Archive | September, 2013

Sept. 23rd meeting welcomes GOP primary winner Joe Lhota, and discussion of local issues in the best way (unbiased)

25 Sep

“Democrats are keeping an open mind, especially across the 39th Council District where Mr. DeBlasio is widely remembered for a lackluster record”


Our September meeting was ambitious – first, in recognizing the GOP Primary win of Brooklyn’s Joe Lhota and inviting him for his 3rd appearance as our main guest speaker across 2013. Mr. Lhota addressed the post-primary, near immediate news of polls heralding the near insurmountable lead by his Democratic opponentphoto-8

Mr. Lhota spoke of a plan of emphasizing his own formidable record and experience vs. the scant accomplishment of his opponent. Some attendees reacted, in saying that we have a 2-term President that’s generally unqualified – and that people don’t seem to vote on merits, but on emotion. They urged a stronger representation of what’s at stake – should NYC’s voters be swayed by talk and rhetoric and class warfare, as we just saw nationally not a year ago. Mr. Lhota said he was strong on Education, on Jobs and in turning our local Economy around – and that all Democrats and Independents should recognize that he’s a New York Republican, and apart from national Republicans.

Our meeting was joined by some local Democrats/civic leaders visiting to hear Mr. Lhota in person. Democrats are keeping an open mind, especially across the 39th Council District where Mr. DeBlasio is widely remembered for a lackluster record that seemed more focused on his career trajectory and the politics/policies wider than on our areas.

With debates ahead, there’s a chance to show that difference.


photo-7Secondly, our focus on raising awareness of local issues in an apolitical way, emphasizing community over anything partisan was underlined by the first appearance of our 2nd guest speaker — Craig Hammerman, District Manager for Community Board 6 – who spoke of wide-ranging issues.

Many of our members responded to discussions of topics they have been involved in – including the defense of LICH, updating on the Gowanus/EPA focus and development around the canal areas and the opposition to NYC plans of squeezing 170 homeless men into a 4-story building on 9th Street. Mr. Hammerman cover many issues, received genuinely appreciative applause from our gathering of over 35 attendees, after an extended Q&A session.


REPUBLICAN INFIGHTING and pending County Chair Election

Our third theme, occurred within in the 2nd hour of our meeting – where we rolled-up our sleeves to debate/openly discuss the 2013 infighting of the Brooklyn Republican party. This topic was a paradox and 100% against the agenda of the Brownstone September meeting, which sought to bring together any/all of our Republicans behind our Mayoral candidate. However, it was clearly the undertone answer and the 400-pound gorilla in the room – being our County’s stance of the election as tied into their own battle for retaining office?

Our Kings County Republican Committee and Chairman Craig Eaton exhausted every effort for their candidate, John Catsimatidis – who lost Brooklyn on the whole, and our areas by a 2-1 margin in the Sept. 10th primary. However, as of our September 23rd meeting they had still not endorsed Joe Lhota for Mayor. What was worse, the candidate John Catsimatidis – did not embrace the winner, as the Democrats had done on the steps of City Hall (with Gov. Cuomo play-acting as a uniter of both DeBlasio and Thompson). This divide in the Brooklyn GOP was both surprising and more than a little disturbing for many Brownstone Republicans – who had heard prominent Kings County representatives pledge (in our own May to July meetings) that we would “all come together to support the eventual winner”. Why hadn’t this happened, when the win was decisive? – This seemed tied to the Kings County Chair vote that was pending within a week, of our meeting and still threaded to sentiments and perhaps vindictiveness from the Catsimatidis campaign?

This topic reached an outward, open debate – as BRC President Joe Nardiello relayed that he had spoken to Brooklyn Chairman Eaton just before the meeting (by phone) and relayed positives of the prior years (elections of Congressman Grimm, Congressman Turner’s win over Anthony Weiner, before being districted out, etc.). Some voiced that the absence of a Republican candidate for Brooklyn Borough President, and the tandem of seeming ‘spiteful’ after losing the Mayoral primary to Joe Lhota – alone, was enough to consider his opposition. Some BRC members are also Kings County Committee members, and brought in a mailing of the upcoming, ominous/pending “Brooklyn Convention” which had no date set, but would be sprung among members within a day or two (?) – as per Rules of electing a chairperson. They relayed that there was too much “cloak and dagger nonsense” going on, behind the scenes – that its difficult to watch the Democrats uniting behind DeBlasio, in comparison who had a lower percentage of the overall primary voting (barely 40% of Democrats to avoid a run-off).

