Crowded Dem field for 27th CD primary 1

Top row: Nantasha Williams, left, Linda Guillebeaux, Jason Myles Clark, Rene Hill, Jermaine Sean Smith and Anthony Rivers.

Bottom row: James Johnson, left, Kerryanne Burke, Leroy Gadsden, Al-Hassan Kanu, Harold Miller and Marie Adam-Ovide.

If you can’t tell your candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 27th Council District without a scorecard, take out your pencil and have a look at the 12 who want to replace term-limited Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) in January.

The district covers all or parts of Cambria Heights, Hollis, Jamaica, St. Albans, Queens Village and Springfield Gardens. The primary is on June 22. Early voting begins June 12.

Nantasha Williams

Williams, a member of Community Board 13, won the draw for the first line on the ballot. She is a social justice advocate and community organizer who formerly served as executive director of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus.

Under public safety her priorities include major funding for a crisis management system that intervenes in communities following such incidents as shootings. She also wants the NYPD to be required to notify parents whose children are placed in the gang database. She wants more money for college-level classes in high schools and vocational and technical training.

In a race where six candidates entered the final weeks with more than $110,000 in their campaign war chests, Williams reported $125,044 in the bank in her last filing with the Campaign Finance Board. She also has some heavyweight endorsements, including those of Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens), the United Federation of Teachers, the United Auto Workers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU and District Council 37.

Linda Guillebeaux

A late entry into the race, Guillebeaux describes herself on her Facebook page as a business owner and an ordained minister.

She is on the second line. She does not appear to have a campaign website, and has not filed with the Campaign Finance Board listing any funds raised or spent. In 2016 she came in third with 6.4 percent of the vote in a three-person race won handily by Hyndman.

Jason Myles Clark

Line 3 on the ballot will feature Clark, an assistant attorney general for New York State who prosecutes civil rights, labor and consumer cases.

He called for restoring funding to build a new 116th Precinct in Southeast Queens even before Mayor de Blasio announced that he would do so. He also wants to increase funding for community nonviolence programs.

Clark is calling for subsidized internet and technology for low-income students, and restoring free tuition for city students to City University of New York colleges. He also wants to form community credit unions to help residents and businesses in Southeast Queens with few banking options. Clark’s call for a fleet of electric city buses comes under both transportation and environmental priorities.

Endorsements include those of Assemblywoman Vivian Cook (D-Jamaica), former Gov. David Paterson and former state Comptroller H. Carl McCall. He reported $112,412 in the bank for the final push.

Rene Hill

Hill, running on line 4, is an accountant and financial advisor. She has been stressing her long resume of civic involvement, including three years as chairwoman of Community Board 12. She also is a past president of the Addisleigh Park Civic Association and former member of the Queens New York Presbyterian Hospital Community Advisory Board.

Hill fought to prevent the closure of the St. Albans veterans home and medical center. The latter two influenced her call to build a new hospital in Southeast Queens, though her website lacks specifics on who would build and run it.

She believes the Council must do more to prevent foreclosures, with proposals including freezes, amnesty for fees and loan modifications. Hill also wants the Council to broaden students’ access to technology as a longterm investment for future careers. Hill’s website features a half dozen endorsements and testimonials from civic and veterans’ leaders. She has $131,407 cash on hand.

Jermaine Sean Smith

Smith is employed in the city’s foster care system and running on the fifth line of the ballot.

“The issues that we’re facing right now during the pandemic are the very same ones I’ve worked on for decades with foster youth,” he says on his website. That, he added, includes securing millions of dollars in funding for necessary programs such as housing, eduction, job training and healthcare.

Social workers, he states, should be assigned to police precincts and work beats with officers in order to deal more effectively with mental health-related calls.

“De-escalation strategies allow for more effective policing,” his website says. Smith’s campaign site lists no endorsements. He reported $63,622 cash on hand.

Anthony Rivers

The retired NYPD lieutenant, on line 6, has been a homeowner for 27 years and received 21 percent of the vote when he engaged Miller in a primary in 2017. Before that he became prominent as an activist who organized the effort to try and stop a homeless shelter on Hollis Avenue.

Rivers, also a recent entry, served in the Marine Corps and is a licensed financial services advisor. He had not put up a website as of the Chronicle’s deadline.

“I have spent my entire career serving others,” he said on his NYC Votes presentation. “I’m ready to bring accountability back to Southeast Queens.

In a comment similar to one mayoral candidate Ray McGuire has used, Rivers said the long-term challenges facing the community have not been addressed by past administrations. He said the Covid-19 outbreak highlighted the need to upgrade the area’s hospital service and water and sewer infrastructure.

