The Heart of New York and the 2021 Mayoral Primary: Is There Passion for Change?

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In his haunting but beautiful song A Heart in New York, the singer-songwriter Art Garfunkel observes, “New York/Like a scene from all those movies/But you’re real enough to me/There’s a heart/A heart that lives in New York.” On June 22, 2021, 22 candidates will vie for top dog in the New York mayoral primary, hoping that they have enough heart to appeal to a frazzled, if not angry electorate, who are worried the best days of the Big Apple are behind them. 

new york
Official Seal of New York Source: en.wikipedia.org

In this article, it is my intention to help readers understand the issues, platforms, and political aspirations of each candidate. To do so, I will take a somewhat unorthodox approach by analyzing the candidates through five perspectives. By taking this approach, I made judgments about the views, tendencies, and personalities of the candidates. 

In fairness, readers should understand that while I was born in New York, and my parents lived there as young adults, I am offering an outside perspective. And while outside eyes can offer a fresh look at issues, it is a far cry from the  “lived experience” that New Yorkers have. It should also be noted that these judgments are solely my opinions, and as such do not reflect the point of view of Newsweed,com as an entity, nor its owner, Mark Nejmeh. With these caveats in mind, let’s dive in!

The first perspective, Political Orientation Matrix, plots the candidates on a matrix using two axes. The horizontal axis shows where the candidates fall on the Insider/Outsider spectrum.  By Insider or Outsider, I mean how much (Insider) or little (Outsider) experience the candidates have working inside the New York political machine. The other spectrum, Boundary Maker/Boundary Breaker, describes how observant candidates are of traditional approaches to leadership (Boundary Maker), or their tendency to buck the system (Boundary Breaker). 

The second perspective is Cut to the Chase, which uses a table to list the top three issues each candidate identified as priorities according to the order listed on their campaign websites. Even though several candidates have more than ten identified issues, I decided to narrow the information so that readers get a sense of what is most important to each candidate.

The third perspective, In Their Own Words, lists quotes that capture important policy stances, giving the reader a peek into the thinking and attitudes of each candidate. Although many candidates have a rich collection of speaking points, I chose quotes that reflect either core values or “political personality.” 

The fourth perspective, Say it in a Song, takes a more lighthearted, or whimsical approach to capturing the mindset of the candidates by correlating their stances on issues with a song. In doing so, I hope to impart a memorable political theme. I of course acknowledge this is not an exact science, but I also sincerely believe this technique helps readers retain important ideas about the candidates. 

The fifth perspective, Career Corner, provides information about the professional background of each candidate, grouping them in broad categories such as business/investment, education, law, or politics. I included  this information because I feel it’s important to have a sense of the skill sets candidates bring to the table.  

FIRST PERSPECTIVE: NEW YORK MAYORAL POLITICAL ORIENTATION MATRIX

New York
Political Orientation Matrix Source: Gary Loss

Candidate References

  1. Fernando Mateo (Age: 63, Job: Businessman/Contractor)
  2. Curtis Sliwa (Age: 67, Job: Activist and founder of Guardian Angels)

Democrats

  1. Eric Adams (Age: 60, Job: Brooklyn borough president)
  2. Art Chang (Age: 58, Job: Former managing director at JPMorgan Chase and entrepreneur)
  3. Shaun Donovan (Age: 55, Job: Senior strategist/adviser overseeing Harvard University’s campus expansion
  4. Aaron Foldenauer (Age: 45, Job: Lawyer)
  5. Kathryn Garcia (Age: 51, Job: Former New York City sanitation commissioner)
  6. Raymond McGuire (Age: 64, Job: Businessman)
  7. Dianne Morales (Age: 53, Job: Executive director and CEO of Phipps Neighborhoods)
  8. Paperboy Love Prince (Age: 28, Job: Rapper, former congressional candidate)
  9. Scott Stringer (Age: 61, Job: New York City comptroller)
  10. Joycelyn Taylor (Age: 55, Job: Businesswoman and nonprofit founder)
  11. Maya Wiley (Age: 57, Job: Former civil rights attorney and legal analyst)
  12. Isaac Wright Jr. (Age: 59, Job: Lawyer, entrepreneur)
  13. Andrew Yang (Age: 46, Job: Businessman, former 2020 presidential candidate)
  14. Edward Cullen (Age: 34, Job: Entrepreneur/Technology Innovator)
  15. Barbara Kavovit (Age: 54 Job: author, businesswoman, reality television stars)
  16. Quanda Francis (Age: ? Job: Data Expert)

Independent/ General election for Mayor of New York (The following candidates are not participating in the primary and will directly run in the general election for Mayor of New York on November 2, 2021.)

