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2021 Elections: Who's running for City Council in the 46th District • Brooklyn Paper

2021 Elections: Who’s running for City Council in the 46th District

Seven candidates running to represent the 46th Council District.
Courtesy of campaigns

City Council District 46 spans the southeastern Brooklyn neighborhoods of Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin and Canarsie, and is represented by term-limited Alan Maisel. 

Ten candidates are currently registered with the city Campaign Finance Board to represent the district, home to a bulk of southern Brooklyn’s waterfront and one of the borough’s largest green spaces, Marine Park.

While residents have praised the outgoing pol’s funding for community projects like new park playgrounds, the local elected has been criticized by some for his disdain for bike lanes, which are few and far between in the car-heavy district. On the west end, Gerritsen Beachers have been calling for the city to maintain their grounds as meticulously as they do other green spaces in the borough. Meanwhile, property theft has been on the rise district-wide — prompting some residents to seek private security for the area.

Seven of the 10 current candidates responded to Brooklyn Paper’s questionnaire. Here are their answers, ordered alphabetically by last name:

Gardy Brazela

City Council candidate Gardy Brazela.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Gardy Brazela: I am running for City Council because our district and city need experienced leadership to navigate a post-COVID economy. As unemployment and crimes rise, we need a city councilmember that knows how to address Brooklyn’s needs on day one. With over three decades of community service, I am the best candidate to meet these goals. I have a track record of securing services and supplies for our community, connecting hundreds of individuals with jobs, and building a coalition between law enforcement and the community. These relationships and my passion for community service will be essential in the coming years.

BP: Tell us about yourself, what you do for a living, your relationship to the district, and which neighborhood you live in. 

GB: I have been a proud resident of Canarsie since immigrating from Haiti over 30 years ago. Over the years, I have worked in various city agencies including the Department of Sanitation and the Human Resources Administration. For the past decade, I have worked as a vocational counselor which is a natural extension of my civic work. My relationship to community service began when I founded the Friends United Block Association, one of the city’s most active civic organizations. Since 1996, I have been a part of the 69th Precinct Community Council, now serving as its president. The same year, I joined Community Board 18 and became the first Black and Caribbean chairman of the board in 2018  Over the last three decades, my community service across the entirety of South Brooklyn speaks for itself. 

BP: What’s your political experience?

GB: While this is my first entrance to the sphere of electoral politics, I have forged countless relationships with local and citywide leaders through my civic work.

BP: What are the biggest challenges facing the district and how will you solve them?

GB: The biggest issues facing our district are economic turbulence caused by the pandemic and rising crime rates. As councilmember, I will work to secure resources to expand economic relief programs in my district and support policies that help the growth of small businesses, which are the backbone of our city. To address growth in crime, I will use my relationships in communities of color and within law enforcement to help mend fractured ties. By helping to heal these wounds, and enacting common sense reform, increasing accountability and building better police-community relations, we can address both crime and criminal justice efforts simultaneously. 

BP: What will you do differently than the incumbent?

GB: I am honored to have served alongside our current City Councilmember Alan Maisel for the last eight years. His work and dedication to the community are celebrated, and I am proud to continue his work. One area I would approach differently would be to expand the role of social media and technology to reach younger constituents.

BP: What endorsements do you have?

GB: To date I have endorsements from the following elected leaders: Councilmember Alan Maisel, Senator Roxanne Persaud, Assemblymember Jaime Williams, District Leaders Frank Seddio and Sue Anne Partnow, Nostrand Houses Tenant Association President Barbara McFadden. I am also proud to have the support of a growing coalition of religious leaders including: Rev. Cecil Moonsam, Pastor Gesner Saggese, Pastor Gayle Ford, Rev. Dr. Joseph Henry, Pastor Marie Dume, Pastor Bancroft Daughma, and Pastor Winsor Nelson.

