Lynne Serpe, one of several candidates looking to take the District 22 City Council seat being vacated by Peter Vallone Jr. in January, says residents are in need of a change.
“Democracy is about choice,” she said. “This is the first time in a long time that the seat is completely open. For me, this election really gives the voters the opportunity to move forward and move forward in a way that is sustainable.”
As a candidate on the Green Party line, almost all of Serpe’s goals for District 22, which includes most of Astoria, involve sustainability.
“The city keeps rezoning industrial building zones but there is a way to support these businesses without rezoning,” she said. “If we want solar panels on commercial buildings, those need to be built somewhere, so why not bring those jobs here? The Brooklyn Navy Yard, though it is in a different ownership situation ... by investing in rooftop farming and other environmentally friendly tactics, is a great example of what development can be.”
One of the biggest projects that will continue throughout the next Council member’s term is the giant development proposal for Hallets Point which was recently approved by the City Council.
“We need to make sure that we are meeting the needs of the new and existing residents in the area,” Serpe, the project consultant for the Greening Libraries Initiative at Queens Library, said. “That area has no supermarket or bank or enough access to public transportation. It’s great that they plan on bringing some of those things to the area but we need to be careful as to the types of businesses that come here.”
While she likes the idea of waterfront access, she does have some concerns.
Specifically, Serpe is concerned that the supermarket may be a high-end, organic shop such as Whole Foods, which may be out of certain residents’ price ranges, especially those living in Astoria Houses, the nearby housing project.
“I think it’s exciting that finally there is attention being paid to the area,” she said.
Though she is not a lifelong Astoria resident like frontrunner Costa Constantanides, a Democrat. Serpe said she knows the needs of her neighborhood.
“I first went to Astoria in 1994 when I first graduated college,” Serpe recalled. “I chose Astoria out of all of the other neighborhoods in New York City. I haven’t lived here my entire life but I know the neighborhood and I know the issues.”
Recently, the Daily News reported that Serpe saved hundreds of dollars by declaring New Orleans as her place of residence. According to her website, it was an innocent mistake and the situation was rectified.
Despite that brief controversy, Serpe said she is confident she can become the first Green Party candidate to be in the City Council.
“For me, clean air, clean water and clean streets are not partisan issues, they’re quality-of -ife issues,” Serpe said. “We’re talking about things we all care about.”
To get that message across, Serpe created the 22 Ideas for District 22, in the vein of former mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s Keys to the City book.
“These are hyper-local issues and I have been active in the community for years,” she said. “I’m physical and I’m accessible, which isn’t always the case with other campaigns. I don’t see the position as a partisian position. I try to remind people that of all the districts in the city, the diversity we have here is one of the reasons why a Green can run.”