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Learn more about this district in Searchlight 2002
x-Kendall B. Stewart, Dem 14,638 - 88 percent
Salvatore Grupico, Rep 1,649 - 10 percent
Ernest Emmanuel, Lib 257 - 2 percent
Kendall Stewart 3,184
Samuel E. Palmer 2,587
Vaughan P. Toney 2,498
Samuel A. Taitt 2,346
Kevin S. Parker 2,283
Ernest Emmanuel 1,293
Christian B. Hylton 1,084
(Official Vote Count from the Board of Elections)
Incumbent: Lloyd Henry (can't run
- Ernest Emmanuel (Lib)
- Sal Grupico (Rep/Con)
- Kendall Stewart (Dem/Ind)
Contributors to these candidates, according to the Campaign
Ernest Emmanuel has not filed
to Christian Hylton
to Sam Palmer
to Kevin Parker
to Kendall Stewart
to Sam Taitt
to Vaughan Toney
Official Primary Election Voter Guide for Residents of District
Anthony Alexis was knocked off the ballot for the Democratic primary. Seven
Democratic and one Republican candidates remain. See the Campaign Update for
Flatbush Free for All
Perhaps no district better exemplifies the effects of term limits
and campaign finance reform than the 45th in the middle of Brooklyn.
At least seven candidates have filed with the Campaign Finance
Board, and more may be running as well.
The men -- and they are all men -- seeking to represent this
largely West Indian district come from a number of Caribbean nations.
Many have been working on politicians' staffs and serving with
community groups, clearly hop ing someday to win their own elected
office. Term limits has presented them with that opportunity,
and they want to make the most of it.As one candidate, Christian
Hylton, says, "I always made a mental note to myself that I would
No one issue has emerged as paramount and no one candidate appears
to have pulled out ahead. Two, Vaughan Toney and Samuel Palmer,
have raised the most money, according to Campaign Finance Board
Beyond issues and experience, it is unclear what effect the candidates'
different origins will have on the electorate. Will people from
St. Vincent opt for Kendall Stewart, those from Barbados for Sam
Taitt and Trindadians for Anthony Alexis? For now, says, Kevin
Parker, who is not from the West Indies, voter support seems to
be revolving largely around personal popularity, some of which
is based on which island the candidate comes from. But, he predicts,
in September residents will become more focused on issues.
The contest will probably be decided by a small number of votes.
Toney, an aide to incumbent Lloyd Henry says, it may take only
a few thousand votes to win in a district with 135,908 people.
The area the candidates hope to represent includes Flatlands,
East Flatbush and the piece of Midwood around Brooklyn College.
It is a neighborhood of immigrants, mostly from the Caribbean
but with some from the former Soviet Union as well Many have prospered
here, living on pleasant tree lined blocks of one and two family
home and shopping in the bustling commercial districts along Flatbush
and Nostrand Avenues. A mall with more upscale stores is under
development. There are, though, some shabby sections and, along
Farragut Avenue, block upon block of bleak brick apartment buildings.
And the district includes the corner where Abner Louima first
met up with police before being taken to the local precinct house
and tortured in August 1997. The issue seems muted today, though
police-community relations are a concern, particularly in light
of what several candidates say is rising gang activity.
Senior citizens, says Anthony Alexis, an aide to Councilmember
Tracy Boyland, are "fearful of their safety. Young people are
fearful of the police." He says more community affairs officers
out in the community, meeting people and getting to know the neighborhood,
could address those key, often competing concerns.
Hylton thinks the Police Athletic League would help "young people
encounter police in a positive, not a negative way." Such a league
would also address what many of the candidates see as at lack
of recreational facilities in the district.
As elsewhere in the city, schools are an issue, though several
of the candidates cited a number of fine schools in the district,
and test scores are about average for the city. Some of the educational
problems are specific to this area. "We're predominantly an immigrant
community and because many of them are not familiar with the educational
system, their children get lost," says Vaughan Toney. For example,
he says, a child from the rural Caribbean may speak in a way that's
difficult to under sand and so be placed in special education
classes. Once in special ed, he continued, a child has a difficult
time getting out.
Almost all the candidates believe the city has the money for
better health care, higher teacher salaries, smaller school classes
and day care programs. "When the Stock Exchange is threatening
to move, we find $1 billion to keep them here," says Kevin Parker,
who works for State Comptroller Carl McCall. "Are we going to
pay corporate welfare or are we going to take care of the people
who need it? If we put the money in our human infrastructure and
in our physical infrastructure, we have created a community where
companies want to be because we have raised the quality of life."
Vaughan Toney says, "We have squandered in the last six years
the ability to make major changes in our communities." Money should
have gone into services, such as affordable housing rather than
for tax cuts. he says.
