July 19, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
Brooklyn, NY—State Senator Eric Adams believes he’s the best candidate for Brooklyn Borough President because he’s gained valuable insights into the needs of everyday Brooklynites during his tenure as an NYPD police officer for over 20 years.
With Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer joining the race for mayor and comptroller, respectively, Mr. Adams was asked if he is very concerned about a candidate jumping into the race for Brooklyn Borough President who has either Tweeted sexually-explicit photos or solicited prostitution.
“No, I’m not,” said Mr. Adams he said after a chuckle.
Mr. Adams, who once headed the civil rights group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, said his boldest proposal as borough president candidate is improving the quality of life of Brooklynites who live in a borough where almost a quarter of its 2.5 million residents live in poverty.
“That’s a real number. That’s a scary number,” said Adams.
Tackling that colossal issue won’t be easy, especially for a public office that doesn’t yield a lot of firepower within New York City’s government.
But Mr. Adams invoked the adventurous spirit that pervaded early America to describe his vision for the office.
“If you’re that type of cat that’s like Lewis and Clark, you love unsettled terrain. This is an office that’s not going to make the person, but it’s the person who is going to make the office,” Adams said.
In addition to high poverty rates, Adams noted that Brooklyn is also facing a health care crisis and a crisis in public safety because of the overuse of the stop-and-frisk policy by the NYPD.
To tackle poverty, Mr. Adams said he would as borough president create partnerships that could bring in more private sector investments to create jobs, an idea the incumbent, Marty Markowitz, espoused last year when he called for high-tech manufacturers to locate in high unemployment areas such as East New York and Brownsville.
He wants Brooklynites to have access to healthy foods as one way to combat the borough’s health crisis.
“We have a healthcare tsunami about to hit us through diabetes, hypertension and heart disorder,” he said.
He also noted the borough has to be a safe place to live and work in order to attract private investment in areas such as East New York and Brownsville. By the time he left the 88th Precinct in the Clinton Hill/Fort Greene section, Mr. Adams said housing values went up and new businesses opened up after the precinct and community-based organizations worked together to stem the violence plaguing the neighborhood.
“There were houses whose value broke the million-dollar barrier after the guns went silent. If you make it safe, people will come.”
Despite the controversy surrounding the NYPD practice of stop-and-frisk, Mr. Adams believes it’s a vital tool.
“I used it as a police officer and supervised officers who used the method when I was a lieutenant and captain. You can’t abuse a great tool,” Adams said.
He welcomes the federal lawsuit brought against the NYPD over stop-and-frisk—Floyd v. City of New York—because it’s a check on the police hierarchy, not the rank and file, who he says got too caught up in a numbers game.
“The philosophy of stopping and searching as many people as possible in a particular geographic area as a great safety tool proved otherwise. The way it has been employed has created a schism between the police and community, and rather than young people growing up to be officer friendly are growing up to dislike them.”
Mr. Adams, without worrying about being challenged by a candidate with a tarnished past, is confident he’ll win the office because he’s picked up both mayoral and organized labor endorsements, and over 3,000 Brooklynites have contributed to his campaign.
The endorsements from organized labor include Transport Workers Union Local 100, 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East, United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 and the traffic and sanitation agents of Communications Workers of America Local 1182.
Mr. Adams is also confident that he won’t be accused or charged with any wrongdoing in a federal investigation of political corruption after he was recorded on a wire worn by disgraced Sen. Shirley Huntley.
“I’ve always said it. You don’t put all this labor into this job if you believe you did something wrong. I’m confident you won’t find one sentence of criminality. There’s nothing on those tapes that would be damaging to me as an elected politician or as a citizen,” said Adams.
He said when he saw the report about being taped by the former state senator, but no report on criminality, he was assured of his innocence.
“I’m extremely confident that there’s no wrongdoing that’s going to prevent me from continuing to become the next Brooklyn Borough President,” said Adams.