Tag Archives: Brooklyn GOP

John Burnett brings a world of Republican potential.

28 Sep

One thing the Brownstone Republican Club can do.. is spot a winner.


When he ran for NYC Comptroller in 2013, Mr. John Burnett opened many eyes. With a successful career in finance under his belt, Mr. Burnett was able to win-over audiences with a clear understanding of what’s at stake with NYC finances, opportunity and a desire to hold so many feet to the fire. But he ran against a mainline Democrat in Manhattan President Scott Stringer, and the media seemed to discount aptitude specific to the role — over a well-known political name.

John Burnett spoke to the BRC in our first meeting back from the summer break. He updated our 26 attendees about his speaking engagements, and their affect at turning people’s opinions about the Republican party. While the media portrays Republicans far differently, Mr. Burnett speaks throughout NYC schools about responsibility, saving and investing. His real-world approaches, and his impact goes on regardless of what the media misses, disregards or excuses outright, from the One Party Rule we’ve seen across generations.


Dr. Ben Carson, John Burnett walk in Harlem as covered by NY Newsday.

All attending were treated to many anecdotes with a positive impact. And while BRC has steadily urged our Republican party to adopt an Urban Agenda (to oppose the Democrat historic stranglehold on so many cities from St. Louis to Baltimore to NYC – and how the media’s use/portrayal of BlackLivesMatter is similar to OccupyWallStreet, as a device), Mr. Burnett took the baton from discussion, to what he’s been up to, to help make this a reality. Following a welcome and introduction by BRC’s President that praised him for his role in helping elevate Dr. Ben Carson — he added personal views that showed both a humble approach, but an intelligent understanding of all that’s possible for the Republican party.

After August’s first GOP Presidential debate, John Burnett invited Dr. Carson to Harlem for a luncheon and invited many political and business leaders (of all political parties and religious affiliation) not to limit the event. But it was the walk down the streets of Harlem, where Dr. Carson was approached by media/cameras and residents where the event, and its intelligence really shined (click for video). It’s always a gamble, having a Republican national candidate walk among people in a Democrat-stronghold (for how any negative will be expanded across the biased media). Because of the openness and grace in which he met with passersby and media, Dr. Carson came-away a big winner.

Our group and Mr. Burnett covered quite a lot of ground this evening. Everything from summer events, to the Pope’s historic NYC visit and back to local politics. In discussion about the Rob Astorino for NY Governor campaign of 2014, BRC members relayed how it had hoped to introduce the failed Astorino campaign to our work for Long Island College Hospital (LICH). How the fight had “made a Mayor” of DeBlasio. How it helped Zephyr Teachout’s consideration across our millions of voters, locally in her primary bid — and how that “local issue” could have changed Public perception of Astorino as a fighter for Brooklyn, for heathcare/hospitals and the jobs lost? We discovered that Mr. Burnett was another potential weapon at Astorino’s side — one we only wish was used to its fullest potential.

John with a few BRC attendees that stayed after the meeting.

John with a few BRC attendees that stayed after the meeting.

As we move into the Fall of 2015, and the opening of the 2016 Presidential election year, we have to remain hopeful that more candidates and campaigns see the real potential that men like Mr. Burnett can bring. We’ve now seen it, up close.

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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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John Catsimatidis Visits our April Meeting.

28 Apr

photoIs the City ready for another billionaire Mayor?

John Catsimatidis visited BRC amid a level of anticipation from attendees. Members wanted to hear his vision for New York – and were aware that the Kings County GOP weeks before had chosen him as its choice for NYC Mayor. (Brooklyn’s County GOP had previously backed Adolpho Carrion.)

Mr. Catsimatidis was the last of five prospective candidates for the Republican line to visit Sam’s restaurant in the 2013 race. Respectful of their sacrifice and commitment to public service, BRC has been able to openly learn the backgrounds, achievements, pose local issues to them in extended Q & A periods, and see up close how questions were answered. While Mr. Catsimatidis could not take many questions – his next stop was paying respects at wake services – he immediately blended in with the group by sitting among them, trying the pizza and telling anecdotes about his family.

Mr. Catsimatidis prides himself as a “mayor for all the people” and a man that has been “all over the City” due to the locations of his stores and real estate concerns.

