Justin Brannan (D), nominee for the 43rd District’s City Council unveiled a new community survey on his website this week for residents in the Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and Dyker Heights areas.
Elected officials have been known to survey residents to ensure that their goals are in line with their community’s needs, but rarely has a candidate been so brazen as to begin polling his would-be constituency before winning the seat. The questionnaire asks people to identify what areas they believe the next city councilmember should prioritize and the issues that are most important to them.
“I am a firm believer that the government leaders need to be accessible to the people they serve,” said Brannan. “I want to hear from all members of our community about the issues they care most about and how I can better address those needs.”
“My vision for the district is one that is deeply inclusive and that means everyone should have a seat at the table so I want to do my part to make that happen,” said Brannan.
But the surveying process is not new to the political arena. Some congressional members took the inclusive gesture even further by allowing constituents to survey their performance. Bradford Fitch, the owner of a political consultant firm who helped develop a tool to survey residents of an Ohio legislator said that there was increased feedback from constituents given the chance to weigh-in on their representative’s performance.
“In general it is positive to use customer service surveys that are done with genuine interest of understanding how lawmakers interact with those offices,” said Fitch.
When asked if Brannan would consider having residents survey his performance should he be elected, the candidate responded favorably.
“I want to use all available methods to fully connect with community members and to ensure that their voices are heard,” said Brannan. “Whether that would be an online survey, Facebook Live Q & As, or town hall meetings, I want to hear from residents and will explore ways for them to give feedback on my performance and issues they believe should be addressed.”
Brannan’s survey portal will also includes a write-in section where residents can suggest other issues that were not included but that they’d like to see addressed.
Meanwhile, his Republican opponent, John Quaglione, last week called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to give residents in the surrounding area at least thirty (30) days notice when hotels get rented to shelter the homeless.
The demand comes after a disturbing DailyNews article in which de Blasio says “we’ll give whatever notice we can” when a hotel is rented to shelter the homeless.
“It’s bad enough that de Blasio is making the homeless hotel operators richer by using our taxpayer dollars to fund the for-profit homeless industry,” said Quaglione. “Now he won’t even let the community know if he’s planning to house the homeless in our own neighborhoods. Does he think we’re stupid and we won’t find out?” continued Quaglione.
In a letter to the administration, Quaglione cited a universal Pre-k that is opening on the same street as the Prince Hotel, 315 93rd Street, which is notorious in Bay Ridge for attracting seedy elements including drug addicts and prostitutes.
“My youngest daughter will soon be going to Pre-k. You’re telling me if I send her to the Pre-k located by the hotel on 93rd Street, I won’t be given sufficient notice if homeless move in? It’s just plain wrong and if elected to City Council these are exactly the types of policies I will fight,” said Quaglione.
Furthermore, Quaglione urged the administration to avoid opening any homeless shelters or housing homeless in hotels on the same street as any school.
Quaglione continued with his own plan to fix the homeless crisis plaguing our city. “Instead of using our tax dollars to fund the for-profit homeless industry, we should invest in NYCHA, fix vacant apartments to shelter the homeless and keep families together,” said Quaglione.
An audit from the state comptroller released Wednesday found that shelter providers named their own prices with little pushback from the Department of Homeless Services. The rates charged by two comparable shelters might differ by as much as $225 per person per day, according to the audit.
-KCP staff contributed to this story.