By M.A. Rahman
A public forum was held at SUBO for attendees to meet and question a few of the candidates vying for the position Council Member for 45 District of NYC two weeks ago. The Special election comes following the departure of former Council Member and now current City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who previously held the District 45th NYC council seat, leaving said office vacant.
“I hope that we can continue to having events that create the opportunity to maintain Brooklyn College as a community space and not just as a school,” said Corrinne Greene, Brooklyn College Chapter President of Young Progressives of America.
Acknowledging the event’s low turnout among students, Greene, a BC student that moderated the panel, expressed a more hopeful attitude rationalizing that students might have been too busy to attend or are viewing the panel online.
The forum which featured a panel for the five attending candidates in included Hercules Reid, Adina Sash, Farah Louis, Victor Jordan as well as late show-up L. Rickie Tulloch, arriving just as the event came to a close.
Located in District 45, Brooklyn College along with many of its students/faculty remained a fixture of needed support for many of the candidates and thereby formulated a somewhat contentious event for the evening.
Facing an audience of roughly a little over a dozen individuals, mostly associates of candidates running, including some like Xamayla Rose who was not present at the panel, along with curious CUNY students, candidates opened up by speaking of their experience or connection to the CUNY system.
Highlighting their shared reservations for the CUNY system, candidates like Reid and Sash drew on their first-hand experiences as CUNY alumni by pontificating similar talking points concerning tuition and infrastructure to show their sympathy and understanding of the frustrations students continue to have to contend with in the University.
Additionally, Jordan, a self-declared ‘outsider’ candidate drew upon his background as a current high school mathematics teacher, asserting himself to be better qualified in understanding the plight of education and educators in the City given his occupation.
“I entered this race because close friends encouraged me to do so,” Jordan said before touting his occupational background and thereby the best champion for greater wages Professor’s unions like the PSC and its member’s are seeking.
Contrarily, Louis, the former deputy chief of staff of then-Councilman Williams, spoke highly on the work she and Williams did to push CUNY to improve its resources for courses and professors.
Candidates unanimously agreed, former Councilman Williams was an inspiration to them and held in regard, at the moment no candidates as of yet has received his endorsement.
“You can be sure of one thing that I will do unlike Jumaane,” stated Louis, “I will finish my term,” she proclaimed gleefully to the cheers of some members of the audience, implying a pledge to avert from pursuing greater political offices during her time as City Council Member.
“I think it’s a toss-up between his [Jumaane Williams’] former employee [Louis] and Hercules,” observed William Stanford Jr., a Brooklyn resident from outside of District 45, wagering the candidate’s campaign exposure and the confidence evoked by the cheers of the audience as a measurement of their success.
“I’m worried about the renting conditions they raised,” Masataka Kaji, a Queens resident, and a Kingsborough graduate said.
“If they don’t do something about that I think people here are gonna be upset,” Kaji added in reference to how some members of the audience raised the issue of gradual shortages of Section 8 Housing in District 45, matter candidates lamented was outside their purview as a federal matter.
“We invited every candidate to come to our forum,” Greene said, elaborating “some of them had Union screenings, some came late, and so forth, we were glad of those that did make it because I think it shows who prioritizes CUNY and Brooklyn College.”