Chin is a champion of the working and middle class


JESSICA THOMAS AND HENRY CHAN | Since her election to the City Council in 2009, Margaret Chin has been one of New York City’s most courageous progressive leaders. A member of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, Councilmember Chin deserves our praise and thanks for her numerous accomplishments on behalf of those most in need of a helping hand.

From passing landmark paid sick-leave legislation, to preventing cuts to Lower Manhattan’s after-school and daycare programs, to authoring and passing legislation to increase transparency in government, Margaret Chin has been a champion for working and middle-class families.

It’s reasons like these that explain why countless labor unions, Democratic clubs and elected officials have lined up in support of Councilmember Chin’s re-election, including the Working Families Party, Central Labor Council, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Congressmembers Nydia Velazquez, Carolyn Maloney, Jerry Nadler and Grace Meng, Councilmembers Rosie Mendez and Mark Weprin, state Senator Dan Squadron (a candidate for New York City public advocate), former state Senator Tom Duane, former Community Board 1 Chairperson Julie Menin (a candidate for borough president), United Federation of Teachers, 1199 SEIU, Hotel & Motel Trades Council, 32BJ, DC 37, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, CWA District 1, CWA 1180, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 94, Teamster Local 237, Uniformed Fire Officers Association, United Sanitationmen’s Association Local 831, Stonewall Democratic Club, Lower Manhattan Democrats, United Democratic Organization, Lower East Side Democratic Club, Harry S. Truman Democratic Club, Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, NARAL Pro-Choice NY, National Organization for Women (NOW), New Yorkers for Clean Livable And Safe Streets (NYCLASS), Street Vendor Power, StreetsPAC and many more.

Of course, the reality of Councilmember Chin’s strong, progressive record seems to be lost on a select few, including Mr. Sean Sweeney, who last week in a talking point in The Villager entitled, “The billionaires back Margaret Chin for City Council,” perpetuated the same lies, spin and propaganda that have been spread in vain for some time now. Amazingly, these are some of the same people who tried to spread rumors that Margaret was a “communist” when she first ran for office!

The hollow and desperate attacks levied against Councilmember Chin reek of petty, personal vendettas against a stellar public servant with a long and undeniable track record of delivering real, tangible results for the people who elected her to represent them at City Hall. The current attacks are so transparent, so baseless and such a stretch of the truth, that it’s clear there are ulterior motives at work here — far from genuine concern about Councilmember Chin’s embodiment of progressive values and commitment to the working and middle-class men and women she proudly represents.

In point of fact, Margaret Chin has fought vigorously on behalf of tenants’ rights. She has fought to empower tenants (not landlords and real estate moguls) against evictions, called for greater transparency and monitoring of affordable housing programs, urged for affordable housing development to keep pace with its losses and successfully negotiated the construction of 500 new, permanently affordable housing units for low- to middle-income families in the district while creating thousands of new jobs.

Time and again, Margaret Chin has publicly expressed her disapproval of outside funds being spent in the race. While this has not stopped outside interests from spending, she certainly has never accepted donations from these groups and has already said in the media that she believes independent spending has no place in politics. Unfortunately, the recent Citizens United decision has made it impossible for candidates to prevent groups from independently spending money or coordinating in their name — even when the literature put out is misspelled or inaccurate. But this reality should not take away from Margaret’s accomplishments or those of other public servants who have worked tirelessly to give a voice to the voiceless.

To quote Councilmember Chin in a recent news article, “I’m not sure what the Jobs for New York PAC thinks they’re buying by spending money on my campaign, but they won’t get it. I am only beholden to my constituents, whom I have been a progressive voice for in the City Council over the past four years.” So, while others wish to skirt the issues and turn the race for the First City Council District into a distracting conversation that ducks and dodges the real issues facing Downtowners, Margaret Chin remains more dedicated than ever to serving and standing up for her constituents.

