Primary Day? Not again!

By Alaina Raftis

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PS133 in Chelsea is one of 48 poll stations in State Senate District 31. Credit: Alaina Raftis/The North Polls

Yes, you’re not imagining it.  We did just have a primary, on June 28, when New Yorkers picked the candidates to replace longtime Congressman Charles Rangel.  And a few months before that, April 19, it was the Presidential primary battle. Today’s primary election, for New York State legislative offices, is the third of the year.

“This primary will probably be the lowest voter turnout on record. People are too confused,” said Donathon Salkaln of Manhattan. 

Salkaln, who is running today for alternate delegate on the judicial nominating convention, was outside PS 133 in Chelsea this morning passing out flyers with the title, “Don’t Forget Primary Day is Tuesday, September 13th.”

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Light foot traffic outside the polls at PS 133 in Chelsea where there was on average five to six voters per hour this morning, according to a Board of Election coordinator. Credit: Alaina Raftis/The North Polls

“They’ve had three primaries and it’s been a total waste of money. I think every one of these is about $14 million. That money could go to affordable housing.” said Salkaln.

Holding federal and state primaries on two separate dates in New York costs “counties an extra $25 million by the Legislature’s estimate” according to an article on DemocratandChronicle.com.

It didn’t used to be this way.  In 2012, a federal judge ordered the congressional primary to be moved earlier in order to comply with a law requiring enough time for military absentee voting. Since then, the divided New York State legislature has been trying to come up with a common federal and state primary date. But once again, they were unable to reach a compromise, which led many of us to the polls for the third time this year.

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109th Street was full of signs supporting various candidates on primary election day. Credit: Alaina Raftis/The North Polls

These primaries are all pointing toward one more voting day: Nov. 8. That’s when the winners of the 2016 primaries will face off, including Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, who are vying to become the 45th President of the United States.

Dickens runs to represent Harlem

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Inez Dickens,  a lifelong Harlem resident, is running for Keith Wright’s state Senate seat. Credit: New York City Council

By Alaina Raftis

City Councilwoman Inez Dickens is a lifelong New Yorker and multi-millionaire. She’s running for the Senate District 70 seat of Keith Wright, who is stepping down after 23 years following an unsuccessful bid to succeed Charlie Rangel in Congress.

Dickens, married with no children, is one of New York’s wealthiest elected public officials, according to the Observer. Her current base salary at the City Council, where she’s served since 2005, is $112,500. But she is worth over $2.1 million dollars due to her family’s involvement in real estate development.

Earlier this year, she and other City Council members requested and received a $36,000 pay raise. She told the commission she didn’t deserve to be “‘penalized’ for becoming a ‘public servant’,” according to DNAinfo.com.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in land economics from New York University.

Earlier this year, Dickens, 67, was fined $3,500 for violating of election fundraising rules, according to DNAinfo. The Dickens Committee also violated fundraising laws in 2009 and was fined $1,452, according to city Campaign Finance Board records.

She will face Republican Heather Tarrant in November’s general election.

Dickens received $298,822 in contributions for 2015 and 2016, according to the state Board of Elections.

Campaign platform

  • Favors childcare tax credit and charter schools, such as the Harlem Children Zone charter school at St. Nicholas housing development
  • Supports the needs of women and children
  • Established the “Healthy Feet for Healthy Living” project, which provides children in New York City public schools with public health, outreach and screenings to address ill foot health. Foot problems can lead to mobility issues and obesity
  • Supports Project Greenhope, which provides women leaving prison temporary housing
  • Worked with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to secure a rent free place for anti-violence group, Harlem Mother’s S.A.V.E.
  • Supported the development of 10 community gardens in vacant urban spaces, instead of turning them into a housing development
  • Opposed the rezoning plan along 125th Street in Harlem because of her concerns of gentrification, overdevelopment and displacement