In the final series of candidate articles leading up to the Primary and early voting, here’s a letter from a SoHo resident describing her experiences with Chris, who is running for City Council. It’s a crowded field so pay attention to who is out there. Here’s a letter describing her experiences. Take a look and make up your own mind.
“Why Chris Marte is the best candidate for NY City Council District 1 Chris has long been a vested member of the downtown community.
He has deep connections with residents and businesses in each of the very diverse neighborhoods that make up District 1. Long before he sought elected office, he was involved in and fought for causes that he and the neighborhood were passionate about.
He understands the diverse community he would be representing having grown up in the LES with immigrant parents, studied in China, so he can bridge the communication gap that some Chinatown residents face. He has shown up, taken meetings with and listened to anyone who has asked for his support and assistance, truly developing a deep understanding of the challenges faced by all. He has worked in finance, so understands the economic landscape of our city.
His parents and sibling have started and own small businesses in NYC, so he is familiar with the challenges they face, but also understands their intrinsic contributions small businesses make to their neighborhoods and the city.
Chris has not relied on campaign contributions from any large special interest groups, but instead has hit all of his campaign finance goals.
- He’s helped local, small businesses apply for PPP loans, and navigate the rent forgiveness policies during COVID shutdown.
- Joined SoHo residents in the fight against big box retail in SoHo, successfully maintaining restrictions that protect the future sustainability of the neighborhood.
- Stands with residents and small businesses in SoHo, NoHo, Chinatown and Little Italy against the current administrations deeply flawed, destabilizing up-zoning of SoHo/Noho, which falsely claims to provide more affordable housing, but does not guarantee a single unit of affordable housing, while undermining the landmark protections of the only cast iron building district in the world. Chris recognizes that the city’s plan jeopardizes the existing businesses and residents of the neighborhood and its success as an art and design destination from around the world. Like many in the community, he knows that the de Blasio’s upzoning plan will create frenzied real estate speculation that will pressure current occupants of the district to leave, while enriching a handful of self-dealing, influential, wealthy property owners who have contributed heavily to the campaigns of the current administration.
- Chris instead supports the community developed Alternative Plan, which protects the hundreds of existing residents, including rent stabilized and regulated tenants of the, seniors aging in place, while adding entirely affordable housing. It also provides a path to legalized residential and retail occupancy currently not allowed in many SoHo/NoHo buildings.
- He held multiple town halls to better understand and inform residents regarding the proposed up-zoning. Spoke forcefully at a recent press rally on behalf of Chinatown residents and small businesses afraid being displaced due to the City’s plan.
- Chris has been a fierce advocate for vulnerable tenants. He helped low-income Bowery tenants organize, be heard and get back into their homes, after being evicted without notice, leaving all their belongings behind during sub-freezing
- He has been a supporter along with the community for the preservation of the Elizabeth Street Garden since its future was first jeopardized. He supports the alternative location for development of entirely affordable housing, versus the
currently proposed housing that would provide 3 times more luxury housing than affordable housing.
- What Chris promises to do once he is in office:
• Implement the Community Alternative Plan for SoHo/NoHo
• Preserve the Elizabeth Street Garden
• Enact a comprehensive sanitation plan that he has developed to reduce waste and expand street cleanings.
• Advocates for composting via retrofit of current trash bins on sidewalks.
• Holds entities large and small to their community promises.
- I give my strongest endorsement to Chris Marte as candidate for City Council.
- Michele Varian
resident 496 Broadway
SoHo small business owner (recently relocated to Brooklyn)
retailer, manufacturer, designer, tech start-up founder
(As a 30 year resident, I started and grew my widely respected (business delegations from Germany, Brazil, Japan, Beverly Hills and elsewhere have visited my shop annually for multiple years running) business of 20+ years in SoHo. I have employed many dozens over the years and have showcased and sold the work of many hundreds of local design and manufacturing businesses over the years, in addition to product lines that I have designed and manufactured locally.
My husband is a certified artist, and he and I live in a rent-stabilized, JLWQA loft for 20+ years, which has allowed us to build and sustain our businesses here in the city.
Many other residents and business owners, especially creative, have been forced to leave the neighborhood and even the city due to ever increasing rent and overhead expenses.
I hope that with the responsible stewardship of City Council Member Chris Marte, the current and future NYC will be able to attract and support a diverse and inclusive pool or ambitious dreamers and that others, like myself, will find the opportunities that I did and not be forced to leave.)”