Brad Lander

Bradford S. Lander is an American politician, urban planner, and activist serving as a member of the New York City Council for the 39th District.

Brad Lander
Brad Lander 2010.jpg
Member of the New York City Council
from the 39th District
Assumed office
January 1, 2010
Preceded byBill de Blasio
Personal details
BornMissouri, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Meg Barnette
Alma materUniversity of Chicago (BA)
Pratt Institute (MS)
University College London (MSc)
WebsiteOfficial website

The district includes portions of Boerum Hill, Borough Park, Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Flatbush, Gowanus, Green-Wood Cemetery, Kensington, Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Park, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Red Hook, South Slope, Sunset Park and Windsor Terrace.[1]

Early life and educationEdit

Lander, a Missouri native,[2] grew up in St. Louis[3] in a Reform Jewish family.[4] He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago where he received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship, and a Master's degree in anthropology from University College London[3] on a Marshall Scholarship, and a Master's degree in urban planning from the Pratt Institute.[5][6]

Early careerEdit

Lander directed the Pratt Center for Community Development and Fifth Avenue Committee.[7]

He served for a decade as executive director of the Fifth Avenue Committee,[8] a not-for-profit community-based organization that develops and manages affordable housing. As a director, Lander won local and national recognition for his work at FAC including the 2000 New York Magazine Civics Award,[9] and the 2002 Leadership for a Changing World award, sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Sustainable Communities.[8]

In 1999, Rolling Stone Magazine awarded Lander the "Do Something Brick Award" for his community work in affordable housing advocacy. Other awards from the Ford Foundation, the Fannie Mae Foundation and the University of Chicago were granted throughout his tenure as a director.

Lander is the former Director of the Pratt Center for Community Development.[10] He stepped down after six years as head of the organization to seek a seat on the New York City Council.[11] He teaches community planning, housing, and urban policy at Brooklyn Law School.[12]

As the director of the Pratt Center,[13] Lander has been a critic of the Bloomberg administration's development policies.[14] He has also been a critic of the Atlantic Yards project.[15][16] Lander's work in 2003–2005 on the Greenpoint-Williamsburg rezoning led to the first New York City inclusionary housing program to create affordable housing in new development outside Manhattan.[17] Lander served on a mayoral taskforce that recommended reforms to the 421-a tax exemption for luxury housing and required that new development in certain areas of the city set aside affordable housing units.[18][19] He co-led the completion of the One City One Future platform,[20] a progressive vision for economic development in New York City.[21]

Political careerEdit

New York City CouncilEdit

Lander was first elected to office on the Democratic Party and Working Families Party lines on November 4, 2009, with 70% of the vote. Lander won a hotly contested Democratic Primary on September 15, 2009 with 41% of the vote in a field of five.[22] Lander was reelected on the Democratic and Working Families Parties' lines on November 5, 2013 to serve for a second term.

Lander is a co-founder of the Progressive Caucus in the New York City Council, a group that was described by the New York Times as "the City Council’s most liberal members."[23] For his first term, Brad shared the title of Co-Chair of this caucus with his Manhattan colleague Melissa Mark-Viverito, who was unanimously elected Speaker of the City Council in early 2014.[24]

Lander was one of four original Council Members to bring participatory budgeting to New York City, a project that allows citizens to directly propose, develop, and vote on items in the municipal budget.[25] Over half of the 51 New York City Council Districts now engage in Participatory Budgeting.[26]

Lander opposed rezoning the site of Long Island College Hospital to include affordable housing.[27] As of July 2017, he was the primary sponsor of 20 Local Laws enacted by the City Council and signed by the Mayor.[28] In addition to these efforts, Lander played a prominent role in helping shepherd the Community Safety Act to passage, in partnership with Council Member Jumaane Williams.[citation needed] By April 2020, Lander had sponsored over 2,254 article of legislation. [29] City and State New York ranked Councilmember Lander in the lower half of NYC Lawmakers ranking him 30th out of the 51 councilmembers.[30]