And Kendall Stewart, who mounted a serious but ultimately unsuccessful
challenge to Lloyd Henry four years ago, says the city has no
choice but to find the money. He says, "we don't have our priorities
straight as far as our kids are concerned. We have to take care
of that now. We shouldn't wait until they're 17 and turn up in
A number of the candidates believe residents, particularly parents,
must become more involved in the community. Anthony Alexis, for
one, thinks PTAs should be strengthened and encouraged. But Sam
Palmer, a teacher, has made the call for involvement the mainstay
of his campaign. Like his opponents he sees the need for more
funds for schools but he thinks the community can help produce
some of that money themselves. Criticizing what he sees as a lack
of discipline in schools and a lack of morality, though, he hastens
to add, he does not mean "strait jacket morality," Palmer says
"because of our behavior, money has to go to prisons. If we perform
our citizenship role, maybe we would not have to spend billions
of dollars on prisons" and could use it for schools.
So far, the large number of candidates has not produced political
frenzy in the 45th where, on a recent morning,dressed-up children
headed to school graduations walking past balloons saluting the
class of 2001 and stores selling Haiti t-shirts, brightly colored
loose dresses and an array of fish and tropical produce. While
their potential constituents, tend to their jobs, their gardens
and various summer pursuits, the candidates will be struggling
to emerge from the pack. All say they'll be meeting people, trying,
as Kevin Parker puts it "to touch as many voters as I can" before
the September primary. For the candidates, it could be a long,
Anthony Alexis was knocked off the ballot for the Democratic primary,
according to the Board of Elections. That leaves six Democratic contenders in
a race that usually draws about 8,000 voters. With so many candidates, voters
may have a difficult time making a choice on Election Day, especially since
the candidates agree on many of the issues.
"I don't think the candidates can be separated on the issues," Vaughan Toney
told the New York Times. "It's not like anyone is saying he's for less
funding for education. It will be who will best represent them."
So the candidates are attempting to come up with anything that will separate
them from the pack.
Samuel Palmer has raised the most money of any candidate. Kevin Parker has
been endorsed by DC 37, the nation's largest municipal union. Kendall Stuart
has the backing of Congressmen Major Owens, Ed Towns, and Senator John
Sampson. Vaughan Toney has the support of Councilmember Henry Lloyd,
Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, and Councilmember Una Clarke. Ernest Emmanuel is
touting his work as an advocate against police brutality and the endorsement
of Abner Louima. And Sam Taitt, a communications professor at City University
of New York, has a web site that provides, in addition to his campaign
literature, Brooklyn weather reports, bus schedules, and help finding a
The only clear long shot in the race is Sal Grupico, the only Republican
candidate, who told the New York Times he had trouble finding 200 Republicans
to sign his petition. "I think most of them are gone and dead," says Grupico.
But he is still campaigning. "The community really wants me to commit
myself," says Grupico, a beverage store owner. If elected, he pledges to
bring more services to senior citizens, like better-equipped recreational
centers. He also says he will fight for 24-hour computer stations in
libraries, and support privatization of city services.
Anthony Alexis is on the staff of City Councilmember Tracy
Boyland. A cofounder and former president of Brooklyn Young Democrats,
he did constituent work for Assemblymember Rhoda Jacobs. He is
also on the board of the Flatbush YMCA and president of the 26th
Street Block Association.
Ernest Emmanuel ran against Lloyd Henry on the Liberal
Party ticket in 1997 and won 13 percent of the vote. He currently
works for the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal,
negotiating agreements between tenants and landlords. He received
a bachelor's degree in Economics from Saint Francis College.
Sal Grupico is a beverage store owner. He is also involved
in the Flatbush Business Association.
Christian Hylton is a lawyer on the staff of City Councilmember
Walter McCaffrey. He formerly worked for Kings Country Hospital.
Sam Palmer is a teacher at P.S. 138 in Brooklyn. He is
president of Flatlands Civic Association. He is a member of Community
Board 18 and leader of the environmental committee. Palmer was
the principal of Prospect All Age School and the president of
Clarendon Teachers Association. He is a graduate of Medgar Evers
College and Long Island University. He has received many citations
for service to the community, including the Caribbean Heritage
Award from Borough President Howard Golden and the New York City
Council Citation from Councilman Lloyd Henry.
Kevin Parker is a special assistant to State Comptroller
H. Carl McCall. A member of Community Board 17, he has worked
on the staff of Councilmember Una Clarke and Assemblyman Nick
Perry. He also worked as a lead advance for Hillary Rodham Clinton's
Kendall Stewart is a podiatrist with his own practice
and a Democratic district leader. He ran unsuccessfully for this
Council seat in 1997. He is a graduate of City College of New
York the New York School of Podiatric Medicine. He also received
his certification in computer programming from Albert Merril School
of Computer Science. He also serves on the executive committee
of the Kings County Democrats.
