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    The Q endorses...the debate! Okay, it's a "forum," but this is a special election on May 5th, when turnout tends to be light, light, light. And your vote will count triple. Let's make a solid choice, because whomever it is, you'll see a lot more of them over the years.

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    For those who'd like an outsider's wrap-up of Monday night's neighborhood meeting on crime and solutions, set up by Rebecca and yours truly for the Clarkson Avenue Block Association, read on:

    Gothamist on Meeting

    Look, Eric Adams, as an ex-cop and someone who lived through the worst of the Crack Years (I give it capitals now), the guy has an inspirational message about dealing with quality of life issues. Which essentially boils down to, get off your ass and organize. Hold Brooklyn South, the D.A., the elected officials and the various precincts feet to the fire. Identify problem spots and buildings and even apartments. Keep at it, hounding if necessary. Show up at Precinct Council meetings. I couldn't agree more. We need your help. Sign up by sending me an email, and we'll alert you to meetings, strategies etc. I know I say this every time we meet, like once a year it seems when a string of incidents inspires people, but we need to meet quarterly and continue the collaboration between residents living in the 70th, 67th and 71st. That was perhaps the nicest thing to come out of the meeting - a willingness to tackle the problems holistically.

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    From the indefatigable Amy Musick comes an event that you simply MUST attend. But it helps to RSVP to Amy directly. See the below note about Volunteering to beautify the Lincoln Road entrance to the Park. Note from Amy below:

    Hi Neighbors -
    Do you love Prospect Park?  Do you enter and exit the park at Lincoln Road?  Do you spend hours at Lincoln or Imagination Playground?  Do you live or work in PLG?  If you have answered yes to any of these questions, PLEASE COME SUNDAY, APRIL 26th at 10am to help us spruce up the Lincoln Road entrance to Prospect Park and surrounding areas!

    I have worked the Prospect Park Volunteer Corps ( to set up this special event, and I guaranteed AT LEAST 15 ADULT (age 18+) VOLUNTEERS - but honestly, I think together we can far surpass that number if our neighborhood can come out in full-force to show how much we care about our park and our streets!  If you can make this event please E-MAIL ME DIRECTLY at so I can get a preliminary headcount and register you for the event.  Kids are welcome, but must be with an adult who will be with them at all times (come on parents - all those hours we spend at the playgrounds - let's make them even more welcoming and show our kids how to help beautify our neighborhood).  Maybe you can even get a group together from your block, school or business and volunteer together?  That would be awesome.

    Below are more details about the event provided to me by the Volunteer Corps.

    Date and Time:Sunday, April 26th 2015—10am-1pm
    Timeline: 10am- Volunteers Arrive and sign-in10:15am- Project Begins12:45pm- Wrap-up Project and Pack up Tools1:00pm- Volunteers Depart
    Meeting Place:Lincoln Road & Ocean Ave- Lincoln Road Entrance
    Keep in Mind:1.  Wear clothes that you do not mind getting dirty2.  Wear long pants, not shorts3.  Do not wear open-toed shoes or sandals4.  Do not bring a lot of baggage- there won’t be anywhere to lock it up5.  All necessary tools and materials will be provided6.  RAIN OR SHINE


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  • 04/25/15--07:25: The Q's Moving On
  • I have a rock solid belief that working with the Department of City Planning is in the longterm interest of the neighborhood, and the best chance to build affordable housing and to get the City to examine way-outdated zoning that's only creating havoc. Plus, look at infrastructure, height limits - City Planning is even empowered in this new administration to make serious recommendations to other agencies like the DoE and DEP, and with Council and Mayoral approval anything is possible. But...but...but...let's get real, shall we?
    This neighborhood has riots for frigs sake in its somewhat recent past. Just under the surface are lingering resentments that have only grown more intense in the last few years. Tensions between orthodox Jews and African-Americans are revealing themselves once again, and now you can throw in a lot of anti-gentrification (anti-white) sentiment as well. The new colonialism is a very real reality for many proud longtime Central Brooklynites, and it's become clear to me that any new move towards change with a capital "C" is going to be perceived as an assault on the locals It may be, and I can't believe I'm saying it, time to let things play out as they may, and not make serious policy choices that will only exacerbate the conspiracy-peddling and fear-mongering. Maybe, since the neighborhood is already being remade at lighting speed, it's time to let the loudest voices win the day. Because they have no plans of toning it down, and will lay the blame for any unwanted changes at the feet of their perceived enemies.