Lander has drawn criticism and, in his words, "anger" and "suspicion" for vocally supporting contracts for two homeless shelters despite multiple press reports that those contracts contain up to $89 million of unexplained cost compared to contracts for equivalent shelters and that there is no apparent explanation for the increased cost.[31][32][33][34] [35]Lander also acknowledged that the contracts will benefit developers accused of wrongdoing in the past.[31]

In his second term on the Council, Lander served as the deputy leader for policy.[5] It was during this term where he admitted to ethics violation using his position to solicit donations for a non-profit he helped to create. [36]

Lander has also been a leading advocate for a program which has moved over 9,500 homeless people to vacant hotel rooms across New York City to provide space for social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic at an average cost of $174 per room per night or $5,293 per person per month.[37][38] The proposal drew intense criticism from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's Department of Social Services, which called it “ham-fisted and reckless, self-defeatingly unilateral and ill-informed, and legally questionable and amateurish: insisting on using a one-size fits all approach for a system that is anything but, and forcing the involuntary rushed transfer of more than ten thousand people into hotels without appropriate services to match, putting individuals with higher service needs, including substance use challenges, at risk in the process."[38] Lander called DSS's concerns "cartoonish insults."[38] The program has also drawn strong reactions from neighborhood residents, with some residents feeling the program has led to significant increases in crime and worrying about the risk of having sex offenders housed 1-block from a public school, while other residents are more open to providing social services to those in need.[37][39]


Facing term limits for his council seat after his second term, Lander announced he is running for New York City Comptroller in 2021.[5][6] The race will be for an open position as current Comptroller, Scott Stringer, is also facing term limits and will vacate the seat.[5][6] Fellow city councilmember Helen Rosenthal also announced a run, but dropped out in July 2020.[5][6][40]

Election historyEdit

Election history
Location Year Election Results
NYC Council
District 39
2009 Democratic Primary √ Brad Lander 40.57%
Josh Skaller 24.92%
John L. Heyer II 23.09%
Bob Zuckerman 7.81%
Gary G. Reilly 3.61%
NYC Council
District 39
2009 General √ Brad Lander (D) 70.49%
Joe Nardiello (R) 16.58%
David Pechefsky (Green) 8.87%
George Smith (Conservative) 2.95%
Roger Sarrabo (L) 1.11%
NYC Council
District 39
2013 General √ Brad Lander (D) 91.72%
James Murray (Conservative) 8.09%

