Julie Menin for Borough President | chelseanow.com

Julie Menin for Borough President

Julie Menin

Julie Menin

It’s probably a testament to Scott Stringer’s fine work as Manhattan borough president that there are several good candidates to replace him. All four of the Democrats running would continue and build on Stringer’s exemplary system of screening, appointing and training community board members — which has pretty much ended the cronyism and conflict of interest problems of the past.

The candidates in this primary represent what is the best field of any of the races we looked at this year, but one candidate, Julie Menin, former chairperson of Community Board 1 (CB1) in Lower Manhattan, stands out.

Except for appointing community board members, borough presidents have mostly advisory powers and can be easily ignored. It takes skill and savvy to be effective, and like a community board chairperson, the post’s power rests more with the person, rather than the office.

Menin has an impressive record of accomplishments, demonstrating leadership on so many important issues. Without her, Downtown would never have secured $200 million of 9/11 money originally slated for large utilities, but which the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. had been sitting on for years. The money had been forgotten by most, and it was Menin who raised the issue, rallied support and got money redirected.

Occupy Wall Street was a “gimme” issue for progressives around the city and the world — but in the neighborhood surrounding Zuccotti Park, it was a thorny situation in which free speech and assembly rights had to be balanced against the need of residents not to be disrupted. Menin led the effort to forge a compromise resolution at CB1.

The so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” actually a mosque and Islamic center in the same neighborhood as the World Trade Center, was something Menin and Board 1 could have easily ducked, but they stood up against calls for government interference with religion.

Whether it came to fighting to move the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial and its security risks outside of Lower Manhattan or getting more desperately needed school space, Menin time and time again worked with others to get results. We have watched this community leader rise and learn and get better with time.

She has a thoughtful plan to use the borough president’s budget to give community boards more resources to do comprehensive surveys in order to identify the greatest needs in each part of Manhattan, which should empower them to get more affordable housing, schools and better park space. Making urban planning more responsive to community needs is something that she has been thinking and talking about for years.

We were also impressed with Councilmember Jessica Lappin, another candidate, who has put forward good ideas on land use and community board improvements. Councilmember Gale Brewer has real legislative accomplishments on important issues like paid sick leave and protecting small shops on the Upper West Side, and would probably be a good borough president. Although his legislative record is not as strong as his two opponents in the council, the fourth candidate — Councilmember Robert Jackson — was a leader in the effort to get fairer state education funds for the city. But none of those three have shown us they are likely to be as effective as Menin.


  1. Michael Burke says:

    Menin was part of the jury that bestowed upon NYC the 2 billion dollar plus, $60 million per year in operating costs, economically unsustainable 9/11 memorial/museum fiasco. An intelligent, honest choice would have given NYC and America a humble, genuine memorial at a fraction of the cost that easily co-exists with its surrounding communitty and a plaza level museum that would now be open and generating revenue.

    Dictated by myopic political correctness, she blindly supported the Ground Zero Mosque, besides the fact its would be founders were shady, self serving liars.

    She opposed the KSM trial in downtown entirely on "NIMBY" – she was fine with a trial that denied the historical truth of their crime. As long as it was not held in downtown. Staten Island, maybe. Or NJ. Iowa. Jut not in her backyard.

    Voters should think twice before pulling the lever for Menin.

  2. Dean says:

    So Julie Menin should be the next president of all of Manhattan because of what she did or did not do in lower Manhattan post 911? Are you kidding me? And as a Chair of a Community Board no less?

    The intelligent choice for Manhattan Borough President is by far Jessica Lappin. She has already proven results even outside her council district for the past eight years rushing to Harlem to save senior centers from closing, racing over to Chelsea to save the seniors at SAGE and Penn South, advocating for tenants all over Manhattan facing harrassment or discrimination, co sponsoring the paid sick leave bill for all of the New Yorkers with the union that created the idea WAY before Gale Brewer adopted it as her bill or achievement, fighting the Bloomverg administration in development all over Manhattan until affordable housing units, public space for parks or waterfront use or more space for public schools was set aside as part of the project and using her pubkic persona to advance real democratic progresdive issues such as a landmark law against deceptive anti choice abortion clinics across Manhattan. Jessica isnt some rich transplant with kids going to private school but a real gutsy life long New Yorker, middle class mom with sons in public school and with energy and wit to lead the borough into a new era of active important leadership.

    This endorsement of Menin is short cited and superficial and unintelligent. I am very dissapointed in Chelsea Now.

  3. Dean says:

    One last thing, because of her strong support for LGBT causes such as marriage equality, HIV funding, LGBT homeless shelter advocacy, Jessica Lappin had been enthusiastically endorsed by Senators Tom Duane & Brad Hoylman! As one if the “gay” rep papers, I ask Chelsea Now, what has Julie Menin done for the gays? As a community organizer I have never seen of heard from Menin at our rallies or at our pride parade. I have never seen her at the LGBT Center until democratic club endorsement meetings this primary election season where she exploited the anger and resentment of senior West Village residents over the loss of their beloved St Vincents Hospital to her advantage eventhough Menin did nothing to save the hospital herself. In fact she is endorsed by the person who was charge of that district and under whose lack of leadership the famed hospital shut its doors!!!!

    Again, this endorsement is ill informed and without merit. Chelsea Now has done its readers and our community a major disservice!