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July 10, 2013
by Rick Bell FAIA Executive Director AIA New York
(l-r) Jill Kaplan, V.P. and Publisher, Crain’s New York Business; Greg David, Crain’s columnist and moderator; Council Member Gale Brewer; Council Member Robert Jackson; Council Member Jessica Lappin; Julie Menin, Former Chair of Manhattan Community Board #1

Candidates for the office of Manhattan Borough President exchanged ideas with Crain’s Columnist Greg David today at the Yale Club in a program sponsored by Crain’s New York Business. An audience of architects and activists, political junkies, and the journalistically curious joined together to hear the four competing Democratic candidates offer their suggestions for the future of the Borough and the City. Any set of excerpted comments necessarily diminish the cogent and comprehensive view of the role of the BP’s office post-Scott Stringer, who all praised as a tough act to follow. But among the thoughts which made this highly subjective tweet-length top-ten list are the following:

“Everyone knows that on 12/31/13 the world does not end.” Council Member Robert Jackson.

“We need a comprehensive master plan for Manhattan.” Julie Menin, Former Chair of Manhattan Community Board #1.

“My number one priority is protecting and creating affordable housing.” Councilmember Jessica Lappin.

“I’m an open space, Janette Sadik-Khan supporter – maybe the only one in the room.” Council Member Gale Brewer

“In regard to Midtown East, we have three options: accept, reject or modify.” JL

“We need to bring certainty transparency and accountability to the landmarking process and the LPC.” JM

“Only 27% of the City is landmarked? I would work hard to get funding for buildings caught up in the landmark process that don’t have the funds to come up to code.” GB

“Some of the 52 million tourists come here to see the landmark buildings of New York” RJ

“What about making sure that your kids are getting the kind of preventive health care that they need for the long term?!” JL

“As Borough President I would make recycling one of the City’s major priorities. A new proposal for solid waste facility location should include the importance of recycling.” GB

The level of the discussion and clear thinking of all present led observers in the audience to discuss the difficulty of the choice facing Manhattan voters in the Democratic primary coming up in September.

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