Primary Culler: Incumbents Stay Strong in Council Districts 2 and 3


In City Council Districts 2 and 3, incumbents have much more of a lock than Alan Gerson does in District 1. In the former, first-termer Rosie Mendez built the right connections as a district leader, makes meetings, and has all the big endorsements. Her challenger Juan Pagan (pictured) is assistant to the provost for faculty development at Baruch College, a guitarist who as a young man played in a rock band in Liverpool, and a longtime residents of Lower East Side housing projects; he speaks to “true and wholesome family values” and reaches out to those who “have lost faith in those elements that make up what democracy should truly be.” Pagan previously ran for assembly with the support of fathers’-right advocates.

In District 3, council speaker Christine Quinn mainly suffers from the millstone of Bloomberg’s third term push, which she ardently facilitated. Her two challengers press clean-house, breath-of-fresh-air campaigns…

Civil rights lawyer Yetta Kurland has, among others, the support of the Downtown Independent Democrats, who ditched on Alan Gerson for Pete Gleason in District 1, and also that of singer Nellie MacKay, her former teenage opponent Dodge Landesman, and (implicitly) Green mayoral candidate Reverend Billy; also, she’s eaten into Quinn’s LGBT support. Kurland’s campaign proceeds imaginatively, availing “Yelp for Yetta” dog bandanas and the stylings of the NYC Radical Cheerleaders.

Maria Passannante-Derr, the niece of a former assemblyman and a CB2 member and former chairperson, runs a more sober campaign, and is thought to have taken the harder swings in the August 13 candidates’ debate, specifically on the disposition of a sanitation garage and the council slush-fund scandal. She proudly (though without attribution) lists “Small Business Owners” among her endorsers, and supports expedited clearance of liquor licenses because “we need beer and wine licenses in cafes because we need the jobs.”

Conventional wisdom does not favor the challengers in either case.