Candidates for a handful of local elections came before the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association last night to make the case for residents’ votes.
Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz was first up, speaking about his work to increase access to healthcare in the community through his health fair and free screenings, as well as his role in helping establish the Maimonides Cancer Center, Brooklyn’s first and only cancer center. He also noted his efforts as chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse to raise awareness of issues in drug use – which, he said, for youths often begins with the medical cabinet at home – and to steer revenue from potential casinos in New York towards gambling addiction programs.
Mike Geller, who is running for re-election as 46th District Leader, told the crowd about his history as a lover of Manhattan Beach, and how he first got involved in politics (apparently, at the urging of Ed Eisenberg). He also criticized the Manhattan Beach Neighborhood Association’s rival group and predecessor, the Manhattan Beach Community Group, for a structure that gives too much power to too few neighbors, and complimented the MBNA for broadening participation in the neighborhood.
Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, the front runner in the race to replace Congressman Ed Towns in a congressional district that, beginning in 2013, will include Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach and other Southern Brooklyn communities, discussed the extraordinary diversity of his district, which crosses Brooklyn from our shores up to Cobble Hill and Fort Greene. Jeffries said that, despite the diverse backgrounds, all residents want safe streets and more job opportunities. He also noted that he believes the greatest foreign threat of our times is the potential of a nuclear Iran, and noted that we must work with Israel to stop that from becoming a reality.
A contingent of Republicans also attended the meeting, including Russ Gallo, who is vying for Cymbrowitz’s seat, and Alan Bellone, who is taking on Hakeem Jeffries in the November elections. Bellone asked the group earlier in the day for time to speak, but was declined. A representative for the group said there was not enough advance notice.
As a 501(c)4 organization, the MBNA is not required to provide equal opportunities to competing candidates for office, and is permitted to make endorsements.