In order to gain a microcosmic perspective on the actual opinions of New Yorkers about the upcoming election, City & State and City Limits, in partnership with MetroFocus, present a new series: “The Five Borough Ballot.”
“Gunshots. Waterbugs. Losing my mother. Doctor. Rats.” Asked to list their fears at a youth conference in mid-June, the children of the Van Dyke public housing complex in Brownsville, writing on poster board, inked in Crayola colors a litany of dreads.
Lisa Kenner, the Resident Association president at the 22-building Van Dyke development, organized the day-long conference, which combined motivational speeches with lessons in elementary finance. She says 50 people attended—not bad for a sunny Saturday. But that was nothing compared to the appearance of City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy. “She surprised me,” says Kenner. “She showed up.”
Kenner—who as RA president is a force to be reckoned with at Van Dyke—and Mealy, who has represented the area in the Council since 2005, are not close. Kenner says she has been asked to run against Mealy in the past but has declined. She blames a falling out between Mealy and another local pol, Alicka Amprey-Samuel, for allowing William Boyland, Jr. to become the area’s assemblyman; Boyland now faces trial on a slew of corruption charges. Kenner served as a Democratic district leader from 2004 to 2008; Mealy took over the post in 2010.
Ask a person around Van Dyke about this year’s mayoral election and you’re unlikely to find much interest. And if interest in the mayoral race is vapor-thin, engagement in down-ballot races is nonexistent.
Continue reading this week’s Five Borough Ballot coverage on the Brooklyn Bureau website.