Op-Ed: Five City Council Candidates Withdraw from Candidate Forum

Village Independent Democrats logo
(image credit: Derivative of VID logo)

[Editor’s Note: this statement was originally posted on Marni Halasa’s Twitter.]

Leslie Boghosian Murphy (Photo source: lesliefornyc.com)
Leslie Boghosian Murphy
Phelan-Dante Fitzpatrick (Photo source: phelanforcitycouncil.com)
Phelan-Dante Fitzpatrick
Marni Halasa (Photo source: marniforcitycouncil.com)
Marni Halasa

Aleta LaFargue (Photo source: https://aletalafargue.com/)
Aleta LaFargue

Arthur Schwartz (Photo source: www.arthurfornyc.com)
Arthur Schwartz

Collectively, Leslie Boghosian Murphy, Phelan-Dante Fitzpatrick, Marni Halasa, Aleta LaFargue, and Arthur Schwartz, five of the six candidates for City Council in District 3, are withdrawing from the Village Independent Democrats (VID) candidate forum. VID has a proud tradition of welcoming challengers in candidate forums and primary elections. The support for robust Democratic Party primaries is what placed VID at the forefront of progressivism for decades. VID’s tradition allowed Carol Greitzer and Ed Koch to challenge long-time political insiders, and we hope VID can maintain this tradition.

Unfortunately, the nomination process of VID is compromised. VID and other Democratic club endorsement processes are unfairly biased in support of one candidate. There are suggestions that a candidate and a member of the executive leadership of VID played a role in determining questions and topics to be discussed. As candidates, we must fight to ensure that the Democratic Party endorsement and nomination process is not reduced to the appointment of a pre-selected candidate without the fair and equitable representation of all campaigns and candidates.

Our campaigns listen to concerns from communities about major Government decisions being railroaded through, without discussion or input. Whenever voters feel that processes are unfair, constituents lose faith in Government. We ask VID to use processes that can help earn the trust of all community members and candidates.

VID has stated that they will apply Ranked Choice Voting for the endorsement, but they have not said that they will make their ranked choices public. We believe that our Democratic clubs should be advocating for Ranked Choice Voting, and that starts with making Ranked Choice Endorsements.

Together we would like to design a series of District 3 community forums moderated by a mutually agreed upon member of the press. As candidates, we will reach out directly to voters to generate a list of topics that are relevant and important to the community. These forums will also ensure that appropriate thought and consideration are given to each of these topics.

We are asking for a fair, transparent Democratic process and a level playing field for all candidates during the endorsement process of our Democratic clubs, unions and other organizations. The race is not about someone having “earned the right” to the job; it is about giving each candidate an equitable platform to explain why they are the best candidate for the job.

Leslie Boghosian Murphy, Candidate, City Council District 3 (Manhattan)

Phelan-Dante Fitzpatrick, Candidate, City Council District 3 (Manhattan)

Marni Halasa, Candidate, City Council District 3 (Manhattan)

Aleta LaFargue, Candidate, City Council District 3 (Manhattan)

Arthur Schwartz, Candidate, City Council District 3 (Manhattan)