"We wanted to allow them to be able to present themselves, and allow you to get to know them," Cayo [standing in photo] told the dozens of attendees at the early Saturday morning gathering, held at Brownstone Books on Lewis Avenue.
First came Tremaine Wright [seated far left] who stood and declared, "I believe I have a duty to my community."
She said she had served on the local Community Board for six years and that Bedford Stuyvesant residents "have an opportunity now to make some changes," to have "new energy, new ideas."
Wright, the owner of Common Grounds cafe on Tompkins Avenue, stressed that she wanted to see more affordable housing for "middle income people" in the neighborhood.
[Wright and the four other candidates are seeking to replace incumbent Councilman Al Vann, who Cayo said was invited to the forum but who "sent his regrets."]
Saquan Jones [second in photo], who is in his mid-30s, said he thinks of community youngsters who are facing uncertain, often bleak futures, in which jail is sometimes "a rite of passage."
He wants "a chance to bring Bedford Stuyvesant and Crown Heights to a level of prosperity," he told the group.
Jones pointed out that he grew up in public housing (in Queens, before moving to Brooklyn) and repeated his campaign theme of seeking now to "turn adversity into advantage."
Next came Robert E. Cornegy, Jr. [seated third from left in photo], whose dad was a prominent minister in Bed-Stuy.
Cornegy mentioned that he has been serving the community in a number of ways. He referred to his experience as an adjunct professor of marketing at Brooklyn College.
He said also that he'd been a campaign manager for State Senator Kevin Parker. Cornegy said that he is interested in crime prevention and making sure essential services are delivered to residents.
Next came Mark Winston Griffith [seated fourth from left],who has the backing of the powerful Working Families Party, and who said, "We need to look at someone who's got a lot of different skills."
He exhorted the audience to look at his "24-year career working in Central Brooklyn," notably at his time with the Central Brooklyn Credit Union, which he founded.
Griffith emphasized his tenant organizing past, particularly is work with NEDAP (the Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project), which does advocacy regarding housing policy and its effect on local communities.
[According to City Hall News, Griffith is leaving his recent position as executive director of the Drum Major Institute -- of which former Bronx Borough President and mayoral contender Freddy Ferrer was once the director.
The ending paragraphs from that interesting City Hall News article are worth offering here:]
"Griffith’s race (against Al Vann), many progressives say, will be a bellwether for where the movement is headed in the next several years. And the activists and policymakers who fill the movement’s ranks are looking to him as someone who can help advance the progressive agenda in ways that Bloomberg has not.
"Griffith knows that the hopes of many progressive activists and policy wonks are tied up in his underdog campaign.
“'What I want to do, which is what DMI talks about, is build a real pipeline to new leadership in our neighborhood,' he said. 'And my position as a candidate can affect the progressive landscape in New York City.'"
[To read whole article, click here.]
Last of the candidates to introduce herself was Adrian Straker, who identified herself as a "third generation Brooklyn resident.
Straker said that Central Brooklyn is in the throes of a "health crisis," notably regarding HIV and diabetes.
She also noted community concerns about the Sumner Avenue (Marcus Garvey Boulevard) armory. Some residents complained earlier this year that city officials were using the facility to house homeless men.
Straker said she would respond to such day-to-day neighborhood concerns. "I will be present and accountable," she said.
"Where we are now is not where we need to be."
There was quite a bit more to the June 6 forum, as questions were allowed. But BrooklynRon has to run off at the moment and hope to continue this thread soon.