This evening, I was at Central Fire House for a press conference on the proposed Service Award Program for volunteer firefighters. As I was waiting for it to get started, 2nd Ward Alderman Ashok Sabnis walked up to me.
“There’s the culprit!” he said.
“What did I do?” I replied.
“I’m running!” he said.
He was referring to this article, in which I reported on his comments at a Common Council meeting after the Democratic primary, when he congratulated primary winners Jerry Kleiner and Kevin Witt as “the new aldermen.”
Sabnis wants people to know that he’s running. I can see how his comments, and what I wrote off of them, could give people the impression that he’s not.
I talked to him for a bit after the press conference. He said he was trying to congratulate them for their primary win, but that he wants to give voters who didn’t vote in the Democratic primary a choice — less than a third of the ward’s Democrats voted in the primary, and the non-Democrats haven’t had any say yet. (The ward’s almost half Democratic, a quarter Republican, the rest mostly unaffiliated, similar to the rest of the city.)
He alluded to something we’ve talked about before — he views public service as a way for him, who came to this country from India as a young man, to give back to the people of New York. He also said he views himself as the most independent candidate in the race.
“I’m really independent,” he said. “Nobody’s going to give me pressure.”
For a bit more about the candidates, here’s an article I wrote before the primary.
The connection predates me, but I should still note that Kleiner and Witt both used to work at the Record, in the imaging department and as a sports reporter, respectively. They had both moved on to other things by the time I started here. (Kleiner’s retired; Witt works as the school district’s community liaison.)