    To be clear, I don't think Alicia and her minions should be tolerated, appeased or even listened to. That's not my concern here. My point is that this battle has implications for the relationships that bind a neighborhood together. The good will of neighbor to neighbor is more important, I think, than any particular land use issue. It's probably too late to affect the current development insanity. I think our chance passed, for now. And I don't think that any "victory" for the moment will be anything more than short-lived. Just imagine meeting after meeting after meeting during the planning process, constantly disrupted, with the nasty rhetoric only intensifying as changes become closer to ratification.
    When you're in a battle with a rational opponent, you can expect them to concede defeat when presented with a vote against their position. I did my best to articulate a position of working with the current administration and Council and BP to reach modest housing goals. I wish I could say that a simple majority of Community Board members would be enough to set that process in motion. What I'm saying is that it might be in the longterm interest of peace to respond to any zoning change requests on the other end, either accepting or denying the ULURP applications should they come from, say, developers or elected officials or even DCP itself. I would still like to vote on the currently proposed letter to initiate a study, because I have no idea how much support there is and I would like to know. I've been agitating for a vote for nearly a year. I only know what, maybe, a dozen people think.

    But sometimes the "adults" have to take one for the team. I believe this is one of those times.

    The below is a statement that I hope to read at the CB9 meeting on Tuesday. I've already asked temporary chair Laura Imperiale for the floor to do so. I wrote it as if it's from the Board not because the Board approved it, but to give the Board a sense of what it has the right to do - issue statements and vote on anything it wants. In all the rush to judge, people seemed to have forgotten that not everything needs to come from a committee. The Board can do work on the floor of its monthly meetings AS WELL as in committee. I'm still not sure where that fallacy about process began, but I hope we can start to follow precedent rather than create unnecessary restrictions to getting work done, so long as the community is given a chance to weigh in before the vote of course. Here goes, again, meant as a draft:

    In March of 2014, Community Board 9 requested a Planning Study of the Department of City Planning. We began meeting with the Brooklyn DCP office, and seemed to be heading in a positive direction, wherein various neighborhood groups would have a seat at the table as we outlined the parameters for such a study. There was plenty of precedent for such a collaborative approach to strategic planning of a NYC neighborhood - not the "top down" rezonings that have led to complete transformations of neighborhoods. We felt that the outdated Zoning Map of 1961 did not adequately address the needs of modern Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens and Wingate. We were seeing unwanted construction, greedy displacement of longtime tenants, and the developers were swarming. It seemed to many of us high time we took constructive steps to mitigate the negative affects of such a feeding frenzy, and encourage smart growth and mandate affordable housing set-asides in all new construction.

    Soon after, the Borough President approved the replacement of an unprecedented 18 members, and the election in June of 2014 brought new blood to the Executive Committee, including a new chair. It also meant that there was a great deal of inexperience on the Board. Such a scenario was an opportunity for growth and rebirth, but it came with risks. The Planning Resolution that past March meant that Board needed a strong voice and solid infrastructure to perform its duty over the coming months or years. In some ways, it was a perfect storm. Because at the first fall meeting of 2014, a group of activist community members brought the full brunt of its anger to bear. In haste, and without a meeting of the relevant committee to discuss and inform, the Board rescinded its own motion from the previous term. The process with City Planning ground to a halt. This was considered a major victory by the anti-zoning activists. And it started a spiral of chaos from which we have yet to emerge.

    In hindsight, it's clear that the Board was not up to the task of dealing with a serious attempt to thwart its authority to conduct meetings, and to observe the rules of democracy and rules of order. The activist group, though admittedly small, was able to disrupt every Board meeting and relevant committee meeting for the rest of the 2014-15 Board calendar. And while no one on the Board saw it coming, we believe it should not have caved to outside pressure so easily. A lack of meaningful precedent and guidelines, coupled with inexperienced leadership, doomed the best efforts of the Board to conduct civil discourse.

