Dawn Kelly, 59, juice bar owner, Jamaica
What do you think of the mayor’s performance so far?
I have high hopes for Eric Adams because he’s a kid from southeast Queens. It’s one of ours, if you will. So far, I think, so good. I think it addresses the challenges the city faces, like homelessness, like crime, like education. I’m not sure that anything he does is appropriate, right, or I would say healthy. […] I don’t agree with throwing people’s things away because that’s all people have when they’re kicked out of their homes. So I think it was a bit harsh.
I also believe that we cannot continue to talk about crime at the top. We need to talk about the belly and what really causes the crime. And for me, poverty is the worst form of violence. And so if we could figure out how to eradicate and eliminate poverty, then we can eliminate crime. But we can’t just talk about the crimes that people [commit] without giving them solutions to fix their lives. Because not everyone is here committing a crime, just for the sake of the crime. People are trying to feed themselves, to feed their families, to find a place to live.
How is his promise to improve public safety?
One of the things I struggle with, I guess, is that he’s not the chief cop. It’s the mayor. I think it’s, for all of us, we rely on our own understanding. We rely on our experience and background, and I believe the mayor relies heavily on his law enforcement experience because the city is in this difficult situation right now.
But I also believe that once we start getting people back to work, once he figures out how to deal with the mental health issues that the city is going through and puts some of those people in places where they can get the help they deserve, I think that will start to reduce crime. Because a lot of the crime is, it’s not just guns, it’s also people being attacked by people dealing with mental health issues.
What would you like to see Adams accomplish in his freshman year?
I don’t really hear the mayor talk enough about small businesses. I know he works there, don’t I? Because they just put me on a food and drink roundtable. So I’m really happy with that and I’m really happy with the small business [Services] Department, but I just need to hear him talk more about small business and how he’s going to help us try to recover from two years of a pandemic, because it’s been really crazy. I feel lucky to have been able to stay open, but it was difficult. I don’t want to swear. It was hard. It was really, really hard and it’s still hard today. So whatever he can do to help us through grants, nobody wants a loan, Eric, nobody wants a loan. Give us grants or something to help us.