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NYC Council District 11 Debate Aftermath

July 12, 2013 at 3:06 PM

By Hugh Thornhill

Here are a few highlight from the City Council District 11 debate last night at Lehman College:

– There were a little over 40 people in the audience, most of them were older folks.

– Moderator Michael Serrano kicked off the debate with a warning, saying that there would be no personal attacks between the candidates, and that he would shut the whole thing down if he couldn’t get things under control.

The moderator Michael Serrano gave his opening remarks on how the debate will be strictly political

– Each of the candidates were in consensus that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics, which overwhelmingly affect young black and Latino males, needed to be changed or completely abolished. Cheryl Keeling was especially vocal about the policies, saying: “Less than 1% of those who are frisked have any thing on them.” She even went on to say that if she couldn’t have it her way, she would work to get rid of NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

– On the environmental issue, both Andrew Cohen and Keeling believed that there needed to be more trash cans set up on the sidewalks and parks. Cliff Stanton, on the other hand, said that they’re “third on his priority list” and that they should focus on making people more aware of the littering issue so that they can take responsibility and keep the district clean.

– One of the issues discussed concerned charter schools coming into areas with a lot of public schools. While Keeling said that charter schools can offer specialty programs in the arts or for gifted children, she saidt “we should first take care of our public schools.”

– Cohen says that charter schools are a “very small piece of the puzzle,” and also emphasized that the public school system needed to be improved.

– State testing was another education issue. All three candidates, especially Cohen and Stanton, said there is too much emphasis on preparing for state testing and the whole system needs to be reformed.

– After a five minute break the audience got a chance to ask the candidates some questions.

– There were a couple of questions from audience members about charter schools. One was from a woman who was concerned on how charter schools are forced upon public spaces. Cohen said that while he is not against charter schools in general, he saidt co-locating charter schools with public schools in the same building has been an “abject failure.”

– One woman addressed the issue about toxic chemicals in public schools. She used the ¬†incident at PS 51 where there were high toxicity levels of ¬†trichloroethylene, a known cancer-causing chemical, as an example. All three candidates said that there need to be improvements. Stanton pointed out a loophole in DOE’s policy where older buildings being leased are not required to be tested for chemicals and said this needs to be addressed.

– Things started to get heated after an audience member took offense to a comment Keeling made about higher voter turnouts in Riverdale. He asked her why she thinks Riverdale gets preference in funding and services over places like Norwood. Keeling responded by saying that Riverdale is not entitled to more benefits but that more people in other areas needed to vote. She told residents who feel neglected to “stop complaining and just go vote.”

We’ll have a more extensive report in the next print edition of the Norwood News and we’ll post a video of the entire debate when it becomes available.

Comments (3)

Comments

3 Responses to “NYC Council District 11 Debate Aftermath”

  1. Robert Press on July 13th, 2013 10:13 am

    I guess you forgot to mention the fact that two of the people who asked questions were wearing Stanton for council t-shirts.
    The fact that candidate Cohen said “Is it proper for someone on the Stanton payroll to be asking me a question”?
    That the moderator said at the intermission that he was asked why he has let candidate Stanton answer last on every question, and his answer was “because I can”.
    This was not a debate, but a sham and needs to be investigated how it happened for a city council race on a city university campus.

  2. anthony rivieccio on July 14th, 2013 12:28 pm

    One of our members, who asked about the ps51 issue, was more upset about the fact that ms keeling was and is not aware of bedford/norwood issues. Her position on: more people need to vote” in regard to more services, was a tradegy

    Even more tragic, the moderator, himself, a norwood resident, with the power of lehman college did NO promotio n and advertising

    But we thought it was wonderful (based on our email and text efforts) that we were able to get some local residents there-every vote counts in THIS Election

  3. John Reynolds on August 8th, 2013 5:59 pm

    The following question was sent via email to the Norwood News prior to the debate, but apparently the moderator did not pose the question to the Democratic Party candidates: The Green Party candidate for this Council seat, John Reynolds, has pledged to publish his 2012 Conflicts of Interest Board Financial Disclosure Statement on his website. Are you willing to follow suit, and make your financial disclosure statement public?

    John H. Reynolds
    Green Party candidate
    NY City Council, District 11

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