Corey Johnson for City Council in District 3 primary

Corey Johnson

Corey Johnson

The District 3 City Council race, for the seat held the past 14 years by Speaker Christine Quinn, pits two passionate and energetic L.G.B.T. contenders against each other for what has often been dubbed “the gay seat.”

Yetta Kurland is an attorney who has won some impressive civil rights victories in her career, remains outspoken on the closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital, and has rallied community members on other issues, including Superstorm Sandy relief.

Corey Johnson has also been a community activist during his 13 years in New York and has served for eight years on Community Board 4, encompassing Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, including two terms as board chairperson.

The two broadly share common progressive views on a host of issues, including the need for more affordable housing, more classrooms, increased spending on H.I.V. prevention, greater citizen participation in allocating funds available to the councilmember, and curbs on the excessive use of stop-and-frisk tactics by the New York Police Department.

A central theme of Kurland’s campaign has been her willingness to take on established powers in the city, an approach typified by her 2009 challenge to Quinn’s re-election and her tireless activism around the St. Vincent’s Hospital issue.

Johnson emphasizes his skill at working with government bodies and other stakeholders to achieve the goals he values. Evidence for that includes his demonstrated mastery of policy details and the confidence his C.B. 4 colleagues placed in him by twice electing him chairperson.

We believe that Johnson’s skill set and his vision for his role as a councilmember make him better suited to represent the diverse communities within District 3.

The bitterness and pettiness that has characterized this contest –– including determined whisper campaigns waged by surrogates for both candidates –– is disappointing, and both Johnson and Kurland bear responsibility for not having run a more positive race. Kurland spent far too much time trying to link her opponent to the evils of the real estate industry based on two staff jobs with developers he held for relatively short amounts of time. Johnson, for his part, for too long was inexplicably opaque about his résumé, which did little but fuel the sense there was something to be uncovered.

The Aug. 26 debate at the Chelsea Bowtie Cinema, however, nicely clarified the choice between the two candidates. Johnson offered detailed explanations for community board work he has accomplished, which gave credence to the proposals he discussed. He also set a generally positive tone for the evening that suggested he has the ability to work with community members of widely divergent opinions. He acknowledged that Kurland had led the charge on the hospital issue, and pledged, if elected, to work with her to restore a full-service hospital to the Lower West Side.

Kurland offered her vision and also a profile of herself that matched that vision. She was too often, though, short on specifics, a flaw that has hobbled both of her Council runs. She also has an unfortunate tendency to use upbeat language to mask serious aspersions she is suggesting about her opponent –– ones she apparently is unwilling to make directly.

Should Johnson be elected, we hope he will recognize the vital importance of transparency in his public life. His community work to date suggests significant promise and we urge a vote for him.

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16 Responses to Corey Johnson for City Council in District 3 primary

  1. I agree Corey is definitely the best candidate for you to endorse. I do not agree that he has run a negative campaign along with Yetta. I first knew and liked Yetta. Her campaign against Corey totally pushed me away from her. Once I met Corey who has is very accessible to all, i have been impressed over and over by how positive he INSISTS on keeping the campaign even when there was information that he could use..he didn't and wouldn't.
    Nancy S.

    • Nancy you are 100% right on. When Yetta's camp wrote incorrect information about Corey I corrected them. They however, continued to give misinformation. I asked them why they don't have anything positive to say about Yetta, they told me they will. I have yet to hear it. I don't think she has the ability to run a positive campaign, its not in her nature.

      I know she stood in front of St Vincents and gave good speeches. That does not a Council Member make.

  2. As my friend Nancy posted, I have not seen any "whisper campaign" put forth against Kurland by Corey Johnson. *I* filed a complaint with the CFB based on what I perceived to be violations of the law BEFORE I did any work for Corey's campaign. That's not a whisper campaign and that wasn't done by or on behalf of the candidate. Any questions Corey has had about Yetta have been asked right out in the open, such as at the debate the other night or at the Fierce debate last week. No unattributed flyers handed out by paid people from outside the district chock full of lies. No letters under the doors of residents at Penn South full of lies. Etc.

  3. I strongly disagree with the endrosement of Corey Johnson. From my standpoint, what I have seen from this campaign is a team of his supporters that include (not all), those who have openly expressed disdainment of women in the past, an even bigger disdain of lesbians, and oome who have outright expressed physical attraction towards Corey or who have said his HIV status makes him a “brave candidate”. Now, I don’t need to explain to all of you reading this that those factors have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with his qualifications for City Council. Also, say that his supporters and campaign team have not been negative toward Yetta Kurland is preposterous. A perfect example is this past Monday’s debate. Whenever it was Yetta Kurland’s time to answer aquestion, the audience supporters of Corey immediately burst out into boos and hisses, as well as some yelling out “hypocrite” and other unflattering terms. Although Yetta answered each question put foreward, the Corey supporters in the audi ence yelled out, “Answer the question!”, even when she did completely answer it. On the other hand, Corey Johnson actually didn’t answer a few questions within the realm of the subject, which prompted the moderators on the panel to ask him to elaborate. This occurred at least twice. Throughout the debate, Corey mentioned NO FEWER THAN FOUR TIMES that his father was a Pepsi truck driver. Again, unless he is working on a soft drink endorsement deal, what does that have to do with you running for City Council? The bottom line is, when you go to the polls, please think about the facts:
    Corey may have been one of the people rallying against St. Vincents, but Yetta was at the forefront. If you were at the meetings and public outings, then there is no way to deny that fact. While Corey does have a decent track record, Yetta has over 20 years experience WITHIN THE SURROUNDING AREAS OF THE DISTRICT. Are we really going to overlook that? What about the countless high profile suits that her law firm won for people in the area throughout the years? I implore all of the voters to vote with facts on your minds, as opposed to character likeability.