Donald Cranston

City Council candidate Donald Cranston.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Donald Cranston: Being a born and raised Brooklynite, I decided to run because I believe the city I love is in deep trouble. I am a husband to a New York City school teacher and father of two young boys. My children need to grow up in a city that is safe, has the best educational system and is full of opportunities. Our elected officials have failed us. Crime has gone up 30 percent with a 72 percent spike in shootings. We now have a generation of children who have endured loss, divisiveness and isolation on a scale we have yet to fully comprehend while the mayor and chancellor continue to mishandle their education. And while our mayor and governor continue to bicker with each other and play politics over how to handle the pandemic, a third of our city’s small businesses have failed, our seniors continue to suffer, and more and more families struggle to put food on the table. We see our city services continue to decline, while our taxes, especially our property taxes, continue to rise without any accountability.

BP: Tell us about yourself, what you do for a living, your relationship to the district, and which neighborhood you live in.

DC: For the past two decades I have lived in the district I wish to represent in the City Council. I purchased my home in Marine Park 20 years ago, where I presently live with my wife Kristen (a New York City school teacher) and my two children who currently attend PS 207. I am currently a consultant and small business owner. I am the son of a union leader and grew up learning and debating city issues at our dinner table. I became interested in the well-being of my community and the city at a young age which led me to serve on Community Board 12 and work for many city and state agencies during my career including the office of the Brooklyn Borough President, NYC Board of Education, Battery Park City Authority, the NYC School Construction Authority and the State Senate.

I have served as a trustee to two unions and consult many businesses around the city on various business and public policy matters. I am a graduate of Edward R. Murrow High School and St. Francis College, as well as a member of Columbus Council 126 (Knights of Columbus), and a former board member of the Good Shepherd Catholic Club. During the pandemic, I have been active with the St. Thomas Aquinas Food Pantry.

BP: What is your political experience?

DC: As described above, I have broad governmental and political experience through my many years of work for the city and state where I was involved in the creation and implementation of public policy. I have the knowledge and experience needed to troubleshoot community and constituent issues, navigate the bureaucracies of our government, oversee city agencies, introduce and pass needed legislation and get things done. I do not consider myself a politician, but a problem solver, and let us be clear, problem solvers are needed to help navigate the city through the aftermath of the problems that will be left behind once the pandemic is behind us.

BP: What is the biggest challenges facing the district and how will you solve them? 

DC: The 46th Council District has a remarkably diverse constituent population, so there are different issues and concerns at play, depending on where you live, and I intend to represent all my constituents and take every issue and concern seriously. The things we have in common are that we want the city services that we are entitled to, to improve the quality of life, maintain public safety and to be treated with dignity and respect by those who serve us. We all want our children receive the best education possible, have our sanitation pick up schedule consistent with prompt snow removal, and our streets and utilities in good repair. I plan to hold our city agencies and mayor accountable, I will be the meat and potatoes councilmember and maintain a constituent service driven office where no issue is too big or too small. The seniors who have built our community, our city and nation will always receive special attention by my council office.

BP: What will you do differently than the incumbent?

DC: I have been fortunate to work with and interact with our current term-limited retiring Councilman Alan Maisel. He has been a good public servant, but I intend to be better. Like I said above, our elected officials need to fight harder for their communities and have the will to buck leadership. This means do what is right despite what the City Council Speaker, the mayor or the governor is telling you. They did not elect you, your constituents did. Too many of our elected officials have gone along with the flow rather than working harder and doing what is right. Too many elected officials have been silent and inactive during the pandemic. Our schools need better leadership and more resources, our parks need upgrading and better maintenance and our police precincts not only need more resources but training and assistance with community outreach and relations. We need to do a better job talking with our diverse neighborhoods and bringing our constituents together for the common good of our city.

BP: What endorsements do you have?

DC: Assistant Deputy Warden’s Deputy Wardens Association, Correction Captains’ Association, Inc., New York State Court Officers Association, Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association Local 831 IBT and the Correction Officer Benevolent Association. 

Zuri Jackson-Woods

City Council candidate Zuri Jackson-Woods.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council? 

Zuri Jackson-Woods: While I certainly do not consider myself a politician and therefore have not spent a lot of time navigating New York City’s political landscape. I’ve lived in New York City all of my life and know that things must change. There is a need for expeditious action on issues ranging from racial justice to criminal justice and police reform, to gun violence to closing the digital gap, to educational reform to universal healthcare to affordable housing to climate justice to poverty and the list goes on and on. It won’t get better on its own. It’s on all of us to do what we can to build a massive movement that connects us together.

