Last month, Mathieu Eugene, a Haitian born doctor who runs a youth services agency, seemingly won this City Council seat from Central Brooklyn, capturing about a third of the vote in a field of 10 candidates. He was all set to take his place as the council’s first Haitian member when reports circulated that he lived in Canarsie, far outside the district’s boundaries.
In the comedy of errors that followed, Mathieu Eugene seemed to offer different accounts of when he moved where. Finally, after being certified the winner by the Board of Elections, he himself asked for a new election. Mayor Michael Bloomberg complied, with the vote now scheduled for April 24.
Special elections for City Council are far more open than those for legislature. They are essentially nonpartisan contests, with any candidate who can collect enough signatures getting a place on the ballot. As of last week’s filing deadline, five candidates submitted petitions to run for this open City Council seat: Mathieu Eugene, Harry Schiffman and Wellington Sharpe, who both ran in February’s election, and two newcomers â€“ Darly Brutus and Marie Gina Faustin. While Eugene was the sole Haitian candidate in February’s election, both Faustin and Brutus are reportedly Haitian as well. Little seem to be known about Brutus, but Faustin is a television personality. And in what some could view as a case of dĂ©jĂ vu all over again, she not does not live in the 40th district. In fact she does not even live in Brooklyn but in Cambria Heights, Queens. Faustin has said her children attend public school in the district and that she will move there by Election Day as the law, generally regarded as rather murky, seems to require.
Wellington Sharpe, a family counselor, is founder and president of a private company, the Nelrak Child Development Center. A member of Community Board 17, he has served on the boards of many community groups and been politically active, including running unsuccessfully for State Senate. Harry Schiffman is director of government and community relations for Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center and has also been active with many community groups.
Whatever happens, the voting is not over for residents of this area in and around Flatbush. Whoever wins next month, assuming he or she actually takes their seat, could face a party primary in September and a general election opponent in November â€“ on what is generally considered Election Day.
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