BP Adams calls for Dems’ debate to be moved from Navy Yard to Brownsville

April 6, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. Eagle file photo by Mary Frost
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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is not satisfied with the location chosen by CNN for the April 14 Democratic presidential primary debate between Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Adams is calling for the debate, which is slated to take place in the Duggal Greenhouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, to be relocated to a recreation center in Brownsville.

“I am calling on the Clinton and Sanders campaigns to agree on moving their debate in Brooklyn to Brownsville,” Adams wrote in a statement released on Tuesday.

“This is a neighborhood in crisis,” Adams continued. “I am urging that we pivot the physical venue to a site like the Brownsville Recreation Center and subsequently focus the discussion matter to solutions for issues impacting historically disenfranchised communities of color.”

Adams continued to explain why he believes the debate should be relocated.

“It is critical that we seize the moment and focus our country’s attention on the pockets of Brooklyn where the popularity of our brand has yet to translate into prosperity for its residents,” Adams said in his statement.

According to I Quant NY, Brownsville has one of the highest murder rates in New York City, and the neighborhood ranks as one of the poorest in Brooklyn, according to the Manhattan Institute.

According to the most recent census data, only 1 percent of Brownsville’s occupants are white, more than three-quarters of the neighborhood’s constituents are African-American and about 20 percent are Hispanic.

In contrast, consensus data shows that nearly half of the residents in Fort Greene, which borders the Brooklyn Navy Yard, are white. In addition, the white population in Fort Greene has climbed over 35 percent in the decade between 2000 and 2010.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard has strived to boost employment in Brooklyn by creating spaces for private manufactures to work. Hundreds of new businesses, along with a public food court, will open in the near future.

“I think the Navy Yard is a success story that is at the top of its game,” Adams told Yahoo News in an article published on Tuesday. “We need to go create more success stories, and no place in New York personifies the need to start a success story more than Brownsville.”

Adams told Yahoo News that Brownsville is the best location for the debate because it is one of “the last areas where gentrification has not settled in.”

“We don’t want a pristine beautiful location,” Adams told Yahoo News. “We don’t want Carnegie Hall. We don’t want some luxurious place … It’s time for us to leave our comfort zones,” Adams continued.

“I think that if while [Clinton and Sanders are in Brownsville] they hear police sirens going by, if while they’re there they hear some tragedy, this is the real America,” Adams said. “The real America is not some sterilized environment. It’s the dirty reality that people are being left behind, and they’re giving up on government.”

Adams told Yahoo News that if the location of the debate is not changed from the Navy Yard to Brownsville, he would not attend the event.

“If they don’t change the location … I am going to [watch] the debate in the projects and sit in the community center with residents from the housing development, and we’re going to do our own straw poll and a discussion after the debate,” Adams told Yahoo News.

The Clinton campaign’s New York communications director Harrell Kirstein told the Brooklyn Eagle on Wednesday that Clinton is making sure she reaches out to other neighborhoods in the borough.

“We are excited to be debating in Brooklyn on April 14, but that is far from the only campaigning Hillary Clinton is doing there,” Kirstein told the Eagle. “During the course of this campaign, Hillary is visiting all different parts of the city and state, including holding an event … at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood.”

Spokespeople for CNN and the Sanders campaign did not respond to a request for comment from the Eagle regarding Adams’ proposal.


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