2001-08-25 / Front Page

Political Spotlight by Gary G. Toms

Political Spotlight by Gary G. Toms

David R. Hooks, Jr: Trying To "Hook" The Voters

David R. Hooks, Jr., City Council candidate for the 31st councilmanic District, served in the United States Marine Corp from 1965-69 and saw action in Vietnam during the years 1966-67. He was released on an honorable discharge.

He received a B.A. in Political Science from the College of New Rochelle in May of 1983.

Some of his professional achievements include: Career Planning and Development Associate for the Queens Educational Opportunity Center, at the State University of New York; Project Director, for the Training and Employment Institute; and Youth Coordinator, (Youth Specialist) Community Board 14, for the New York City Youth Bureau. He also served on the New York State Human Rights Commission, appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo.

The following will provide answers as to where he stands on certain issues.

On the race for city council:

"I decided to run for two reasons. One, I got the pants beat off me in the first election I entered for the same seat. I was not at all prepared for the onslaught of the political world, but this time I’m a lot wiser to this game called politics and I’m ready to win. Two, I have cultivated a number of political resources that could prove useful in getting things done for members of the 31st District if I’m elected."
On the current leadership:
"Rockaway needs a human leader, a compassionate leader. The present Councilwoman has failed in this regard. She has not come across as compassionate to the needs of her constituents. She does not understand that people have different circumstances in their lives that bring forth certain conditions. She needs to understand that we all are one step away from a bad circumstance and that every situation, or complaint, should be taken seriously if you are a member of the city council."

On how similar problems exist on the mainland:

"Most of the things that are wrong, on the mainland and in Rockaway, have existed for the last five years. High unemployment, crime and the issue of transportation are the focal points of this election, and it’s about time that these issues were dealt with."

On the budget:

"If you ever seriously look into the world of politics, you will understand very quickly that nothing gets done and nothing will happen without money. If elected, I would work from the assumption that there is no money in the budget to do much of anything. Therefore, being able to account for whatever monies are there becomes crucial. Whatever is there, I would make sure that some of it would go into my District."

On being accessible to constituents:

"The city council representative should understand the issues affecting their district and be visible and accessible. If that means keeping late hours, because some people can’t get to you until after their work day ends, then I’d just have to keep late hours. The bottom line is it should be easy for them to get to me, and I intend to meet with them regularly if elected."

On not being endorsed by local elected officials:

"I don’t know what all that was about. I see no reason why they would not come on board to endorse me. Don’t think it doesn’t bother me because I’m madder than a junkyard dog. However, I realize that egos and grudges have no place in politics because if elected I will have to work with these people. We would have to find a way to co-exist for the sake of the community, and I’m not going to break ranks with those who will undoubtedly have a role in helping me to make my district better. The best way to put it is, there but for the grace of God go I."

On the Arverne Urban Renewal Area:

"We have to formulate a marriage between the commercial and residential community. This would allow the area to be developed to a certain degree. However, I’m not exactly sure what should be placed there. I won’t lie to you or try to be cute by telling you what I think you want to hear. I don’t play that game. I just don’t have an intelligent answer for you with regard to this question. However, I will say this. There are a number of proposals out there for the site, and the residence of the community should have a major say in what is put there."

On Youth Violence/Crime:

"Once I was released from the Marine Corp, I was assigned to work for a citywide task force that dealt with gangs and youth violence. What I have learned is that people can no longer talk about the problem; they have to step up and deal with it. People have to take charge and stop all the talk. Some of these guys are probably a lot smarter than you or me, and can become productive members of society, but they succumb to peer pressure. If given an opportunity they could flourish. They need facilities for recreation and training, and the only way this will happen is if partnerships are formed between the community and the private or corporate sector. We should not rely on money to come from the state or local level. We’ve been doing that for years, and look where we are now."

On Education:

"If elected to the city council I would seriously consider replicating a system being used in Chicago, with regard to education. What they have done is taken power away from the school boards and placed it in the hands of teachers, parents and a principal. The principal is under a two-year contract and must answer to the parents and teachers. They have acquired the right of ownership through school leadership teams, which are chosen solely by parents and teachers. The school boards have no power and no say. The schools have made dramatic turnarounds as a result. I think the same is possible for this district and the state of New York."

On why people should vote for David R. Hooks, Jr:

"From 1969 until now I have shown a fierce loyalty to the community. I have the political resources to get things done, and I will continue to utilize these vital sources to help the people of Rockaway if elected. I will not lie or sugarcoat anything. Rockaway won’t get everything it asks for because that’s not the nature of the game, and all I have is my dignity and my word. I will not make promises that I cannot keep. Regardless of how this race turns out, I will still be there for people as I have been for the last 30 years."

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