BROOKLYN POLITICS: WHO’S NEXT IN LINE (FOR MOVING ON UP)?
Too often when I write about the Brooklyn political scene, I unnecessarily take a verbal-beating from folks unknown. No big thing; when you are a political writer in New York, you learn to absorb punishment. So here I come again with another column about the “hood”.
The 55th Assembly District covers most of Brownsville. It also includes parts of East New York, Brooklyn; parts of Bushwick; parts of Bedford Stuyvesant; parts of Crown Heights; and parts of East Flatbush. For decades now, representatives have been members of the notorious “Boyland” clan. The last rep (“Junior”) is now in prison for many criminal infractions; including bribery: so now someone has to step in and fill the large void left by these rather small shoes.
Over the years I remember writing more than just a few columns that weren’t favorable towards the Boylands. In fact, once in a very public forum, Junior’s father (Frank) -who did represent the district for years and years- threatened to punch my lights out; either before or after suing me for libel. It comes with the territory folks: I tell it like it is. I write it or speak it, and then I duck, or bob and weave.
I have worked on (or supported) at least a dozen anti-Boyland political campaigns: with community folks such as Reginald Bowman, Jenny Ortiz-Bowman (RIP), Danny King, David Miller, Tony Herbert, Stanley Kinard and his wife Tulani; amongst others. Many of us in the political-activist-crowd, found the encounters in attempting to unseat the Boyland clan quite disheartening. We got minimal help from unions, media entities, or prominent civic organizations in this city. That was the painful part. They all knew that -with very few exceptions- this “clan” had outlived its usefulness.
However, despite a few regrets, these campaigns did give me a chance to study and learn the district; and was part of my overall political education. I just wish we had succeeded in removing Junior Boyland, long before he embarrassed district-residents with his outrageous shenanigans, greed and deceit.
This area holds many socio-politico-economic challenges for any representative. It has a high poverty rate; a school-drop-out rate that is near tops in this city- given that over 75% of the young black males in this district fail to graduate from high school; there is a high teenage-pregnancy rate; high substance abuse rates- including a drug-use scourge; high unemployment (and under-employment) rates; high crime rates; and even higher incarceration/prison-recidivism rates. Look; truth be told: large sections of this district are in a mess; violence abounds and lawlessness fill many pockets.
So who should be the next representative? Who is next in line for moving on up? Who is best suited to handle these challenges? Let me help some of you voters as you ponder that choice amongst the many folks offering themselves up.
I say ANTHONY HERBERT. And I say this without hesitation. This is a formal endorsement. Herbert is best suited to fill this vacancy. “Tony” Herbert has paid his dues. It is that simple. Don’t be fooled by some who are pretending to have been involved in this district when they are actually lying through their false teeth. Herbert’s activism runs more than two decades here. He once worked as an aide to congressman Ed Towns. He has run for public office before, and he will readily admit that he failed to mount effective challenges then. Still, he has remained faithfully involved in all civic aspects of this area. He has actively worked with precinct-councils and community-boards all over Brooklyn. He is a tireless advocate for the protection, development and advancement of our young people: regardless of the color, race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. He is an indefatigable community activist.
For years, he has worked on issues affecting our senior citizens; issues such as crime and affordable-housing. He has also worked extensively on issues of racism, discrimination, education, gun-violence in the hood, stop and frisk abuse, victim’s rights, back-on-black crime, economic development, unemployment, job-training and more.
When the phone rings at all hours of the day or night Tony is usually on the other end of the line, trying to deal with problems all over Brooklyn; especially in the areas of central-Brooklyn. I am sure that many of you have seen him on the television news, or read of him in the newspapers, or heard him on the radio, dealing with all sorts of social challenges. He has paid his dues people: now he needs both your support and/or your vote.
He is the CEO of a Brooklyn-based non-profit organization and also heads up the Brooklyn-chapter of the National Action Network. He has sacrificed enormous amounts of time, energy and money, while dedicating his life to helping those either in need, or those who are less fortunate. He needs your help folks.
Let’s elect Tony Herbert: send him to the state assembly. He should make a fine representative; one who will serve with honesty and integrity.
Stay tuned-in folks