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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Charles Barron, Dem 13,581 - 91 percent
Walter Moseley, Rep 978 - 7 percent
Donald T. Wooten, Ind 348 - 2 percent
Amelia Smith-Parker, Con 96 - 1 percent
Charles Barron 4,902
Gregory Jackson 4,633
Donald T. Wooten 1,456
Barbara Faison 1,418
Joseph Jeffries-El 1,053
Joseph Young 856
Prince Lewis 437
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Priscilla A. Wooten
(can't run in 2001)
- Charles Barron (Dem/Wor)
- Walter Moseley (Rep)
- Amelia Smith-Parker (Con)
- Donald Wooten (Ind)
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
to Charles Barron
to Barbara Faison
to Gregory Jackson
to Joseph Jeffries-El
to Prince Lewis
Walter Moseley has not filed.
Amelia Smith-Parker has not filed.
to Donald Wooten
Joseph Young, Jr. has not filed.
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
In a crowded field of candidates, only one was knocked off the ballot, and
then from just one party line. Charles Barron will not appear on the Working
Families line, but is still on the ballot for the Democratic primary. See
Campaign Update for more details. Posted 8/24/01
Looking for a Way Up
You cannot walk more than three blocks in East New York and Brownsville
without coming upon a small corner store, or bodega, with groups
of people hovering around it. Many residents clearly prefer the
street corner to their apartments in the area's many crowded housing
The district's population is largely African American with a
mix of people from the Caribbean and Latin America -- Guyana,
Jamaica, Trinidad, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republican,
Ecuador. For many of them life is hard. Almost two-thirds of the
area's adults are not in the labor force, and the median income
is about 25 percent lower than in the city as a whole.
But real estate development and new businesses are slowly transforming
this community. Junior Food chain supermarkets now dot the district,
a large Cineplex movie theater -- the first of its kind in the
area -- has opened on Linden Boulevard, and a mall with stores
such as Target, Home Depot, Marshalls and Bed Bath & Beyond is
While some other council districts fight to restrict development,
district 42 is clamoring for more. "East New York and Brownsville
are major players in the future of Brooklyn," says Donald Wooten.
"There are a lot of businesses that want to provide services,
and many homes are being built."
Wooten is the son of current City Councilmember Priscilla A.
Wooten and wants his mother's job "I'm not taking anything away
from my mother's legacy," he says, but adds, "It's a new Wooten
At least three other candidates are also seeking the seat in
a campaign in which economic development will be a key issue.
Given the new investment in the area, the candidates hope to harness
it to benefit the community.
"If the community is primarily black and Hispanic, then businesses
should also be black and Hispanic", says Charles Barron, a community
activist. "The youth in particular need to generate their own
businesses and engage in shared profit and ownership, " which
Barron refers to as "take a stand and own the land."
The candidates agree, though, that if the district is to improve,
its schools must get better. Students' math and reading scores
are among the lowest in the city, and overcrowding plagues classrooms.
"Our children are not meeting the standards to graduate and because
of this kids are dropping out of school," says Barbara Faison,
a former PTA president and the president of the Warwick Street
Block Association. "We have to deal with 30 kids at one time with
only one teacher."
Then there is the issue of what young people do when they're
not in school. The shortage of after-school and summer youth programs
contributes to the tireless commotion on the area's streets and
"In the summer time there are nothing but children outside",
says Faison "If we had a reasonable center, it would get rid of
the hostility and boredom they experience."
Many area residents live in public housing and, if they have
a job, earn low wages. The district ranks third in the city (out
of 51) in the number of public housing projects within its boundaries.
In many, such as Linden Houses and Pitkin Houses, three to four
generations may live in a single apartment.
The low wages earned by many who live or work in the district
have helped foster crime and prostitution. "If you want to get
people out of poverty," says Barron, "you have to have a living
Area residents, including the candidates, hope that the development
that has started coming to the district will raise wages and bring
some solutions to many of the difficulties troubling the 42nd
and those who live there.
The field of candidates in district 42 has grown larger and more diverse.