The Brownstone Club then recognized one new attendee, who introduced himself to BRC as the opposition for Kings County Chair, Mr. Tim Cochrane.  Mr. Cochrane would on the ballot against Chairman Eaton, whenever the Convention would occur. He spoke for a short while – but very directly – about the goals, direction that the Brooklyn Republican Party should take. He outlined his experience in the Republican Party, plus his business experience and his personal history of being raised in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. While recognizing that the goals of this Brownstone meeting were wider focused, on the general Mayoral election, etc. – Mr. Cochrane said that his focus would be in developing the Republican party (“period”) across areas of Brooklyn that both show promise, and have been neglected historically. Mr. Cochrane took a question or two, before heading out to another meeting.

It was another of a string of meetings that kept over 15 attendees long after the official end of the meeting – compelled to get their perspectives, points and ideas across for the betterment of the GOP, here in Brooklyn.

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What Kind of Public Advocate was Bill DeBlasio?

21 Sep

We couldn’t think of too much accomplished across 4 years of earning $170,000 with an annual budget of $2 million+ per year… other than making him a Mayoral candidate.

But last July 10 or so, when he got himself arrested at a LICH protest — DeBlasio was able to place himself front/center of a years-old protest. This after advocates, community members, doctors/nurses and elected officials not being paid as NYC’s Public Advocate were fighting the hospital closure in his old 39th City Council District for well over a year. And trying to enlist the help of his Public Advocate’s office for years. But, those well-aware of his process know that’s just Bill being Bill...


Asked to rate the job Bill de Blasio has done, former Public Advocate Mark Green said this: “I think the office has underperformed in the last four years. … What’s he accomplished as public advocate beyond listing marches attended and letters to the editor?”

But, why take our word for it?… read how Capital New York handled this question:


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The Tale of Two DeBlasios — What About LICH?

17 Sep

There’s the DeBlasio that gets himself arrested in mid-July, 2013 ( although arriving ‘late to the protest’, as the community was asking for the Public Advocate’s help since January and years prior).  No matter if he’d done so to spike his low polls numbers — which were at 7%, or not — the press attention it received was clearly appreciated by the workers, patients and areas affected by the planned closing of Long Island College Hospital/LICH SUNY Downstate.


Then, there’s the Other DeBlasio…holding hands high with the very same Governor Cuomo that protestors have been trying to reach for years — who behind State agencies, had orchestrated the closing of State hospitals (LICH and InterFaith) stressing over 3,500 jobs, putting healthcare and doctor’s support systems, eliminating Emergency Rooms serving 100,000s per year. Does DeBlasio mention this topic to the media or at the podium? No. Does he call for a meeting, or relay to the very communities that he has worked with the Closings for 3 months (July-Sept) about any possibility of meeting with Gov. Cuomo and using his elevated stature for LICH and InterFaith? NO. 

That’s the Bill we know. There’s no mistaking it, DeBlasio a political creature if ever there was one. He’ll re-shape himself to fit what might get more votes – and because he’s been successful, the media at-large will go along with any new persona conjured. Should the media mention this fact…we’d see Bill talking about his intentions, all along…


No one knows better than ‘the locals’ about the former 3-term Councilman from Brooklyn’s 39th — the excuses, inaction, and stances for self-advantage. Therefore, as he touts and rehashes the old John Edwards-line of “two Americas” (DeBlasio supported Edwards for President, traveling to Ohio) we will substitute his media-ready “two cities”-line with some local flavor.

