Mayor Bill de Blasio entered the 41st City Council fray over the Labor Day weekend, endorsing one of the front-runners, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, giving her a big boost heading into the final week before the primary.
But her two main opponents, Henry Butler and Deidre Olivera, turned the endorsement into a warning that an Ampry-Samuel win would make her a rubber stamp city council member allowing the de Blasio Administration to further gentrify the district through his favored developers or place even more homeless shelters in the district, already burdened with among the most in the city.
“A born and raised Brooklynite, Alicka Samuel has deep ties to the Brownsville community-—and she has spent her life working to support her neighborhood and improve the lives of New Yorkers across the city. From serving for two ambassadors in Africa, to advocating for NYCHA tenant associations, to her tenure as Chief of Staff for Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, Alicka would bring a wealth of experience across all levels of government to our City Council. I’m proud to endorse Alicka, and look forward to working alongside her,” said de Blasio.
Ampry-Samuel spent part of the weekend alongside the mayor, as he hit the streets in central Brooklyn campaigning for his upcoming re-election. The Brownsville native cited the mayor’s many accomplishments in office during the event including universal pre-K, expansion of paid sick leave, raising of the minimum wage, policing reforms and two-consecutive years of rent freezes.
“From creating Pre-K for All to launching neighborhood policing to building more affordable housing, the mayor’s record of accomplishment is delivering for Brooklyn communities, and I’m grateful for his endorsement today. We have worked tirelessly over the past few months to make sure the 41st Council District has a voice and strong leadership, and the mayor’s endorsement is proof we are being heard. I look forward to partnering with the mayor to ensure the residents of the district live in a community that is healthy, safe and prosperous,” said Amprey-Samuel.
Olivera countered that from the beginning of her campaign she has vowed to keep her politics clean and “for the people,” foregoing big-time political party endorsements in favor of local grass-roots support.
“I have always and will continue to run a people-powered campaign, independent of political puppetry and political favors. The well-being of the people in this district is being crippled by Big developers and greed,” said Olivera.
Olivera went on to criticize the de Blasio’s affordable housing plan, known as the Housing New York Plan and the lack of protection of minorities as weaknesses of his current administration.
“I am the only candidate speaking out against the mayor’s unaffordable housing plan and mismanagement of NYCHA housing repairs and the lack of tenant support. I received the endorsement of the Black Lives Matter Caucus because I am the only candidate with a plan for Criminal Reform,” said Olivera.
Butler took aim at the mayor’s policies regarding homelessness, and specifically with placing a large number of shelters in Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Brownsville.
“I will always be a strong independent fighter for our community, one who puts the interests of my district above all else. No matter what, you can count on me to put people before politics. I will challenge the mayor and his administration if they continue to target the 41st council district for additional homeless shelters, an area that is already over saturated,” said Butler.
“For example, last year as District Manager of Community Board 3, we stopped the Department of Homeless Services from putting a shelter right across the street from an elementary school. If I am elected to the City Council, I will be a strong voice advocating for truly affordable housing and fighting against luxury condos, like those the mayor’s office is advocating for at the Bedford Union Armory. If I’m elected to the City Council, I’ll answer to the voters of the 41st Council District, and no one else,” added Butler.
Cory Provost, the last candidate rounding out the top four candidates in the race, did not respond with a comment in time for publication.
The democratic primary is set for a week from today, Tuesday, Sept. 12. The district includes Brownsville and parts of Crown Heights, East Flatbush and Bedford-Stuyvesant.