked-choice voting, we get to support both Rodrigo Camarena and Alexa Avilés. Rodrigo Camarena, our first choice, proved himself a courageous ally to tenants while serving on the Rent Guidelines Board, where he was the only public member to join the tenant representatives in voting for a rent rollback in 2018. He has also spent years fighting for the Mexican immigrant community in Sunset Park, as part of Mixteca. Alexa Avilés, our second choice, has done critical work to fund social-justice movements through her position as program director at the Scherman Foundation.
City Council District – 39 (Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope, Gowanus)
Rank #1. Shahana Hanif, #2. Brandon West
In District 39, we’re excited to make a ranked endorsement for both Shahana Hanif and Brandon West. Shahana Hanif is a former tenant organizer at CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, where she organized public-housing tenants to demand better language access and dignified conditions. During her tenure at CAAAV, she oversaw the publication of a first-of-its-kind citywide report on Asian public-housing tenants. Brandon West is the president of New Kings Democrats, where he’s been a thorn in the side of developers in the Gowanus rezoning fight.
City Council District – 40 (Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood)
Dual endorsement – Kenya Handy-Hilliard, Josue Pierre
In District 40, we’re making a dual endorsement of Kenya Handy-Hilliard and Josue Pierre. Kenya Handy-Hilliard has had a lifelong passion for public service, and we hope she will continue that for the people of Flatbush. Josue Pierre is an ever-present sight at housing-justice rallies, traveling with us to Albany in 2019 to demonstrate for strengthening tenant protections and in 2021 for cancel-rent rallies. We are excited to endorse both of them.