|This article reads like a news release, or is otherwise written in an overly promotional tone. (May 2012)|
Craig Schley (born September 23, 1963) was a Democratic Party and Republican Party candidate for the United States House of Representatives for newly drawn 13th Congressional District of New York. Schley lost in the November general election.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, and after a short period in Atlanta, Schley permanently settled in New York City and would later go on to further his education at New York University. In 2001 he founded “Vote People” an organization challenging New York City’s rezoning plans.
Schley has appeared on New York based radio station WBAI 99.5 FM on political current events. He also makes appearances on other media outlets such as Fox News, Pure Imagination on Progressive Radio Network, Indashio Runway, WHCR 90.3 FM Harlem based community radio station and is a frequent guest and commentator on Black Empowerment radio show on BlogTalkRadio. In addition Schley is a contributor to the Black Star News electronic and print media.
Harlem re-zoning activism
In 2008 the City Planning Commission Chair Amanda Burden announced the rezoning of 125th Street (Manhattan) and declaring “this comprehensive initiative will fulfill the promise of Harlem's ‘Main Street’ as a vibrant corridor and a premier arts, entertainment, and commercial destination in [New York] city.” The zoning changes proposed allowances for taller buildings thereby increasing the density for homes and encouraging the support of artistic and cultural spaces by limiting the street presence of banks and other “non-active” businesses to encourage more pedestrians. The plan would affect the 24 square blocks between 124th and 126th Streets, from Broadway to Second Avenue.
As Executive Director of VFPC Schley fought against the re-zoning proposal, arguing that the city “had not sought the input of the actual community” when it put together the proposal and that the current proposal does not adequately protect or serve the interest of the local community or the historic character of the commercial district. Schley and the VOTE People research team found a century-old clause in the City Charter that could slow the rezoning process. The clause says that if the owners of at least 20% of the land either adjacent to or across from the area being rezoned disapprove of the development, 75% - not a simple majority of the Council must approve the rezoning for the process to continue. This stalled the rezoning plan and construction of any kind had to cease and attracted attention of the City Planning Commission, media and the broader community. VOTE People legally challenged the appeals court twice. Despite efforts, they were unsuccessful in securing the necessary monetary and legal resources which was essential to effectively wage to overturn the Harlem re-zoning scheme which eventually was given the go-ahead.
During the Occupy Wall Street movement which spread to Harlem, Schley suggested that problems in northern Manhattan differ compared with those of Wall Street; rather than finance, they are community-based concerns. "If we are going to step out and occupy Harlem, we need to make sure we're going to occupy the needs of this community. And let's make it clear: You can't do it unabashed. When African Americans step out there, things tend to get hostile."
Politics and public service
Schley ran as an independent in 2010. In 2012, after an unsuccessful run in the Democratic Party primary race, he switched sides and ran as the Republican Party candidate in newly drawn 13th Congressional District of New York in November. He lost to incumbent Charles Rangel by 85%.
In 2007 Schley was named given the Emerging Leadership Award by the Harlem Children’s Zone for his community service.
In 2011 Schley was awarded for outstanding generosity and dedication by the VAG where he worked as assisted with the organizational structure, acted as a liaison and raised funds for the Youth Summit Program (an initiative to address violence among the youth).
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- Williams, Timothy (2008-04-01). "Fighting a New 125th St., Using a 110-Year-Old Law". NY Times. Retrieved 2011-10-17.
- Lee, Trymaine (2011-10-31). "Occupy Harlem: 'Occupy Wall Street Is Not A White Thing'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
- "Election results 2012". CNN. Retrieved 2012-11-14.