  4. Yetta has over 20 years experience in the district? Really? She couldn't discuss one policy issue in specifics at the debate the other night. In addition, someone should inform her that it is a "certificate of need" that the state issues for a hospital. She had a few different names for the certificate at the debate the other night. All of these little things that she bumbles gives her charade away. The gun thing. Its not bad to lawfully own a gun per se. But the constant twisting and lying of the story is irritating at best. First, she was an officer of the court (i.e., lawyer). Second, she was the licensed security guard for her language school. Third, then she was the Homeland Security representative for the school. Maybe the truth would have been best – her law firm got robbed and she felt safer owning a gun. Simple. But no. She had to twist and turn the story. And then, the final lie – bringing Homeland Security into the mix to make her sound "important". Let me ask this. So lets say there was a violent occurrence at the school. Would someone really call Yetta who would then grab her gun and run the 20-30 blocks from her law firm to the Park Avenue language school? Really? People don't really believe this do they? Moreover, the NYPD state that she still has a license which means she still has the gun. Yett-a-nother lie.

  5. Beth, first of all, I want to extend my respect ro you because regardless of our disagreement over candidates, I always am grateful when somebody cares enough to pffer an opinion amd cares about what is going on. I am assuming that you were at the debate on Mponday. If so, then you may recall when the gun possession issue was brought up. It was in reference to a former school and dpcumentation was indeed provided that it was returned. As a matter of fact, there was a resounding applaise in the room because she chastised Corey for continuing to bring up an issue that had been answered several times before. In regard to her 20 plus years of experience and serbice within Manhattan – yes she does. What is piquing my curiousity is the fact that none of the newspapers that have endorsed Corey have questioned him on his flip flop answer about his prior endorsement and then rejection (for lack of a better term) against Bloomberg.

  6. Yetta, through her donors and surrogates, Gene Glaberman and Velma Hill, has distributed over 9000 smear letters to residents at Penn South, Elliot Chelsea, Manhattan Plaza (where her own employee Josh Silverstien was caught stuffing them under people’s doors), Westbeth, and London Terrace. Her law partner writes a fourth smear piece and pays “volunteers” to distribute it outside of the debate – and she has the audacity to imply during the debate that Corey has attacked her unfairly? No flyers about Yetta, no smears about Yetta. Give me a break. What planet are you all on?

  7. No documentation was ever provided that the gun was returned. And the truth is – most people could careless about a lawful gun. I think its the lying and twisting of the story that is worrisome. There is a reason why almost every single elected official, union, local democratic club, and local newspaper so far have endorsed Corey. Yetta fought for each of those endorsements and almost none were responsive. Now you can rattle off the few endorsements Yetta received as a rebuttal but you and I both know the meat of the endorsements fall under Corey. And that is because for the last 8 1/2 years Corey has been pounding the pavement in the neighborhood while serving on the community board. Meeting every single person on every single issue that faced the district. Sitting at a table and working issues out amicably – often meeting half way. Not to mention – doing something for 8 1/2 years for free says a lot. Being 29/30 years old and being elected Chair (twice) of arguably one of the most important community boards in NYC says a lot too. You should go around the city to the community boards and take a poll of how many people in their twenties who are on the community board. I have no clue what the answer is but I suspect there aren't many. Thats just the way I see it. We can agree to disagree. Good night.

  8. Reality Check, I have volunteered for Yetta (and other cansidates) for almost four yeats now, and I have NEVER been offered any type of monetary gift or any gift at all. As a matter of fact, just to instill an example of Yettas character, she is fully aware that I am 100 percent endorsing Christine Quinn fpr Mayor (along with volunteering as well), and neither camp has ever made a snide remark to me about the other. As a matter pf fact, Yetta has commended me for my open jonesty in regard to whom I support and it has never wavered our respect for each other.

    • Lovari, I said nothing about your mayoral endorsement or how Yetta feels about it. I asked about the smear letters that her campaign has distributed to voters.

  9. Reality Check, I have volunteered for Yetta (and
    other cansidates) for almost four years now, and I
    have NEVER been offered any type of monetary gift
    or any gift at all. As a matter of fact, just to instill an
    example of Yetta’s character, she is fully aware that I
    am 100 percent endorsing Christine Quinn for
    Mayor (along with volunteering as well), and
    neither camp has ever made a snide remark to me
    about the other. As a matter of fact, Yetta has
    commended me for my open honesty in regard to
    whom I support and it has never waivered our respect for each other.

  10. To say that Yetta answered each question at the debate the other night is as big a lie as any she has told in the campaign. Asked about her plans to improve education in the district, she gave her educational history and then moved on to affordable housing. But the real kicker was the question Corey asked her about Farley/Penn Station/MSG. Yetta had NO CLUE what Corey was talking about, so she didn't even try to answer the question. She ended up rambling on with some affordable housing talk, but absolutely nothing to do with the question.

    • 100% correct! It was an honest, substantive question on an important issue, and she couldn't even act like she knew what he was talking about! Her true colors have come out more and more as this campaign has gone on. Corey and his camp have written and distributed NO fictional "smear" letters about Yetta, and yet thousands of mailboxes have been stuffed with completely false and outrageous allegations about Corey, that she would never have the guts to accuse him of publicly. End of story. Oh, and to learn more about the real Kurland, check out Chap James Day's Facebook page. He used to work for her.

  11. Disappointing endorsement.

  12. BehindtheCurtain

    Corey Johnson is a real estate lackey wolf in sheep's clothing.

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