Sam Taitt is a former broadcaster and manager with Caribbean
Broadcasting Corporation. He teaches communication at Kingsborough
Community College and has been instrumental in setting up and
producing web sites about Brooklyn and about the Caribbean. He
coordinates the College Now program which offers college level
communications courses for high school students in Brooklyn and
Staten Island. He is the minister of music and choir director
for the Cavalry & St. Cyprian's Church.
Vaughan Toney is chief of staff for incumbent Councilmember
Lloyd Henry and previously worked as chief of staff for Councilmember
Una Clarke. He also worked on the education committee of the State
Assembly and was the special assistant to State Senator Leonard
Stavisky. Toney is a graduate of the State University of New York.
Interviews and evaluations of candidates in districts 40 and 45 (Caribbean Research Center of Medgar Evers College -- pdf format only)
New York Times endorsement:
"45th District (Flatbush, Flatlands): Kevin Parker, special assistant to
State Comptroller Carl McCall, is an African-American running against two
opponents who argue that the district should be represented by someone with
Caribbean roots. What the area residents really need is an energetic and
intelligent Council member who wants to serve everyone with equal vigor.
That description best fits Kevin Parker, and he gets our endorsement."
Four years ago, Kendall Stewart made a run for the council seat
assigned to his heavily black immigrant district section of Brooklyn.
He figured the incumbent Lloyd Henry had been weakened by years
of reported misuse of funds at the church where he had been pastor.
He soon realized that incumbency is a powerful monster. But this
time, things are different for Stewart and a host of hopefuls
around the city. (Newsday)
The New York Times called this one of the ten races to watch.
The diversity within the Caribbean community in this Flatbush
district is reflected in the seven candidates seeking to succeed
Lloyd Henry. Six hail from West Indian countries. Most have worked
for politicians, and each is describing himself as part of a new
generation of black leadership. (New York Times)
In district 45, about 15 people made rumblings about running for
city council. Nine filed petitions with the Board of Elections:
eight for the Democratic primary in this Democratic stronghold.
Sal Grupico is the only candidate running on the Republican and
Conservative ticket. At this stage, it is anyone's guess who the
front-runners are. In past democratic primaries in the 45th only
about 8,000 voters have cast ballots. With so many competing,
the vote could be so splintered that the margin of victory could
be close to invisible. (The New York Times)
Sam Palmer sought the endorsement of Lambda Independent Democrats,
telling the group, "We need to have people work together on uplifting
the human race." (Courier-Life Newspapers)
Night after night in New York City, fundraising events take
place, in people's apartments or slightly garish catering halls.
And whether the affairs are standard or eclectic, they are all
driven by the same desire: campaign cash. And they are taking
place with a frequency that politicians and donors alike say is
unprecedented in modern city politics.
Kevin S. Parker, an aide to State Comptroller H. Carl McCall
and a candidate for City Council, brought together more than 50
friends, family members and supporters from his neighborhood in
Flatbush, Brooklyn, to pay $25 apiece and eat jerk chicken wings
and rice and peas. By the evening's end, he had raised $1,200,
which will net him an additional $4,000 or so in matching funds.
Christian B. Hylton, a 31-year-old lawyer making his initial
plunge into elective politics, gathered 50 friends, relatives
and neighbors to the Fleur de Lis, a catering hall in the Cypress
Hills section of Brooklyn, for a dinner of prime rib and baked
sole. They listened to speeches and danced to the rhythms of reggae
music -- a few had even danced the electric slide.
By the end of the evening, the group had raised nearly $3,000
for Mr. Hylton, who is an aide to City Councilman Walter L. McCaffrey
of Queens and who is running in the Democratic primary for the
same seat as Mr. Parker in Brooklyn.(New York Times)
City Council District 45 in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, as Bob Liff
reports, is an example of an "immigrants' coming of age" story.
At least 12 candidates from eight different Caribbean islands
may run for the seat being vacated by Lloyd Henry, who is prevented
by the new term limits law from running again. They include: Colin
Moore (from Guyana), Democratic district leader Kendall Stewart
(St. Vincent), former leader James Connolly (Cayman Islands),
Omar Boucher (Jamaica), school board head Julia James (Dominica),
Ernest Emanuel (Haiti), Sam Tate (Barbados), council aide Anthony
Alexis (Trinidad) and lawyer Sam Nicolas (Haiti). (Daily
Incumbent City Councilman Lloyd Henry won reelection, beating
Kendall Stewart, a former Henry backer who had turned on the incumbent
along with the Brooklyn Democratic machine. Henry won the Democratic
primary comfortably despite being considered the most vulnerable
incumbent in the city. (Daily