Known for his business success including Gristedes supermarkets, aerospace ventures and for philanthropy with PAL (Police Athletic League), with political and Hellenic/Greek organizations – Mr. Catsimatidis delivers an interesting narrative near immediately. He’s a home grown success story. He tells of a modest upbringing in upper Manhattan/Harlem – and ultimately ties into the American dream.

He tells a life-story of hard-work and how management of a food market led to ownership (at about 21 years old) – and how he shed aside formal education in New York University “with 6 credits left” to focus on the lucrative business he was building uptown. Decades later, Mr. Catsimatidis is a billionaire who believed he was ready to run for Mayor in 2009 “but stepped aside being Bloomberg was doing a good job”.

On a macro-business level, Mr. Catsimatidis relays how “money” and investments have come into NYC – on the faith of what Mayor Bloomberg has done for the international business community, planned for NY, and the general stability of law and order. He’d like to do more of that.

He says a main focus is education. He feels he’s ready to “give back, not take” for all he’s amassed. He feels that the lower income and middle class families, and students in particular, need to understand how to earn a better living. “They should have an option to learn a trade and make 70, 80 thousand dollars.” Creating jobs is a strongpoint of his, as he says he’s created “10s of thousands of jobs and no other candidate can say that.” He tells of fundraising for Brooklyn Tech, where he graduated from despite being raised in Manhattan.

Later, he added that he’s “a man of vision” due to his idea of a 3rd World’s Fair to summon 100 of greatest high-tech companies to New York and demonstrate their visions for the future of the City. He said this “would create another 10, 20 thousand good jobs in construction and operations” and (borrowing an idea of Mayor Bloomberg’s team for the Olympic bid) spread pavilions throughout each borough – accessible by water taxis.


But for purposes of the primary, Mr. Catsimatidis says using his own money is an advantage – as he’s not asking for any more. “I have friend-raisers, not fundraisers.”

In expressing how he can win vs. other candidates, Mr. Catsimatidis cited statistics of the Romney national election – how New York went “89 to 19 against the Republican”. (He added playfully that he would’ve won had he run.) The 89-19 statistic got some heads nodding with the added thought that “any Republican needs ‘Reagan Democrats’ to win”…However, the 2009 NYC mayoral election was far closer. Moreover, the voting for a national candidate (that didn’t campaign here) overlooks that Giuliani won 2x, and Bloomberg 3x. The Republican line, it could be said, has delivered the last 5 mayoral terms in a row in NYC since 1994.

Mr. Catsimatidis also relays something that no other candidate can say… that stalwarts of the Democratic Party including Pres. Bill Clinton and possibly Congressman Charles Rangel may very well support him in a general election. This may have to do with his connections/friendships or prior support of their races – but is a certain speculation of wide support across party lines

He offered that he has a friendship and sponsorship of a one-man play (“Fiorello”) with actor Tony Lo Bianco who plays Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Mr. Catsimatidis draws inspiration from both the play and the legacy/life of Mayor La Guardia – and has recently supplied tickets for a performance in upper Manhattan. He offered to possibly bring the show to each borough, so that more may see it. Of his campaign manager Rob Ryan, Mr. Catsimatidis said he “was the son of Fiorello LaGuardia’s chief of staff”.

Answering a question, Mr. Catsimatidis also spoke of how he’ll communicate with labor unions, with many contracts coming due for negotiation in the next election. “I’ve never had a problem with unions in my businesses, across decades,” he added, underlining his point of being able to handle the negotiations.

Our attendees did have many questions for Mr. Catsimatidis – including asking about an interview with NY Times and NY-1’s Sam Roberts in June, 2012 when he speculated on a run for a Mayor by characterizing himself as “I am a Clinton Democrat” (3:40-4:05 on the video) that couldn’t be elected as a Democrat, as a businessman. Does that mean he’s changed parties in his past or recently? That history will probably be explained across the primary – which Mr. Catsimatidis informed is on September 10th.

Brownstone has now seen all 5 for Mayor in less than 4 month’s time – and appreciates each candidate coming to our areas of Brooklyn. Doubtless we will see more of them across the 5 months from now until the Republican primary election.

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