Council needs balanced leader


To the editor:

I’m Stephanie Coggins, and I live in Spuyten Duyvil. I lived in the northwest Bronx since 1979, in three different neighborhoods: Belmont, Bedford Park, and now Spuyten Duyvil.

I’ve become very involved in Spuyten Duyvil and the Riverdale community. I refer to myself as the “accidental activist” because I never expected to become so involved in this community when I moved here. But it’s become my home, and I want to see life improve for all my neighbors here in Riverdale, and throughout the council district.

Which is why I want to personally endorse Dan Padernacht to be our next city council member. I am not in elected office myself, nor am I an important official at a New York City labor union. But for the past three years, I have immersed myself in various community endeavors, including most recently being a co-administrator of a local Facebook group that provides a platform for constituents and candidates throughout the entire city council district to become educated and speak about voting issues.

Through this experience, I’m becoming educated about these issues myself, and about the neighborhoods that make up the district: Bedford Park, Kingsbridge, Norwood, Riverdale, Van Cortlandt Village, Wakefield and Woodlawn.

I met Dan three years ago when I became involved in a community effort to hold a developer accountable for construction violations that placed our neighborhood in danger. I started attending the land use committee meetings at Community Board 8. Although Dan clearly appeared to be a community board leader, he was also very personable and attentive to members of the public who attended the meetings.

He listened to them, and seemed to really care about the issues that brought them to the meeting. He made me feel like I was capable of helping my community. And now, three years later, I am doing just that.

I’ve seen Dan address voting issues during the many ongoing forums designed to enable candidates to speak directly to constituents during this coronavirus pandemic. With every answer, Dan makes clear his profound respect for the district voters, as well as demonstrating the breadth of knowledge that he’s gathered over the many years he’s already served the community.

Being born, raised and educated in the northwest Bronx, Dan’s knowledge extends beyond the boundaries of CB8, encompassing the entirety of our voting district. If you’ve ever seen Dan at a community board meeting or answering questions at one of these town halls, it’s obvious he knows city government, and he knows the northwest Bronx.

The word that comes to mind when I think of Dan is “balanced.” He’s very practical, but he also has a creative sense of vision. He is genuine and caring, but is no pushover.

He will fight for our community.

Dan will be a great city councilman for the same reasons he is already a great community leader. While I’ve been impressed by the spectrum of candidate styles and substance I’m witnessing during this race, I realize that Dan Padernacht is the natural choice for this position. There’s no learning curve — he’s ready to go.

And while this may not be a fancy endorsement from a union or other such organization, I felt it was important to make nonetheless. Because unlike the officials who make those declarations, I live here. And I’m a Riverdale voter, just like you.

Which is why I’m voting for Dan Padernacht.

Stephanie Coggins

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Stephanie Coggins,