    And so after many failed attempts to restate the intentions of the Board as it engages with City Planning, we find ourselves fighting lawsuits, personal attacks, and deeply troubling accusations of impropriety and misconduct. The Board, made up entirely of volunteers who wish to serve the community in which they live and work, have been made to feel attacked at every juncture. It has been humbling and it has been extremely aggravating. But it has also brought out a certain animosity between individuals and groups, as angry residents continue to pummel members of the Board and each other with vitriol, even stooping to baiting various groups within our diverse community, seeking, it would seem, to provoke confrontation and tear us apart.

    We are better than this, both as a Board, and as a wider community. We've let individuals and specific opinions gain outsized influence. We have seen many resignations come as a result of the chaos and animosity. And so, we've come to the following conclusion.

    In this environment of hostility and mean-spiritedness, we believe it is in the best interest of all for CB9 to step back from this debate and focus on our internal workings, by-laws and structure. Development is taking place all around us at a breakneck speed. But we risk doing great harm to our sense of dignity and civility if we begin to strategically plan under unhealthy conditions. Over the next few months, we will strengthen the Board, hold new elections, and develop deeper committee commitments to all the issues that must be addressed by an effective Community Board.

    To some this will seem like a capitulation. To us, it is necessary to take one step back to take two steps forward. Many of us individually would have wished for a different outcome, but we realize that maturity means admitting one's shortcomings, even when the urge might be to win a fight. Had the Board moved ahead with this effort at this time, the victory would have been short-lived. The anger and resentment has presented itself, and we are living through trying times, in the borough and in the nation. We want to be remembered for having helped the neighborhood survive its growing pains. We want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

    With an overwhelming commitment to the neighborhoods we serve,


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  • 04/27/15--18:52: Who's That Girl?
  • Maybe one of you can hip me to the meaning of this:

    I must be really unwith it, cuz I can't tell what the heck this is trying to tell me, or sell me. Little help? (Hint: It's on the Parkside side of the Duane Reade).

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  • 04/27/15--19:55: Empire Study
  • Saw Alicia et al at the forum for candidates to replace Karim Camara for the 43rd Assembly seat. She and her gaggle had the usual disrespectful antagonistic questments (my word for questions really meant to be comments, of which there were a few), but dang if Diana Richardson couldn't keep her in her place. Why weren't YOU in charge of the mic all year, DR? Anyhow, she's safely got my vote, and given that she was the only candidate to show up she's probably got all of Lefferts in her pocket as...wait a second, is that Shirley Patterson? As I live and breathe it's an hour late but there she is! Recap: Instead of a forum, it was a bit more like a job interview - each candidate separately. I suggest that the Director of Human Resources, Rachel Holliday Smith, go with the vibrant candidate with the tiger-shark attitude. Folks, DR ain't taking no prisoners. And she's hilarious and whipsmart. But back to my point...

    I could go off on how the below flyer is perhaps one of the best examples of how NOT to do graphic design. But, and this is a big butt, there's absolutely no reason not to support such a meeting. Now that I've backed down from the fight, I don't really have much reason not to want to see people meeting and sharing stories about the Ottoman, Roman, and British Empires, as well as (undoubtedly) the Quing Dynasty, the San Antonio Spurs and the Umayyad Caliphate, among many other Empires to be studied by the aptly named Empire Study group. Though I'm not sure Tom Angotti has any expertise in history. No matter; a good bottle of Muscatel and the gift of gab never hurt no one, no matter the topic.

    Perhaps my favorite bit on the sign is the list of "Invited Honary Guests," which, since for the moment I'm still technically on CB9, includes me, though I am not nor have I ever been "Honary." At least not in public. Other honary guests include longtime bosom buddies of Ms. Boyd's Eric Adams, Councilman Eugene Mathieu (sic), Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo, and you might as well throw in Fritz the Cat and Huck Finn because there's not a chance in hell that any of them will show.

    I jest, but what the heck this is a fine project and I hope they make great progress. I'll probably pop in with a fresh batch of my famous lemon drop cookies. Tootles!

