The district must have a progressive-minded council member, capable of fighting for reform, who also understands the importance and distinct needs of the district’s more conservative and less affluent southern belt - an area made up of the neighborhoods of Windsor Terrace, Kensington, and Boro Park.
The job calls for a liberal but open-minded person of integrity, intelligence, and sound judgment. The job calls for Josh Skaller, whom this paper is endorsing for City Council.
The district - which is currently held by Councilman Bill de Blasio, who is running for Public Advocate - also includes Park Slope, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, and the Columbia Street neighborhood.
Skaller is running against Brad Lander, Bob Zuckerman, John Heyer, Gary Reilly, Green Party candidate David Pechefsky, and two Republican candidates.
Campaigning and governing are two separate things, but they necessitate a similar skill set. How someone campaigns for office says much about what they’ll do if elected.
In leading his impressive, well-organized grassroots campaign this year, Skaller has demonstrated the hard work, passion for detail, and personal interest in residents across the district that he would undoubtedly bring with him to City Hall.
Skaller entered the race, like most of his opponents, trailing Brad Lander,who has been organizing a run for City Council for two years, by his own admission.
Lander is a formidable force - as polished, sharp and dedicated a community leader as you will likely encounter anywhere in Brooklyn, if not the entire city.
Skaller, facing an obvious uphill climb to rest support away from Lander and his legion of volunteers, appeared undaunted by the challenge. Indeed, the genuine interest in his campaign is uncommon.
Skaller, an outspoken civic activist for the past decade, has established a broad base of support through his commitment to a brand of progressive but pragmatic politics, a rare combination.
A proactive environmentalist, Skaller plans to use city resources to implement small-scale alternative energy projects to reduce carbon emissions and encourage residents to take environmental issues into their own hands.
From the start, he has supported the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to place the Gowanus Canal on the Superfund List. Skaller believes, rightly so, that the federal government - not the city - has the right tools to clean the polluted waterway once and for all.
He understands the need for community-based planning when it comes to the all-important issue of development.
Though Lander has more experience in this field, Skaller has shown a more-than-adequate knowledge of development policy, the ways in which overdevelopment harms neighborhoods, and the methods which can be used to protect communities from out-of-context, unsustainable growth.
Skaller has also shown a unique willingness to consider the different development needs of neighborhoods like Boro Park, where an expanding population needs more affordable housing.
The race has been a close one, made even closer by the fact that all five Democratic primary candidates share similar views on the major issues.
Differentiating them then becomes a matter of judging their problem-solving, leadership, and communication skills.
However, a successful leader who knows how to communicate and solve problems must also know how to listen. Skaller is a good listener, who would clearly take his constituent concerns to heart.
Finally, he has the hard-nosed instincts to fight in City Council, and against the city administration, for issues he believes in. Skaller would hit the ground running, and has the potential for a meaningful City Council career.