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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Albert Vann, Dem 13,781 - 92 percent
Stanley Kinard, Ind 815 - 5 percent
Richard Taylor, Lib 433 - 3 percent
Albert Vann 9,102
Richard Taylor 3,745
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Annette M. Robinson
(can't run in 2001)
- Stanley Kinard (Ind)
- Richard Taylor (Lib)
- Albert Vann (Dem)
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
to Stanley Kinard
Richard Taylor has not filed.
to Albert Vann
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
TRANSCRIPT OF DISTRICT 36 CANDIDATE
Al Vann managed to knock Stanley Kinard off the ballot for the
Democratic party ballot, and now needs to face only familiar opponent
Richard Taylor in the September primary. Kinard will still be
on the ballot in the November
general election as an Independence party candidate. See the Campaign
Update for more details. Posted 8/20/01
A Different Kind of Incumbency
Long-time Assemblyman Al Vann has announced his plans to give
up his seat in Albany if he wins a spot in City Council. So far,
only one candidate has emerged to challenge him. Stanley Kinard
will be running a tough race against a man who has all the visibility
of an incumbent.
Vann has represented Bedford Stuyvesant in the New York State
Assembly for 26 years. He has not had a serious competitor for
his seat in a long time. Because City Council District 36 overlaps
with Vann's current Assembly district and his name is familiar
for most voters, the outcome of the election, many say, is almost
certain. So much so that Robert Mathews, chairman of community
board 8, even referred to the race, in a slip of the tongue, as
When asked why he decided to run for City Council, Vann replied
bluntly--"term limits." Some have also speculated that he will
make a bid to be the next Speaker. The current, term-limited,
Councilmember, Annette Robinson, who has represented the district
since 1991, is expecting Vann's win. Asked about her plans for
the future, Robinson said, "I plan to run for the unexpired term
of Assemblyman Al Vann." If Vann wins, a special election will
be called to fill his seat. Robinson has a better chance of winning
a special election than a race against an incumbent.
This seat swapping plan has been a long time in the making and
has also been quite public. In an article run over a year ago
by the Daily News, Robinson said her and Vann's own political
aspirations should figure into the equation. "I'm sure there will
be arguments, but we have to look out for our futures as well,"
Vann, in the same article, cites consistency of leadership as
a benefit for the district. "Bedford Stuyvesant and Central Brooklyn
would maintain the leadership it has had over the years, which
I hope has been good for the area."
But even local community leaders who think Al Vann has done a
good job for the area say he will have to work to accurately represent
the needs of the neighborhood in the City Council. For one, Robert
Matthews of community board 8 said Vann "will have his hands full
getting known in Crown Heights," a portion of the City Council
district that is outside of his Assembly district.
And Hardy Joe Long, chairman of community board 3, expressed
concern about the changing face of real estate, as some homes
are being lost to rezoning and tax liens. The area also has its
share of absentee landlords who buy up property and then fail
to develop or improve it. Long agreed that Vann had done well
in Albany, but still wished there were other candidates from which
to choose. "We need younger blood," said Long.
One community leader just might be the younger blood the area
Stanley Kinard has lived in central Brooklyn for most of his
life and has been an activist in the community "since the days
of Angela Davis" focusing on culture and education.
Kinard heads the Woodson Cultural Literacy Project that is active
in area schools. If elected, Kinard says he would focus on education,
especially developing more culturally-based programs, as well
as racial justice and economic development. "Why do we have to
go outside our community to buy a TV or some blueberries?" Kinard
Concerning the Vann-Robinson seat-swapping plan, Kinard says,
"I don't think this is what they [voters that approved term limits
referenda in 1993 and 1996] were thinking." He believes Vann has
been an effective legislator, but says the area needs a democratic
contest and "new perspectives, new vision."
Kinard recognizes the challenge he is taking going up against
Vann. "Can I win?" he asks. "Yes I can."
Bedford Stuyvesant is one of Brooklyn's oldest neighborhoods,
and one of the largest African-American neighborhoods in the country,
second only to the South Side of Chicago. It also has a higher
percentage of homeowners than neighboring areas and in many ways
is considered a stable neighborhood, both politically and socially.
According to Hardy Joe Long of community board 3, these factors
may contribute to voters in the area being content with their
elected officials and choosing to "stick with what I got," as
Long put it.
Al Vann and Annette Robinson are counting on it. Stanley Kinard
is betting against it.
Al Vann managed to knock Stanley Kinard off the ballot for the Democratic
line, and now needs to face only familiar opponent Richard Taylor in the
September primary. Kinard will still be on the ballot in the November general
election as an Independence party candidate.