At the end of the day, voters understand that the negative and slanderous campaign tactics employed by Jenifer Rajkumar and her supporters are a pathetic attempt to divert attention from the fact that she lacks the integrity (not to mention the experience) to hold higher elected office. No doubt, Ms. Rajkumar would prefer voters forget that she shamelessly touted a false résumé, including boasting of a phony, shell nonprofit that by her own admission has never accomplished a darn thing. This is not to mention her claiming experience as a lawyer before she had even passed the bar.

Instead of owning up to her deceptions, Ms. Rajkumar did a little housecleaning on her Web site, erased the embarrassing falsehoods and carried on with her campaign by aimlessly hurling half-truths in the direction of Margaret Chin.

Among other things, Ms. Rajkumar has chosen to publicly attack the deal reached on the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area development plan — a plan forged through years of numerous public community meetings — despite never having attended a single meeting herself. Sure, Ms. Rajkumar claims to be a champion of tenants’ rights, but when has she ever reached out to local tenant leaders?

Unlike her opponent, Margaret Chin’s commitment to Lower Manhattan is not fleeting. Long before Ms. Rajkumar chose to grace us with her presence, Margaret was an outspoken advocate in the fight for fairness and equality. She has lived and worked in the community for more than 50 years, including as a leader in affordable housing and an advocate for broader voter access and civil rights. She is also the first Chinese-American to represent Chinatown, an area where her ability to speak multiple dialects of Chinese has enabled non-English-speaking citizens access to their own elected representative in a way they have never had before.

Downtowners, and New Yorkers in general, deserve better than neophytes who parachute into their city and run for office because they sense a political opportunity, regardless of how familiar they actually are with the community.

What is telling is an early quote Rajkumar gave in a January 23, 2013, Broadsheet Daily article: She said that, whereas in Battery Park City she knew residents were concerned about hurricane preparedness and school overcrowding, she believed the top issues on the Lower East Side were “gun violence, teenage pregnancy and drugs.” Small wonder the lion’s share of her donations appear to be large donations from outside the city.

Truth be told, there is only one candidate in the race for the First Council District who has a record of standing up for working and middle-class people. That candidate is Margaret Chin. To suggest otherwise is laughable and insulting to the intelligence of the electorate. Margaret Chin’s support runs the gamut and that is why she will be re-elected to the City Council after winning the primary in September.

Our elected officials are not just as good as their word, but as good as their fulfillment of the duties they took on when they accepted their roles as public servants. Since her first day in office, Margaret Chin has kept her promise to the people of Council District 1. Her committee attendance is one of the highest in the Council, and she is known for staying through the entirety of hearings when others have left, just to hear what the public has to say. She has open office hours and takes meetings with all community groups who request it. She is, in fact, one of the most accessible members in the Council.

At a time when corruption, lies, deceit and letdown run rampant, Margaret Chin is a breath of fresh air. Here’s to four more years of progress!

Torres is president, Smith Houses Tenant Association; Ortiz is president, Vladeck Houses Tenant Association; Thomas is president, LaGuardia Houses Tenant Association; Chan is a resident, Knickerbocker Village

Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this talking point incorrectly stated that Julie Menin is a candidate for public advocate.

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33 Responses to Chin is a champion of the working and middle class

  1. Wow. The Chin campaign sounds pretty desperate.

  2. Those who are paying close attention will note that, while Margaret Chin did endorse Julie Menin, my favorite candidate for Borough President, Julie DID NOT endorse Margaret. And I think with with good reason. Julie knows that big real estates's candidate cannot be the best candidate for Lower Manhattan. There's a reason REBNY is willing to put it's dollars behind Margaret Chin.

    • Downtowner who knows

      Julie Menin DID indeed endorse Margaret Chin and I have the invitation to attend the JOINT endorsement event given by Councilmember Chin and Candidate Menin. I'm guessing many of you did not attend what was a rousing event! All who were there are proud to stand with tenant and union leaders who may not be so handy with emails but know and appreciate Councilmember Chin's hard work.

