Ray Kelly held a two-and-a-half-hour meeting with local residents at a medical center in Canarsie last night, complete with a slide show, videos, and tables of cold-cut sandwiches.
Kelly delivered his usual “stump speech” (though widely rumored to be weighing a mayoral bid, he hasn’t declared) about lower crime statistics, increased diversity for incoming classes of cadets, and a willingness to improve police community relations.
Many of the more than 100, mostly black and Jewish, attendees said they wanted more police in the neighborhood, but few complained about negative experiences, despite some high-profile incidents involving the police that occurred in the area during the 1990’s.
Afterwards, people I spoke to seemed happy with Ray Kelly’s work and were open to the idea of the commissioner running for mayor in 2009, though not everyone was convinced he would be the best candidate.
“I think for a mayor, you have to be more, kind of, in the face,” said Leonie Logan, who recently retired from a career in the financial sector and is president of her neighborhood block association in East Flatbush. She added, “And I don’t think he’s reached that point yet. He’s too genteel to be a mayor.”
Sharon, a human resources worker who’s lived in Crown Heights since the last 1980’s, was more positive. “Yes. Well, I’m a Democrat, but you can cross party lines once in a while,” she said. Her husband, Simeon, a contractor, told me, “He’d probably make a good mayor.”
At the very least, he seems to be a popular speaker.