Vogel Stresses Youth in Council Race
By PATRICK BUTLER
Mark Vogel is the youngest candidate in the race for City Council in the 11th District, but he says politics has been in his blood since he was a kid.
"I became interested in government in elementary school," says the 28-year-old. "Ed Koch and [former Congressman] Ted Weiss came to my school to speak. They really sparked my interest."
Vogel has stressed his youth in his campaign. A campaign slogan is "Not Your Father's Politician." A graduate of the Salanter Akiba Riverdale Academy and Queens College, Vogel stresses education as the most important issue facing the district. "The local school board is too politicized," said Vogel. "I don't think there should be political appointees to the boards, but rather teachers, professors, educators." (Recently, an official in the Giuliani administration was appointed to School Board 10 to fill a vacancy, but there are school board elections every three years to fill the board's nine seats.)
Vogel, son of a teacher, said he also believes that teachers need to be paid more.
Public safety is also an important issue to the candidate. "In the northwest Bronx, all the highways have many lights that are out," Vogel said. "Right now, we basically complain to the Department of Transportation, and nothing happens. It's the taxpayers' dollars going to waste." Vogel took to the roads recently to document hundreds of inoperative streetlights on the Henry Hudson Parkway, the Bronx River Parkway, Mosholu Parkway, and the Major Deegan Expressway.
Though three of the four candidates in the race are from Riverdale, and he is one of them, Vogel said he believes "local elected officials are too Riverdale centric. I want to reach out to all parts of the district."
Towards that end, Vogel said he wants the new District 11 office to be more centrally located. "I want to make it more accessible." he said. "There should be a mobile office, which would travel to different parts of the district."
Having read a recent Norwood News editorial exposing the deterioration of Williamsbridge Oval Park, Vogel insisted he would address the issue quickly if elected. "I would really make the Oval Park a priority," he said.
Vogel has interned for politicians, including Eisland, while attending high school and college. Most recently, he worked for Manhattan assemblyman Richard Gottfried.
Unlike two of his opponents in the Democratic primary, Oliver Koppell and Laura Spalter, Vogel has not been endorsed by any political club. "I have a lot of work to do myself," he said. "It's hard without a club."
But, he adds, "This is a grassroots campaign. People may be surprised on Election Day."
Ed. note: Mark Vogel's Web site is www.votevogel.com
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