  1. Stacey Prussman, Libertarian Party (Age: 50, Job: Stand-up comedian and public speaker)
  2. William Pepitone, Conservative Party (Age: 53, Job: former NYC police officer)
  3. Deborah Axt, The Working Families Party (Age: 48, Job: non-profit business executive)
  4. Vitaly Filipchenko, (Age: 48, Job: small business owner)
  5. Christopher Krietchman (Age: 41, Job: health & wellness entrepreneur)

SECOND PERSPECTIVE: CUT TO THE CHASE 

Candidate Issue # 1 Issue # 2 Issue # 3
Fernando Mateo (R) Jobs and Safety  Subway Safety  Lifting Covid-19 Restrictions 
Curtis Sliwa (R) Refund the Police Safer Subways 
Eric Adams (D) Improve  Government  Improve Economy  Improve Education
Art Chang (D) Women’s Equity Millennials and Generation Z Universal Childcare 
Shaun Donovan (D) Education  Climate  Housing 
Aaron Foldenauer (D) COVID-19 Small Property Owners  Healthy Eating 
Kathryn Garcia (D) Economic Recovery Climate Change  Housing 
Raymond McGuire (D) Economy and Jobs  Public Safety and Justice  Education 
Dianne Morales (D) Guaranteed Housing  Green Food, Green Jobs, Green Justice Defund the Police, Fund the People 
Paperboy Love Prince (D) Universal Basic Income for All  Spreading Love Healthcare for All
Scott Stringer (D) Children and Education  Climate Action  Healthcare and the Pandemic 
Joycelyn Taylor (D) Affordable Housing  Criminal Justice Reform  Education 
Maya Wiley  (D) New Deal New York  Universal Community Care  Gun Violence Prevention Plan 
Isaac Wright Jr (D) Economics  Transit  Homelessness
Andrew Yang (D) Investing in Veterans  Supporting Seniors  A Safe and Fair City 
Edward Cullen (D) Creation of 50 Public/Private Partnerships  New York City Solve  Tribute to Heroes 
Quanda Francis (D) K-12 Education  Special Education  Community Development 
Stacey Prussman (L) Public Safety  Corona Virus Safety  Democratize Education 
William Pepitone (Conservative Party)  Mr. Pepitone does not currently have a functioning campaign website.
Deborah Axt (I) Ms. Axt does not currently have a functioning campaign website.
Vitaly Filipchenko (I) Urban Planning and Street Reform  Police Reform  Build Low-Income Housing 
Christopher Krietchman  (I) Basic Human Rights and Needs Public Health and Wellness Community and Culture

 

THIRD PERSPECTIVE: IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Fernando Mateo–“Most of the work I’ve done over the last 30 years has been for Democratic communities because the Dems don’t do for their own. I’m the only Republican in this race that can bring 500,000 Democratic votes over in order for us to win.”

Curtis Sliwa–”I think the most important thing is, everybody can claim they know what’s going to solve this subway problem, but when it comes to subway cred, nobody knows more about the subterranean hell that is the subway than Curtis Sliwa,”

Eric Adams–“In addition to building on our existing efforts to increase civic engagement to new levels and foster the leadership of voices from every community, we will ensure that together WeRISE.”

Art Chang–“Leaders have to put themselves on the line to show that this (police reform) is important in order to build trust with these communities that have the worst crime and the least safety. And the first step is getting police chiefs and commissioners to give up sole power over discipline.”

Shaun Donovan–“Every New Yorker must stand up to say we will not accept the destiny of our children being determined by the zip code they grow up in — by the color of their skin,” he said. “We need to invest in every child in every community.”

Aaron Foldenaue– “When I become mayor, I am going to work with leaders in Albany to revisit jail reform.”

Kathryn Garcia–“I feel like New Yorkers right now are really looking for clear vision and a clear articulation and confidence that you know how to get work done, that you understand that they don’t want a lot of fluff,” she added.

Raymond McGuire–“We’re facing a financial crisis unlike any the city has seen before. Too many kids who look like me or grew up like I did can’t make it. Too many people are out of work. No jobs. No city. I’m running because the same old political answers won’t fix that.”

Dianne Morales–“The right and the ability to live in dignity is the thing that distinguishes a humane existence—a humane government and leadership—from one that has dehumanized so many of our Black and Brown community members for decades, if not centuries.”

William Pepitone–“We’ve let the quality-of-life crimes go and it’s turned into more violent crime. We need to go back to that type of [broken-windows] policing.”

Paper By Love Prince–“The city needs love more than ever — people are hurting right now.”

Scott Stringer–“As mayor, I will take bold, proactive steps to get vulnerable New Yorkers the help they need with better access to housing, quality psychiatric healthcare and supportive services. When we help the neediest among us, we help and protect all New Yorkers.”

Joycelyn Taylor–“The other reality is; for the black and brown communities is that when we stand up and ask for change, we create change for every community.”

Maya Wiley–“As mayor, I’ll be in charge, and I’ll get it done. Because it is time the NYPD sees us as people who deserve to breathe.”

