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As a resident of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen for the past 28 years, my unique background as a small business owner, community activist, figure skating coach and lawyer — outside of the established political machine — make me the strongest candidate for City Council in 2021. Not only do I lead with my heart, I choose the best policies that lead to genuine reform. I come to this office with this sensibility. Also, I have a coronavirus recovery economic agenda for tenants and small businesses to give them rent relief so they will survive and save our city.
As a small business owner, I started Community Control of Land Use to educate and organize small business owners, pushing for the original Small Business Jobs Survival Act, legislation that would give owners rights a long-term affordable and renewable lease. City Hall Insiders told me my small but fierce campaign in 2017 pressured the Speaker to give the SBJSA a public hearing, which unfortunately led nowhere. But I am still fighting to save small businesses with the SBJSA, in addition to vouchers that would provide substantial rent relief. In addition, I have organized NYCHA tenants in our district against RAD, Rental Assistance Demonstration, and other privatization schemes that increase rents and evict tenants.
As a figure skating coach at Chelsea Piers, I have spent 28 years teaching children the joy, skill and discipline of figure skating. Skating coaches not only teach their students how to skate, they instill in children life lessons on hard work, teamwork, camaraderie and how to fully realize their dreams. I was also one of the primary organizers in the New York Skating Coaches Collective campaign to collectively organize figure skating coaches against being misclassified as employees. Additionally, I started the program: NYCHA Kids Skate!– a pro bono program created to teach children living in public housing near Sky Rink how to skate.
Whether I am teaching my skating students, or fighting for progressive legislation, I have always fought for my community. All of my experiences have shaped my drive to make all New York communities more just and equitable. I want to keep New Yorkers in their homes, keep small businesses in their spaces so people have jobs to go back to after the pandemic, and guarantee quality healthcare to all. I am ready to put power back in the hands of the people, and fight for my community in District 3.
AN OBSERVER AND WRITER OF LOCAL POLITICS
Frequently asked to speak on the inner workings of local politics, I can be often at rallies at City Hall, the Left Forum Conference and Midtown South Community Council. My populist political voice has been published in articles and op-eds for New York Daily News, The Villager, Metro New York, Chelsea Now, Westview News, 42st Magazine and The Clinton Chronicle. I was a former reporter and editor for the New York Law Journal and The Bond Buyer.
COUNCIL CHALLENGER PUSHES COREY JOHNSON TO STOP TAKING REAL ESTATE MONEY
Another accomplishment from my first campaign in 2017 was to examine and call out Corey Johnson’s cozy relationship to real estate and development special interests. Analyzing 168 individual donors, my campaign team found that 68% of his $485K in campaign contributions (as of September 2017) stemmed from donors directly linked to real estate, Wall Street, nightlife and corporate philanthropy — industries known for gentrifying of the district. After my relentless efforts to make such relationships o the public via social media, the Speaker made the decision to stop taking real estate money a year and a half later. See the website: Corey Quinn for Mayor.com.
Outside of politics, I am a US Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist and 4-time Gay Games Gold Medalist in Ice Dance. I coach the nationally-ranked bronze medalist skating team, the Sky Rink All Stars. The All Stars, consecutive US Figure Skating Showcase National Medalists from 2013 to 2019, are one of the most decorated teams in the nation. I also created NYCHA Kids Skate!, a pro-bono program to teach children from public housing how to skate.
IM RUNNING FOR CITY COUNCIL IN 2021 IN DISTRICT 3 AS A TRUE PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRAT
Before my foray into local politics, I was known for creative protest, spreading progressive messages in the form of performance art in the mainstream media. My protest group, Revolution Is Sexy, founded during Occupy Wall Street, utilizer my skills as a theatrical personality to raise awareness of often complicated financial issues to make digestible to the public. In addition to performance, I also organized protests, press conferences and helped groups liaison with reporters to cover issues like income inequality, universal healthcare and the racism of Donald Trump. I make my voice heard, protesting against racism and police brutality– and I am an avid proponent of election integrity, striving to ensure that residents in my district participate in our democracy. As a businesswoman, I also intend to reform inefficient agencies and cut fraud and waste while rebuilding revenue generators like our small businesses. It’s time taxpayers get a break and get rid of corrupt political machines and special interests. Join my fight to lower taxes!
