Episode 23

Women Run The Field

At A Glance

  • We’re talking with the women who headed field operations in multiple 2018 Bay Ridge political campaigns.
  • We’ll discuss the importance of field organizing and how to get involved.
  • How can we become better organizers and what is life like in electoral politics?

Today we sit down with the women who made 2018’s South Brooklyn electoral blue wave a reality. Our panel discusses the importance of a ground game in politics, tips for canvassers, and what it’s like to manage teams of volunteers and staff during an election year.

Our panel consists of co-host Rachel Brody who was the Brooklyn Field Director for the Max Rose campaign; Genna Goldsobel who acted as the Field Director for volunteers for Ross Barkan for State Senate; Mary Hetteix, who worked for Immigrant Action; and Sihem Mel who worked as a Field Organizer for Arab and Muslim outreach with the Andrew Gounardes campaign.

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Community Archive

Spring 2019 Street Safety Town Hall

Left to Right: Inspector Dennis Fulton, Chief Thomas Chan, Sgt. Neal Storman, City DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Brooklyn DOT Commissioner Keith Bray. | Photo by Daniel Hetteix.

Listen in to our unedited live recording of the March 27th Street Safety Town Hall, hosted by Councilperson Justin Brannan, with representatives from the offices of Assemblyperson Mathylde Frontus, Senator Andrew Gounardes, and Congressman Max Rose in attendance.

The Department of Transportation representatives on the panel included DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Keith Bray, and Director of the Office of Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs Sean Quinn. Also in attendance taking notes were Brooklyn DOT representative Leroy Branch, and staff from the School Safety Unit.

Police Department representatives included Transportation Bureau Inspector Dennis Fulton, Traffic Manager Neal Storman, and Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan.

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Episode 22

Designing Safer Streets in Bay Ridge

It’s more than just stop signs and speed bumps.

In our last episode, we promised to bring you a bigger, badder deep-dive into street safety! One of our most requested topics, Dan and Brian will take you on a whirlwind tour of as many street design concepts as they can fit into an hour and change, as well as a brief history on why Bay Ridge has lagged behind in innovation.

Why do some street corners get extra-big, but not others? How can we make the B63 go faster? What can we do to help the visually impaired? Can we keep kids safe crossing even our busiest streets? How many lanes does a road even need, and how wide should they be? We’ll answer all these questions and more… and by the end, you’ll be able to suggest and envision your own street safety improvements, just in time for the big Street Safety summit on Wednesday, March 27th.

Warning: On today’s show, we curse a bit and briefly discuss violent traffic crashes and fatalities. It’s a serious topic; listener discretion is advised.

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The 2019 Public Advocate Special Election in Bay Ridge

At A Glance

  • Bay Ridge was won by Eric Ulrich, but that’s not the whole story. He only took 34% of the vote, worse than any other Republican in the past 3 years.
  • The low-turnout election provides lots of opportunities for analyzing the base of each local political party, and how they have shifted over time.
  • Ulrich fits into a trend of declining prospects for Republicans in Southern Brooklyn.

Welcome to our analysis of the 2019 Public Advocate Special Election!

Why dig so deep into such a small, low-turnout election? Because honestly, it reveals information that has nothing to do with the Public Advocate race. Join us as we use the results to analyze both the Democratic and Republican party, and make some predictions about overall enrollment and the political climate of Bay Ridge moving into the future.

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Episode 21

Bay Ridge and Vision Zero

At A Glance

  • On Tuesday, February 19th 2019, city officials gathered to renew their commitment to Vision Zero.
  • 8th Avenue was named as a new priority corridor, joining 4th Avenue and 86th Street. 65th Street has been removed.
  • We will explore common changes that are made to priority corridors that keep pedestrians safe.

On Tuesday, February 19th, a group of our local political representatives gathered together to reaffirm their commitment to Vision Zero. The initiative, overseen by the Department of Transportation and the NYPD, focuses on reducing traffic-related fatalities to zero. What role can Bay Ridge play in helping to improve traffic safety city-wide, and what further changes can we expect to see on our neighborhoods streets?

Today on the show we’re joined by our transit correspondent Brian Hedden, who’ll go over the political landscape of traffic safety, as well as some of the most common street calming measures the DOT will be using to address our unsafe streets. We’ll also look at the stats behind the most recent priority corridor data presented in the Vision Zero report.

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Community Archive

Nomiki Konst, Dawn Smalls and Ben Yee at Solidarity Space

From left to right: Nomiki Konst, Ben Yee, and Dawn Smalls. Photo by Daniel Hetteix.

During the 2019 polar vortex, three Public Advocate candidates braved the cold to meet with Bay Ridge residents. Nomiki Konst, Ben Yee, and Dawn Smalls were joined by moderator Ross Barkan at Solidarity Space. The candidates outlined their platform, traded some barbs early on, and answered numerous questions from residents.

