When L. Rickie Tulloch, a candidate for the 45th district City Council District special election, talks about the district in which he is running, it is with a mix of passion and intellect.
We were sitting at a table in Footprints Cafe, 5814 Clarendon Road, the popular West Indian eatery located in the heart of the district, which includes Flatbush, East Flatbush, Flatlands, Midwood and Canarsie.
It took a subway train and a bus ride to meet Tulloch. This prompted a first question – being that much of the district is considered a transit desert what does Tulloch think of the congestion pricing?
“Since it just became [state] law, I hope it doesn’t affect working class folks especially around here. Some folks in the district commute and of course some of them do drive because it’s difficult to get around, but most importantly we hope the funding that does come will alleviate some of the transportation issues that affects our community. We need more buses, a better train system. Some of the subway stations need to be upgraded,” said Tulloch.
Tulloch arrived in Flatbush in 1976, immigrating with his family from Jamaica as a teenager. He went on to graduate from Erasmus High School and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from Brooklyn College.
He went on to a career in public service – both in profession as a Senior Director at NYC Health and Hospital (Office of Facilities Development), and as a longtime member of Community Board 17, where he has served as the Treasurer and Chair of the Land Use Committee.
“One of the main issues in affordable housing,” said Tulloch. “The price of rent is going through the roof and I want to make sure folks that have lived here a long time are not being priced out.”
Tulloch said to help those having trouble keep up with their rents he supports more funding into preventative programs so folks aren’t kicked out if they miss a month rent. “We need to provide a bridge so when they get on their feet they will still be able to live in our community.”
Tulloch said housing as it relates to the many homeowners in the district is a separate matter. “A lot of homeowners are now becoming seniors and they also need protecting. With property taxes going up, I’d like to see something like SCRIE (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption) instituted for senior homeowners on a fixed income.”
Tulloch said such a homeownership tax deduction program for seniors should be more inclusive of income levels such as property owners who have worked their entire life and get a pension $50,000.
“It may seem like a lot of money, but it’s not, especially when your real estate taxes go through the roof because of the increasing value of their home. So you want to make sure that those people that stayed to stabilize the community now can enjoy the fruits of their labor now that the community is stable,” he said.
Tulloch said another issue he wants to tackle is quality of life, and in particular to reduce alternate side parking on the street from its current four days a week to two days a week like it is in other neighborhoods.
In regard to the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT) to get into the city’s elite academic schools, Tulloch said the answer to more black and Hispanic representation at these schools is to improve public schooling programs at a younger age.
“We need to get back to the fundamentals and bring back gifted programs and more rigorous academic programs at a younger age because that’s when kids learn and it will work itself out,” Tulloch said.
Tulloch, who has also served as Chairman of the Board of Flatbush Action Community Day Care Center; Board Member of the Erasmus Neighborhood Association; and President of the Ginger Ridge High School Past Students Association, says his base is district wide and his message is resonating in the district.
“I will fight for our working families in the City Council. We need more affordable housing and protection against gentrification, better schools, and an end to predatory ticketing that hurts our quality of life. I’m proud of how many people are getting on board, and we’re going to keep building momentum right through Election Day,” said Tulloch.