A resident of Chelsea/Hells Kitchen for the past 28 years, Marni’s unique background as a small business owner, community activist, figure skating coach and lawyer — professions outside of the political machine — make her the best choice for City Council in 2021. “I used to think that not having the usual machine political experience was a disadvantage,” she explained, “but in fact, it makes me a better candidate. I don’t owe anyone favors. I refuse incrementalism. And I can lead from my heart. I’m interested in giving people the fastest, more effective relief.”
As a small business owner, Marni started the group, Community Control of Land Use, to educate and organize small business owners to push for legislation that would give them rights of having an affordable lease and the right to renew their leases. As a figure skating coach at Chelsea Piers, Marni has spent 28 years teaching children of New York City the joy and discipline of figure skating, as well as educating parents on the best way to instill life lessons that enable their children to fully-realize their dreams. She was also one of the primary organizers in a campaign to collectively organizing figure skating coaches against being misclassified as employees. And in addition, recently began a program to teach pro bono children living in public housing called, NYCHA Kids Skate!.
Whether Marni is teaching her skating students, strategizing so coaches can have a greater voice in the workplace, or speaking to other small business neighbors to fight for progressive legislation, she has always fought for her community. Marni’s experiences as a coach, activist, small business owner and child of immigrants, have shaped her drive to make her community and all New York communities more just and equitable. She wants to fight to provide a home and job for every New Yorker, to guarantee quality healthcare to all and to empower workers. Marni is ready to fight for her community in District 3.
See Marni in Action!
Tenant Activist Pushes Mayor to Create NYCHA Working Group
Marni believes that ordinary people can make a difference if their voice is loud enough and they are unafraid to push elected officials. In 2019, Marni fought alongside tenants living in NYCHA Fulton, Elliott Chelsea and Harborview Houses against RAD, a privatization scheme by developers to evict public housing residents — often protesting in front of elected officials homes. Her efforts, alongside other activists, in organizing protests, town halls and media campaigns pushed the Mayor to create a Working Group for NYCHA residents in District 3 — the only working group created in the city. She continues to fight for public housing, creating effective social media campaigns that shed light on corruption as well as the lack of services to public housing tenants during the pandemic.
Small Business Advocate Pushes Speaker Johnson to Save Small Businesses and Give an Honest Public Hearing
One of Marni’s 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, Marni organized a press conference that morning to show the public hearing was a sham and rigged in favor of real estate interests. Speakers at Marni’s event — known activists (including Takeback NYC, Humanscale, 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, Marni continues to push Speaker Johnson and Mayor DeBlasio on this issue.
Council Challenger Pushes Corey Johnson to Stop Taking Real Estate Money
Another accomplishment from Marni’s 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, Marni’s 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 her relentless efforts to make such relationships known to 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.
Professional Figure Skating Coach Gives Back to the Community
Outside of politics, Marni — a US Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist and 4-time Gay Games Gold Medalist in Ice Dance — coaches 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. She also created NYCHA Kids Skate!, a pro-bono program to teach children from public housing how to skate.
A History of Protesting Injustice
Before her foray into local politics, Marni was known for creative protest, spreading progressive messages in the form of performance art in the mainstream media. Her protest group, Revolution Is Sexy, founded during Occupy Wall Street, utilizer her skills as a theatrical personality to raise awareness of often complicated financial issues to make digestible to the public. In addition to performance, Marni 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.
An Observer and Writer of Local Politics
Frequently asked to speak on the inner workings of local politics, Ms. Halasa can be often at rallies at City Hall, the Left Forum Conference and Midtown South Community Council. Her 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. She was a former reporter and editor for the New York Law Journal and The Bond Buyer.