Isaac Wright Jr–“But I think what’s going to actually create change over the long term is to do something that we’ve failed to do, and we should have done a long time ago, and that is to educate our young people about not only American history in general, but also about the dark side of American history.”

Andrew Yang– “The program we’re looking to roll out in New York targets the extreme poor, and would have no interaction with existing social safety nets. And I think that, again, cities around the country have made this work.”

Edward Cullen–“We believe turning a small section of Rockaway into a reduced-tax zone to promote research and development around sustainability could have significant effects on promoting new jobs and unique opportunities across all five boroughs.”

Quanda Francis– “As Mayor, I would stimulate the job market by utilizing analytics models, committees and subcommittees consisting of various industry leaders, and New York City agencies as partners with private sector entities to enact a Workforce Development 10-Point Plan.”

Stacey Prussman–“People in the communities need to take charge of their education. They have to choose what they want to learn and that’s the most empowering thing you can do to a student. And schools are not places of martial law. The police should not be there.”

Deborah Axt–(I was unable to locate a verifiable quote from Ms. Axt.)

Vitaly Filipchenko–“From the day I was born in 1973 – I have been independent minded. Born and raised in Siberia during Communism, I came of age in the volatile years of Perestroika. I immigrated here for a better life, where I have freedom of speech and thought. As Mayor, I will lead with this in mind. ”

Christopher Krietchman– “It’s time for more transparency and accountability to the people of NYC and access with food vendors to higher quality foods, even collaborations with our local and national celebrity chefs. I believe the Food Network has a base here and we should capitalize on that opportunity.”

FOURTH PERSPECTIVE: SAY IT IN A SONG (*Note: The idea here is to match the title of a song to the political themes and policy initiatives of the candidates, which of course is highly subjective. In no way am I suggesting the specific content of the lyrics or the political leanings of the musician represent the beliefs or policy aims of the candidates. If you are curious about the reasoning behind the song choice, I urge you to learn more about the candidates so the connection is more apparent.)

Candidate  Song Lyrics 
Fernando Mateo  Blue Collar Man, by Styx https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/styx/bluecollarman.html
Curtis Sliwa  Safe in New York City by AC/DC https://genius.com/Ac-dc-safe-in-new-york-city-lyrics
Eric Adams  Balance of Power by Rick Wakeman  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KR0e7tk-blY
Art Chang On Broadway by George Benson   

https://genius.com/George-benson-on-broadway-lyrics

Shaun Donovan  My Hometown by Bruce Springsteen https://genius.com/Bruce-springsteen-my-hometown-lyrics
Aaron Foldenauer  New York, New York, by Frank Sinatra  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/franksinatra/themefromnewyorknewyork.html
Kathryn Garcia  Despite Repeated Warnings, by Paul McCartney https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/paulmccartney/despiterepeatedwarnings.html
Raymond McGuire  Taking Care of Business, BTO https://genius.com/Bachmanturner-overdrive-takin-care-of-business-lyrics
Dianne Morales  Teach Your Children,  by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/crosbystillsnashyoung/teachyourchildren.html
Paperboy Love Prince  All You Need is Love by the Beatles https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beatles/allyouneedislove.html
Scott Stringer  Don’t Be a Dropout, by James Brown  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/jamesbrown/dontbeadropout.html
Joycelyn Taylor  Change, by Faith Evans https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/faithevans/change.html
Maya Wiley   Earth Song, by Michael Jackson  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/michaeljackson/earthsong.html
Isaac Wright Jr  The Prisoner, Gil Scott-Heron   https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/gilscottheron/theprisoner.html
Andrew Yang  Help, by the Beatles  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/beatles/help.html
Edward Cullen  Bridge Over Troubled Water, by Simon and Garfunkel  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/simongarfunkel/bridgeovertroubledwater.html
Quanda Francis  A Change is Gonna Come, by Sam Cooke https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/samcooke/achangeisgonnacome.html
Stacey Prussman  Power to the People , by John Lennon  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/johnlennon/powertothepeople.html
William Pepitone   Workin’ For A Livin’, by Huey Lewis & The News https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/hueylewisthenews/workinforalivin.html
Deborah Axt  This Land Is Your Land, by Woody Guthrie  https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/woodyguthrie/thislandisyourland.htm
Vitaly Filipchenko  City of Immigrants, by Steve Earl https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/steveearle/cityofimmigrants.html
Christopher Krietchman   Everyday People, by Sly and the Family Stone https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/slythefamilystone/everydaypeople.html

 

FIFTH PERSPECIVE: CAREER CORNER (Note: Some candidates have more than one career background.) 

