Candidates vying for the 48th City Council District participated in an unorthodox, but incredibly informational, forum last Thursday, hosted by the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association.
The learning-style forum gave local citizens the opportunity to interact directly with three City Council candidates for the 48th District: Republican David Storobin, Working Families Igor Oberman, and Democrat Chaim Deutsch. The format of the panel departed from the usual, and featured three reporters asking questions, which a citizens panel then answered as if they were the council members. The candidates then weighed in, saying how they’d approach the issue and responding to the residents’ proposals.
Moderated by City Councilman Lew Fidler, the panel touched on important concerns, including local development, parking and traffic, garbage and the revitalization of our commercial districts – the concerns residents said would guide their vote in the November 5 election.
The media panel brought together reporters from local, citywide, and New York policy publications: Michael Powell, a veteran metro reporter from the New York Times; Cristian Salazar, editor of the Gotham Gazette, a policy analysis publication; and our own Ned Berke, editor and publisher of Sheepshead Bites.
Attendance for the event filled up the Carmine Carro Community Center in Brooklyn’s Marine Park, where the event took place. Ed Jaworski, the president of the Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association and organizer of the event said that the event was “an opportunity for the public, candidates for office, and current office holders to learn from citizens. It‘s a focus on citizen input, that is, bottom-up consideration.”
William Chin, one of the citizen panels, said, “It was an unbelievable turnout.” But he added that though the content was good, there weren’t many “campaignable promises.”
Storobin, Oberman, and Deutsch had dissenting opinions about what it would take to draw business to local shops, find a balance in the equitable distribution of wealth, and educate proprietors on the basics of business stability.
In fact, one of the few things the candidates did agree upon was the rejection of Bloomberg’s 16-ounce soda ban, with Storobin calling it “preposterous” and Oberman adding, “We don’t need another politician concerned about soda.”
The entire panel can be watched in the video above.