On education he said comprehensive vocational training is needed to prepare adolescents, young adults and ex-offenders to build “modern work skills.” He reported $44,666 in his campaign account.

James Johnson

The son of longtime union members, who is on line 7, has served as a community liaison for both Miller and Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Johnson is the founder of Opportunities for Southeast Queens Millennials, an organization focused on increasing the political and civic participation of millennials and Gen X residents.

Johnson says the pandemic and the switch to remote learning exposed the disparities in education resources among districts.

He said the city must prioritize funding youth not only in schools but in other programs with capital funding. Johnson also believes the city must move beyond talking about property tax reform and finally deliver to level the playing field for residents in middle- and low-income neighborhoods who pay higher rates than many in wealthier districts.

Johnson wants to increase the ratio of affordable housing units in new developments and favors a vacant commercial property tax “to force landlords to give Southeast Queens business and entrepreneurs a chance.”

Johnson’s campaign finance filing shows $166,089 in the bank.

Kerryanne Burke

Line 8 features the daughter of immigrants and an attorney who has worked for the state Legislature, the Mayor’s Office and at housing agencies and is also a nonprofit founder and community volunteer.

Burke’s justice and safety platform states that she will focus on legal reform to reduce discriminatory policing; allocate more money for an array of programs to reduce gun and gang violence; and increase funds for recreational programs.

Transportation initiatives include streamlining bus service and expanding eligibility for the MTA’s Southeast Queens-Atlantic Terminal Ticket program. Those for education include increased funding for vocational training and classes geared toward science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM. She also wants to increase funding for and access to hospital and clinic care. Burke reported $83,163.

Leroy Gadsden

The former president of the Jamaica Branch of the NAACP is a criminal justice professor in the CUNY system and also is a deacon at Mount Olivet Baptist Church.

Gadsden, running on line 9, is focusing on police reform, and he has stressed his years of working closely with community leaders, the clergy, elected officials and community leaders. He, too, wants to increase spending on vocational and educational training and second-language education. Gadsden reported a campaign balance of $7,005.

Al-Hassan Kanu

Kanu has been in the service of the district for two decades, beginning as an intern with former Councilman and now state Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), before rising to director of community affairs, a post he held with Miller. He is on line 10.

His goal for affordable housing is to build on the 2,000 units Miller has seen built in the district during his tenure. He believes in order to secure that, residents must welcome “appropriate development” on major corridors and in Downtown Jamaica that still respects the character of neighborhoods. He also said there is a need to work with city, state and federal officials to build a new hospital within the district.

Two of his proposals under public safety are for the position of police commissioner to be elected rather than appointed; and that all police officers undergo five-day community internship periods as part of their training. Kanu advocates more cameras in schools as a way to stop school violence.

Endorsements include those of Miller, Amalgamated Transit Union Locals 1056 and 1179, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association and United Sanitationmen’s Association Local 831 IBT. He reported $88,642 on hand.

Harold Miller

The deputy commissioner for public affairs in the de Blasio administration on Monday picked up the boss’ endorsement.

The mayor, in a press release from the campaign, said he first met Miller when the latter was advocating for affordable housing and raising the minimum wage. He said Miller has been instrumental in initiatives like universal pre-K, Covid Test and Trace programs and affordable housing. He is on line 11.

He wants to add middle school classrooms in the district and greatly expand student apprenticeship programs, especially in professional areas like engineering, construction, finance and architecture.

He also wants the $5 LIRR fare in Queens made permanent and expanded to all stations. He also wants to fund more urgent care and preventive care medical facilities in Southeast Queens.

Like other candidates Miller wants to replace police response with alternative response teams in the event of nonviolent mental health emergencies.

Other endorsements include state Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park), the Working Families party, the Hotel Trades Council AFL-CIO and the Stonewall Democratic club of New York City. He reported $110,306 cash on hand.

Marie Adam-Ovide

Adam-Ovide has been the district manager at Community Board 8 for 13 years, and also has served on the staffs of two Council members. She is married with three children and is on line 12.

Her public safety agenda includes a residency requirement for police officers. She wants to encourage city high school students, through class offerings and other means, to consider law enforcement careers.

She also believes the city should divert money it spends on temporary shelters for people such as homeless families and repurpose it in the form of rent subsidies and vouchers for more permanent — and less expensive — housing options. She wants to shift some school funding to art, music, shop and technology education.

Adam-Ovide also wants a new hospital or clinic network, preferably hospital or healthcare center in the district by working with NYC Health + Hospitals.

She has been endorsed by Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows) and has reported $169,851 in the bank.

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