April 9, 2009 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Election Coverage

Voters to pols: Knock us dead

The Brooklyn Paper
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It’s time for the five candidates to succeed Councilman Bill DeBlasio to put aside the talking points and dazzle us already.

That’s at least the premise of the “Dazzle Me” forum being hosted on April 25 by Carroll Gardens Coalition to Respectfully Develop, a neighborhood group.

The stated goal of the group is to get the candidates for the Democratic nomination — John Heyer, Bob Zuckerman, Josh Skaller, Brad Lander, and Gary Reilly — to not only break out from the pack, but to do so with something truly valuable to voters.

“I hope it doesn’t become ‘dazzle us’ with how marketable you are,” said Rita Miller, a member of the group.

Residents are invited to submit questions beforehand.

“We really wanted to make this an interview for a job and take it back to the level that we are looking to hire someone to represent us. These are prospective employees. They’re going to have to dazzle us with their talents.”

There’s no reason why the candidates can’t rise to the occasion. After all, their resumes are brimming with experience — Heyer works for Borough President Markowitz, Zuckerman just took a leave of absence from running the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, Skaller is a Democratic club member, Lander is the director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, and Reilly is a member of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood Association.

But can they “dazzle”?

After a laugh or two about trying to electrify the electorate with flashy costumes and their juggling skills, the pols honed their sales pitch on The Brooklyn Paper.

• Reilly, an amateur expert on the MTA, especially the F train which cuts through the district like the carotid artery, said, “I’m going to talk about improving mass transit,” including his support for tolls on the East River bridges (yeah, that’ll dazzle ’em!).

• Zuckerman said he’d dazzle with his concern about zoning!

“In Carroll Gardens, people are very interested in the downzoning and that’s something I fully support,” he said. “There are also a number of people who believe that the historic district should be expanded beyond the two blocks that it currently is and I’m a proponent of that.”

• Lander, the one who initially made the joke about working on his soft-shoe act, rattled off the hot-button issues in Carroll Gardens that he wants to tackle.

“They’ve had a lot of overdevelo­pment,” he said. “There’s a lot of attention in this neighborhood on the Gowanus Canal and the closing of mom and pop shops. This neighborhood loves its mom and pops.”

He has a back-up plan if that doesn’t impress the audience.

“If necessary, I may resort to juggling and tap dancing.”

• Skaller said he was going to focus on issues of government transparency and reform.

“We’re speaking very strongly for budget reform. We need to see where the money is coming from and going to,” he said.

Ah, the money trail. That issue flared in this district recently when former Councilman Steve DiBrienza had to abort his attempt to return to office after The Brooklyn Paper reported that the his former colleagues in the Council funneled $1.2 million to a nonprofit that spent the vast majority of it on salaries.

The “Dazzle Me Forum” will be Saturday, April 25 at the Carroll Gardens branch of the Brooklyn Public Library [396 Clinton St. at Union Street, (347) 661-8819 or], 10:30 am.

Updated 5:12 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Jonathan from Park Slope says:
Too bad your "dazzle me" column falls short by not mentioning Green Party candidate David Pechefsky who is invited and WILL BE attending the forum on the 25th. With 10 years experience working on the Council's central staff, Pechefsky will dazzle with his intimate knowledge of how the Council does and DOES NOT work, and how to move projects through the byzantine structure.
April 11, 2009, 4:58 pm

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