But what about the 1 million Brooklyn residents, children with asthma, the seniors, the communities fighting for their local hospitals? How can you hold hands and not mention the fight (that he’s just used for votes?) in the very primary election he’s just won? It does now seem awfully hollow of DeBlasio to join the fight to protect LICH so late, in mid-July, only to ignore it in mid-September? It’s Governor Cuomo’s aggressive efforts to shutter the hospital. 100,000 people were served in its ER alone last year — or more than the total population of Albany. How about all the times that Black-Shirted private security team DEFIED NY SUPREME COURT ORDERS to remove patients throughout evenings? block ER entrances? Does defying Court orders even come up — or was all this just politically expedient?


Many 10,000s of Brooklyn residents (and elected officials) have been trying to get the attention of Gov. Cuomo — by voicemail, protests, letters/ emails, media interviews, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, stoppng traffic, SUNY meetings, etc. — as he manipulates State agencies to crush two Brooklyn hospitals. Yet, there’s DeBlasio sharing a stage with him — with the subject never coming up?

Mayoral candidates Wiener and John Liu were at the very same protest — they didn’t get themselves arrested. That “portrays” a deeper commitment (even though he all but just walked up). It worked for DeBlasio as it appeared he was fighting for LICH. Local pols for months had been at protests (as this youTube video in April clearly shows) and our State Senator Squadron had taken the fight to Albany last winter — outright asking the Governor and State electeds to pass a bill/discuss what the then reported $500 million would be even used for if not to support Brooklyn hospitals?

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Election Day retrospective: Remember the 2009 De Blasio-Bloomberg lunch?

10 Sep

As our media and De Blasio himself plays up (and plays off) the legacy of Mayor Bloomberg But, odd… how short everyone’s memory?

As a NYC Councilman in the Gowanus District, wasn’t Mr. DeBlasio supportive of the Mayor’s plan vs. the EPA/Gowanus Superfund (which ultimately won out)? Even as Public Advocate, DeBlasio never spoke for the Superfund of against the kind of development/developers that local community activists oppose (mostly outspoken Democrats)?

photo-24 (video includes Bloomberg/DeBlasio smiling exit/press conference)

Remember the news, the VERY next day after the 2009 election — in which DeBlasio’s platform essentially consisted on his self-described opposition to Bloomberg and the 3d term? What was THAT all about? While doubtless today it can be spun as some Detente-style peace-making — could it have been the reassurance of some deal-making? Didn’t the Public Advocate’s office get a $800k or so bump in budget, immediately after the election from where the budget was when Betsy Gotbaum was leading it/leaving it (after her budget was slashed)? Wasn’t that reported somewhere…?

Was this another case of saying one thing, and actually doing another that few know about?

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Brooklyn GOP oddly attacks our Brownstone Club? — and declares us “dead”

9 Sep

Our Brownstone club was actually the subject of some name-calling, like “thought police” and “people’s Republic of Brownstone” and “at work for Lhota”and that’s just the headline.

Beside being astonishingly off-base, this attack was launched by our own Brooklyn GOP’s Radio blog and reflects a nastier side we’ve been unaware of from Kings County executive levels (?) that have been campaigning exclusively for John Catsimatidis. Harsh wording included calling BRC members “flock of sheep in a pen” and “the Brownstone Republican Club is dead” and “calling these bastards out”. Although its unclear if BRC is actually the “bastards” referred to, this kind of rhetoric of inexcusable. It would make us angry if its wasn’t so absurd. There’s been no apology nor explanation offered.

Here’s why we believe it happened: Earlier this week, the Brownstone Club had to defend against the co-opted use of our own email/mailing list and Facebook page  against promotional messages designed for votes/support for ‘Catsimatidis for Mayor’. They were written by GOP County representatives, but whom have actively campaigned/connected to this one candidate. While we accept commentary and links to news-articles showing varying perspectives on FB routinely – no campaign was allowed to post direct messages. Especially on its own, without approval from BRC’s Board. (The emailed message went through, but we sent another in apology to clarify our Club’s position on the Mayoral race.)

We would do the same against any unauthorized messages — and have always prevented such usage. It seems our independence as a club was tested, defined — and clarified. But ultimately, that’s exactly what was attacked?

BRC met with all 5 candidates across 2013 — and voted across an 8-week span to endorse Mr. Lhota prior to the summer on his merits. (The tally was 68% to 13%.)

