Controversial City Council member drops out of Harlem race

The primary race for Harlem's 9th Council District has now narrowed to 3 candidates after the incumbent suddenly announced she would not seek re-election.

Council member Kristin Richardson Jordan announced on Instagram she would be dropping out of the race following a controversial first few years in office.

"Thank you for seeing the true possibility for radical love in the loveless land of politics," Jordan said in her post. "I look forward to finishing out this term."

Jordan’s exit from the race was unsurprising to some. She has been absent from nearly half of her council committee meetings and sought to abolish the NYPD, calling it a white supremacist institution.

Jordan also blamed the U.S. for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in a Twitter thread, falsely claiming that "NATO broke its promise… by continuously expanding eastward."

Jordan also faced harsh criticism when she offered her condolences to the relatives of Lashawn McNeil, who murdered two NYPD officers, Officer Jason Rivera and Officer Wilbert Mora.

Most recently, Jordan faced backlash for blocking a large housing project called One45 in her district.


Harlem neighborhood divided over planned truck depot

An effort is underway to try and prevent the opening of a truck depot in Harlem and to instead build apartments with affordable housing.

Bruce Teitelbaum, the developer, had proposed turning a plot of land on West 145th Street in Harlem into two residential towers, retail space, and a civil rights museum led by Reverend Al Sharpton. Around 50 percent of the units would have been "affordable," but Jordan pushed back on the plan, saying it wasn't enough.

Teitelbaum instead turned the site into a truck stop but has since re-introduced his proposal in light of the looming election.

"For once, Council Member Kristen Richardson Jordan is doing the right thing for her constituents," The United Brotherhood of Carpenters Executive Secretary- Treasurer Joseph Geiger said. "While she quit before formally losing her reelection, the message it sends is still the same: you cannot win re-election in New York City if you are against union jobs and affordable housing."

Jordan's decision leaves three other contenders running to represent this district: 

  • Yusef Salaam, who is one of the exonerated Central Park 5:

"I've always been a person of my word and to be in a place of leadership, really is for me, to be in a place of serving the people in a really powerful way," Salaam said.

  •  Assemblymember Inez Dickens:

"I have always listened to my community," Dickens said. "I've always worked to the best of my ability to bring the best and the most resources to a community that has suffered."

  • And Assemblymember Al Taylor:

"I think in order to do this job, you have to work with everyone, leverage your relationships," Taylor said. "I work well with others, I'm accessible and available."

 What sets them apart?

"I’m the only one of the remaining three that has that type of experience," Dickens said. "No one has to come in and introduce me because I walk into the room and they already know me."

"I represent the difference of what Harlem could be," Salaam explained. "I'm not looking at things from the same way that we've been looking at it for decades. We need new eyes. We need new ears. We need new minds."

"We’ve got a People's Campaign," Taylor said. "If you look at the money, we've gotten it from the grassroot people, we still are just knocking out a few more things, that's excitement by itself."

Jordan's seat was previously held by Bill Perkins, a former State Senator and a city councilman beginning in 1998. On Tuesday, his wife informed the media that Perkins died at his home in Harlem. He was 74.