BP: Tell us about yourself, what you do for a living, your relationship to the district, and which neighborhood you live in.

ZJ: I am a lifelong resident of Brooklyn. Born and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, I grew up in a two-parent household, where my mother was an educator and father an entrepreneur. My parents’ strong work ethic and commitment to contributing to the building of their community and making their “village” problems their problems, instilled in me, an unshakable commitment to be a part of the solution. As a student, I was educated at New York City public schools from kindergarten through high school. I hold a BA in Education and masters in Guidance and School Counseling. I also hold a master’s in Administration and Supervision in Education from Brooklyn College. I am a long-time Georgetown resident with my husband and daughter.

From being a classroom teacher, school counselor, assistant principal, school based services administrator, borough enrollment director and lastly a senior administrator with the Office of Counseling Support Programs at Tweed, I have devoted my life to public education, to empowering and nurturing our students, supporting our families and taking on the politicians and corporate interests that harm our young people and destabilize our communities through corrupt and inequitable policies that promote cultures of “the have and the have-nots.”

BP: What’s your political experience?

ZJ: My decision to run for City Council grows out of my experience as an educator, activist, organizer, and advocate for our 1.1 million students and their families. I’ll fight to give the same commitment to every student and family in the 46th City Council District that I have given to our students and families throughout my 32 years as an educator and administrator on varying organizational levels. ‍I will bring people together in our district just as I have done in our city for many years regarding issues of education, racial, and economic justice. I have been a champion for all of our children and families my entire adult life, and with District 46 residents support, I can be their education champion in the halls of City Hall.  

BP: What are the biggest challenges facing the district and how will you solve them? 

ZJ: COVID-19 recovery, and gun violence and other crimes. While the  COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted all of New York City, the data has revealed its  greatest impact depends a great deal on geography. The data displays significant differences between communities, not just in the number of cases but in their severity and survival outcomes once infected with coronavirus. As such, it’s important to note that recovery is not a one size fit all.  The need to address the poor social conditions that disproportionately impact the health of minority communities became increasingly self-evident, we must remember access to primary care is a social determinant of health.  These disparities in COVID-19 outcomes reflect the pervasive and persistent racial and economic inequalities in health status as well as the importance of primary care access and addressing the social determinants of health as a top priority for governments, elected officials and health care organizations.

[I also feel] it’s time to bring back community policing as we need our officers to help take the illegal guns off our streets.  Growing up in Bedford-Stuyvesant, I recall the police had an authentic interest in our trajectories as they were from our communities and understood the oppressions residents contended with on a daily basis. These relationships of mutual respect helped to keep crime at minimum. Let’s be clear, we don’t want to see excessive force, we don’t want to see cops putting their knees in out necks. We don’t support bad police policies. We all want to be safe. It’s time to reimagine the solutions to gun violence.

BP: What will you do differently than the incumbent?               

ZJ: I have much respect for the incumbent and his accomplishments during his tenure as city councilman. I’m an advocate for bike lanes. I believe it’s important that we make it easier for folks to live without cars. Here’s district 46 number of reported crashes from January 2019 to date: 5,687 (roughly eight per day), injuring 106 cyclists, 276 pedestrians (killing seven!) and 1,875 motorists. The way it’s set up now, it’s difficult to get around on a bike. We can curb emissions from transportation by redesigning our streets to make it safer and more convenient.  

BP: What endorsements do you have?

ZJ: I have applied for endorsements from: Black Lives Matter, Sunrise NYC, Voters for Animal Rights (VFAR), NYC KidsPac, Streetsblog, Road to Justice NYC , League of Independent Theater, The League of Conservation Voters, United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and Council of School Supervisors & Administrators (CSA) to date.  

Mercedes Narcisse

City Council candidate Mercedes Narcisse.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Mercedes Narcisse: I am running to represent every individual and family in this district. For too long, this district has been “cracked” not only along geographical and political lines, but also along socioeconomic status lines. I am running to level the playing field to bring about social justice in public health, public education (at all levels), housing, and economic development. I am running because I have lived in this district for the majority of life, and know that all parts of the district have not been served. I have been able to identify problems/issues in the district and have worked to resolve these problems in a way that the whole community benefits with my own personal resources. As a city councilmember, I will have access to a budget and other resources that I will use to serve the entire district.  