Personal lifeEdit

Lander has lived in Brooklyn for two decades. His wife, Meg Barnette, is the Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Planned Parenthood NYC. He also served as the Housing Chair of Brooklyn Community Board 6, served on the board of directors of the Jewish Funds for Justice, and is a little league coach in the 78th Precinct Youth Council.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Housing Advocate Brad Lander to Run for DeBlasio's Council Spot – Daily Intel". Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  2. ^ Lander, Brad (July 29, 2017). "As a Missouri native, esp great to see inspiring leaders like StL's @Tishaura Jones & @MeganEllyia and KC's @JermaineReed.".
  3. ^ a b Taylor, Kate (January 23, 2014). "An Unassuming Liberal Makes a Rapid Ascent to Power Broker" – via
  4. ^ "How Face Of Anti-Trump Resistance Keeps Orthodox Happy, Too". The Forward.
  5. ^ a b c d e Khurshid, Samar. "2021 Comptroller Race Now Features Two City Council Members". Gotham Gazette.
  6. ^ a b c d "Could Brad Lander Be the City's Next Comptroller?". April 8, 2019.
  7. ^ "Brad Lander". April 16, 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Award Recipients". August 12, 2001. Archived from the original on September 30, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  9. ^ "The New York Awards 2000". December 18, 2000. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  10. ^ "About Brad Lander – Rooflines – National Housing Institute". Rooflines. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  11. ^ "Homepage". Pratt Center for Community Development. Archived from the original on August 10, 2009.
  12. ^ "Lander profile at Brooklyn Law School website". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Pratt Institute". Archived from the original on October 31, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  14. ^ "Bloomberg reshapes city, despite high profile setbacks". Newsday. New York. April 10, 2008. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  15. ^ Bernstein, Andrea (September 13, 2005). "Developer Has Mixed Record in Brooklyn". WNYC. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  16. ^ "Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn". Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  17. ^ Cardwell, Diane (December 27, 2004). "City Sees Way to Get Mix of Homes on Brooklyn Waterfront". New York Times. New York City. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  18. ^ "Reforming NYC's 421-a Property Tax Exemption Program". Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  19. ^ Adam Lisberg (February 8, 2009). "Real estate board is hammerin' for old tax breaks". Daily News. New York. Retrieved September 3, 2018.
  20. ^ "Travel and Car Rentals". Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  21. ^ "The Brian Lehrer Show: One City/One Future". WNYC. May 12, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  22. ^ "In the 39th District: Lander crushes four rivals • The Brooklyn Paper". September 16, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  23. ^ Taylor, Kate (2014-01-23). "An Unassuming Liberal Makes a Rapid Ascent to Power Broker". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  24. ^ Chen, David W. (March 23, 2010). "12 New York City Council Members Form Liberal Bloc". New York Times. Retrieved October 20, 2011.
  25. ^ Sangha, Soni (2012-03-30). "For Some New Yorkers, a Grand Experiment in Participatory Budgeting". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  26. ^ "About PBNYC". Participatory Budgeting. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  27. ^ "Brad Lander Comes Out Against Cobble Hill Rezoning for LICH Development". Retrieved 2019-03-09.
  28. ^ Inc., Granicus. "The New York City Council - Brad S. Lander". Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  29. ^ Lander, Brad. "Sponsored Legislation". The New York City Council. The NYC Council. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  30. ^ Lander, Brad (January 26, 2020). "How we calculated the Best & Worst New York City Lawmakers" (analysis of performance). City & State. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  31. ^ a b Council Member Brad Lander (May 28, 2019). "535 & 555 4th Avenue Homeless Family Shelters FAQ". Brad Lander. Archived from the original on July 22, 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  32. ^ NY Daily News Editorial Board. "The cost of homelessness: Why do two new homeless shelters in Brooklyn cost so much?". Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  33. ^ "De Blasio's Department Of Homeless Services Can't Fully Explain High Costs Of New Park Slope Shelters". Gothamist. 2019-07-11. Archived from the original on 2019-07-19. Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  34. ^ Brachfeld, Ben (June 28, 2019). "'Someone Is Getting Very, Very Rich': Neighbors Call For More Details To Be Released About Park Slope Homeless Shelters". Retrieved 2019-07-22.
  35. ^ "Park Slope Homeless Shelters Could Cost $89M More Than Elsewhere". Park Slope, NY Patch. 2019-07-19. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  36. ^ Sanders, Anna (September 13, 2019). "NYC Councilman Brad Lander" (Apologizes after violating ethics rules). New York Daily News. Retrieved 21 April 2020.
  37. ^ a b Slotnik, Daniel E. (2020-08-18). "What Happened When Homeless Men Moved Into a Liberal Neighborhood". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  38. ^ a b c Chang, Sophia (2020-05-17). "Bill Requiring City To Provide Single Hotel Rooms To Homeless Is "Reckless," Department of Social Services Says". Gothamist. Archived from the original on 2020-05-18. Retrieved 2020-09-03.
  39. ^ Waller, Derick (2020-08-05). "Sex offenders at Upper West Side hotel will likely extend their stay". ABC7 New York. Retrieved 2020-08-27.
  40. ^ Khurshid, Samar. "Council Member Helen Rosenthal Drops Out of 2021 Comptroller Race". Gotham Gazette. Retrieved 19 September 2020.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Bill de Blasio
New York City Council, 39th District