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Who's running for City Council in the 48th District

2021 Elections: Who’s running for City Council in the 48th District

48th district
Seven candidates are running for the District 48 Council seat in southern Brooklyn.
Courtesy of campaigns

Seven candidates are facing off for the City Council seat in the 48th District currently held by term-limited Councilmember Chaim Deutsch, who represents Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Homecrest, and Midwood. The winner of the June primaries will face off in the November general election, and the victor will take office in January 2022.

The race comes as the southern Brooklyn district reels from the highest numbers of COVID-19 positivity rates in the borough, and some of the highest in the city. According to city data, one in nine residents living in the ZIP codes 11235 and 11223 — which encompass Brighton Beach, Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Gravesend and Homecrest — have contracted COVID-19, and 1 in 164 has died. 

Six Democratic candidates and one Republican candidate have filed to run for the race. All seven candidates responded to Brooklyn Paper’s questionnaire.

Jump to the candidates by clicking on their names — Amber Adler, Binyomin Bendet, Mariya Markh, Boris Noble, Steve Saperstein, Heshy Tischler, and Inna Vernikov — or by scrolling below.

Democrats:

Amber Adler

district 48
Amber Adler.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Amber Adler: I am running for City Council to give back to the community that has given to me. A vote for me is a vote for a safe future, full of measurable results and opportunity. A vote for me is a vote for the highest level of constituent services because I know that your needs are time sensitive. A vote for me, is a vote for you because I am here for us. 

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

AA: I am an award-winning civic leader, non-profit CEO and Orthodox Jewish single mother of two young boys that has dedicated the last 20 years to helping communities grow. As a Homecrest resident, I have been actively involved in elevating our local community for over a decade through civic engagement, interfaith dialogue, volunteer efforts and more.

BP: What’s your political experience?

AA: As Chair of Neighborhood Advisory Board 15, I work to allocate hundreds of thousands of dollars in federally-funded contracts to local non-profit organizations which help alleviate poverty. I have also secured hundreds of thousands of dollars in discretionary funding from NYC Council for educational curriculum to combat antisemitism and other forms of hate and bigotry. Additionally, I secured funding for high school students to participate in college courses for college credit and provided vital resources for over a decade. 

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

AA: Our district lacks equitable pandemic recovery. Quality of life is slipping across the board but particularly for seniors. Parents continue to struggle with irregular school schedules, ineffective remote learning and lack of childcare. And, unity is needed to combat the various forms of hate and bigotry that remain throughout the city. This is why, once elected, I will prioritize equitable pandemic recovery, establish a more robust childcare and education system and continue to improve the district’s quality of life while promoting unity.

BP: What will you do differently than Councilmember Deutsch?

AA: I will make sure the public knows all the ways that the city can help them. City services are only useful when people know how to access them. 

BP: What endorsements do you have? 

AA: My campaign is endorsed by 21 in 21, Run for Something, and many community pillars.

Binyomin Bendet

district 48
Binyomin Bendet.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Binyomin Bendet: I have always wanted to help people, through nonprofits and government. After a few years of working with elected officials and with individuals in the community, I believe that I am able to properly represent our diverse communities and work with others in government to get what our constituents need in the most effective manner.

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

BB: I am a practicing litigating attorney, in the fields of real estate and commerce (most commercial litigation is in the business/loan fields, which include breaches of contract and partnership disputes). I am a husband and father of two boys. I am born and bred in South Brooklyn, where I still live.

BP: What’s your political experience?

BB: I am part of the 41st Assembly Democrats Club (Lou Fiddler’s club), am a judicial delegate and member of the Kings County Committee. I have worked on political campaigns in the past and have a connection with a number of current and former elected officials.

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

BB: First, education: We need more funding and more access to services for those that need it, especially for children with special education. Second, safety: We need to work with the NYPD, whom I support, to increase security in our neighborhoods and dialogue with members of our community. We must also work on the disturbing rise in hate crimes, specifically, anti-Semitism and anti-Asian crimes, both of which have spiked recently.

BP: What will you do differently than Councilmember Deutsch?

BB: I believe that Councilmember Deutsch has done a fine job in the City Council and will work to further many of his projects and goals.