  3. Chin has thrown our community under the bus over and over and over again. SoHo Bid, NYU Expansion, South Street Seaport give away to Howard Hughes Corp, Chinatown BID, etc. etc. etc. Why should we re-elect her? Because she threw her name (along with 40 other people) onto the paid sick leave bill that someone else spearheaded? Chin had little if anything to do with getting paid sick leave passed.
    All the real estate developers are pouring hundreds of thousands into Chin's re-election because they know Chin will represent landlords and let them do whatever they want (turn out old tenants, turn apartment to market rate, etc) as she has done over and over in her first term. And those same real estate landlords know that Jenifer Rajkumar, a young and idealistic civil rights lawyer, won't help them. Vote Rajkumar if you care about our community. Vote Chin if you care about big real estate and billionaires.

  4. It's fine to say that you think Chin is great (over and over), but where are the specifics? What is her "strong, progressive record"? No mention of her NYU deal? If she were proud of establishing the unwanted Chinatown BID, wouldn't that be mentioned here? If the Broadway/Soho BID was really a good thing, wouldn't Chin's support of it be mentioned here? How about her single-handed overturn of the LPC's landmark designation of 135 Bowery? It was owned by the head of her fundrasing committee, and Chin was so proud at the time, but the property has now been sold, and all is lost. We're supposed to believe that Chin is on our side, but the 24-hour bars and tourist nightlife invasion has never grown faster than under her reign. This article sounds so desparate and just eckky. If it's written by Chin's best supporter, I feel really bad for her. So sad.

  5. unions and elected officials just endorse incumbents no matter what. everyone knows that.
    if all chin can say for herself is that she has the machine's endorsement, i'm going with rajkumar. time for a fresh new voice.

  6. "Margaret Chin has kept her promise to the people of Council District 1."
    Chin's statement of support that I heard at the LPC in favor of landmarking 135 Bowery was a real-world promise. But after it was designated (a rare and hard fought success by the people of CD#1), she lead the city council in overturning the landmarking on the very same day that the Chinatown BID was approved.
    PROMISE BROKEN! And that's only one of the false claims in this letter.

  7. After all the Rhetoric fact remains that M. Chin is a candidate of corrupt political machine that gave us sexual perverts and those who are just interested in keeping their job.
    " Please, Jobs4NY -do not spend money on my campaign" but please do not stop.

  8. ConnectTheDots

    If Chin truly stood behind her words of disapproval for the Real Estate Board of NY’s big-developer, real estate funded PAC called Jobs for NY – she would tell them to cease and desist!
    That hasn't happened.

    It doesn’t pass the smell test that voters have reported receiving calls from the Chin campaign (as they identified themselves) – and these campaigners direct people to Chin's website AND the Jobs For NY website.

    Chin can't have it both ways, protesting against a big-developer, real estate funded PAC spending money on her behalf, then having campaign staff direct people to that same PAC website, and still not demanding this PAC stop spending money on her candidacy.

    Let's face it, the biggest contributors to this PAC are the top tier of the Real Estate Board of NY.
    Who also happen to be the real estate owners or developers bidding on Seward Park, buying up swaths of downtown, sitting on NYU's Board (potential NYU's developers too), and owning IPN, to name a few associations.
    It gets better, the recent chair of the Real Estate Board of NY sits on the board of Howard Hughes Corp., which was just awarded the South Street Seaport by Chin.

    Connect the dots. These are serious real estate interests that absolutely want Chin in for another 4 years. They have a lot at stake. We the people have a lot at stake too this election.

  9. Let us clear the smoke,
    1 Job4NY is a front for Realestate Board of NY. (REBNY).
    2. REBNY is a group of Billionare real estate developers and Landlords.
    3. REBNY mission is to make money.
    4. Billionare Developers develop Luxury Buildings to boost Profits.
    REBNY is spending money to get Chin re elected over Jenifer Rajkumar.


