Jon Torodash has officially thrown his hat in the ring to be the next City Council member for the 29th District.
“I want the residents of the 29th District to know that they are not second-rate citizens,” Torodash said after his candidacy announcement on Sunday. “There’s a perception that Queens is some kind of consolation prize, which is not true at all.”
The Kew Gardens resident is running on the Independence Party line, calling himself the “Civic Virtue” candidate, a nod to his attempt to restore and keep the Triumph of Civic Virtue statue in Kew Gardens.
Although he has not been formally endorsed by anyone, Torodash said he is focusing on raising funds locally, from those who “know me by name.”
“There needs to be greater transparency in government and more clarity in how the budget is balanced,” Torodash said.
One way Torodash is looking to crack down on shadiness in the Council is to put a whistle blower program in place in which Council members, residents or any others who think they have witnessed something unethical, can report the wrongdoing anonymously.
“I would also like to walk with Council members around the district because, ultimately, I represent the people of the district,” he said. “I think it’s important to have someone who knows that particular area very well to go through and hear the concerns of businesses and residents.”
Torodash will be running against Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), who he said has not done enough in her many years in the City Council.
“She’s one of the longest City Council members to stay in office but during all of that time, she’s only introduced four pieces of legislation,” he said.
Torodash also criticized the way Koslowitz allocates discretionary funds.
“If people knew how our current councilwoman is using discretionary funds, people would have risen up in outrage,” he said. “Ninety percent goes to entities in Rego Park and Forest Hills. Those areas are important, but there’s also Kew Gardens and parts of Maspeth, Richmond Hill and Elmhurst which are equally as important.”
While he is looking for more transparency in government, Torodash acknowledged that issues cannot be solved overnight.
“There will never be perfection and I don’t think I will change everything, but I think tremendous strides can be made,” he said. “It only requires a few well-placed people.”