Coalition to Save Brust Park 11th City Council Forum

The coalition to save Brust Park was formed to save a small open space that is threatened by a developer who is planning to build a large building right next to Brust Park, in what was an empty lot on Dash PlaceĀ in Community Board 8.

The coalition decided to hear what the candidates for the 11th City Council seat had to say about the matter by hosting a forum Saturday night. Candidates on the ballot for the March 23rd special election are Eric Dinowitz, Jessica Haller, Mino Lori, Dan Padernacht, Kevin Pazzmino, and Carlton Berkley (who was not in attendance). Also included in the forum were the two candidates who withdrew from the special election saying they are running in the June Primary.

After introductions and opening speeches the questions to the candidates began. Most of the questions were related to the local community board and its powers against developers. Here is where the candidates were separated into those who know policy, and those who didn’t. Dan Padernacht having been on Community Board 8 for twelve years and Chair of the board for three of those years explained the process, and how the community board works with developers to meet the needs of the community. There have been times when Community Board 8 has been able to get an unwanted development stopped, but he admitted it is a hard process sometimes because developers don’t always want to change their plans since according to city zoning rules there are set guidelines on what can be built. Eric Dinowitz, also a member of Community Board 8, echoed much of what Padernacht said being on the board for only a few years. Jessica Haller said that the community board doesn’t work hard enough, and there should be term limits for board members. Candidate Haller was corrected when it was brought out that term limits for community board members was passed along with Rank Choice Voting, to which she replied “I must have missed that”. Mino Lori changed the subject to say that more affordable housing needs to be built, and stayed silent on most other policy questions. Kevin Pazzmino answered that housing should meet the needs of the community.

The chat room seemed to be very active as candidates and others were exchanging comments. Candidates Jessica Haller and Kevin Pazzmino got into a debate on which mode of transportation should be used to move seniors to their destinations. Pazzmino wanted to use cabs, whereas Jessica Haller (an environmentalist) said the taxis would add to the air pollution, and seniors should use the buses already in the area. Pazzmino countered by saying they could be hybrid or electric cabs. Jessica Haller said public schools should have salad bars, and when in the chat a comment from a former Parents Association President of RKA said that was tried years ago and failed, Haller replied “then you did not do a good enough job”.

The highlight of the night had to be when Marcos Sierra who dropped out of the special election opened his speech slamming Riverdale saying the past council members have come from there, and Riverdale gets while other parts of the council district don’t get. He also said that since the 11th council district is a majority minority district that a minority should be elected as the next council member. Mr. Sierra made a similar statement to one person that an older white male should not be running in a cis majority minority district, which Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said was racially charged. Since Mr. Sierra is the Male District Leader from the 80th Assembly District that person has made a complaint to State Senator Jamaal Bailey the Bronx Democratic Party Chair to remove Mr. Sierra as the Male District Leader, which Senator Bailey refuses to do even after a Brooklyn district leader was removed for saying things about China and Chinese food.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email