Democratic District Leader for the 44th Assembly District Douglas M. Schneider joins eight other candidates in the City Council District 39 race for term-limited Councilman Brad Lander’s (D-Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington) seat while Lander makes a bid for City Comptroller.
Schneider said his platform is focusing on safer sidewalks, schools, transportation, and economic recovery for small businesses as well as addressing criminal justice and civil rights issues.
Schneider, whose parents were Brooklynites, grew up in New Jersey and moved back to Brooklyn 15 years ago. He said ever since he’s been active in his civic community as a parent, a business owner with his own law practice, and fighting against discrimination.
“There is a need for more parents to get elected and be a voice in their government,” said Schneider. He also spoke of having the lived experience of being a small business owner.
“We have to rectify decades of underinvestment in our schools. If we look at why our schools weren’t able to open in a COVID world, it’s because of that,” said Schnieder on education. His two young children attend or will attend public, in-person schooling. “We need to fund our schools. Making sure they’re up to speed with technological advancements, but also the physical facilities. So that we can make the commitment of providing the quality education that we promised NYC public schools.”
He said that from the “top” he thinks teachers, administrators, and students have been let down.
Borough Park, and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, have seen a recent resurgence of COVID-19 spikes prompting a back and forth with Mayor Bill De Blasio who has opted to shutdown 20 areas with rising rates. Since some of the areas affected have a largely Orthodox Jewish population, some feel the community is being unfairly targeted by the Mayor and others. If approved the plan would go into effect this Wednesday.
Schneider, who attends a reform synagogue with his family, said that wearing a mask and socially distancing is important for everyone and actions affect all neighbors. “I think we have to be careful about focusing in one area or focusing on one community. There’s no reason or justification for scapegoating any one area or community,” said Schneider. “We’ve seen an uptick in anti-Jewish sentiment, and we have to be vigilant that no one community is scapegoated.”
Schneider said he has dedicated his professional and advocacy life to combatting civil rights and discrimination cases. “I have been fighting the systemic issues that plague the NYPD in court for 15 years. I know what those issues are, I’ve seen them, and I think there are legislative fixes that do need to be put in place,” said Schneider.
While he criticized some of the statements made by police unions and cops not wearing masks, Schneider said that he did not support the total abolishment of law enforcement.
As a district leader, Schneider said, he’s pushing even harder to counteract people’s doubt in the voting system and encouraging people to vote. He called the situation with the misprinted ballots in Kings County “unacceptable.”
Schneider said that streets and sidewalks were also important to the district and “cannot function without safe and efficient transportation.” He said that equal access for the disabled, elderly, and strollers on transportation needs to be addressed as well.