SOHO POLITICS: A City Council Choice for SoHo

Jenifer Rajkumar

While there are arguably two overlapping City Council seats that represent SoHo, the traditional slot formerly held by Kathryn Freed (now a judge) and Alan Gerson, now belongs to Margaret Chin.

As a primarily Chinatown housing activist, Chin was a gamble for SoHo political supporters. One of the main questions was whether she would step outside the community she formerly supported with great vigor, and learn to embrace the larger and more diverse interests of District 1.

But, the criticism of Chin’s office became more associated with the failure to rein in the power of developers that are sinking their teeth even more into the SoHo heritage. And, she has returned nothing to us.

The SoHo BID—a contentious attempt by outside real estate interests to dictate the control of the community by setting up a de facto government to manage our streets and collect tariffs to pay for it—was supported by Chin. And, her previously applauded housing activism that saved tenants from unscrupulous landlords have been abandoned. Rent control and rent stabilization is on the wane in SoHo and is under serious attack. Chin was asked to participate in showing support in defeating the use of the courts to dismantle the regulation laws and she refused. (Yes, we asked her.)

Jenifer Rajkumar is a lawyer, a District Leader, a Democrat who espouses early, direct, personal involvement in the community’s political decisions for her district, District 1 in SoHo.

While Jenifer, who is also a member of the Downtown Independent Democrats, realizes that unseating an incumbent is an uphill battle, she is a determined and politically attractive candidate who is in this race for the right reasons. Not for power, not for self-aggrandizement, and not for provincial attempts to make small changes. Her desire is to fundamentally alter the way politics is managed. That is, by involving the community at the very outset in dealing with any changes that affect it. For changes that affect SoHo.

Vote for her this September 10th so that we in SoHo can answer the question that she posed at her City Hall announcement to run: “What can I do for you in the neighborhood.”

She, at least, has asked us.

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