  10. Man – talk about acts of desperation. Get Real!

  11. Writer is correct.
    "Chin is champion of Middle class Billionaires club"

  12. Downtown Change

    It speaks volumes that the Chin folks and their real estate developer PAC are so concerned about the candidacy of a young woman who "parachuted" into NYC and who they claim has no experience that they are prepared to spend nearly half a million dollars on a city council race to stop her. If Ms. Rajkumar were unqualified or unprepared, a big dollar campaign against her would not be necessary. So why then? Becuase they recognize that the mood in the city has changed. That we no longer have tolerance for career hack politicians like Ms. Chin who owe their office to gerrymandering, not accomplishment or character, and are beholden to special interests and money to sustain them in the face of capable, intelligent opponents who put the needs of their constituents above all else.

  13. Downtown Change

    (cont) Jenifer Rajkumar's credentials qualify her to have any private sector job she wants at any income level. Instead she has chosen to stand up to and oppose an incumbent who represents the worst in our city, who uses her office to enrich herself and her supporters, not to advance the goals of the people who elected her. That sort of courage and principal, in the face of mindless and scripted attacks by Chin functionaries and acolytes like the authors of the little screed above, tell us much of what we need to know about Jenifer's character. Rather than attacking a young woman for having the energy and compassion to found a charity to protect and encourage other young women, an example our current councilmember would do well to learn from and follow, we should celebrate her. Jenifer is exactly the sort of young, educated and impassioned candidate the city needs. She breeds the hope that is so absent from politics and stands against the cynicism and cronyism of the Margaret Chins of our world who leave us disgusted with the political process.

  14. Downtown Change

    (Cont) Criticisms of our incumbent for ignoring the needs of the community in the fact of the devastation of Sandy or for her abject failure as a negotiator on behalf of community interests are not hollow and desperate attacks or personal vendettas. To suggest that is to ignore the depth of her failure and to hide behind baseless invective. These are fair and reasoned observations which an incumbent must address in an intelligent manner if she is to claim a right to hold her office. Claiming to have grown up in the community and to have gone to work regularly does not entitle her that office. To oppose outside funding of candidates but to refuse abjectly to disavow PAC money when given a clear opportunity to do so is simply disingenuous. If that is the best Ms. Chin has to offer, which apparently it is, then the choice here is clear.

  15. Downtown Change

    (Cont) According to legend, King Canut stood at the shores, looked out at the tide and ordered the waves to come no further. Having failed, he told his subjects that only God could say to the waves thus far thou shalt come and no further. Margaret Chin stands at that same shore, lacking King Canut's humility and secure in the notion that money alone can stem the tide of a far more qualified and capable young woman with a groundswell of support, even in the Chinatown neighborhoods form which Ms. Chin against all evidence claims to have overwhelming support. That "breath of fresh air" the authors so desire is likely to be the last of Maragaret Chin's political life. The tide is coming in.

  16. Georgette Fleischer

    Councilmember Margaret Chin’s supporters’ attempt to recast her as a “champion of the working and middle class” is no more persuasive than Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s attempt to do so a few months ago in these pages.

    Let’s look at the record.

    Anonymous on this thread has rightly pointed out the “PROMISE BROKEN!” when Chin did a 180-degree turnaround on Landmark status for the beautiful, nearly two-hundred-year-old Federal-style row house at 135 Bowery. What a loss was here.

    Thomas Parks points out Chin’s grievous betrayal of having run “in 2009 on 100% affordable housing at SPURA” only to boast later of her negotiating prowess when she settled for a mere 50%. Yet Chin’s supporters, including REBNY, promote her as a champion of affordable housing.

    I and other residents of Petrosino Square and Northern Chinatown met with Chin in January, 2010 when she was so fresh in office, she had not even had her business cards printed yet. We were promised that she would address the over-licensing of nightlife in our area, and later a meeting with the Department of Consumer Affairs. The meeting never happened. Meanwhile, over-licensed nightlife received one sweetheart deal after another each time Chin took them down to the City Council’s Land Use Committee for sidewalk cafés, either not informing the community at all, or postponing the vote so we would be left out. What was that about?