In our estimation, this was one of the most entertaining of the Public Advocate’s events hosted by Solidarity Space, and the three-person format kept things lively, if a little unweildly. The event went over-time, clocking in at an hour and twenty minutes, but covered a wide range of issues. Topics included decriminalizing sex work, climate change, congestion pricing, and Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Have a listen, check out our analysis below, or watch Solidarity Space’s full live stream of the event!

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Community Archive

Melissa Mark-Viverito at Solidarity Space

Left to right: Ross Barkan, Melissa Mark-Viverito, and Kadia Goba. Photo courtesy Melissa Mark-Viverito for Public Advocate.

At A Glance

  • Solidarity Space and Bklyner are hosting a number of in-depth forums for the Public Advocate.
  • Former City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represented the South Bronx and East Harlem, discussed her record and qualifications.
  • The MTA and public transit was a focal point for the candidate.
  • Questions from residents focused on affordable housing, education, climate change, and gender equality.

Continuing their successful Public Advocates series, Solidarity Space recently hosted former City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. For about an hour, the Public Advocate candidate outlined her proposals and took questions from Bay Ridge residents. Solidarity Space founder Ross Barkan and Bklyner journalist Kadia Goba moderated.

There was a strong focus throughout the night on the MTA and public transit, which made sense considering that Mark-Viverito’s party line in the upcoming election is “Fix the MTA”. Residents however focused their attention to affordable housing, climate change, and education. You can check out the full livestream over at Solidarity Space’s Twitter account.

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Community Archive

Danny O'Donnell at Solidarity Space

Left to right: Ross Barkan, Danny O’Donnell and Kadia Goba. Photo: Solidarity Space

At A Glance

  • Solidarity Space and Bklyner are hosting a number of in-depth forums for the Public Advocate.
  • Assemblyman Danny O’Donnell, from Manhattan Valley, Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side joined residents for a conversation about his values, experience, and vision for the office of Public Advocate.
  • O’Donnell wrote and passed the Marriage Equality Act, and would support the Public Advocate being granted subpoena power.
  • He emphatically does not want to run for Mayor.

Assemblyperson Danny O’Donnell visited Solidarity Space on January 10th, and spoke about his views on and ideas for the office of Public Advocate. Kadia Goba and Ross Barkan moderated the talk, focusing on affordable housing and Assemblyperson O’Donnell’s tactic of downzoning in order to get concessions from developers. The audience asked questions about education, climate change, justice reform, and more.

Unfortunately, both Solidarity Space’s and Radio Free Bay Ridge’s mics cut out near the end of the talk, but we have about 48 minutes of audio covering most of the session, ending with a dialog about Community Boards.

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Community Archive

Rafael Espinal at Solidarity Space

Rafael Espinal speaking at Solidarity Space
Left to Right: Ross Barkan and Rafael Espinal. Photo by Rachel Brody.

At A Glance

  • Solidarity Space and Bklyner are hosting a number of in-depth forums for the Public Advocate.
  • Councilman Rafael Espinal of Brooklyn was interviewed by Ross Barkan and Kadia Goba, and took audience questions.
  • Topics focused heavily on affordable housing and green initiatives.
  • Barkan dug into Espinal’s background with the Conservative Party and his transition to progressive politics.

Continuting with their successful Public Advocates series, Solidarity Space hosted Rafael Espinal to talk to Bay Ridge residents about his candidacy for Public Advocate. Rafael answered questions from Ross Barkan, and Kadia Goba (from Bklyner), and then took audience questions.

The conversation covered Espinal’s background of public service in East New York, as well as some thornier origins with the Conservative Party. He also emphasized his green initiatives and advocacy for community gardens. Questions focused heavily on affordable housing and the economy, with additional emphasis on education programs, hate crime legislation, and his opposition to the BDS movement. You can check out the full livestream over at Solidarity Space’s Twitter account.

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Community Archive

Jumaane Williams at Solidarity Space

Left to right: Ross Barkan, City Councilmember Jumaane Williams, and Kadia Goba. Photo by Rachel Brody.

At A Glance

  • Solidarity Space and Bklyner are hosting a number of in-depth forums for the Public Advocate.
  • Council Member Jumaane Williams, from District 45 in Brooklyn, spoke to a packed house about his life experience, qualifications, and ideas for the office of Public Advocate.
  • Williams is running to be “the People’s Advocate,” and recently ran in the 2018 State Democratic Primary for Lt. Governor.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams joined a packed Solidarity Space on January 8th, answering questions from Kadia Goba and Ross Barkan before addressing issues raised by members of the audience.

From questions about NYCHA to addressing concerns about schools and testing, take the time to listen to Williams’ forum with our progressive neighbors at the link above, or watch Solidarity Space’s livestreamed video on Twitter.

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