Eight candidates will go head to head in today’s special election to replace now-Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ Council seat.
The prospective legislators include two former staffers of the three-term pol, a past staffer for a former Borough President, political aides, and community activists, all vying to represent the Council’s 45th district, which includes all or parts of Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood, and Canarsie.
The election’s victor will serve out the rest of the current term of the office – which Williams vacated when he won February’s special election for Public Advocate – but will again have to run for the office in the June primaries, followed by the general election in November for a two-year term ending in 2021.
The candidates all share similar platforms of advocating for the district’s issues of crime and gun violence, along with rising displacement and gentrification by developers erecting larger buildings in an area with a lot of homeowners and seniors.
Here is a closer look at the candidates:
Monique Chandler-Waterman is one of two prominent frontrunners in the race, having worked for Williams as a community outreach coordinator for two-and-a-half-years from 2012-2014 and having been a local community activist for years.
Chandler-Waterman heads up the local do-gooder group East Flatbush Village where she has worked to reduce gun and gang violence in the area by offering children and teens recreational activities and educational tools. She also founded the anti-violence march “Not in My Hood” eight years ago. She believes that the Police should not be the first to deal with mentally ill people, but that instead officers from other agencies, such as the Department of Health, should respond to those cases through a separate emergency number.
“The NYPD should not be responding to those who have mental health illnesses. There should be professionals who deal with mental health,” she told Errol Louis in a recent interview on NY1. “There should be a different number, not 911 but maybe 811, that a loved one can call when a loved one is in crisis.”
The candidate has garnered a host of endorsements, chiefly among them Williams himself, who surprisingly gave her his support on April 16, as well as state Senators Zellnor Myrie (D-Flatbush) and Kevin Parker (D-East Flatbush), Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo (D-Crown Heights), Assemblyman Nick Perry (D-Canarsie), and the Working Families Party.
Williams’s former deputy chief of staff Farah Louis is the other of the two main contenders, who has local name recognition for her six-year tenure for the former legislator.
She too has focused her campaign on stemming the displacement of locals by incoming developers and has advocated for what she calls “contextual zoning” that would mandate new buildings suit the neighborhood’s existing character and building sizes.
She also wants to reform the federally-mandated formula for determining so-called “affordable housing” to better reflect local communities.
The race grew contentious when she criticized Williams and claimed that her former boss was responsible for the area’s over-development and dearth of employment in a radio interview, reported Bklyner.com.
“We do not have the resources anymore to ensure we can thrive and move forward,” she said during the interview. “Why is that? Because whoever was there before wasn’t focused on that, and I was.”
Her supporters include several pols and groups that have been in conflict with Williams.
They include Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte (D-Flatbush), who reportedly slammed his treatment of his former staffers, the police union the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which clashed with the former councilman’s criticism of stop-and-frisk, and the Jewish group the Flatbush Jewish Community Coalition, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D-Flatlands), and the late former councilman Lew Fidler, possibly due to Williams’s abstention on a vote to condemn the Israel-critical Boycott Divest and Sanction movement.
She received the endorsement of powerful Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio, who also threw his support behind Williams’s Public Advocate campaign.
Rose is a community activist and worked as an aide to former Borough President Marty Markowitz.
She directed Markowitz’s youth services and anti-violence initiatives throughout Kings County and worked as a community activist, motivated by the murder of her brother by gang violence.
She set up a do-gooder group in her late brother’s name, the Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign, which seeks to curb youth violence by raising community awareness and offering positive alternatives.
Her campaign has focused on supporting the area’s educational system, working for more affordable housing, economic development, and supporting immigrants.
Adina Sash is a community activist, who gained online fame through her social media persona Flatbush Girl.
Sash, who is Orthodox Jewish, uses satire and humor to portray her online character as a role model for people fighting against barriers based on gender and has, at times, garnered criticism from rabbis for being immodest.
She advocates for more youth involvement in politics and for supporting local mom and pops by showing them the business benefits of using social media.
She also pledged to donate half her salary as councilwoman to do-gooder groups that work in the area.
Jovia Radix has focused her campaign on immigration and getting the district’s fair share of government resources.
She is a lawyer and the daughter of New York Supreme Court judge Sylvia Hinds-Radix.
She also worked as a Kings County representative for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.
Her central issues are affordable housing, improved sanitation of the local business corridors, and employment opportunities for young adults.
L. Rickie Tulloch
Jamaica-born Tulloch immigrated to the us in the 1970s and has served on Community Board 17 for almost two decades.
He intends to focus on affordable housing, education, and curbing alternate side parking.
Jordan is a small business owner and adjunct within the City University of New York college system, who has served as a member of Community Board 17, where he chaired the land use and education committees.
The former high school math teacher’s campaign addresses the large amount of displacement and high foreclosure rates in the area, and he will push for more progressive judges on the Supreme Court.
He also chairs the education group Association of Black Educators of New York.
Alexis is a former aide to the Assembly and Council who now oversees city-funded senior centers in the borough.
He served as the president of the 42nd Assembly Community Democratic and co-founded the Brooklyn Young Democrats in the 1990s.