City Council race for Quinn’s seat is already heating up

Corey Johnson.


BY LINCOLN ANDERSON  |  The election for the City Council’s Third District is more than a year away, but one expected candidate is already coming out swinging — at least at one of the other expected candidates.

In a recent article in the Politicker, Corey Johnson, chairperson of Community Board 4, blasted Brad Hoylman, his C.B. 2 counterpart, over his day job, dubbing him “a lobbyist for the 1 percent.”

Johnson was referring to Hoylman’s working for the business-friendly lobbying group Partnership for New York City as its executive vice president and general counsel. Johnson specifically noted that the Partnership has come out against the Living Wage Bill.

Hoylman, though, is unapologetic.

“I’m proud of the work the Partnership has done over the years on issues like creating economic development opportunities for women and minorities, creating affordable housing, fighting for congestion pricing and the important voice they added on the fight for marriage equality,” he said. “However, I don’t agree with every position they have taken, including on the Living Wage Bill, and have publicly said so.”

Hoylman also said he was never really a lobbyist for the group, per se, though did register as such back in the mid-2000s in order to help, if necessary, “prepare materials” in support of congestion pricing.

Johnson, 30, and Hoylman, 45, have both opened campaign accounts, though neither has officially declared he’s running yet. As The Villager’s Scoopy’s Notebook reported last week, Hoylman said he’d step down from his job if he does run, since the campaign would take a “complete commitment” on his part.

Well, it sure looks more like he’s running now — because this week he told The Villager he actually has left the Partnership already.

“I gave notice about three weeks ago after registering my campaign committee, and Friday was my last day,” he told the newspaper on Tuesday.

As for what he’s doing now, Hoylman said, “I should let you know also that I was recently appointed as a co-chairperson of the L.G.B.T. Caucus for the Father’s Day March to Reform Stop and Frisk, being led by Reverend Al Sharpton, George Gresham from S.E.I.U. 1199 and Benjamin Jealous from the NAACP. This will be taking up a lot of my time.”

As for Johnson, he might have to answer some tough questions at some point, too. Hardcore Democratic voters might not be thrilled to know, for example, that in the last mayoral election, Johnson endorsed Mayor Bloomberg and was a member of L.G.B.T. for Bloomberg. Hoylman, for his part, endorsed Bill Thompson.

Brad Hoylman

Johnson explained, “This was a decision made around a single issue: the mayor’s commitment to work toward passage of marriage equality, a commitment that the mayor fulfilled after his re-election. However, since his re-election — aside from his important role in the marriage battle — I have been a very vocal critic of the mayor, particularly with regard to Living Wage legislation, paid sick leave and his over-reliance on unwarranted stop-and-frisk policies.”

Unlike Hoylman, Johnson hasn’t held one steady job over the last decade, but has jumped around. However, he spun that as a positive, adding that it’s typical of the nonprofit sector and politics.

“Over the past 10 years I have worked for a number of political campaigns and issue-advocacy organizations, with an intense focus on applying political action to drive social change,” Johnson said. “I’m proud of the fact that over time I’ve been asked to work on larger and larger campaigns and have been asked back by former employers, including RWDSU [Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union] and GLAAD [Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation], as new opportunities have emerged.”

Other expected candidates in the Third District race include Yetta Kurland and possibly Andrew Berman. All the potential candidates are openly gay.

The primarily West Side district, which stretches from around W. 55th St. to Canal St., is represented by Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who faces term limits in 2013 and is an expected candidate for mayor. Hoylman’s C.B. 2 covers the part of the district south of 14th St., while Johnson’s C.B. 4 covers the part to the north.