Albert Vann has been Brooklyn’s councilman from the 36th district –Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights– since 2001. Before that, he served as the area’s Assemblyman for 25 years.
Vann was almost defeated in his Democratic primary last month, facing a strong challenge from Mark Griffith, a community activist who argued that Vann had become indifferent to community needs and that his long years in politics made him too close to the Democratic establishment.
I recently tried to talk to some people on my block about Vann, but no one on any of the stoops knew was willing to comment, saying they didn’t know enough to tell me anything about him. I did run into my neighbor Jah, though, outside the Farley post office, across from Penn Station. He said he’d talk:
“Man, I’ll tell you what all these people aught to know about Al Vann. That guy guy has been on council or whatever since before I was even living in Bed-Stuy, which is a long time. I came here when I was like 5.”
Why do you know about him, if no one else does?
“Mostly becaue I read the Daily News.”
Did you read the piece that called him “A Sorry Excuse for a Leader?”
“Yeah, and that’s what gave me my ideas of him. I agree, you can’t have the Bloods in Tompkins houses setting up kiling traps and call yourself a leader in Bed-Stuy. We should have sent him out.”
Why didn’t we?
“Because people don’t notice that shit, mostly. You don’t see any yard signs around here. What, that guy missed like half his meeting and no one cares. People are basically waiting for something to change–some people just think white people are going to move in and fix shit. No offense.”