Congressional Contenders

Michael DeVito Jr.


It’s 2018, which means the Democratic primary for NY Congressional District 11, which includes Staten Island and South Brooklyn, will be getting into gear soon!

Our first guest for the New Year is Michael DeVito Jr., a former Staff Sergeant in the Marines in addition to a non-profit director focusing on at-risk youth.  In light of that, we spent alot of time with Michael looking at his congressional run through the lens of mediation and conflict resolution. We spoke in detail about how a more empathetic approach could kickstart Federal programs in transit infrastructure, pharmaceutical reform, workforce development, the green economy, and more.

Michael DeVito Jr. in the studio with Rachel and Mary.

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Episode 4

A School Of Our Own


In Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, our public schools are overcrowded. Lack of space, a mostly residential building stock, and little turnover… it has made the district a difficult place to build a school. There is hope, however. Our new City Councilperson-elect, Justin Brannan, campaigned on a single promise: to construct a new school in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights within his first term. Can it be done?

In our newest studio episode, we dig deep into the weeds of educational policy and school construction with some guidance from our newest Radio Free Bay Ridge team member, Erik Shell. With Erik’s help, we’ll look at the demographics data that reinforces our need for a new school, counter some myths and raise some warning flags about co-location and charter schools claiming they can solve overcrowding, and discuss our most pressing and time-sensitive issue: finding space for the school. We are also joined in the studio by our City Councilperson-elect, Justin Brannan, who will give us a behind-the-scenes look at how he’s advocating for a new school and how he intends to keep his promise for a new school within four years.

Justin Brannan, Rachel and Dan pose in the studio while discussing how to build a new school in Bay Ridge.
Justin Brannan, in the house! (Well, studio.)

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Episode 3

Going Nativist

Today we look at how Bay Ridge nativism affects the neighborhood discourse (and thus, our politics). We’ll interview former and current Bay Ridge residents, as well as political candidates, to see what they think. We’ll explore different ways of looking at Bay Ridge based on where and when you were born. Does an emphasis on birthplace and/or residency drown out and discourage other voices and opinions? Does an idea have to start in our neighborhood to be of value or improve our lives?

In short, does local nativism make Bay Ridge more — or less (and we’re betting you can guess which side we’re on) — welcoming? And given that, how does this phenomenon manifest in our politics, and how can we work to counter (or eliminate) it?

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Episode 2

Lies, Dog-Whistles, and Statistics

This week, three very intelligent women break down the City Council Debates for Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach. If the analysis sparks your interest, or you find yourself asking, “Did he really SAY that?!”, go back and check out the Xavarian and AAANY debates. Also, feel free to pour yourself a glass (or several) and check out our CC43 Debate Drinking Game.

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Episode 1

All Eyes On The Streets Of Bay Ridge

In our first episode, we take a look at John Quaglione’s proposed “Eyes on the Streets” program. It involves setting up an incident-based NYPD webcam database. Dan and Rachel dig into whether it’s a good idea and look into the possible pitfalls. Is quality of life on a downturn, and is this the right solution if it is?

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