New Yorkers Address Issues About Housing, Education, Stop-And-Frisk

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Brooklyn residents turned out Tuesday evening for the third in a series of town hall meetings to discuss local issues.

CBS 2 political reporter Marcia Kramer, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb, El Diario/La Prensa’s Marlene Peralta and Susan Lerner of Common Cause New York were on hand as Brooklyn residents talked about their key concerns.

Click Here To Watch The Meeting

CBS 2 News, WCBS Radio 880, 1010 WINS, El Diario/La Prensa, CUNY and Common Cause NY have teamed up to hold one meeting in each borough (click here to attend an upcoming meeting).

One man, Kevin Ray, urged one of the mayoral candidates to come out in favor of ending the stop-and-frisk policing program.

He said he would lend a “political ear” to any candidate that had the “fortitude and constitution to eliminate stop and frisk.”

“I’m wondering which candidate is willing to step up to the platform, and take that on, debate it, challenge it, give very intellectual discussions; hearty discussions about it, and eliminate it,” Ray said.

Ray said he has not personally been subjected to the stop-and-frisk program, but does not like the fact that he could be.

“It’s so offensive to me personally that it could be me,” he said.

Ray was also one of several people at the meeting to address issues about the city’s public education system. Specifically, he called for “holistic education.”

He wondered if any candidates would consider taking the emphasis away from test taking, and instead bring back programs such as theatre, music and dance.

Some others who addressed education also called for less of an emphasis on test-taking, while one question suggested it is time to “inject capitalism” into public education and give parents vouchers so they can choose schools.

Another resident, Cedric Malone of Brooklyn Heights, addressed the closing of hospitals. In Brooklyn, Long Island College Hospital has been under a threat of closing for months, but has been kept open by a temporary restraining order since April.

“Why are we closing hospitals in overly-developed areas to add more people to the infrastructure and for luxury housing?” he said.

He noted that St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan has closed and will be replaced by luxury housing, and worried that the same could happen elsewhere.

Questions on the cost of housing were also a dominant theme. One participant addressed the need for affordable housing, and questioned the rent levels between $1,400 and $8,000 a month that some developers have considered “affordable.”

Another participant lamented the change in the character of Brooklyn as development has boomed.

“There is a Manhattanization of Brooklyn, and many don’t like the borough losing its authenticity,” the participant wrote, asking what the candidates would do to ensure the borough maintains its unique identity.

The closing of libraries in the city, and concerns about the sale of naming rights for city assets to corporations, were also among the issues addressed.

“If it’s public, and publicly paid for, I’d be inclined to say don’t let them have corporations’ name,” said Michael White of Citizens Defending Libraries. “Subways, to me, are some of the most public things there are.”

Click here to attend an upcoming meeting as we continue our collective listening tour around the five boroughs of New York City. The next meeting takes place on June 25 at the N.Y. Hall Of Science in Queens, and the last will be on Staten Island on June 27 at Wagner College.

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