Tag Archives: Brooklyn Republican

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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CNN asks Brent Bozell about sweeping Republican Wins.

10 Nov

CNN host interviews Brent Bozell — who has an interesting perspective of how the voters weren’t influenced by media-bias, this time around. Although the “media” hasn’t reported much on a string of scandals — to protect this White House he surmises — did the voters by in large, see right through it? Or, maybe reacted to what they know was right or wrong?


People couldn’t vote Obama out in 2014, but surely Americans across all States had to remember him golfing through the ISIS beheading of an American, heath-care costs rising, etc. etc.?


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Weiner calls McDonald “Grandpa” at AARP forum?

7 Aug


In a testy exchange where Republican George McDonald reacted to being touched (on the shoulder/back) by Mr. Weiner — it seemed the two candidates would come to blows. Weiner resorted to a quip of name-calling (using “grandpa” in a derogatory sense) which was captured by microphones in place for the Mayoral forum. It was reported across NYC and then shot-across the country as a national interest story – on Huffiington Post, Yahoo clear out to the SF Examiner.

Oddly the media circus surrounding his campaign up to now — just had helped Weiner with name recognition. He was leading the polls! However, when it was discovered that he’d also carried on with “sexting” young ladies on the internet after resigning in disgrace two years ago — the Public soon was treated to another candidate or at least an alter-ego for the name he used online: Carlos Danger. So, Weiner’s woes are mounting. More Democrats are distancing themselves from him. He’s down to 17% and now trailing 3 candidates when he was leading just a few weeks ago.

It not only doesn’t look good, but now he’s got plenty of seniors worse than disgusted.

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Daily News skewers candidates that have more $$$ than sense

29 Jul


Great parody using MTV’s 1990s sex-obsessed “Beevis and Butthead” — teenage couch-stting boys that were clueless, and amused by words that sounded dirty, etc. The NY Daily News showed perfect cartooning here of how both the Weiner and Spitzer campaigns have taken over the media’s every day attention — and encapsulate the real worth of both candidates. It’s good to see that political cartooning is back!

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June Meeting features David Storobin, Ballot Petitions and Results of our Mayoral poll.

13 Jun

Our June meeting switched gears from the Mayoral election, somewhat – as Brownstone welcomed Republican NYC Council candidate David Storobin (Brighton Beach, Marine Park, Sheepshead Bay). He updated attendees on his campaign’s momentum, his views on issues facing his district including efforts post-Sandy – as well as his political history of winning a NY Senate seat only to be ‘redistricted’ out of office.


Mr. Storobin first visited BRC before he began his political life, a few years back. He’s a family man at 34 years old, recounts his childhood in Russia and the differences of life in the country of his birth vs. freedom and opportunity in America.  An attorney with offices nearby, he has great energy for representing his home area of southern Brooklyn. He has been targeted by media for his views, many outwardly conservative and “traditional”.  Mr. Storobin is unapologetic and believes that NYC government is better served by a representative that relays exactly how his community feels across issues. As a result, Mr. Storobin says he has the backing of the Conservative Party, the Brooklyn Conservative Party and communicates his appreciation of their active support of his campaign at events. (He had the endorsement of Conservatives as well as the Republican Party, in his 2012 for NY Senate.)

With only 3 or 4 Republicans in the 51-seat City Council, he knows that his perspectives will bring debate on many issues that are nearly rubber-stamped by its “One Party”-system. One example that was discussed was a bill currently considered for adding a mandatory 1-2 vacation weeks for restaurant employees — and Mr. Storobin feels its more of a “job killer”.

With every confidence in consideration of his winning track-record, Mr. Storobin is setting out in the petition-process and expanding his base of support. He hopes to get as many as 3-lines on the ballot, and doesn’t know if he’ll face any GOP primary opposition (as other candidates can possibly step forward).


The BRC board advanced the June meeting by two weeks in response to requests by many members — who wanted ample time to ‘get signatures’ (due in early July) and walk petitions for the candidate of their choice. Many had expressed that they’d only seen the ballots for John Catsimatidis — underscoring the independent nature of the Brownstone club — and had questions for how to handle ballots for other candidates like Joe Lhota, for example. Some had commented that they wouldn’t walk anyone’s ballot for pay, and wanted to know how they can walk any Lhota’s petitions as a volunteer. Advancing the meeting’s date however had its effect with quick notice just 2+ weeks after our May meeting — as turnout was 23 attendees.

