Thursday, May 21, 2009

Send in the Clowns

While Ringling Brothers seeks new talent, Brooklyn's 33rd District continues our own search for a City Council member who can listen to the crazy-quilt community's needs and effectively advocate on our behalf at City Hall.

Tuesday found 100 or so people, including J and I, at a New Kings Democrats candidates' debate ("laugh about it, shout about it..."), listening to the seven candidates discuss their stances on topics ranging from the fate of the Broadway Triangle and ways to plug the City's $5B+ budget gap, to favorite restaurants and current reading material. All told, Aaron Short and Sabrina Gates of NKD did a great job of moderating, and we had a taste, if not of how these folks would actually effect change in office, then of how their personalities might hinder or aid them along the way.

Since the essence (and partial transcript) of the debate has been well captured, I'll do a more poetic encapsulation, with a couple of pieces of baseball card-like information on each of the players. My real goal on Tuesday was to collect all seven.

Isaac Abraham: Has served the district for 35 years in one capacity or another, including once-upon-a-time as paramedic. Enjoys Peter Luger. Kindly wrote down some of the questions for the hard-of-hearing Ken Baer.

Ken Baer: Could not seem to hear a single question, and might have had cartoon butterflies flitting about his head. Longtime contributor to the Sierra Club's efforts. Vegetarian.

Doug Biviano: A free-thinker who believes in the city-state. He's sailed across the ocean in a 27-foot boat. A civil engineer (and "engineers build civilizations").

Ken Diamandstone: Endorsed by Norman Siegel, and therefore automatically associated with key social justice issues. Can speak loudly without a microphone. Suggested that a funding stream be created so that tenants can have the right of first refusal when commercial space is for sale.

Steve Levin: Cat-owner. Looks a little mouse-like. Didn't make much eye contact with the crowd. Reading Howard Zinn. Most articulate/practiced of the bunch. Lives in Greenpoint.

Jo Anne Simon: Endorsed by many state and local politicians. Articulate.

Evan Thies: Sits on boards of Newtown Creek Alliance and NAG. Lives in Williamsburg. Believes in mandatory inclusionary zoning (as opposed to Yassky's belief in voluntary). Believes schools should offer ROTC. Quietly earnest.

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