Former New York Knick Gregory Jackson is making his first run for public
office. After a brief career in the NBA (he played five games for the Knicks
and a season with Phoenix Suns in the 1970's), Jackson returned to his
childhood neighborhood hoping to build the community. Running for City
Council, he said, is the next step. "You wonder where the power is in our
neighborhood," says Jackson. "You see new housing in other communities,
shopping centers. Coney Island got a new stadium. You stop and say, 'How come
people don't think about Brownsville the same way?' That has to change."
Joseph Jeffries-El, who worked as the developer for a large public housing
project in the area, is running on a plan to create a new Board of Education.
Jeffries-El is proposing a board that contains seven representatives (one
person from each borough and two citywide) that would be elected by the
"The mayor wants control, but that is political," says Jeffries-El. "The
system of the borough presidents appointing the school board members isn't
working either. On Long Island, the school board is elected and they get
results. When they hold a school board meeting the people are there."
Jeffries-El also advocates for charter schools, community centers, and
universal, full-day kindergarten.
Prince Lewis, a teacher in East New York, also believes problems in the
district begin with its failing educational system. According to Lewis, the
city needs to replace outdated books and provide better training for
teachers. "If the education system is failing, everything else is going to
crumble around you," says Lewis. Lewis also wants to rally residents in his
community to become active in local politics and take a stand against those
city officials who, he says, routinely ignore its concerns.
Republican Walter Moseley, also a teacher in the district, says education,
housing, and health care are his priorities. If elected, Moseley says he
would fight for more teachers and build new schools, but admits he would have
to learn how to get such measures funded. "I won't know about funding until I
have experience on the council and take a good look at the city budget," says
Joseph Young Jr., who has worked as both a teacher and an assistant principal
in the district, believes his ability to relate to people in the community
would make him an asset to the council. Young says he would work in
conjunction with other council members and community leaders to ensure that
the demands of his constituents are met. "We all need to work together as a
group," says Young.
As the race has grown more crowded, each candidate is trying to show his or
her strengths. Charles Barron, the often-quoted community activist, has the
best-funded campaign, raising over $100,000, if you include matching public
funds. Donald Wooten, while running in part on his family name, is also
trying to make sure voters know he is his own person. "Although my last name
is the same as the council person," Wooten says, "I am totally different from
her and separate from her." Gregory Jackson admits that his status as a
former NBA player helps, but he wants voters to focus on his work in the
neighborhood. And Jeffries-El says he has the most experience. "The others
have a lot of community experience, which is nice," says Jeffries, "But
nothing to bring to the table to really do the job."
Conservative candidate Amelia Smith-Parker could not be reached.
Charles Barron is the founder and CEO of Dynamics of Leadership
Inc., a leadership training consulting group. He is also a former
member of the Black Panther party. He graduated from Hunter College.
Barbara Faison is a member of Community School District
9 and Community Board 5. She is a former president of the Parent
Teacher Association and president of the Warwick Street Block
Association. She used to teach 5th and 6th grade.
Gregory Jackson is the current director of the Parks Department's
Brownsville recreation center. He also works at Coney Island Hospital
in the surgical supply department. He played basketball for the
New York Knicks and the Phoenix Suns from 1974-1976. He is a graduate
of Guilford College.
Joseph Jeffries-El served as developer and manager of
the Noble Drew Ali Plaza, a federally aided housing project that
houses 385 low-income families. He has been a member of Community
Board 5, Community Board 16, and Community Board 23. He also founded
the Free Enterprise System Sports Academy, a school for grades
7-12. He attended the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
and the Real Estate Institute of New York University.
Prince Lewis is a teacher in East New York.
Walter Moseley is a teacher. He is also a member of Community
Board 5 and the current vice president of his tenants association.
Amelia Smith-Parker (no information available.)
Donald Wooten works for the city Human Resources Administration.
