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Monday, May 12, 2008

Lengthy Interview With Councilmember Foster

The Highbridge Horizon has now posted a lengthy interview with Councilmember Helen Diane Foster on our Web site.

On April 11, the Horizon interviewed Foster in her District Office on Jerome Avenue. We published excerpts of this interview in our April issue, but because the Web does not provide the same space constraints as the printed page, we offer a far more expanded version online.

During the interview, Foster was typically candid, as she addressed a wide range of topics during the course of a roughly hour-long conversation. Her words about the killing of Sean Bell, and the trial of the three officers who killed him --words Foster spoke exactly two weeks before the officers were acquitted -- have echoed powerfully in recent weeks.

"There is more outrage over the torturing of animals," Foster said, "than there is over the fact that another Black man is killed at the hands of the police."

A little later on in the interview, she added: "I think when the verdict comes out, once again like the Diallo case, this city will be looked at and judged on what that outcome is. It appears that we keep going back to Dread Scott, where a Black man has no rights that a white man has to respect, including his own life. And if we see another acquittal in this city, it will be a sad day for all of New York City, and how we are looked at [not only] by ourselves, but by the country. "

Other highlights of the interview:

* On her relationship with borough president Adolfo CarriĆ³n: "I think it’s cordial. I don’t have any ill will towards him. I think the defining moment for me and our relationship would be around Yankee Stadium."

*On why she has officially decided to run for Bronx Borough President in 2009: "I think clearly that they [her constituents] wanted me to focus on the Bronx, be in the Bronx, and run for borough president. The significance of being Black and being a woman and running for the highest position as borough president of the Bronx. But I think equally as important that was heard that night is that everybody wants to be a part of it. And in years past, there has not been that inclusive feeling for the Bronx borough president."

*On how to prevent gentrification from pricing Highbridge residents out of their homes: "We have what we have in Harlem, Washington Heights, and we know it’s gonna come right across the bridge. So there has to be an inventory of city-owned land that as much as possible we can look to the City Council. which has ultimate jurisdiction over it, to regulate the type of housing that goes up so that we can have a balance. We also don’t want to become the dumping ground for the shelters or only low-income housing. Because there is a correlation, obviously, with housing and school performance. We want to have multi-use, so that we are bringing dollars into the area. "

Check out the rest of the interview here


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