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Council seat rivals hit streets

The two candidates running to replace City Councilwoman Melinda Katz (D-Forest Hills) are continuing their efforts to woo voters before the Nov. 3 general electionin a race that Karen Koslowitz and Lynn Schulman do not expect to be an easy win for either of them.

Koslowitz, who is running on the Democratic and Independent party lines, won the primary with 25.89 percent of the vote. Schulman, a Democrat running on the Working Families Party line in the general election, came in second with 22.49 percent of the vote.

“You’re asking people to vote on the third party line, which is always a challenge,” said Schulman, who decided to enter the general election on the WFP line earlier this month. “We’ll do what we can to educate people. It will be challenging, and I’m looking to reach out to different people. It’s a grassroots effort.”

Greg Lavine, a spokesman for Koslowitz, said while he believes the former councilwoman will win, her campaign is in high gear.

“In any election, whether it’s a presidential year when Barack Obama is running and there’s a huge, huge turnout, or not a huge turnout as we saw in the Democratic primary this year, if you take any election for granted, you’re not running a wise campaign,” Lavine said.

Schulman said she decided earlier this month to run on the line of the Working Families Party, which endorsed her before the primary, because numerous residents in the 29th Council District told her they thought she should stay in the race. District 29 covers Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and parts of Richmond Hill, Maspeth and Elmhurst.

Koslowitz is the director of constituent services and community boards at Queens Borough Hall and former deputy borough president. She represented Council District 29 from 1991 to 2001. She could not run again in 2001 because of term limits.

Koslowitz’s campaign is focusing on quality-of-life issues, such as mitigating traffic and working to fill empty storefronts along such shopping hubs as Austin Street. She has emphasized bringing new and better technology to the district’s police precincts.

“We’re running a positive-oriented campaign that Karen has done before and she can do it again,” Lavine said. “She has a proven record and served as deputy borough president and she has new ideas. She understands the changing dynamics of the district.”

Schulman is a senior associate executive director of business affairs at Woodhull Medical Center in Brooklyn, a member of CB 6 and has served two terms on the 112th Precinct Community Council. She has said she would create a 24-hour constituent service line and said she would work to increase affordable housing, particularly for seniors, in the district.

“Karen represents a time in the past, and I represent the future of the community,” Schulman said. “I want to make the Internet part of the process with constituents in the district. I want to hold town hall meetings in every part of the district. City government is a lot different now than it was eight years ago. The problems are more complex, the challenges are more daunting.”

Both candidates have received a slew of endorsements. Koslowitz has been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Katz and all her former primary challengers except for Schulman. Schulman has received the backing of The New York Times, former Mayor Ed Koch and the Citizen’s Union, a nonprofit group that promotes good government.

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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