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City Council candidates slug it out at Brooklyn Real Estate Board forum

City Council candidates for the 47th District slugged it out during a forum hosted by the Brooklyn Real Estate Board on Wednesday, October 2 held at the Dyker Beach Golf Club.

Educator and activist Mark Treyger is running on the Democratic ticket and construction worker and blogger Andy Sullivan is running on the Republican ticket in a race for outgoing Councilmember Domenic Recchia’s seat.

Sullivan said that he was running because he was “sick and fed up of what’s happening in New York City politics.” The Tea Partier contended that “in construction, we feel the economy. If it sneezes, I get the flu. There’s a problem with the economy and it’s not growing.

“Big business is sitting on their wallets because of taxes and regulation,” Sullivan went on. “The only way to change that is to roll back regulations and loosen up ridiculous taxes and burdens.”

Sullivan had some ideas to give the economy a boost – bringing Mixed Martial Arts to the state, where it is currently illegal.

“It’s the fastest growing sport in the country. The reason we don’t have it in New York is because of Sheldon Silver,” he contended, adding that money could be made by having MMA matches in the state.

“This criminal has been dictating the way we have been doing things in New York for decades,” Sullivan said of Silver. “He and his union cronies are denying millions of dollars from that sport to New York.”

When it comes to education, Sullivan said that “not every kid is made for college” and that there should be more vocational training in high schools.

“It’s an opportune moment to take kids and give them a trade that they can take anywhere on the planet,” Sullivan said. “And they will be able to work with cantankerous union officials!”

Treyger spoke of his immigrant roots, with his parents coming to the country from Ukraine back in 1979.

“We had to work hard and play by the rules. We had faith that success would be possible,” he said.

Treyger said that although he is a teacher at New Utrecht High School, Assemblymember Bill Colton became his mentor at an early age. He said that Colton instilled in him that “public service begins with an honest desire to help people,” a pearl of wisdom on which he has based his campaign.

“Public service is an honorable profession; it should not be a blood sport,” Treyger opined.

He spoke of the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy that he witnessed firsthand.

“I have students in my classroom who used to live in Coney Island all their lives but have not been back since Sandy,” Treyger said. “The only library in the neighborhood is still shut down, along with the only health center.

“The sewer system is in dire need of repair,” he went on. “When people talk about development and building things – what about our infrastructure? It’s urgent. Every time it rains, it floods.”

Treyger then spoke about the way the Bloomberg administration was obsessed with numbers, focusing on increasing test scores and fulfilling police department quotas, instead of focusing on teaching children and keeping residents safe.

“We have students with amazing ability and talents and we are not teaching to that; we are teaching them exams,” Treyger contended. “They are memorizing and not learning anything. We must expand career and tech programs in schools, not in place of academics, but enhancing it. We will incentivize to do better.”

Treyger said that he did not support the Community Safety Act and believed that the practice of stop, question and frisk does work, but not the way Bloomberg is enforcing it.

“We must support our police department. Police are being shortchanged,” Treyger contended. “We must provide resources and crack down on quota systems. This obsession with numbers and data is vilifying police against people and teachers against parents.”

The 47th City Council district represents Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gravesend and Bensonhurst.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.

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