Kinard said that one of his people who gathered signatures was not a
registered Democrat, and he lost 195 signatures when they were challenged. "I
think everybody should have the right to participate in the Democratic
process," said Kinard. "He's trying to deprive the people of the right to
have a real election. I would have posed a serious challenge to him in the
Kinard will now try to regroup for the November election. "The community
needs an election where they have a real choice," said Kinard. "There will be
a real challenge for the seat."
Taylor remains optimistic about his chances. An outspoken opponent of Vann
and Councilmember Annette Robinson's seat-swapping plan, Taylor thinks the
voters in district 36 will not stand for it. "There is nobody in
Bedford-Stuyvesant who believes in the switch," said Taylor. "Term limits
means term limits."
Vann sees nothing wrong with what he is trying to do. "We have a strategy--
not a backroom strategy -- but a strategy that must be approved by the
voters," Vann said in an interview with Our Time Press. He says he is running
on "what's best for the community, not what is in the best interest of Al
Vann also has an answer for those that want him to stay in the State Assemb
ly, where he has seniority. "If I leave the Assembly and come to the
Council, I don't lose my relationships. And should I be fortunate enough to
be Speaker of the Council, it only strengthens what this community and this
city can get from the empowerment that would represent."
The other two other candidates are not letting Vann's name recognition deter
them. In a recent candidate forum, which Vann did not attend, Taylor (who has
run unsuccessfully against Vann for State Assembly several times) and Kinard
met to discuss issues like education and economic development.
Both candidates see deep-rooted problems in the district's education system.
Taylor, who advocates giving teachers incentives to stay in the district,
warned against expecting an easy solution. "The type of plan that we have to
put together is no quick fix thing, we can't just do it 1-2-3," he said.
Kinard said the problems go beyond the quality of teaching. "We need to start
with real basic systemic change," said Kinard. "There needs to be more of a
centralized focus in terms of what is the philosophy of education in the 36th
Economic development is also concern in the district. "There is nothing to
stimulate economic development," said Kinard. "Where is our museum? Where is
our movie theater? Why do we have to go outside of our community constantly
in order to participate in these kinds of things? They will stimulate
economic growth and development, they will bring more people into our
community, and they will increase the quality of life in our community."
Taylor blamed the current City Council for "not putting economic development
dollars in the right place ... I would listen to a lot of those community
boards," said Taylor. "There are real people on those community boards, and
(you should) let them pretty much guide you on where some of those dollars
are supposed to go."
Stanley Kinard graduated from the University of Massachusetts,
where he was
head of its African American Students Organization. Since then
he has become
involved in many activist endeavors in central Brooklyn, including
founder and executive director of the Woodson Cultural Literacy
which is active in Brooklyn public schools, and as a member of
board 16. He is also a Revson fellow at Columbia University.
Richard Taylor, former district leader of the 56th Assembly
held several positions in his community. He has served as president
Van Buren Street Block Association, executive of Together We Stand,
non-profit organization concerned with economic development and
empowerment, active member of King Solomon Lodge #366 of the Masonic
and citywide representative for state region 6. He graduated from
University with a bachelor's in political science.
Al Vann has represented the 56th New York State Assembly
district in Brooklyn
since 1975. Prior to serving in the legislature, he worked as
administrator, teacher and advocate. He has also founded the African
Teachers Association, served as chairman of the state Black and
Legislative Caucus, and served as a member of community school
board 13. He
graduated from Toledo University, and received master's degrees
University and Long Island University.
On the surface, it appears that Bedford-Stuyvesant is getting
long overdue facelift. But gentrification could leave long-time
out in the cold. (Our
An interview with Assemblyman and City Council candidate Al Vann.
An interview with City Council candidate Stanley Kinard. (Our
Opponents urge Al Vann to stay in the assembly, and scrap his
bid for City Coucil. (Daily
Most veteran Council members pushing to lift term limits said
they would not run for reelection even if they could. Bedford
Stuyvesant's Annette Robinson pulled no punches, saying she would
run again. That would kill a unique job-swap deal in which Assemblyman
Al Vann is to run for her seat this fall, with her then running
to replace him in Albany. (Daily
Assemblyman Al Vann and City Councilwoman Annette Robinson want
to trade jobs. "I'm sure there will be arguments, but we have
to look out for our futures as well," Robinson said. "Ultimately,
the voters will make the decision." (Daily
The real estate market is looking up in Bedford-Stuyvesant. (Daily
A private inner-city investment fund led by finance king Henry
Kravis is set
to launch its first major retail development in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The $50 million New York Investment Fund is helping finance a
complex of stores that will include a Rite Aid, a State Farm Insurance
and several shops run by neighborhood entrepreneurs. (Daily
Chancellor Rudy Crew made a surprise visit yesterday to a troubled
school -- and told parents he was appalled at its lack of educational