The 55th Assembly district is turning into the down and dirty brawl that many local political pundits expected as term-limited City Councilwoman Darlene Mealy takes on Freshman Assemblywoman Latrice Walker in the Sept. 13 Democratic Primary election.
The district is one of, if not the most financially impoverished in the city with a good number of NYCHA developments and including the neighborhoods of Ocean-Hill Brownsville, a chunk of East New York, and slices of East Flatbush, Bushwick, Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Among the more interesting developments is the re-emergence of male Democratic District Leader Anthony Jones, who has been laying low the past few months following a relationship he had with a woman from the Langston Hughes Houses on Sutter Avenue, and after which the woman alleged Jones assaulted her.
Jones has long professed his innocence and after being arraigned on misdemeanor assault charges, he has become outraged that neither Walker nor Mealy, would come to his defense in time of need.
“Right now at this point I’m being neutral in the assembly race. As far as I’m concerned no one is taking my endorsement or me serious,” said Jones, adding as the sitting district leader he has decided that before the election he will change all the election day coordinators and poll workers in key election districts (ED) to ensure a more fair election.
Jones noted that poll workers and particularly poll coordinators are the eyes and the ears of the candidates. They play an important part on local elections as they ensure that nobody cheats at the polling place, and they have the authority to terminate anybody from the polling place on the spot.
“I’ve got about 15 EDs where I can change coordinators and about a week and a half to submit names,” he said.
“It seems to me that both parties in this race have given me little respect as a district leader and I’m not going to be used as a pawn. I had a personal issue where person lied on me and I reached out to the elected officials and didn’t get any assistance or a call from anybody. And anybody who cannot be a friend in my time of need then I can’t be a friend in their time of need,” said Jones.
Jones said he helped both Walker and Mealy in the petitioning process, and that thus far there has been a lot of underhanded play between people purportedly supporting one candidate or another and then secretly working for the other candidate. There has also been a lot of very negative mailings – mainly aimed at Mealy, but a few towards Walker as well, Jones said.
One candidate that Jones does support is Shemene “Monique” Minter, who is challenging Mealy for the female democratic district leader seat. Mealy is currently the incumbent in the unpaid position.
“I am independent (in the assembly race) not because of Anthony Jones, but because of what I’m seeing that’s been going on. Everyone has their neutral corners. I’ve seen what Latrice has done good and I’ve seen what Darlene has done good. There are people that love Darlene and people who love Latrice. There’s people that hate Darlene and there’s people that hate Latrice. It makes me mad because if we come together look at what we can achieve. It doesn’t make no sense. All that money wasted for a smear campaign on both of them. Everyone wants to outdo each other instead of us working as a community in combining our resources,” Minter said.
As far as who will win the assembly seat, Minter said it’s still anybody’s guess. Walker is working the district from the center of Brownsville, including many of the NYCHA developments, out to border neighborhoods, while Mealy is working the district from the outside neighborhoods in with the NYCHA’s Breevort Houses on the Bed-Stuy border being one of the bases, Minter said.
Latrice has many of the younger voters, but Darlene has many of the seniors and they come out and vote, she added.