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  • 04/28/15--11:37: The Plaza Is Here!
  • Some of you maybe noticed a bit of, how shall we say, stuffage happening at the Q at Parkside plaza? Don't forget...this weekend the festivities make it official!

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    Barnabas continues to amaze with his footage of hyper-local stuff. Here's his video coverage of last night's discussion:

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  • 04/28/15--20:33: Honey, Your Plaza's Ready
  • photo Duane J. - Gettin' Close!

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    The special election for Assembly is but a week away, and rather than focusing on the issues most pressing in our district, we get stuff like the below:

    It's true that Geoffrey Davis has a bit of a troubled past, with an order of protection from some eight years ago against Renee Collymore, a former district leader who is now (coincidentally?) the treasurer of his opponent Shirley  Patterson's campaign. Fair enough, that's all for anyone to see online, and might be enough to disqualify him for office in the view of many. But for the Independence Party to spend a bunch of dough to send this big creepy card is a bit over the top. Granted politics is rarely pretty. But then the flyer goes on to note that Geoffrey Davis has been accused again"less than two weeks ago" without any details. That's weird. Accused by whom? In a court of law? Is this information public? And who's the woman in the picture? It doesn't take an Alfred E. Newman to figure out that this is a way to siphon off votes from the Davis camp for Patterson, though I don't know why the I.P. would assume the votes wouldn't just as easily go to Richardson. The Independence Party, btw, is Patterson's party du jour, since the King County Democrats didn't fill the ticket on time, another outcome with a mysterious backstory.

    And guess what? Guillermo Philpotts, who was shunned at the altar, is BACK, claiming he was hoodwinked out of his rightful spot atop the ticket. This report from NY1 basically says the Dems conspired to keep his name off the ballot, and that it wasn't a "mistake" at all that led to his missing a deadline. Why on earth Mr. Philpotts would wait til this late date to make mention of it is anyone's guess. Maybe Mrs. Philpotts knows, but I don't get it.

    Listen, I've got nothing against Shirley Patterson. I hardly know anything about her. And she seemed thoughtful enough, though a little out of her comfort zone on Monday at the "forum" at Grace Church on Bedford. She could have used some pep, and didn't seem at all interested in responding with zeal to the accusations that she took "tainted" developer money that some say makes her biased in favor of those greedy high-riser types. But then I get the below flyer, also from her campaign, and I really have to say it's pretty pandery. Yes, we all believe that killing of unarmed black men is horrendous. But how is this Shirley Patterson's issue to resolve? I mean, Assembly members don't have any say over the NYPD, do they? It seems like this is a way to grab a few more votes from unsavvy voters. One could safely imagine that both Richardson and Davis would take a similarly dim view of profiling and the outsized use of force by cops. Shock tactics like these don't show good judgment, in my view. Then there's the quote from the awesome Shirley Chisholm - "you make progress by implementing ideas." Which begs the question: what are the ideas to be implemented by this campaign? Or any other campaign, for that matter.

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  • 04/30/15--06:55: Here's a Big One

  • From left: 845 Flatbush Avenue in Flatbush and Harbor Group’s Jordan Slone
    From The Real Deal comes news of a major purchase down the Flabenue a piece. This will be 30,000 s/f, a nice chunk for a developer who digs big projects. I suspect you don't pluck down $22 million to leave it as is. Unless Slone really loves working out at Blink Fitness, and this is his way of getting a V.I.P. membership. Or V.I.M. membership if you will. Look for lots of the deals along Flatbush. There are tons of taxpayer buildings to turn into apartments. Some of the old buildings would be nice to retain, but many of them, sadly, are already condemned and unlikely to be salvaged.

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  • 04/30/15--11:49: More Plaza Pics
  • Sisyphus just dropped off some of his luggage, and boy are his arms tired!

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    The Q's a big fan of the the never defatigable Mike Fagan at Brooklynian. He's leading one of these "Jane's Walks" that are happening all over the world in honor of longtime chimp activist and speedwalking enthusiast Jane Goodall, (who was also married to Robert Moses for a few harmonious years until they split over the proposed elevated highway project through Prospect Park).

    Meet at the Bedford-Union Armory at, coincidentally, Bedford and Union.

