City Council District 23
City Council District 23
Age: 48; Occupation: Member, NYS Assembly
Education: SUNY Albany (B.A.); Brooklyn Law School (J.D.)
Campaign Website: www.markweprin.com
Mark Weprin, the current state assemblymember for the district, is running for city council because he believes that he has the skills and the ability to do much more for his community in the city. As an assemblymember, Mr. Weprin has boasted a ninety-nine percent attendance record and the passage of sixty-two laws. He has been most involved in education, senior services, housing and co-op issues, and small businesses, and he believes that while at the state level he has been able to set policy for these areas; the nuts and bolts of which dealt with at the city level.
If elected, Mr. Weprin would focus on securing funding for senior centers and libraries, and advocate for best practices to keep construction workers safe. He believes that in the council, members have the advantage of the bully pulpit to bring attention to issues, and has a fair amount of influence on land-use issues and through the budget. He would use the office to secure affordable housing, prevailing wage jobs, and promote mixed-use development that would include housing retail space. He believes that his position as a co-sponsor of the Better Bottle Bill in Albany would help him to expand environmental initiative beyond just recycling water bottles. In regards to education he, like many other candidates said that more parental involvement is needed. In the Assembly, Mr. Weprin said he voted against the mayoral control bill because he wanted to see more local authority about decisions that are made.
Mr. Weprin is a long supporter of many Citizens Union issues, and is a co-sponsor on legislation at the state level to create an independent redistricting commission, a main priority of the organization. At the city level, Mr. Weprin does not support eliminating stipends for committee chairs, as be believes the additional work warrants extra pay, however he would be supportive of eliminating stipends if it translated into higher salaries for all councilmembers, and on a related note, would be supportive of a compensation review process similar to that which takes place on the state level. On the issue of discretionary funding, Mr. Weprin noted that the regulations related to member items are very strict in Albany, and in the current process, he provides funding to senior centers, schools, and sports organizations, but not to any groups that he or his friends or family have created. He said more transparency is needed and that money should be allocated more carefully in the future. One recommendation would be to make more information available to the public online. He is a supporter of increasing ballot access for candidates who want to run for office. Mr. Weprin’s positive relationship with Citizens Union at the state level, his supportive stance on important issues like redistricting reform, and his success in Albany in delivering services and effective representation to his district are what make him the organization’s preferred candidate.
Age: 55; Occupation: Accountant
Education: Queens College
Campaing website: www.bob2009.org
President of Glen Oaks Village Co-op Council, Bob Friedrich is running for city council because he believes this experience has given him the management skills necessary to run an efficient city council office and because he wants to do more in his community as an elected official. He places a high priority on transparency, ethics and accountability. He believed his cross endorsement by the Republican Party gives him credibility as a bipartisan candidate and should he lose the September primary he will run in the general election. While running as an opponent of the district’s assemblymember, he believes that voters should elect him and keep Mr. Weprin, a well-liked and effective representative he says, in the assembly where he is needed and has been very successful. His top priorities would be to push his five-point plan which includes full funding for a $23 million program to repair sidewalks in the district destroyed by tree roots, implementing a policy to delay demolition of a building until a new plan for that space has been approved to avoid empty lots, and making the city more responsive.
A supporter of government reform, Mr. Friedrich is a proponent of restricting outside income for elected officials. He believes the council speaker and mayor have too strong a hold on the budget process and would support removing discretionary funding from the budget. He would like to see the budget lay out in a more detailed breakdown by essential and non-essential items, although he recognized that different people have varying ideas of what an essential budget item might be. He would also seek reform of the city’s pension funds, particularly with respect to not allowing the last year of work to be a main determination of the amount of pension worker receives. While Mr. Friedrich seems to be a passionate candidate, he seems less familiar with the logistics of getting his ideas implemented and the city’s budget process.
[Candidate did not return questionnaire and could not be scheduled for an interview.]
Created on 9/13/2009 - Last updated on 9/5/2012