Political Service/Legal Finance/

Investment 

Entrepreneurship / Business  Non Profit/ Activism  Technology /Data/ Consulting Other
Eric Adams Art Chang Fernando Mateo Curtis Sliwa Shaun Donovan Stacey Prussman
Aaron Foldenaue Raymond McGuire Dianne Morales Edward Cullen
Kathryn Garcia Joycelyn Taylor Vitaly Filipchenko Quanda Francis
Scott Stringer Andrew Yang Paperboy Love Prince Deborah Axt 
Maya Wiley Christopher Krietchman
Isaac Wright Jr.
William Pepitone

 

CANDIDATE CONTACT INFORMATION 

Candidate  Contact Info. Candidate  Contact Info.
Fernando Mateo [email protected]

347-380-5480

3029 MIDDLETOWN RD,

BRONX, NEW YORK 10461

Curtis Sliwa https://sliwaforny.com/contact/
Eric Adams  2021

P.O. Box 23723, Brooklyn, NY 11202

[email protected] 

(929) 474-3793

Art Chang  [email protected]
Shuan Donovan  139 Bond Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217

[email protected]

Aaron Foldenauer [email protected]

Aaron Foldenauer 2021

Church Street Station

P.O. Box 2729

New York, NY 10008

Kathryn Garcia [email protected] Raymond McGuire 14 Penn Plaza Suite 1800

New York, NY 10122

[email protected]

Dianne Morales [email protected]

(929) 244-9590

PO Box 61

New York, NY  10101

Paperboy Love Prince 1254 Myrtle Ave Brooklyn Ny11221

ATTN : Paperboy Prince

727 379 2327

[email protected]

Scott Stringer [email protected]

P.O. Box 901, New York, NY 10272

Joycelyn Taylor https://taylorfor2021.com/lets-chat/
Maya Wiley  PO Box 25883

Brooklyn, NY 11202

https://www.mayawileyformayor.com/about-maya/

Andrew Yang [email protected]
Isaac Wright Jr [email protected] Edward Cullen https://eddiecullen.com/eddie-cullen-for-new-york-city-major/
Quanda Francis 929.277.2510

271 Cadman Plaza P.O. Box 20165 Brooklyn, NY 11201

[email protected]

William Pepitone N/A
Stacey Prussman [email protected] Deborah Axt N/A
Vitaly Filipchenko https://www.vitalyformayor.com/contact Christopher Krietchman 300 East 34th Street, 32A

Manhattan, New York 10016

1.929.428.3569

[email protected]

 

HOT -BUTTON ISSUES FOR NEW YORKERS 

In the recent survey, Taking the City’s Temperature: What New Yorkers Say About Crime, the Cost of Living, Schools, and Reform, the authors found that “public safety and the economy were  the leading issues for New Yorkers looking ahead to the 2021 mayoral election.” This is not surprising. An April study by the NYPD found the following overall disturbing trends:

For the month of March 2021, New York City saw increases in index crimes, with the exception of robbery and burglary. Overall index crime rose 2.4% compared with March 2020, driven by a 36% increase in murder (34 v. 25) and a 35.1% increase in grand larceny auto (666 v. 493). There was a 11.8% decrease in robbery (842 v. 955) in March 2021, and a 8.5% reduction in burglary (919 v. 1004) compared to the previous year. Felonious assault saw a 0.9% increase compared to March 2020 (1643 v. 1629), and shooting incidents increased to 99 v. 56 in March 2020 (+76.8%).

To complicate matters, race relations appear to be at an all-time low in the city that never sleeps. As reported by Seven News, “According to results of a Siena College poll released on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 31 percent think race relations are excellent (7 percent) or good (24 percent), compared to 64 percent who say they are fair (40 percent) or poor (24 percent).” In fact, a comprehensive report by The New York City Commission on Human Rights made the following staggering claim: “The substantive findings indicate that while much has changed in the lives of Black New Yorkers over the years, a great deal remains the same,” the report reads. “Anti-Black racism continues to manifest in meaningful ways across major domains of life.”

Whoever takes the helm as mayor of New York is going to have a formidable task, one that will likely take years, to bring about sustained and substantive change. Of course, crime, economics and racial issues are inexorably intertwined, which means that policy makers will need to understand the intricate connections among these issues. This will demand deep understanding of the levers of these challenges, appointing people with the know-how and skill sets, directing money in a focused accountable manner, and commitment to solving problems while building in feedback mechanisms that help leaders and analyst adjust in a flexible, sensible manner. 

Most of all, however, it will require that leaders, regardless of party affiliation or political orientation, work together in a non ideological, practical, manner. As the modern philosopher Mwanandeke Kindembo states, “Genius is only gifted to the few who are ready to go beyond their comfort-zones. Those who are not satisfied only with the theoretical ideologies.” It is always darkest before the dawn, however, so maybe there is hope. In the words of Dorothy Parker, “Yet, as only New Yorkers know, if you can get through the twilight, you’ll live through the night.” New York, do you have the heart?

 


 

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