BP: What endorsements do you have? 

None listed.

Mariya Markh

district 48
Mariya Markh.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Mariya Markh: Our next Council Member’s first responsibility will be to help our community and City recover from the effects of COVID-19. This includes vaccinations, and safely reopening our institutions such as schools, senior centers, and small businesses. I’m uniquely qualified because I have experience with the City’s budget and legislative processes which will be necessary to restore basic services.

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

MM: I’ve lived in the district, Sheepshead Bay, for almost three decades, met my husband Lenny here, and we’re staples at community and civic meetings (along with our toddler Rebecca). Before leaving City service, I worked as Senior Community Liaison and a NYC Council Aide. In my personal time, I’ve helped run one of the most successful holiday toy drives in the city.

BP: What’s your political experience?

MM: I worked for Council Members Lew Fidler, Chaim Deutsch, and Alan Maisel. I worked on constituent services as well as legislation. I then worked for City Hall as the liaison to Community Boards 13 and 15 and the Russian-speaking community. In addition to government work, I have worked behind the scenes to help elect many representatives throughout Brooklyn.  

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

MM: Immediate is COVID recovery, long-term is resiliency. Even with vaccines and a full re-opening, we’ll still face a revenue shortfall in the billions and decimated industries. We need to make sure our basic services like public safety, senior centers, and sanitation are fully funded. We need to create opportunities for businesses to recover and restore jobs, and safely reopen schools.

BP: What will you do differently than Councilmember Deutsch?

MM: I would have different legislative priorities and, given the opportunity, would serve on committees such as the finance, small business, aging, health, public safety, and resilience and waterfronts. I would continue to prioritize constituent services since it allows representatives to know the problems people face and find ways to fix them.

BP: What endorsements do you have?

MM: I have been endorsed by Assemblymembers Steven Cymbrowitz, Helene Weinstein, and Jaime Williams; State Senator Roxanne Persaud; NYC Council Member Alan Maisel; District Leaders Frank Seddio, Brad Reid, and Sue Ann Partnow; Robin Fidler; NYS Court Officers Association; 41st AD Democrats Club.

Boris Noble

district 48
Boris Noble.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Boris Noble: I believe that City Council is the most local form of government available and is the place where local issues are most effected. I want to be the councilmember who cares about trash pick up, potholes and other issues or local concerns.

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

BN: I work as a contract manager overseeing contracts, I have long ties to the district as I even graduated from a yeshiva in the district. I live in Midwood.

BP: What’s your political experience?

BN: I use to work for Marty Markowitz the Brooklyn Borough President as his housing policy advisor, Jewish and Russian speaking liaison and covered Community Board 15 for the Borough President. I have been involved in political matters for years in local politics and serve on community board 14.

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

BN: Housing or the lack of affordable housing is something that is a huge challenge and we need more Mitchell-Lama like housing that is available for the general public. Another challenge is parking and transportation access, subways like the B and Q are regularly delayed and pre-Corona was severely overcrowded, we need better infrastructure here. Lately garbage pick up has been delayed. Basic government services are lacking in the city and we need more accountable government. 

BP: What will you do differently than Councilmember Deutsch?

No response. 

BP: What endorsements do you have?

BN: DC 37, HTC, CWA 1, 32 BJ, Local 237, NYSNA.

Steve Saperstein

district 48
Steve SapersteinCourtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Steven Saperstein: We’ve been through so much this year, and our neighbors need someone to fight for us. I am running to bring our district back stronger. My goal is to be hands-on, accessible and responsive to the issues you care about. I will work with the next mayor to deliver the necessary resources and funding to our district.

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

SS: I was born and raised in this district, and attended local schools here in Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach. I am raising my two young daughters with my wife Elina here. Growing up in a home with both parents and a brother who are deaf showed me how important it is to help our community. After my studies in Law, I earned a Masters in Deaf & Hard of Hearing Education. I am a NYC Special Education teacher. 

BP: What’s your political experience?

SS: I am not a political operative or a career politician. My mission is all about putting people over politics. I co-founded the Shorefront Coalition, an organization to promote civic engagement in the community. Our goal is to work for more services and opportunities for youth and seniors in our community. 