    Info on this walk and your tour guides

    There will actually be 6 stops:

    Stop 1:  Bedford Union Armory
    Stop 2: Medgar Evers College
    Stop 3: Ebbetts Field Apartments
    Stop 4: Empire Boulevard
    Stop 5: The Spice Factory
    Stop 6: Sea Crest Laundry

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    Saturday is the big day, folks. 

    365 days a year, for years and years to come, out on Parkside Plaza, you will b able to sit on the bright slender chairs, relax under the broad red umbrellas, make a picnic on the gorgeous Deer Island granite ... but this Saturday is the one and only opening day, and there will be free music, free food, and free speeches to boot!

    And it's all brought to us ... by us.  We passed the hat to build this plaza, and we need to keep passing the hat, to keep this plaza looking gorgeous.  Care to chip in?

    The music starts at 1pm, with steel drumming by Tropical Pan Vibes, and continues at 3pm with the Funkrust Brass Band. 

    And in between there will be lively speeches by your City Councilmember and your Borough President, and a ribbon cutting featuring ten yards of green ribbon from Save-a-Thon, all of this filmed, we're told, by the folks from Channel 12. 

    Drinks from Tip of the Tongue, food from Jamaican Pride, neighbors from near and far, and spring weather to boot.  Come on out!

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  • 05/02/15--20:45: The Tyranny Is Real
  • For God's sakes read this article:
     David Simon in The Marshall Project.

    The Q doesn't do serial TV. I was asked recently how I have time for full-time job, family of small children requiring absurd bedtime rituals, daily blog-writing and community meetings up the wazoo. Simple. I don't watch TV. Or read fiction. That's two big chunks of people's lives I do without. Plus I don't need a ton of sleep, haven't gotten drunk in more than a decade, and am completely uninterested in contemporary food culture. My favorite meal is grilled cheese with tater tots. Priorities, I guess they say.

    Serial TV - from Breaking Mad Men to House of Thrones to Orange Is the New Good Wife, it's all brilliant and life-changing I'm sure. But if the shows have true merit, which I highly doubt, there'll be time to settle into my comfiest chair after my infirmity begins and watch a baker's dozen of episodes in a row between changes of Depends. I'm pretty confident I'm missing nothing but a crick in my neck at this point, though I have my guilty pleasures too though I insist they don't take too long.

    And then, there's The Wire, the only show I regret not having spent more time with, given its relevance to the New Jim Crow and the seemingly endless string of Rodney King commemorations taking place in pretty much every corner of the nation 24 hours a day in towns where significant numbers of black people live, which is to say pretty much every major City except Portland, OR, which is to say every City in the country that matters.

    Half a dozen people I respect have sent me this extraordinary interview with David Simon, creator of The Wire, wherein he goes into devastating detail about Baltimore's descent into police state madness through the years. If even half of what he says were true, wouldn't it be fair to say that we're suffering from a massive Drug War hangover in this country that's bound to tear us apart, even more than we're already being torn apart? Put another way, is the Constitution meant only for people who live in the right neighborhoods?

    What we desperately need is leadership. Who speaks with authority and has the balls to put his legacy on the line? Mr. President, I believe your date with destiny has just arrived. Please don't wait til you're out of office and haven't the power of the pulpit and the interpretation of the law at your command. If one president started this nonsense, surely another can put an end to it.

    Remember your campaign that gave you the keys to the White House? Don't let it be an empty promise. Right now, we could really use some of this, because otherwise things might get a lot worse before they get better.

    As I said before, for God's sakes read this article  David Simon in The Marshall Project.

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  • 05/04/15--06:47: Long Live the Plaza
  • The communists were parading just minutes before BP Eric Adams and Councilman Mathieu Eugene cut the ribbon. It was a striking moment, and a reminder that the Bolsheviks still control the central apparatus. Here's Rudy and family leading the parade. Note the red in their clothing:

    The Q was fortunate to have been there, at Parkside Donut, when Rudy launched his seemingly Quixotic plan. And at every step of the way, Mr. Delson was presented with challenges that would have kept a lesser man down. I've seen him deftly navigate bureaucracy and calmly keep the forces of negativity at bay. It's a special talent that he has, and one that I hope he continues to bring to the neighborhood over the years, if we're lucky enough to retain him.

