After going to a couple of debates, and reading various documents/articles before the election Tuesday, I find there's a lot to sort through.
When Cumbo disses Fox as a lightweight and calls her campaign "Trumpian"--I'll get to the exaggerations on both sides--that ignores how Fox has been criticizing the incumbent from the left and has garnered significant progressive endorsements.
There's a lot murky here, starting with the unresolved question of whether Cumbo allegedly got Fox fired from her job at the City Council.
Getting what they paid for?
When it comes to projects like Atlantic Yards, Cumbo indeed has been supportive. Focusing on the Bedford-Union Armory, the most heated issue in the campaign, Fox charges that Cumbo initially backed a plan that includes luxury condos. Cumbo claims that she toughened her position after listening to constituents; then again, she moved left after Fox started pounding the issue and calling for 100% affordable housing.
Cumbo's pointed out, though, that on the land-use issues that have been voted on at Council, she's supported affordability. In recent debates, she's stressed the importance of working with nonprofit developers.
In many ways, anyone elected in the 35th would have to be liberal. Fox is unreceptive to rezonings or working in public-private partnerships, to the left of Cumbo and thus resistant to Mayor de Blasio's agenda. That's a discussion worth having, though a tactic that would be politically difficult without more allies.
Fox also opposes charter schools, while Cumbo doesn't support an increase in such schools but wants to ensure "equity across the board."
Fox and supporters have criticized Cumbo's constituent responsiveness; Cumbo's supporters say otherwise. (That's yet another dispute that a local PolitiFact would have to sort out., if it existed.)
Cumbo, like any Council Member, has a record of achievement, able to direct capital budget and use a bully pulpit, supporting playgrounds and NYCHA upgrades, and supporting efforts to reduce gun violence and raise the minimum wage.
And when Fox said she aimed to provide legal support for tenants to push back on landlords' illegal tactics, Cumbo was able to riposte, "That sounds very much like legislation I was a co-sponsor on in City Council." (It was led by CM Mark Levine; Cumbo wasn't mentioned in the press release.)
At a recent debate, Cumbo said, "I was very proud, that in the City Council, I was ranked fourth most effective lawmaker in the city council."
That's true, but with a couple of asterisks. City and State, as noted above right, ranked Cumbo tied for fourth in bills enacted, with two colleagues, in bills enacted, but 16th--not shabby, not terrific--overall.
It's not unknown for Cumbo to exaggerate her record, saying, for example that she "created" over 600 units of affordable housing at Brooklyn Jewish Hospital, while it was the work of tenant activists, the city housing agency, and multiple elected officials.
At a debate, Cumbo said, "I've been able to create over 3000 jobs at Navy Yard." Actually, a city press release credited "a combination of BNYDC investment, $73.1 million of Mayoral City Capital and $3.7 million from the City Council and Brooklyn Borough President."
Fox, who's notably pro-tenant, has not stated a position on AirBnB, but in response to my query said "we need to do everything in our power to make sure that we're not losing affordable units across the city."
Fox, in response to my query said, "As for the investigator, that's ludicrous. Laurie is making up lies to distract from the real issues in this race--her absence of leadership on a wide range of issues across the district, from the homelessness and affordability crisis to the NYCHA repair backlog to her standing with big developers and against the community on the Bedford Union Armory project. I've never hired an investigator to look into anyone."
Asked in one debate what she'd do differently as Council Member if she had to do it over again, Cumbo did not bring up a policy or admit vulnerability. (So, no second thoughts about how she was curiously reticent, as I wrote in May 2016, when one of her constituents reported that living near the Pacific Park project was like "living in a shark tank," given the harassment.)
"I never look back, in terms of decision or votes or the way I would have handled some things," she said. "If I could do something differently, I guess I’d spend more time refuting on some of the negative things said about me."