Additionally, we did not promote political events of any camp, out of respect to our BRC members that were on opposing sides of the race. In fact, we frequently held open debates, supported our members to ‘walk petitions’ and openly encouraged all to support the candidate(s) of their own choice. Judging from news reports, where some citywide GOP groups took in funding in coordination with its candidate/support — BRC proved it could not be bought.


People’s Republic of Brownstone: Thought Police Actively At Work for Joe Lhota

By Gene Berardelli
Hey Brownstoners, burn your computer after reading so you don’t get caught!

Over the past 4 years, I used to always look forward to going to the Brownstone Republican Club.  They had good guests (of which Russell and I have been in past) as well as lively debates.

I say “used to” because that Brownstone Republican Club is dead.

In recent weeks, the leadership of the Brownstone Republican Club have taken to oppressive tactics on behalf of their endorsed candidate for Mayor, Joe Lhota.  In my own personal experience, I have had Facebook comments notifying members of events for John Catsimatidis deleted on their Facebook site.

Sometime in downtown Brooklyn…

Then today, an email in response to my email asking for people to vote for John Catsimatidis that I sent to a list of members made public by the Brownstone Republican Club themselves is being derided as “spam”  and “unauthorized” in an attempt to keep their flock of sheep in their pen.

Since when do you have to be “authorized” to send an email to someone?!?  Especially when the club itself shares its own list when it sends out an email?!?

Well, to hell with that nonsense. It’s time to start calling these bastards out.

All over Brooklyn, Republicans are being coerced, bullied, even their livelihoods threatened unless they vote for Joe Lhota by those who care only about the growth of their own fiefdom.  Count the Brownstone Republican Club among them now.  The club known as an “independent” voice has been silenced.

I’ve said this when we talked about Occupy Wall Street – I never thought that I would be saying it about my own party – THINK FOR YOURSELF.

Link to the webpage:


The author, Gene Berardelli is a member of Brownstone and well-regarded past speaker, who a few months ago stood amid our meeting attendees and declared “whatever happens in this race, we know we can come together after as a Party and get behind the winner”. It’s a sentiment we could agree on. It has been a bizarre year of in-fighting and BRC has been open to hearing from all sides. The Brooklyn GOP radio blogpost  says our “independence was silenced” somehow, but that is far from the truth. Because the Kings County GOP clearly has to know if there’s any community-based, political organization in New York City that’s UNbiased, open to ideas, that opens our meetings to so many candidates on merit, and listens to each of their voices — it’s this one.

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Brownstone’s choice is Joe Lhota.

9 Sep

For NYC Mayor its Joe Lhota — we urge our members and neighbors to vote on Tuesday, Sept. 10 . Link to an earlier endorsement (July 1) is here.


Know what’s “debatable”? — holding Republican Mayoral Debates on Sunday

8 Sep

For years, the most cynical among us have said that the media chooses candidates. Usually this meant by presentation and soft-selling one over another. Today, we see evidence of given Republicans in NYC the short straw.

The GOP debate today is airing at 11:30 am on Channel 4/NBC — but many potential viewers are either at Sunday church services, or on their way home from them. They’re with family on a Sunday afternoon. Additionally, as the first Sunday of NFL football… many households (of the people who would be home at all) would have on pre-game televised offerings across ESPN etc. in anticipation of kick-off. The “2nd half” of Sunday’s GOP debate is actually on — directly competing with the Opening Day excitement of the nation’s most popular televised sport?

Anyone notice how the Democratic debates have been held on major local networks, and NY-1…. in PRIME TIME and on weeknights, when more people are home to see the candidates? Equal time is slighted by the actual time-slot selected, offered, reluctantly sacrificed for the GOP forums?

We all have seen how the media plays politics — promoting one-sided issues across day-time and night-time TV, in the slight criticisms vs.  usual outright fashioning of the Obama “image”, for example. Across NYC it’s clear our local NYC broadcasting folks have shown their hand, again. They’ll do anything they can, to obscure the GOP’s candidates.

The greatest city in the world, the Media Capital of the World… has been led by a Republican for 5 terms now and for 20 years consecutively. But no one can see the primary debate — of the potential next one?

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