Too often when I write about the Brooklyn political scene, I unnecessarily take a verbal-beating from folks unknown. No big thing; when you are a political writer in New York, you learn to absorb punishment. So here I come again with another column about the “hood”.
Many of my faithful readers know that I often refer to politics as “the only game in town”. By now, some will deduce my reasoning behind this statement, while others will probably remain guessing. Using figurative language is one thing, using metaphors and analogies is another; but the reality still is that political involvement means dealing with real people and tangible challenges: and that should automatically be the good parts to politics. And yet -too often in my regard- political involvement can lead to some really sad outcomes.
Although I have a master’s degree in city planning I generally am interested writing about public finance rather than land use issues. But since my neighborhood is wigged out about the closure of the local Key Foods, and future replacement by a Walgreens, I might as well do the usual and write a post pointing out the unsaid, even if I don’t really feel passionately about the whole thing.
Based on the meetings, petitions, and press coverage, one would think the Windsor Terrace Key Food, a successor to a Bohacks that was built in the early 1950s, was a beloved institution. But lots of people who are complaining now were hardly enthusiastic about the place back when it was open. As someone put it “the only thing worse than Key Food is no Key Food.” The chain has a high-low strategy. For certain items, for the weekly specials, and for basic foodstuffs it was a pretty good deal. For other items and for non-food items it was not. We shopped at Key Food for some things, therefore, and not for others, but over the decades that certainly added up to at least $60,000 spent by my family at that store, in today’s money adjusted for inflation. Others presumably spent more. But then the owner, being 80 years old, wanted to retire, and who could be grudge him? Supermarket chains offered to pay over time, but Walgreens offered to pay up front, and that’s what he wanted, I was told. So now what?
Caribbean Life’s endorsement of Rock Hackshaw: “our endorsement goes to Rock Hackshaw who promises to bring his activist role to resolving issues of education and crime, and seeks more sweeping powers for the Civilian Complaint Review Board”.
Many people have called up since it was announced that I had snagged the endorsements from the editorial boards of the two largest local newspapers (weeklies): Flatbush Life and Caribbean Life. They are suddenly excited about my prospects of winning this race. Most people had seen me as a long shot, given that incumbents get re-elected at a 98% rate. Most people had questioned my decision to run for office again after a nine year hiatus. Many had selfishly proffered that I should stay blogging: since they enjoyed my columns very much and felt that I would stop writing once in the council.
The announcement today that Rock Hackshaw has secured the endorsement of the Caribbean Life Newspaper came as a surprise to many: including yours truly. After all I arrived late for the three-way debate amongst the candidates running for the 40th council district and only participated in the second half of the event. I believe that CL endorsed me beacuse of my lengthy track record in the Brooklyn community: a record with which they are quite familiar.
The newspaper has a readership of close to a million people and is the premier weekly serving the Caribbean-American community in New York City. It is circulated in all five boroughs and belongs to the CNG media chain.
Over the past decade or so, the cable television station New York One (NY1) has emerged as a prominent source for local news in this city. They break many stories. They also highlight many pressing issues facing this city; plus they permanently keep their fingers on the pulse of New York’s politics: much more so than all the other news stations here. Political junkies in this city try not to miss Dominic Carter at 7pm on weekdays; it’s a political high most nights. The “Road to City Hall” program is definitely one of the best ways to find out about the citywide races for mayor, comptroller and public advocate. It is also informative as to races for borough president, district attorney and/or city council member.
THIS IS THE FINAL DRAFT OF CANDIDATE ROCK HACKSHAW’S PLATFORM FOR REAL SOLUTIONS IN THE 40th COUNCILMANIC DISTRICT IN BROOKLYN: ROCK HACKSHAW BELIEVES THAT AS ELECTED OFFICIALS GO, “WE CAN DO BETTER.”
Too many candidates for the New York City Council tend to focus their campaigns on issues of the district in which they are running; this is a bit too narrow for my liking. As a council member I believe that you are one of 51 members charged with helping the mayor and council speaker run this city, and as such you should always take a macro approach to problem solving and public policy. Accenting only those issues relating to your district -and isolating the potential solutions without sensitivity to the overall impact on the city- is myopic at best; keeping a narrow-minded focus on issues pertinent mainly to your district, and becoming demagogic when the issues are of the “Not In My Backyard” (NIMBY) variety is exactly what we don’t need in the council. The problems facing us cannot be solved in isolation. We need team players; elected officials with the ability to think creatively, and the willingness to be open-minded. We need people who are both developed and experienced. We need people who have shown independence during their tenures in politics and community activism.