BP: Tell us about yourself, what you do for a living, your relationship to the district, and which neighborhood you live. 

MN: I migrated to this country at the age of 17 and was completely oblivious to the English language and this culture, but I figured out ways to address barriers that I encountered and shared them with others who were similarly situated. I attended Tilden High School and then went on to receive my RN from NYC Technical College of the City University of New York , and then went on to complete a BSN. I moved to the neighborhood of Canarsie where I purchased my home and raised four children. I became an emergency room nurse at the height of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, while raising four beautiful children in the 46th District. I deciphered ways to address and break political, economic, and social barriers in a way that positively spills over into the community.  I co-founded many civic organizations such as Canarsie by Choice and then became the president of the 41st Assembly District Democratic club. I later became the owner of a successful medical supply company on Avenue L in Canarsie, and later became the president of Avenue L Merchants Association. I recruited and brought about many small businesses to serve our community. 

BP: What is your political experience?

MN: As I stated previously, I was the president of the 41st Assembly District Democratic Club, and served in the Congressional Black Caucus’ Women’s Caucus under the former Congressmember Ed Towns. I ran for this seat in 2013 without any campaign matching funds, endorsements, and the like, yet I received approximately 6,000 votes simply by engaging the voters personally and through the service and advocacy that I have provided to the community. I have worked in the office of an elected official and understand the many issues that we encounter in the district. I have volunteered on many political campaigns and have worked with labor unions to advocate for increased wages and benefits for their members.    

BP: What are the biggest challenges facing the district?

MN: Currently, our district has the highest levels of chronic illnesses in NYC, yet we have no hospital or direct transportation to one; moreover, we do not have any community health centers which was felt throughout the pandemic.  We also have the highest foreclosure rates in NYC and many of our  residents are rent-burdened. Also, we have two school districts in District 46, and they are separate and unequal.  We must bring about after-school programs for all schools as well as  sports, and more academic programming. We must have more investments in our public schools. Finally, we must redevelop our local economy through small business development and the re-skilling of our workforce. 

I consider myself a vehicle of public health through the many preventive care activities and initiatives that I provide in the community.  I am an advocate for Mental Health for all; housing that is reasonably-priced and safe to live in; public education that produces equality of results for all; and entrepreneurship that will increase our local economy and provide jobs/careers for residents in our community. To do so, I am advocating for Community Health Centers (CHCs) in our district. We can think of innovative models such as the utilization of community centers or other facilities in public housing to house these CHCs. I am advocating for Mental Health for All, through mobile units that can be accessed throughout all parts of the district.

BP: What will you do differently than the incumbent?

MN: I will not assume that I have the answers for everyone; rather, I will seek counsel and guidance from the residents, community leaders, clergy, and my colleagues in government so that I can represent every member of the district adequately.  I am a frontline worker, but I know that in order to bring everyone to the “front of the line” that I will need to have many purposeful conversations throughout the community.  When I first moved to the district over 35 years ago, there was an assumption that our needs were being met when they were not being met.  No one ever asked what we needed or what we wanted; they just made assumptions.  We have a voice, and our voice needs to be heard.  More importantly, I will not only listen, I will act on these concerns, and implement the solutions that are needed to address these concerns.  These are things that were never done.  

BP: What endorsements do you have?

MN: I have been endorsed by Assemblymember Nick Perry, former Congressmember Ed Towns, former Assemblymember Darryl Towns, District Leader 21 in 21

Judy Newton

Judy Newton.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council? 

Judy Newton: I am running to build on the legacy of success of our great City Council representatives, and leaders before me, who built this successful neighborhood/bedroom community, and district. Today, the 46th District is a small town in a big city. People move to this “small town” for three reasons. Firstly, they want to realize the “American Dream” of home ownership; Secondly, they want a neighborhood that’s relatively safe to raise their families; and thirdly, they want to move into the middle class and enjoy their earned successes. 

