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Councilmember Carlina Rivera keeps ducking debates and the community loses out

BY ALLIE RYAN | A couple days ago I received a phone call with an offer to participate in an MNN-sponsored City Council District 2 debate. Naturally, I accepted. Meanwhile, the incumbent, Carlina Rivera, had declined to participate.

Councilmember Rivera has continually ignored discourse with the community on the impending East River Park flood-protection plan and the Soho/Noho upzoning. Her lack of both transparency and consistent communication about these plans is already in the public record. However, continuing to ignore constituents, while staying in the public eye, and pretending that there is no strong dissent to these egregious land grabs is an erosion of public trust.

During the Democratic primary election, Rivera declined to participate in Village Preservation’s candidate forum that I participated in. She avoided participating in a Schneps Media-sponsored debate with Democrat challenger Erin Hussein, as well.

Rivera is dodging interaction with her constituents and is afraid to publicly defend her controversial votes that District 2 residents are still upset about, such as her support for the Union Square Tech Hub, the East Side Coastal Resiliency project, the Open Restaurants program and the Governors Island Rezoning plan, among other votes. She claims to support climate-change initiatives, but has voted to demolish a 60-acre park with 991 trees, and has endorsed building 4 million square feet of new development in a floodplain on the limited-access Governors Island.

Rivera’s actions and policies reveal her to be a fake progressive, with tactics more in common with Cuomo’s Independent Democratic Conference than with what her East Side community deserves and yearns for.

The councilmember’s continued avoidance of public debate reflects a style of governance — which she has wielded under the failed administrations of de Blasio and Cuomo — rather than to a people-first policy of engagement and transparency, and it is not acceptable. Not on a local level, and certainly not as a possible speaker of City Council for our whole city.

Rivera is once again putting her personal ambitions before accountability to her constituents. District 2 residents deserve better.

I believe that incumbent Councilmember Carlina Rivera declining what, so far, is the only debate for the City Council District 2 general election, affirms that she is worried about being held accountable to District 2 voters for her disastrous and anti-progressive actions. My fellow candidate Juan Pagan, who is running on the Independent Party line, and I deserve a chance to face our incumbent rival. Our constituents deserve to hear her face off against her challengers.

Ryan is running on the Neighborhood Party ballot line in the Nov. 2 general election for City Council District 2. She is a cofounder of Metro Area Governors Island Coalition (M.A.G.I.C.), a group opposing the rezoning of Governors Island.


  1. LK LK September 26, 2021

    Work to defeat Rivera. She supports the removal of the urban forest at East River Park and putting her constituents in danger including the many residents at NYCHA, by removing every living tree, bird, plant, insect in East River Park. What is she getting out of it?
    The biggest hypocrite — killing the life-saving environment while claiming to believe in climate change. Vote the phony out.

  2. AF AF September 25, 2021

    I would vote for ANYONE rather than Carlina Rivera.

  3. 'EV Xena 'EV Xena September 24, 2021

    Unfortunately most people vote blindly for a name they know. I thought Erin Hussain might have had a chance but sadly no. I would vote for ANYONE rather than Carlina Rivera and Allie Ryan sounds like a wonderful alternative but let’s face it — does anyone outside of the East Village even know her name? Carlina presented herself as “Jenny from the Block” when she first campaigned and boy was that ever a joke. Two weeks after she was elected she voted for the Tech Hub with no zoning protection for the 3rd and 4th Avenue corridors as she promised. Now she is turning her back on her “neighbors” (not anymore as she moved to Kips Bay) and voting to destroy East River Park, the only green space for the housing project residents on the Lower East Side. Shame on you, Carlina!

  4. Tree Tree September 24, 2021

    Allie Ryan gives a clear-eyed assessment of what’s going on in District 2. Thank you for expressing it so well. It’s to the detriment of our neighborhood that Carlina Rivera, who is indeed “pretending that there is no strong dissent” about the destruction of East River Park and Soho/Noho rezoning.

  5. Wendy Brawer Wendy Brawer September 24, 2021

    Allie Ryan has a growing legion of supporters that appreciate her transparency and perspective on the critical issues that face our common future. She sublet part of my office some years back and she was responsible, keen, focused, thoughtful and she improved the office environment — I expect she will do the same for District 2 as City Councilmember!

  6. Chris Flash Chris Flash September 24, 2021

    ALLIE RYAN is a much-needed breath of FRESH AIR.

    A major difference between Allie and Rivera is that Rivera is a member of CODA, a corrupt political club that has assisted real estate vultures on the Lower East Side at every opportunity for the past 20 years while failing to protect the interests of community residents. Rivera was designated by CODA to “run” for the City Council seat that had to be vacated by her predecessor, fellow CODA member Rosie Mendez, due to term limits. (Mendez’s predecessor, Margarita Lopez, also with CODA, supported Mayor Bloomberg’s term-extension ploy that she used to her advantage in the City Council.)

    ALLIE RYAN, on the other hand, is a TRUE independent candidate, with no ties to political clubs or organizations that run candidates, nor does she owe politic chits to “contributors” who expect something in return for their support. Allie is on the RIGHT side of all the issues that she cites in her Village Sun article while Rivera and her political club CODA is on the WRONG side.

    For the past 30 years, we have experienced irreversable damage wrought to our community, facilitated by corrupt mayors and city councilmembers, including an entrenched political club on the Lower East Side that does NOTHING for us. In fact, the only time we see Carlina Rivera is when she’s posing for photos or when she’s running for reelection.

    I know ALLIE RYAN personally — she is a good decent person, who, in addition to being a great mom, actually CARES about our community and the issues that affect us.

    Like I say, we can’t keep going in the wrong direction for the benefit of the wrong people with the WRONG representatives in office. We really need some FRESH AIR.

    We need ALLIE RYAN to represent the Lower East Side in the City Council!

  7. Gojira Gojira September 24, 2021

    She is a despicable hypocrite who could not turn her back on her constituents and her campaign promises fast enough once she got into office. Sadly, thanks to the massive term-limiting-out of City Council members, she will probably wind up being the next Council Speaker. What a disaster she has been until now, and will continue to be.

    • David R. Marcus David R. Marcus September 24, 2021

      Let’s hope not and work hard to prevent it.

      Carlina Rivera and the truth dwell in separate universes. She must be booted.

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