City Councilwoman Mealy’s leadership questioned
Opponents present new ideas for 41st District covering East Flatbush, Ocean Hill-Brownsville and parts of Bed-Stuy
By Stephen Witt
While incumbent 41st District City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy appears to be running for re-election in a low gear, her two opponents – Stanley Kinard and Kathleen Daniel – say change is desperately needed come Primary Day, Sept. 10.
“I’m running because Darlene has not provided strong leadership,” said Kinard. “She doesn’t have a real comprehensive plan in terms of education and economic development and she doesn’t seem to be the person to lead the community at this very critical time.”
Kinard said many residents he speaks with say they are dissatisfied with Mealy for both her support to extend term limits (nearly four years ago) and because she has a poor record of being present at council meetings when there is a critical vote.
Kinard, a lifelong resident, said his main platform is to restore local public schools to community control while taking away more mayoral control and the control of charter schools.
“I advocate for choice, but the community has no involvement of what goes on at the charter school buildings at 4 pm when they close,” said Kinard.
Kinard said that in community schools the community would have access to the school building once school lets out for after-school and other programs. There isn’t a lot of parental involvement in charter schools, he said.
Kinard, who currently runs the CARE Center at Boys & Girls High School, which provides the students with support services, said he wants to promote urban agriculture and the establishment of vocational training institutes that teach employable skills.
“And I call for black history to be taught in all our schools. That’s big,” he said.
Likewise, Daniel, a single mother of two, said she is running because Mealy often is not involved with the community. This stems from when she was a chair for the McDonough Street Head Start Program and learned that without support from the local councilwoman the day care’s funding would be slashed.
“It took me months to get an appointment with her, and then she visited and took pictures with the children, but didn’t show up to meetings when the budget cuts were being discussed,” said Daniel.
Daniel also noted the district has the most public housing per capita in the country, and unemployment in the district is above 20 percent.
“I recently did a walk-through of the Van Dyke Houses where there are over 5,200 open tickets for repairs and it’s been like that for over a year. People are living with holes in their ceiling, and black mold. I saw bulletproof glass that was removed and never replaced and the stairs are never hosed down,” she said.
Daniel said while these residents are living in appalling conditions, NYCHA gives the NYPD $75 million a year for policing, which is like a second tax on the poor.
“People elect officials to represent them and we have not been represented because clearly people are living in substandard housing in the district,” she said.
Mealy did not return several phone calls and e-mails at press time.