Flatbush Community Gets to Know their City Council Candidates — Will Hold Winners’ Feet to the Fire

WHAT: City Council Candidate Forum for Districts 35, 40, 45 (Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood)

WHO: Flatbush Tenant Coalition members and community residents; Candidates from Districts 35, 40, 45

WHERE: Erasmus High School Auditorium (911 Flatbush Ave, between Church Ave & Snyder Ave)

WHEN: Saturday, July 15th, 2017 — 10 a.m. to noon

MORE INFO: Flatbush Tenant Coalition (FTC) invites you and your readers to our upcoming NYC Council Candidate Forum. According to BKLYNER magazine, FTC “has a long history of holding elected officials’ feet to the fire.” Last July, more than 250 guests joined as FTC leaders and community members asked crucial questions of the candidates in their local NYS Senate and Assembly races.

“We vote you in and we are going to vote you out,” said FTC leader, Sherry Ann Bain in her closing remarks. “We are looking, and we are listening.”

Join us for another exciting forum & come hear where Candidates stand on the issues such as:

*Jobs, Education, Affordable Housing, Public Safety, Youth Employment, Tenants’ Rights, Senior Citizens’ Programs, Gentrification & Predatory Equity*

District 35
Incumbent Laurie Cumbo, elected in 2013, faces off against challengers, Ede Fox and Jabari Brisport. Cumbo and challengers will face constituents on hot-button issues like the proposed development of Bedford-Union Armory in Crown Heights, and how Community Boards represent their districts. (These three candidates are confirmed for the forum.)

District 40
Incumbent Matthew Eugene, elected in 2007, faces challengers Jennifer Berkley, Brian Cunningham, Pia Raymond, and Rose St. Albord. Several recent candidate forums for this district have been heated and the race is intensifying! (These five candidates are confirmed for the forum.)

District 45
Incumbent Jumaane Williams, elected in 2009, is being challenged by several contenders. Challenger Lou Cespedes is confirmed for the forum. Council Member Williams will not be in attendance.

Quotes from the Candidates

District 35

CUMBO: “No issue right now is more important than making sure there’s good housing that working families can afford here in Brooklyn. On Saturday, I look forward to discussing my record creating more affordable housing and standing up strongly for tenants’ rights, and I’m eager to continue working together with tenant and housing activists to push harder and do more.”

FOX: “We are living in one of the most critical times in our community’s history, when rising housing costs and rampant development are threatening to push so many families out. Our public schools are plagued by lead contamination and harmful co-locations. Our historic Bedford-Union Armory is at risk of being sold off to the highest bidder. Through all this, our council member has been absent, more willing to put the needs of major developers before those of the people who live and work here. I am running for City Council because I believe we can do better than Laurie Cumbo. I bring years of community advocacy and public service to this campaign and I will fight to protect our public spaces and be the voice our families need.”

BRISPORT: “I’m running because I’ve thrown myself into social movements as an activist for the past ten years, and it no longer seems like it’s enough. I believe in a world with cooperative economics, not predatory ones, and with development driven by community needs, not profit motives. I believe we can make that happen in Brooklyn and I’m honored to take part in this forum.”

District 40

EUGENE: No quote provided.

BERKLEY: “As a full-time housing advocate and tenant organizer at Tenants and Neighbors, a coalition partner of FTC, I am grateful for this opportunity in my community to talk about many of the important issues in our community, particularly housing justice, over-policing, employment, immigrant rights, youth opportunities, education, and more, and to have such a dynamic community based group to partner with in these efforts moving forward is something I look forward to so much. Together, the work of securing the rights of tenants in our community and fighting back against unscrupulous landlords will continue, and working towards solutions for over-policing, protecting immigrant rights, providing meaningful services to our young people, and expanding employment opportunities are all key to ensuring our community’s best days are ahead of us, while also working to preserve the rich cultural diversity of our neighborhoods. These are the hallmarks of my campaign and are always on my mind. To me, there is nothing more important than electing a natural advocate who will focus on the issues and concerns of the district and do whatever I can to keep families in their homes in Flatbush.”

CUNNINGHAM: “I am running for NYC Council to protect long term residents from rapid development displacement and the rising cost of living. To provide opportunities for our young people, and fight for our senior citizens. With the federal and state government in disarray, now more than ever we need a Council Member with experience, a track record of results, and offers policy solutions for our most pressing issues, and someone who will fight to protect our quality of life.”

RAYMOND: “I am running to represent the 40th District of New York City Council because Brooklyn needs a public servant that values our community, our voices and our legacy. As a fifth generation Brooklynite, entrepreneur, wife, mother, community activist and licensed social worker, I want to represent our Brooklyn. I am honored to be a part of the Flatbush Tenant Coalition candidate forum. It is energizing to hear the issues and concerns of empowered voices across the community. I look forward to engaging dialogue to further inspire and shape my service. I am actively creating change in our community, engaging Brooklynites of all generations and deepening relationships in government so that we get the support and resources that our neighborhoods deserve. I remember what our community came from, bear witness to how it is emerging and have vision for what it is yet to become. I am on front lines of community preservation fighting for the most pressing issues including education, affordable housing, public safety, immigrant’s rights, environmental sustainability and work equality because, “It’s About Us!””

ST. ALBORD: “I’m running to represent our community because our needs are not being met on the most basic levels. In terms of wellness, housing, education, immigration,employment, public safety, senior protection, youth and community development and small business. We are at a transformative time in our constituency and we can no longer allow someone who does not have our best interests at heart to represent us. I stand here resolute and ready to work with you in regards to our overall wellness and development.”

District 45

WILLIAMS: “As a community, we are confronted with many of the same issues that the City has been tackling for a while. These issues include balancing the need for safer streets with fair policing, attacking gun violence’s root causes, advocating for more affordable housing and year-round jobs for youth, protecting immigrants’ rights, and upgrading the district’s recreational facilities. The Flatbush Tenant Coalition has been a faithful partner in my work advocating for fair housing and tenants’ rights. I’m proud of the progress they’ve made over the past few years and will be a continued ally. I am calling on the community’s support in my upcoming re-election as your representative in City Council and campaign for City Council Speaker so that I can be your voice on all levels. I have a good record on diverse issues that are germane to what the district and city’s issues are including police reform, housing, veteran protections and more. I look forward to continuing the work I’ve set forth over the past seven years, and bringing this district and City to new horizons.”

CESPEDES: “Before I decided to run for City Council I asked myself if there was anyone more qualified than I to tackle the issue of affordable housing; there was not. I have been in the building trade for over 20 years. As an urban planner, I understand many of the systemic issues that contribute to urban decay including security, unemployment, failure in education, and discrimination. My unique skill set and experiences in NYC affords me the imagination and technical expertise to provide alternative solutions to these challenges. I believe housing security is one of the defining issues of our day, and I want to participate in this forum to shape a discussion about the future of housing and public policy in our city.”

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