Joseph Young, Jr. has worked as both a teacher and an
The Democratic primary for district 42, encompassing East New York and Brownsville, is highly competitive, with seven candidates running, including the current council member's son. Charles Barron, who has run for the office previously and raised the most money, champions giving some public-owned property to a nonprofit community redevelopment corporation for housing and commercial development. Gregory Jackson, who played basketball for the Knicks, said he would encourage the large chain stores and megastores to move into the district as a way to create new jobs. Donald Wooten, son of Councilmember Patricia Wooten, has emphasized the need to expand youth programs and to keep the school buildings open for longer hours to do so. (New York Times)
His basketball skills carried him from the streets of Brownsville,
Brooklyn, to the New York Knicks. Now Greg Jackson is trying his
hand at another rough city game: winning a City Council seat in
the neighborhood where he grew up. "I see the changes around here
that are needed, and I know I am the best person for the job,"
said Jackson, 49. Until this year, Jackson and other political
newcomers had few opportunities to pursue their electoral dreams.
But term limits for many officeholders -- including 35 Council
members -- and an expansion of the campaign finance program to
give candidates more public matching funds, have transformed the
city's political landscape. In Brownsville, Jackson will face
Donald Wooten, whose mother, Democratic Councilwoman Priscilla
Wooten, is ending a 20-year run because of term limits, and activist
Charles Barron. The local congressman, Ed Towns, a Democrat, backs
An acknowledged power broker, Rev. Al Sharpton foresees more "conflicting
loyalties" in the contest between community activist Charles Barron
and Donald Wooten, the son of Brooklyn councilwoman Priscilla
Wooten. "One of the demands that Ferrer must meet before a black-Latino
coalition could move forward is that if he cannot support the
movement's choices for elected office, he cannot campaign against
them," Sharpton decrees. "No one in the city wants a black-Latino
coalition more than me, but it will not be forged at the expense
of key black leaders who paved the way for our movement against
brutal cops and racial profiling. Carl Thomas and Charles Barron
stood with me when I ran for mayor. Freddie did not. I owe it
to them." (Village
Priscilla Wooten's son faces stiff competition as a number of
qualified challengers enter the race for City Council in District
42. There is a former NBA player with a long record in neighborhood
recreation programs, a school board member who raised seven kids
in the area, a builder who was a Republican until last year and
a former Black Panther who came close to unseating the elder Wooten.
Priscilla Wooten, who can't run for reelection, may keep her name
on the council through her son Donald Wooten. (Daily
He calls it his "wall of ego." Newspaper articles and awards cover
almost every surface of leadership counselor Charles Barron's
office. To him, it's proof his dream job on the City Council is
the logical next step after years community work. Barron has a
lot of ideas for the 42nd district in Brooklyn, and he likes to
talk about them. But he can also talk tough. Barron ran and lost
against current Council member Priscilla Wooten last time around,
and he says he has no intention of losing this time, when he'll
be up against Wooten's son, Donald, who is running for the same
seat. "Somebody needs to tell Donald and his mother that this
is a democracy, not a monarchy," said Barron. What does Donald
Wooten have to say about this? "I'm my own person, and although
my last name is the same as the Councilperson I am totally different
from her and separate from her." Then there's Barbara Faison.
She's a former Parent-Teacher Association president, a current
school board member, and a self-proclaimed "people person." Jeffries-El
says as a former developer and a former Planning Board member,
he has a special edge in luring fresh business to this area. Jeffries-El
was once a Republican, but said he plans to run as a Democrat.
The history of East New York indicates that current development
efforts might not improve the neighborhood and might even hurt
Charles Barron reflects on black politics in general and Dr. Lenora
Fulani in particular. (World
Barron accuses Mayor Rudy Giuliani of courting Rev. Calvin Butts
and others in an effort the create alternatives to progressive
black leaders. The
Brooklyn housing activists yesterday asked City Council members
to override one of their own, charging East New York Councilwoman
Priscilla Wooten is costing 19 low-income families an affordable
place to live in order to punish the activist group. (NY
Barron, a former Black Panther with close ties to Rev. Al Sharpton,.
is challenging incumbent Priscilla Wooten for her City Council
seat. (Wooten won.) (City