By Brooklyn Reader

March 16, 2015, 4:43 pm

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Diana Richardson
Diana Richardson

Diana Richardson, the Working Families Party candidate in the wide-open four-person race for the vacant 43rd District Assembly seat, was born, raised and educated in the district which includes Crown Heights, Lefferts Gardens, Wingate and East Flatbush. She was born at Brookdale Hospital and attended P.S. 161, Edward R. Murrow High School and received her bachelors degree from Medgar Evers College.

The following brief interview took place at the COJO of Flatbush annual breakfast.

Besides your deep roots with the community, what is your connection to the community in terms of activism?

I’ve been on the community advisory board and a member of Community Board 9 for the past four years on the education committee and now I’m running for the New York State Assembly from the 43rd District.

Speaking of the Community Board 9, it’s had some problems with dysfunction of late including the resignation of Chair person Dwayne Nicholson amid a rezoning fight. Do you see the community boarde beginning to trun itself around?

I will say this. We recently had a turnover with the leadership of the board. The chairman resigned so I’m hoping with the change we’re able to come together as one community to solve our issues. and I look forward to working positively with the community.

The changes that have happened have just happened so I can’t  really say how that will affect the board, but what I’m saying is that I’m willing to work with everybody and I know several members of the community board are. We’re one community so its not beneficial for us to be fighting against one another, but to move together in unison to take a solution oriented approach to solve our problems.

What are the top three issues in the district?

Definitly the top three issues in our community are housing, housing, housing. And Education – having quality education in our community as well as the coupling together – even though they’re two separate things – senior services and youth services. We have to take care of those who paved the way for us as well as take care of those who are coming behind us. That’s why I link those two together.

Would you support a rezoning of the district or parts of it?

Community Board 9 if you look at a zoning map have several areas of vulnerabilty. We’re looking to down zone those areas in order to protect our community residents.  Developers are taking advantage of (subsidies for developers) 421-a and 80/20 (a subsidy given to developers that give put aside 20 percent of all rental units as affordable) and even the 20 percent uses the New York City AMI (Area Median Income) which is way higher than the AMI of Crown Heights, Flatbush, Lefferts Gardens and Wingate so our residents are not even able to take advantage of that.

With all this large development that’s happening in this community such as what we experienced at the 626 Flatbush Avenue project where developers put up a 23-story building that’s out of scope and context in our community that we couldn’t stop because it was built as of right, it’s important to down zone. That’s why we entered a zoning study – to down zone and protect our community.

Are you surprised that one of your opponents Shirley Patterson received the support of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and do you think it may hurt your support with two women running?

Not at all. I think it’s a very fair race. In elections such as this everyone has the right to run. It’s a very fair election. It’s an open seat and nobody else running has ever held the seat. Endorsements are awesome, but what’s most important is that voters look at each individual candidate’s background and ability to truly carry the spirit of the community with them and who is the best one to go to Albany to advocate for them and make sure they get the representation they need.

Besides Richardson and Patterson, Geoffrey Davis and Menachem Raitport are running for the assembly seat, in which the Democratic Party does not have anybody on the ballot line. The special election is May 5.


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