I am also running to protect the interests of our homeowners, our middle class, senior citizens and our young people. I bring both community experience and the people-to-people skills I learned as a former New York City Police Detective, where exercising sound judgment was part of the job. 

BP: Tell us about yourself, what you do for a living, your relationship to the district, and which neighborhood you live in?

JN: I was born on the Caribbean island of Barbados, where my mother was left to raise eight children, taught me the value of a good education, and the importance of public service. I came to New York City with my mother, Dorothy Newton, in 1976. In 1984, I became a police officer with the New York City Police Department, (after being employed with the MTA Bridge and Tunnel Authority for approximately six years) and with hard work and dedication, progressed to the rank of Detective. After retiring in 2012, I saw the need to expand my efforts into my community empowerment and business development in the 46th Council District; as I have done for over three decades. Today, I continue to be a proud resident of Canarsie. I hold an AAS in Police Science, A BA in Business Administration and a master’s degree in Public Administration from John Jay College of Criminal Justice; and a master’s Degree in Philosophy from Cardiff University, (Wales, UK). I then earned a Doctorate in Education from American International College (Springfield, MA).

BP: What’s your political experience?

JN: I have continued to work with local elected officials for a number of years as a member of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club. Also, as an active member of the local community, I have supported the work that has been done by our elected officials and engaged in programs which helps to make Council District 46th — one of our bedroom communities of New York — “the only small town in the big city.”  

BP: What are the biggest challenges facing the district and how will you solve them?

JN: Like most of New York City, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended our residential and small business community. However, I believe that this presents an opportunity to build back this community better than before. If I am fortunate to be the next City Council representative for the district, I will work with local banks to develop creative financial instruments and programs that benefit small businesses.

Protecting and preserving homeowner’s property is also a major priority for me. The experiences of the 2008 housing crisis have taught us many lessons and demonstrated that there is a role for elected officials to promote and institute sound policies that keep families in their homes.

Another challenge continues to be gun violence and quality of life issues. I believe it will be helpful for the police message to be more publicized.  It appears now, that for the most part, the message has been a reactive one.

BP: What will you do differently than the incumbent?

JN: There is no incumbent in this race since Councilmember Alan Maisel is term-limited and is prohibited to seek re-election again. However, I hasten to say that I will continue to build on the legacy of success that he and others started that has yielded so much progress over the past years. This success has benefited our families and I have pledged to put families first.

BP: What endorsements do you have?

JN: My campaign is endorsed by the former Democratic Kings County and current District Leader, Frank Seddio, District Leader Sue Ann Partnow, and the other elected officials of the Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club, which includes: State Sen. Roxanne Persaud; Assemblymember Jamie Williams and Councilmember Alan Maisel. However, my campaign is actively involved in reaching out to organizations and being part of the processes required for endorsements.

Shirley Paul 

City Council candidate Shirley Paul.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Shirley Paul: I am running for New York City Council at this time because I have dedicated my life to public service and want to bring my extensive government experiences to represent our district. I have worked for then-Senator Joe Biden, our current President, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and those experiences have equipped me in understanding the budgetary process and drafting legislation. On Day 1 I can advocate for our fair share of resources as we all navigate the devastating fiscal crisis.

BP: Tell us about yourself, what you do for a living, your relationship to the district, and which neighborhood you live. 

SP: I am a proud product of NYC public schools, born and raised in Brooklyn and proud Canarsie resident for the last 19 years. I am an attorney. I’ve been an active community leader for over a decade having served in: Assemblymember Frank R. Seddio’s office; Thomas Jefferson Democrat Club member (2005); member of the county’s law committee (collecting signatures and binding petitions) and Legal Advisor for the 69th precinct council (2014-2016)

BP: What is your political experience?

SP: I’ve worked on multiple levels of government, including working for President Joseph R. Biden when he was Senator of Delaware; worked in the Cuomo Administration, worked for Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Assistant Director for Legislative Affairs for SUNY and worked on dozens of campaigns to elect competent Judges and members of Congress, NYC City Council, NYS Senate and Assembly. 

BP: What are the biggest challenges facing the district?