ORDINARY PEOPLE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF THEIR VOICES ARE LOUD ENOUGH
In 2019, I fought alongside tenants living in NYCHA Fulton, Elliott Chelsea and Harborview Houses against RAD, a privatization scheme by developers to evict public housing residents — protesting in front of elected officials’ homes. My efforts, alongside other activists, pushed Mayor Bill DeBlasio to create a Working Group for NYCHA residents in District 3 — the only working group created in the city. I continue to fight for public housing by creating effective social media campaigns that expose corruption and negligence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I’M RUNNING FOR ELECTED OFFICE BECAUSE RELIEF ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE WITHIN REACH
If there is one thing I’ve learned from my experience as a small business owner, is that relief is always within reach, but it never materializes. We need to elect people who have the conviction and political courage to do right by the people. Speaker Johnson could have brought the SBJSA to a full-floor vote, but abdicated his responsibility. If elected, I would reintroduce the original version of the SBJSA and push for a full-floor vote. Right now, small businesses need so much more. Two-thirds of restaurants in New York State could close by the end of January, according to a CNN report. Collectively, an estimated 520,000 jobs from small businesses have been lost in New York City due to the pandemic, according to a trade group’s report. With Government inaction making the economic crisis of the pandemic worse, it shocks the conscience that elected officials refuse to implement available solutions to manage this hemorrhage. Instead, they wait for the Biden administration to come to the rescue. But kicking the can down the road is not the answer. My Coronavirus recovery plan uses rent vouchers to help tenants and small businesses ravaged by the pandemic to pay their rent, so they can stay in their spaces while we recover. With months to wait for a supposed Federal stimulus, we need to act now to push local lawmakers to begin to adopt aspects of my plan. To pay for rent vouchers and other recovery proposals, I have announced support for a 1% surcharge on corporate income taxes of companies with operations in New York City with at least 1,000 employees. Since 1% is essentially a rounding error, this is a reasonable tax that is not punitive on individuals, which would create the funds needed to pay for rent vouchers to house our neighbors, save our small business, and fund other progressive, Government policies.
THE JOURNEY TO SAVE SMALL BUSINESSES
RED EYE COFFEE THE SMALL BUSINESS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN SVAED
I still have dreams about my little coffee shop, Red Eye Coffee, which was the first specialty coffee shop in the Chelsea/Clinton area in 2016. Whether it was a frothy turmeric latte, an iced Americano or a simple brewed coffee, our coffee was so good, and our baristas so talented, that people would wait in long lines out the door for our coffees. My husband, Peter, became known as a coffee guru, educating our customers about coffee, telling them stories of his travels to coffee farms near the Thailand city of Chiang Mai. But Red Eye was more than a place to get a good cup of joe, it was a community hub for everyone in the neighborhood to meet each other, share ideas, say hello, even though it was only 110 ft^2. It was devastating for me when Red Eye shut its doors. Red Eye was forced to close because our landlord refused to give us a new lease unless we forked over an additional $25,000 in cash, which plain and simple, was extortion. Then he only wanted to give us a 6 month lease, with a 3 month security deposit that he could “keep in his car,” instead of an escrow account. It was such outrageous behavior, and I sought help from anyone I could think of: the community board, elected officials, the city’s Small Business Services, and the Commercial Lease Assistance Program.
SMALL BUSINESS ADVOCATE PUSHES SPEAKER JOHNSON TO SAVE SMALL BUSINESS AND GIVE AN HONEST PUBLIC HEARING
One of my significant accomplishments from running against Corey Johnson in 2017 was that he gave the Survival Act/SBJSA a public hearing a year later in October 2018. The day of the public hearing, I organized a press conference that morning to show the public hearing was a sham and rigged in favor of real estate interests. Speakers at my event — known activists (including Take back NYC, Human scale, Professor Tom Angotti and Naureen Akhter, policy advisor for Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) — called for City Council and Speaker Johnson to move and pass the Survival Act, the only solution to the crisis of small business closings. As a small business owner pushed out by exorbitant rents, I continue to push Speaker Johnson and Mayor DeBlasio on this issue.
OTHER SMALL BUSINESSES COULD’VE BEEN SAVED
All our favorite small businesses never had to close if Speaker Corey Johnson would’ve done one thing: bring the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (“SBJSA”) to a full-floor vote. With a majority of support in the Council, there was an excellent chance that the bill would have passed. Before the pandemic, this would have stopped the crisis of small business closures because landlords would have been barred from hiking up the rents during the lease renewal process. Instead, the SBJSA would have given all city small businesses a long-term affordable lease with the right to renew. This would have saved Red Eye Coffee. But Speaker Johnson never came through. If you listen closely to the usual rhetoric, elected officials are always talking about small businesses being the backbone of the city’s economy, one of the main creators of jobs, as well as revenue sources for the city. With all the good that they bring, you would think the city would put forth sound government policy to protect small businesses. But with real estate money running through the Mayor and City Council campaign coffers, decisions are being made to protect landlord profits and maintain the unequal playing field that gives landlords.