Upper East Sider Declares for City Council
Only Republican in race building platform on opposition to marine transfer station
Upper East Sider David Garland has declared his candidacy for the city council fifth district seat currently held by outgoing Councilwoman Jessica Lappin.
Others running for this seat are: Assemblyman Micah Kellner (NY-76), Ben Kallos, and Ed Hartzog, all Democrats.
David Garland, 43, is running on the Republican and Independent Party lines and said his experience in management consulting in the government and private sectors make him an ideal candidate.
He said he's raised $8,000 so far in the campaign and has met the threshold to receive matching public funds. He earned a master's in business administration from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 2000.
"At the top of my agenda is my opposition to the transfer station," said Garland. "The facility would be an unmitigated disaster for our community, which is the densest residential neighborhood in all of New York City."
Garland said the building site is adjacent to parks that would be impacted by noise and waste pollution, environmental and safety concerns, and infestation.
"As a resident of that neighborhood, we need to be sure to support candidates at all levels of government who will work to find a better solution," said Garland. "We've identified viable alternatives for the station in industrial areas in Manhattan and elsewhere and the present location simply makes no sense."
Garland said his team would fight the marine transfer station project by proposing alternatives to the East 91st Street site.
"One of the things that is key is putting forth a viable alternative," said Garland. "There are alternative locations that are non-residential, that are primarily commercial and industrial, that make a lot more sense than this location...which is the densest part of New York City."
Garland said his team will be unveiling their alternative locations at a press conference in the near future. "There's been a lot of complaining about moving forward, but not a lot of pursuit of alternative solutions that make more sense so that's going to be our primary focus," said Garland.
He supports the Cornell Tech project on Roosevelt Island, but said infrastructure limits on the island need to be addressed and upgrades need to be built into the project's budget.
Garland said the long-term impact of the Second Avenue subway project is beneficial, but it's taken too long to complete.
"Clearly, this project should not have taken the decades that it has, and the noise, pollution and disruption has had a devastating effect on people and businesses in the area," said Garland. "There seems to have been a lack of leadership by our elected officials. In addition, the delays in the most recent resurrection of the project have led to huge cost overruns."
In 2012, Garland went up against longtime State Senator Liz Krueger in a bid for the 28th district seat. Although he lost, he was happy with the effort put forth by his campaign and said he received between 25 and 30 percent of the vote in that election.
"I was actually quite pleased," said Garland. "We had a good team, we put up a good fight, it was our first run."
Garland said he declared his city council candidacy in May, but didn't get his campaign staff up and running until June. He submitted his petitions to the NYC Board of Elections in July. Garland is unlikely to face an opponent in the primary as no other Republican or Independent Party candidate has come forward.
While he recognizes that he has an uphill battle for a highly sought after seat in a heavily Democratic area, he believes an imbalance in political power can lead to a sense of immunity in elected officials who think they'll be elected no matter what.
"I think that that, at its very root, is bad for the city," said Garland. "I think it leads to a lot of waste, misdeeds, and a growing belief that political office is just a right rather than a privilege."
Garland said his status as a Republican doesn't mean he strictly adheres to party lines, nor does it have to in a place like Manhattan. "Coming from the non-dominant party in the city, there's always this sense that you have to be more careful about making sure that you're acting with the utmost integrity, that you're always being of service to your constituents because it's a much tougher row to hoe being a non-Democrat in Manhattan...There's almost a guarantee that somebody is going to be working a lot harder to maintain that position."
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