SP: Homelessness and keeping people in their homes. I plan to fight for vital resources to protect homeowners and tenants from foreclosures, evictions and predatory lending. On education, [I plan to] fight for fair and equal education funding throughout the district by identifying government spending and waste and reinvesting savings into our public school systems and preventing layoffs. And on infrastructure: strengthening and reinforcing our infrastructure so that our district can withstand future storms and ensuring our district is included in the mayor’s resiliency program.

BP: What will you do differently than the incumbent?

SP: I will implore various ways to reach out to constituents, including digital ads and social media.

BP: What endorsements do you have?

SP: Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and Kings County Democratic Leader and Assemblymember Rodynese Bichotte.

Dimple Willabus

City Council candidate Dimple Willabus.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council? 

Dimple Willabus: Like so many members of the community, I am disappointed and disheartened by the lack of leadership throughout our city government. We have witnessed and endured the nonfeasance of our public officials for years, however, this past year, we witnessed an abject failure of leadership by our elected officials. We, as a community, recognize that we must act, if we are to achieve the communal goals that we desire. I am motivated to run so that we can bring about equity in our educational system, access to better medical care for our community, more sustainable living environments, a more just and fair criminal justice and social services system, and to address the many accessibility issues facing the community, especially by those who feel neglected, disenfranchised and downtrodden.

BP: Tell us about yourself, what you do for a living, your relationship to the district, and which neighborhood you live in. 

DW: I am a wife, mother, immigrant, homeowner, small business owner and Community Leader who has been serving as a voice for our youth, women, immigrants and community at large. I am a resident of Mill Basin. 

BP: What’s your political experience?

DW: My political experience is rooted in what I refer to as “results-driven activism.” Essentially, I’ve been involved with organizations and causes that are looking to bring substantive change to the lives of my fellow citizens. While I’ve been a member of several politically-affiliated organizations, my passion is service to the grassroots, community groups and organizations that are making changes in people’s lives. I’ve been a member of several youth-focused, not-for-profit organizations. I’ve served as the Brooklyn Borough President appointee to our local Community Education Council, as well as the President of CEC District 22. I’ve been an appointee to the NYC Mayor’s Education Task Force, a member of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce M/WBE committee, a member of the Kings County Democratic County Committee and more.

BP: What are the biggest challenges facing the district and how will you solve them?

DW: The biggest challenge facing our community is recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This challenge directly affects a number of other incumbrances that we were already trying to overcome. Among the top challenges in our community are: educational equity, housing insecurity, food insecurity and economic growth and opportunity.

To solve these issues, we need to offer and provide training and educational services for our citizens with an emphasis on the build and infrastructure industries that are driven by green-living and environmental sustainability. We must give our youth and working-class community the skills and ability that will allow them to be readily equipped and trained to be active participants in these green industries which we’ve already committed to funding and shifting jobs to.

We need to recognize and treat food insecurity with the urgency that it deserves. We must increase the opportunities for our community members to have access to fresh foods and quality meals.  

BP: What will you do differently than the incumbent? 

DW: The number one thing that I will do differently from the incumbent is to ensure that I am accessible to the community.  I have spoken with too many people who do not know who our City Council person is or what they do. Recent experience has shown us that it is more important than ever to pay attention to local politics.  Our past representatives have focused too much on special interests and political elites. Often, this has left the local needs overlooked and neglected, except when it came time to take part in a requisite photo-op.  I want to empower the people and rekindle their spirit of engagement and inclusion in developing our community. I will guarantee to have a dedicated community liaison as part of my staff and a dedicated 311 or social-media style mechanism in place for direct contact and response to community needs.  I want to ensure transparency and responsiveness to the needs of the people are hallmarks of my office.

BP: What endorsements do you have?

DW: There are several endorsement processes that I am currently involved in, however, my biggest endorsement will be that of the people.  The community’s voice and their vote of approval is what will continue to drive me above all other endorsements.

Additional candidates

Three additional candidates — Osamede Inerhunwunwa, Stanely Scutt, and Tiffany Tucker-Pryor — could not be reached for comment.

Note: Some responses have been edited for brevity, clarity, and style consistency.

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