    Nothing  but good vibes, folks. Adams delivered a nice speech. Eugene was supportive. Let's hope that the brilliant start leads to funding in the future, pols! Cuz it ain't cheap to maintain a plaza day in and day out, bringing out tables and chairs, watering plants, keeping the place clean. As Rudy noted this is YOUR plaza. If you see some trash, pick it up. If you see someone walking off with OUR chairs, whack 'em upside the head.

    The music was great. The donated food and drink from Jamaican Pride and Tip of the Tongue was the perfect complement, and yes, I will echo the dubious sentiment of high school newspapers everywhere:

    "A Good Time Was Had By All"

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  • 05/04/15--07:39: Fair Game?
  • You may have been unaware that a somewhat likely scenario is playing out in the current special election (voting TOMORROW by the way). Since the Democrats couldn't get it together to put a candidate on the ballot, a Republican Lubavitcher might just win the day. If that were to happen, I think it's safe to say he'd lose his seat in two years. But it would be a big deal in the interim.

    Since the Q took the Patterson camp to task for its cynical mailers, I think it's only fair that I call this one into question. Did you receive it? If not, it may well be that you were not an intended recipient. As we all know, or at least most of us know who've lived here for awhile, the largest contingent of Chabad Lubavitcher Hasidim in the world live just east of us, in a pocket that is becoming larger all the time. Centered around the bustling Main Street of Kingston south of Eastern Parkway, near 770 EP, the spiritual home of the movement, as it was where the deceased American leader of the movement Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson (whom some have come to see as the Messiah btw) led his flock. It's a fascinating piece of Brooklyn life, the part that gets little coverage in the world of espresso and bistros and sky-high prices and high-rise development.

    Menachem Raitport is running on the Republican line, and with the likely split vote among erstwhile Democrats - Shirley, Diana and Geoffrey - well, there you are. It's likely that SDorG will return to the Democratic fold next time around. The question I pose is whether it's unseemly to campaign so directly and explicitly for votes to a specific religious (and let's be honest, racial) community. Were a white gentrifier to campaign thusly, there's no question it would cause an uproar, and rightly so. In a diverse neighborhood, I wonder whether this doesn't cross the lines of decency.

    All's fair in love and war?

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  • 05/04/15--08:59: Lives Matter - Forum Tonight

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     Here's some video of Diana talking to Brooklyn Independent Media, and she's the candidate I wholeheartedly endorse.

    For some comparison, here's Diana and Shirley at the PLGNA forum, thx to videographer and neighbor Barnabas Wolf, finally available just in time for perusal:

    Shirley Patterson

    Diana Richardson

    Then the NY1 debate that includes Menachem and Geoffrey.

    Look, there's nothing inherently wrong with the other candidates. They are capable people who are leading interesting and thoughtful lives. But Diana wants this gig. She wants to make her mark, and her enthusiasm is fun to be around. Yeah she's gonna butt heads with people. She's edgy. She can be funny and sarcastic. But she's Brooklyn through and through. Don't tell me that personality isn't part of this thing. People dig Diana because she's genuine. Keep your eye on her; she's going places. And I kinda dig that she's not the insider candidate. Always good to mix things up a bit.

    In this very, very strange election, we have a rare opportunity to choose the outsider candidate, the one who speaks her mind and (I believe) really IS unbossed.

    This is a kinda a big deal folks. People have a tendency to go to the State Capitol and stay there a long, long time. It may be forever before you have a real choice in the matter. Speak up. Send a signal. Vote DR.

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    Don't let your recent change of address scare you away. You're entitled to vote in today's special election by affidavit if you live in the 43rd Assembly District. The forms will be there at your polling station. If you want to know where to vote, go here:

    It's pretty simple. You're probably going to either PS375 on Sullivan & Franklin, PS92 on Parkside tween Bedford and Rogers, or PS249 - the Caton School - just south of the Parade Ground. But look it up to be sure.

    Affidavit votes get counted in a close enough election, which this will probably be. So vote, y'all! This is about our future, our present, and whose mug we're going to have to look at for the next, I dunno dozen years or more.

    District map:

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