Independent candidate Jon Torodash hopes to wrangle away the City Council seat of Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), but the incumbent aims to win a second term come Tuesday.
Koslowitz represented the 29th District, which includes Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and parts of Maspeth, Richmond Hill, and Elmhurst, from 1991 to 2001 and won the seat again in 2009 after serving as deputy borough president from 2002 to 2008.
She hopes to win once again in 2013 because she believes she owes it to her constituents to be the best representative she can be.
“I love my job and I love what I do because I work hard for my community,” Koslowitz said. “My constituents are my bosses. If they ask me to do something, I owe it to them to do it. They’re the ones who give me my job.”
Koslowitz touts her focus on her district as a reason why she deserves re-election. She states that she looks hard at every issue that comes to the City Council and that she has a history of introducing important legislation. She cites the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption and a resolution requiring that handicapped accessibility be provided in movie theaters as examples.
“I sign on to a lot of bills,” she said. “I’d say that throughout my career, I’ve introduced a number of good bills.”
While Koslowitz believes her past success in fighting for the community will aid her cause, Torodash differs. He believes that the 29th District, where he was born and raised, needs an overhaul in representation.
“I am running for office because I believe the city is in need of a breath of fresh air,” Torodash said. “I’m running to restore transparency to the city government.”
When asked if he believed Koslowitz was active in the community, Torodash responded “absolutely not.”
He also called for the district’s representative to act as a liaison between the community and the city government, not as a roadblock, in order to get people more involved in their district.
“She does not present herself in support of many civic endeavors that people like myself attend,” he said. “In addition, people don’t really know what’s going on. I want to see community board meetings packed and I want to see large rallies when there’s a misuse of the community.”
Koslowitz refuted Torodash’s comments, saying that people often ask her if she ever rests, to which she simply responds by noting how much she enjoys what she does.
The incumbent addressed public safety and efficient problem solving as major focuses of a possible second term. She said she would like to work more with the Department of Transportation to keep roadways safe for motorists and pedestrians and get projects done as quickly as possible.
Torodash says he plans to make the city’s wasting of money a focal point of his first term if elected. He said that the rampant misuse of funds and outright fraud within the city government are issues that must be addressed.