    On Friday, May 14, 2010 I arrived at the beginning of Chin’s much touted Friday office hours. I was told she was out at a meeting, but after a phone call placed to her, that she would return and that I should wait. I waited and waited, for hours, and was finally told Chin would not be returning for office hours that Friday.

    Later I stood with Village locals, many members of Community Board 2, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, and Councilmember Margaret Chin on one of the green parkland strips being eyed by NYU. Chin vowed publicly that these parkland strips would not be taken from us. On July 25, 2012 she gave them away to NYU, along with the Sasaki Garden, along with the La Guardia Corner Garden. Is this a woman of her word?

    The Chinatown BID has caused much bitterness. As Carl Rosenstein points out in an August 1, 2013 letter to the Villager, this BID was “opposed by a majority of Chinatown merchants and property owners.” But lest we think that Chin has it in only for Chinatown, let’s turn to the wildly unpopular SoHo BID, the BID in the works. I along with easily a hundred others attended Chin’s Town Hall at St. Anthony’s Church, during which an overwhelming majority vehemently opposed this BID, and said so into a microphone Chin silently apportioned to each speaker in turn. Chin may have heard us but she listened to nothing we said. Mark my words, the minute this BID is politically auspicious, Chin will see it through. It does not matter what District 1 constituents want.

    Then there was Chin’s behind-the-scenes midwifing of the Howard Hughes Corporation into the Southstreet Seaport deal. How “working and middle class” was this?

    Jenifer Rajkumar did not stand with us on the green parkland strips and make empty promises. She attended the City Council hearing along with the constituent opposition, and along with that opposition she was escorted to the door of City Hall by the gendarmes Christine Quinn ordered to remove us. On the SoHo BID, Jenifer sat on our side of the aisle. On the most pressing issue around Petrosino Square this year, the takeover of our art installation space by an enormous Citi Bike station, Jenifer held up a sign alongside the rest at one protest, stood in the crowd listening to the community at another. For me it is not a difficult choice: Do I want to be represented by the Councilmember who sits up on a dais and ignores my pleas or who remains silent on the main floor while I am being escorted out of the gallery, or do I want to be represented in the City Council by someone who is already my District Leader and who has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with me on all the important issues in my neighborhood, even to the extent of being escorted out of City Hall with me.

    Let’s not debase the word “integrity” as Councilmember Chin’s supporters have done here. Let’s reinvigorate it. Council District 1 needs progressive change and it needs it now.

    Georgette Fleischer
    Founder, Friends of Petrosino Square

  17. Judith Chazen Walsh


    Chin 'progressively gave South Street Seaport and 135 Bowery to her real estate buddies
    Chin voted for NYU 2031 publicly and worked with NYU secretly and privately to get this horrific expansion passed. From the first moment we smelled a rat, Chin knew her constituency was opposed to and would be destroyed by NYU 2031.

    Jenifer Rajkumar is the future of a City Council which will have many newly elected members and she can lead them in listening to and voting for what the constituents want — not what corporations and real estate developers want.

    Jenifer Rajkumar knows her district by walking it and talking to its people and seeing with her own eyes
    what is needed and wanted.


  18. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this farce. I think I’ll opt for the former. It’s just too ridiculous. With a so-called “champion” like a spineless sellout like Margaret Chin, the middle-class needs no enemies. Jenifer Rajkumar puts her to shame on every count — and, like every neighbor I know, I’m counting the days to the primary so we can finally show Charlatan Chin the door.

  19. Seriously? This is a brilliant parody, right? No?

    When Margaret Chin negotiated the NYU 2031 Plan, she (and Christine Quinn) came out with a WORSE deal than was originally offered. Chin and Quinn lost the the community a desperately needed site for a new public school. And we already know how Chin and Quinn gave away PUBLIC parks, playgrounds and open green space to NYU, a private institution, to build out of scale buildings.

    Well, when these op-ed writers wake up to their new dystopian world of towering concrete and a greatly diminished quality of life they can thank their "good friend," Margaret Chin.

