A top candidate for Brooklyn’s 40th City Council District lived outside the district’s boundaries until last month, despite running to represent Flatbush since last June.
Edwin Raymond, who is running to represent the 40th City Council District (Flatbush, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Ditmas Park), confirmed in a phone interview with Bklyner that he did not have an address within the district until mid-February of this year, when he signed a lease on an apartment on Fairview Place near Martense Street. Before that, he lived about a mile east on Lenox Road and East 55th Street (near Kings Highway), within the confines of the neighboring 41st Council District.
Raymond, an NYPD lieutenant who garnered national media attention as the lead plaintiff in an ongoing whistleblower lawsuit against alleged arrest quotas, has been a leader in the ongoing Council race. He’s received over $90,000 in private campaign contributions, the most of any candidate in the race, though almost half were from donors residing outside of NYC. Raymond also has the backing of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who represented District 45 before being elected to his current position.
The last-minute move inevitably invoked memories of the district’s outgoing Council Member, term-limited Mathieu Eugene, who in 2007 was forced to run for the seat a second time when it emerged that he lived in Canarsie. City law requires that Council candidates must reside in the district they’re running in by the day voters head to the polls.
In his conversation with Bklyner, Raymond strongly rejected the comparison to Eugene, pointing out that his old address was still in East Flatbush and significantly closer to the 40th District’s eastern boundary than Canarsie. He also said his time working within the NYPD’s Transit District 32, which oversees the area’s subway stations, served as a track record of his knowledge of the district.
“To make any type of correlation between me and the incumbent, that’s crazy,” Raymond said. “That’s a stretch.”
“The people know the difference,” he continued. “They know I’m out there my entire life. I get my hair done in the district. The Kings Theatre is where I scraped my knees. Parkside and Bedford is where I got robbed at gunpoint. My entire life is in the district.”
“When I’m out there working, that’s where people say, ‘I remember you, I remember when you were a rookie. This is where I’ve worked, this is where I have my mentorship organization. It’s where my life is.”
“Not everyone navigates the world regarding district lines,” he continued. “Those are the technicalities that have to exist because we have to set boundaries based on the laws in terms of the amount of constituents that are represented. But we’re talking about the technicality of just a few blocks east.”