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

SS: We’ve been hit hard by this pandemic. Small businesses are hurting, students are being left behind, and basic quality of life issues are being ignored. I am focused on safe and clean streets, easy pathways for small businesses and schools to open again, quality, well-funded education for all our kids, and preparing the system for major issues in the future.

BP: What will you do differently than Councilmember Deutsch?

SS: This is a completely new landscape. There will be a new mayor and almost an entirely new City Council. Our district needs someone who will make sure the necessary resources and funding are delivered to Southern Brooklyn. I know what it takes to find solutions, navigate the bureaucracy, and get things done.

BP: What endorsements do you have?

SS: I have been endorsed by the United Federation of Teachers, Local 891 IUOE, and the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, so far. However, the most important endorsement is that of the people in our district.

Heshy Tischler

district 48
Heshy Tischler.Courtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council?

Heshy Tischler: I feel that I have the experience, and I’ve helped the community for over the last 30 years with their buildings, soup kitchens, taking in foster children into my home, helping the homeless. I’ve fought the city; I’ve fought the mayor. I fought to keep the schools open, the stores open, I work in the youth center, I have a food distribution program.

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

HT: I am a father, a grandfather. I was an orphan at 13, the son of a Holocaust survivor. I’ve taken in foster kids. We have a food distribution program where I’m a volunteer — I’m a volunteer at the hospital, I’m a volunteer in the youth center here. I have been a resident of south Brooklyn for 57 years. [My wife Linda and I] have a place in Sheepshead Bay and we also have a home in Borough Park.

BP: What’s your political experience?

HT: None whatsoever, I’ve been behind the scenes. I’ve taken the councilman, the assemblyman, up to the jails to see how we could help them. I work with the police whenever we have trouble with children. In terms of being politician or working in a political office: no [experience]. I’ve worked on many campaigns, [such as] Dov Hikland’s campaign.

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

HT: I’m going to start with the easier stuff: traffic control, the homeless shelters, and the homeless people floating around, which Chaim Deutsch has wonderful ideas that I plan on using. Postpartum depression for women is a very big issue in our community. Mental health is a problem. I’ve been dealing with it as a volunteer in the hospital. I want more youth centers and I want more drug centers. 

BP: What will you do differently than Councilmember Deutsch?

HT: I would like to continue a lot of his projects. He is an inspiration. I will focus more of my attention on stopping government agencies from constantly slowing down our people’s quality of life — I’m going to find a way to either defund them or confine them. I’m going to cut the budget down and save over $2.2 billion to make these agencies work together and stop government waste. 

BP: What endorsements do you have?

HT: I have endorsements coming from other councilmen and a bunch of religious organizations and I’m working on other endorsements.  

Republican:

Inna Vernikov

district 48
Inna VernikovCourtesy of campaign

Brooklyn Paper: Why are you running for City Council? 

Inna Vernikov: I am running for City Council because I am fearful about the current state of affairs in our city and I am concerned about its future. I believe that progressive policies such as defunding the police and eliminating merit-based education are harmful to New York City and I am looking to be a voice to counter those policies. 

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

IV: I grew up and have been living in the Sheepshead Bay Area. My family and most of my friends all live in the district and it is definitely home for me. I am an attorney and a small business owner, and have had my own practice for almost seven years now. 

BP: What’s your political experience?

IV: Although I am not a politician, I am no stranger to politics. I previously worked on the campaign of former senator David Storobin in 2013 and was a staffer for former assemblyman Dov Hikind. 

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

IV: I’ve spent several months walking the district and speaking to the residents to learn about their concerns. I’d say the top three issues facing my district are: anti-police sentiment, sanitation, and homeless shelters. I will be a voice fighting the red tape and policies that hurt my constituents instead of benefitting them.  

BP: What will you do differently than Councilmember Deutsch?

IV: I will be a loud voice against the mayor if he fails to deliver for our neighborhoods and when he acts against our values.  

BP: What endorsements do you have?

IV: I’ve only just recently announced my candidacy. So far,  I am endorsed by the Brooklyn GOP, the Kings County Conservative party, and former Assemblyman Dov Hikind.

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

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