  20. The Villager/Downtown Express/East Villager News would provide a great service to the community if they hosted a debate between Margaret Chin and Jenifer Rajkumar.

    And the same for The Villager/Chelsea Now/Gay City News if they sponsored a debate between Corey Johnson and Yetta Kurland.

    Let's here what our City Council candidates have to say.

  21. I hear that there was debate recorded a few days ago by League to Women Voters to be released on August 19th. I can hardly wait to see it.

  22. Judith Chazen Walsh

    YES YES Debate Debate Let's have a Margaret Chin Jenifer Rajkumar public debate
    and let's have it soon
    Ms. Chin should put her mouth where her money is!

  23. I hear that there was debate recorded a few days ago by League of Women Voters to be released on August 19th. I can hardly wait to see it.

  24. I cannot stop laughing at the 4 person “love note” to Mrs. Chin
    “Our elected officials are not just as good as their word, but as good as their fulfillment of the duties they took on when they accepted their roles as public servants. Since her first day in office, Margaret Chin has kept her promise to the people of Council District 1.” What promise has she really kept. Many witnessed Mrs. Chin’s lack of integrity promising that she would NEVER give public lands to NYU for its ambitious NYU 2031. But she did. Turning our neighborhood from residential zoning to commercial zoning. Yes, she did. We asked her to help us restore bus service (M5) to our neighborhood. But she didn’t. So, despite the “love note” making me laugh, my vote goes to Jenifer Rejkumar who seems a more honest candidate to occupy District 1′s councilmanic seat.

  25. "Chin is a champion of the working and middle class" as told to Aixa Torres, Nancy Ortiz, Jessica Thomas and Henry Chan by Margaret Chin and the Real Estate Board of New York.

  26. Hey, Village Resident:

    Maybe one reason your fatuous comments get removed is because they are libelous: "How many know that Corey Johnson allegedly physically attacked a person handing out flyers critical of him last week?"

    You know who is pushing that false rumor? Yetta Kurland!

    She got her mouthpiece, controversial Giuliani appointee and house counsel to drug lords, Chris Lynn, to try to get the cops to arrest Corey when one of Yetta's volunteers – a madman – physically assaulted one of Corey's volunteers in the hallway of a Chelsea apartment building. Corey, present, called 911, but the volunteer did not want to file charges.

    Ambulance-chaser Lynn then shows up and tries to get Corey – the peacemaker – charged.

    The NYPD wisely refused and sent this poor excuse for a lawyer packing. I guess things are slow for Lynn, since the crack epidemic has subsided and the drug lords no longer need his service.

    Then pops up slimeball

  27. Unfortunately, this level of racial insults denigrates our electoral system. Chin is a champion of the middle class, and she has been endorsed by over 16 unions. Rajkumar has no experience. Vote to re-elect Margaret Chin!

    • Anyone is welcome to support whoever they want, and I've enjoed they terrific debate here, but say there is "this level of racial insults" is just wrong, wrong, wrong. If you're going to throw out the race card like that, please at least site an example of where any commenter has used race to denigrate anyone. You are the one lowering the debate here. very bad form.

    • The comments have been a civil and documented discourse on Margaret Chin's poor City Council record. And Chin had no experience when she ran for City Council. Ms. Chin called me four years ago while campaigning for City Council. She painted herself as an outsider with no experience but expected constituents to teach her how to do the job. Obviously, Chin neither listened nor learned from constituents and as a result has destroyed much that is good in Lower Manhattan. Time for a new Councilmember.

      Jenifer Rajkumar has as much if more experience that Chin had when she ran for City Council.

  28. Don't forget that Margaret Chin literally threw the LES community 'under the bus' when she came out in strong favor of the large Greyhound (Yo) Bus stop right at the corner playground at Seward Park. Yet another example of how she supported the big guys- Greyhound- despite huge grassroots community opposition. Even when CB3 voted this application down, Chin still supported it!

    So much for listening to or helping the community, Ms. Chin!

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