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”

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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.

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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.

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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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