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With the primaries approaching September 15, here are our endorsements of the candidates.
The city’s money manager should not only know his dollars and cents, but he should have some common sense as well.
Through his years representing Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg, David Yassky has proven that he is not only a fighter for important causes, but can “think out of the box” and create new approaches when tackling some of the city’s oldest problems from garbage pick up to local traffic concerns.
At the same time, Yassky has proven to be a forward-thinker and has pushed several initiatives that would make this city more secure, cleaner and greener in the years to come.
We believe that he will continue to dip into this creative well and find new and innovative ways to ensure that the city coffers and worker pensions not only survive but thrive during these tough economic times.
That is why David Yassky has this paper’s endorsement for the Democratic nomination for Comptroller.
Bill De Blasio
The public advocate position is one that has come under tremendous scrutiny this year, with some City Council members threatening to eliminate the position entirely.
Credit Brooklyn Councilmember Bill de Blasio (D-Park Slope, Carroll Gardens) for promoting a comprehensive reform proposal expanding the position’s watchdog powers this week and standing up to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his move to eliminate term limits earlier this year.
De Blasio has carved out a distinguished career as a city councilmember and deserves a chance to continue his record protecting middle-class family interests. What the city needs right now is a strong advocate for workers’ rights, government reform, public health and special education. De Blasio fits the bill and deserves his party’s nod.
33rd Council District:
Neighborhoods: Brooklyn Heights, Greenpoint, and parts of Williamsburg, Park Slope, Boerum Hill
Open seats for an elected government office with no incumbent running are usually a dog fight, and this Democratic Party primary race has been no exception.
Seven candidates have slugged it out through many debates, in the newspapers and on the blogs. At the end of the day, this paper gives a resounding endorsement to the candidate who has most pounded the pavement - Stephen Levin.
Throughout the campaign season, Levin, 28, has spent most of his time knocking on doors from public housing to working-class to the well-to-do in a mainly waterfront district. While doing this, he has learned residents’ concerns and formulated his own ideas.
While Levin formerly worked for and is a favorite of Kings County Democratic boss Vito Lopez, he has also shown to be a clear thinker with an independent streak. For this city to prosper and endure, we need bright young minds like his to enter into public service.
We strongly urge Democratic Party voters to pull the lever for Stephen Levin on September 15.
34th Council District:
Neighborhoods: Williamsburg, Bushwick
The 34th District City Council race features three candidates with diverse backgrounds from different neighborhoods in the district.
Yet only one Democratic candidate, incumbent Councilmember Diana Reyna, has shown the ability to reach across constituencies in this North Brooklyn district to advance local issues ranging from Williamsburg’s contextual zoning, arts sustainability, crime prevention, and access to after-school programs and day care facilities.
Most important, she has addressed the everyday concerns of her constituents while standing up to political skullduggery. It is for these reasons that this paper supports Diana Reyna to receive the Democratic nomination for City Council.
39th Council District:
Neighborhoods: Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Windsor Terrace, Kensington, Borough Park
One of the biggest criticisms of the race to replace Bill de Blasio was that the five candidates always agreed on the issues.
None of them, however, faces these issues head-on like Josh Skaller does.
A reformer in every sense of the word, even back when he was the president of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Skaller isn’t afraid of criticizing the City Council’s status quo, which he says -- and we agree -- is mired in a slush fund culture of political payback and back scratching, the worst example being how they managed to uproot a twice publicly-approved term limit referendum and give themselves another four years in power.
While other candidates currently decry the current state of city government and unabashed over-development, Skaller left no soapbox unturned and took his message to the streets years ago.
During the transition from the picket line to the campaign trail, Skaller’s passion on the issues hasn’t waned. He still speaks his mind on the issues every chance he gets and doesn’t put his beliefs on a shelf when it’s politically convenient.
As we face another four years, we need someone who will shake things up and fight not only for his constituents, but for what’s right.
That’s why this paper is endorsing Josh Skaller in the Democratic primary for City Council.
40th Council District:
Neighborhoods: Kensington, Prospect-Lefferts, Ditmas Park; parts of Crown Heights, Flatbush, East Flatbush
Two-and-a-half years ago, a whopping 10 people ran for the open City Council seat in the 40th district.
This year, that number is down to three — the incumbent, and two community activists, both with long records of involvement in the neighborhood.
While all three candidates are worthy, the one who stands out is Rock Hackshaw.
Hackshaw — well known to many as a political blogger, who has spent upwards of three decades involved in neighborhood issues — brings to his candidacy a strong intellect and a fresh perspective on community concerns, from health care to education.
He also brings a refreshing candor. Anyone who knows him knows that he is incapable of doing other than “telling it like it is.”
Among his top priorities would be to work on legislation that would make New York City more hospitable to the middle and working classes.
Warning, “This city is becoming an enclave for rich people,” during a forum hosted by this newspaper, Hackshaw promised that creating tax breaks for renters as well as trying to eliminate tuition at CUNY would be among his top priorities.
Another top priority, Hackshaw said, would be crafting legislation that would prevent the mayor and City Council from overturning the results of voter’s referendums, as was done last year with respect to the extension of term limits.
Our recommendation to residents of the 40th C.D. is to take the opportunity that has presented itself to them and pull the lever for Rock Hackshaw in the Democratic primary.
41st Council District: Tracy Boyland
Neighborhoods: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ocean Hill-Brownsville, East Flatbush and Crown Heights
Four years ago, Tracy Boyland was term-limited out as the City Council member representing the 41st District, and she bowed out to the will of the people with grace and dignity.
Now Boyland is looking to regain her seat and this newspaper thinks it would serve the people to vote her back in come Democratic primary day.
Born and raised in Brownsville, Boyland comes from a family long steeped in local politics. She has shown a strong grasp of the local issues, and more important, how to address them.
While, all the candidates running in the Democratic Party appear earnest in helping their community, Tracy Boyland stands out and we urge voters to pull the lever for her on Sept. 15.
45th Council District: Jumaane Williams
Neighborhoods: Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands
The field of candidates in the 45th C.D. is a crowded one, with a total of six individuals (including the incumbent) vying in the Democratic primary on September 15.
One candidate, Jumaane Williams, stands out as a catalyst for change, combining intelligence, perseverance and experience, thus earning this newspaper’s enthusiastic endorsement.
Williams has years of experience as a community organizer, and makes a compelling case for working within neighborhoods to encourage involvement by those who live there, in order to solve tough problems.
With a history of activism in both education and housing, Williams -- who burnished his resumé with stints as the executive director of New York State Tenants & Neighbors, as housing director for the Flatbush Development Corporation, and as an after-school director at one of the Flatbush community’s Beacon programs — is primed to take on and bring thoughtful attention to problems around the 45th C.D. that have defied solution over the past decade or more.
His pragmatism is particularly impressive. In the arena of education, for example, he advocates a “holistic” approach, going past academics to determine why particular children may have difficulty in school. “If a child is not learning, it could be because he’s hungry,” he said at one recent forum. “It could be because that parent is working 18 hours a day.”
This sort of approach reflects Williams’ extensive experience as a grass-roots organizer. The 45th C.D. can only benefit from that sort of leadership. Voting for Jumaane Williams in the Democratic primary would be a wise choice.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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