Responsive to BRC members wanting Lhota:

Many BRC members hadn’t received petitions. With the signatures due within a month’s time, there were many requests to move the meeting up.

With the Kings County GOP endorsing John Catsimatidis for Mayor, and having visited (along with campaign managers) to bolster support/petition carrying for its candidate a few weeks ago during our May meeting — many BRC members and attendees asked for an independent process where they may select/choose to walk that of Joe Lhota. (There was no similar verbal support for McDonald). Responsive to this, the BRC reached out to the Lhota campaign to send a representative and (in equal time to what the Club experienced during the May meeting, impromtu) explain/express any options for those in Brownstone that wanted to walk petitions/support their campaign. Many members were pleased the option was presented to them.

Results of Brownstone poll for GOP Mayoral primary announced:

Across the last few months, the Brownstone club conducted an active survey — for member reaction to Mayoral candidates they have seen and hear from in person (being each has visited in 2013). While discussions have all been open, and active debates have been extraordinary during the April, May and June meetings particularly — many BRC members would not respond unless the polling was done anonymously. The voting was announced by email and email, with votes that were open to direct-response, or phone, or our Facebook page and naturally face to face, as expressed at meetings directly with Board members. The tally was kept active, cumulative and anyone was able to ‘change their votes’ at any time, if they felt swayed one way or another during or in-between any of our meetings. During the 2nd half of the meeting, the responses were announced:

68% would vote for Joe Lhota in the Sept. 10th primary
– 13% for John Catsimatidis
– 0% for candidate George McDonald (believing it a 2-horse race)
– 18% Undecided as of the June meeting

The results indicate a very strong support for the experience of Mr. Lhota. Under anonymity, many relayed the strengths and weaknesses and reasons for their choice (withheld for a future blog post). Some of the 18% Undecided sub-set, interestingly enough, communicated the strong-points of George McDonald (“passion, this guy would kick tail if he ever got in“) but did not ‘vote’ for him in the poll. Others naming themselves as “undecided” also expressed support for Adolpho Carrion, Jr. and Tom Allon… who they wished stayed in the race, particularly for his perspectives on public school education.

After the results were announced attendees (members) proposed to endorse the candidacy of Joe Lhota, based on the results of the poll. They openly voted by a show of hands to have the Brownstone Republican Club endorse him for Mayor. However, the independent nature of our membership and Club would allow any member to freely and actively support the candidate(s) of their choice.

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Joe Lhota returns for our May meeting – BRC members react to Catsimatidis campaign in the 2nd hour

21 May

Joe Lhota opened our monthly meeting by remarking how Brownstone was the first group he addressed in January – and the first time he’d revisited any place on the campaign trail so far, citywide.

photo-10Mr. Lhota updated BRC. He reintroduced what sets his campaign apart and discussed issues that he believes are strongpoints. (In succession they included: leadership of Day 1 based his experience as Deputy Mayor under Mayor Giuliani, his position vs. crime, his making NYC’s economy a central issue especially in support of small business, taking the reigns of a failing education system and examining wasteful spending across wide-ranging City agencies, as was done over his direction during the Giuliani terms). Mr. Lhota was candid and seemed to enjoy an extended Q & A session. He then left for another engagement shortly after 8 pm.

Our next scheduled speaker was Brooklyn Commissioner of the Board of Elections, Mr. Simon Shamoun – who replaced our BRC member Nancy Mottola-Shacher (who was traveling in Europe, but supported the chance for the Club to meet/greet the new Commissioner). Mr. Shamoun spoke of his management focuses at the Board of Elections and opened a brief discussion of the merits of older voting machines vs. new systems (and their potential inability to handle a “run off”). Reaction was mixed to this news as some applauded in nostalgia for the older machines – while others asked about the cost/benefits and training already done to support the new system.

photo-11With “petition season” approaching in June, Mr. Shamoun mentioned the importance of freely supporting any candidate. This thought was perfect, as across this Mayoral election year Brownstone has welcomed 5 Mayoral candidates. (Tom Allon had dropped out, and Adolpho Carrion, Jr. is no longer a consideration for the Sept. 10th primary – having lost his support of GOP County leaders needed to provide him a space on the GOP Primary ballot.) Brownstone has yet to endorse, and has kept an open/independent mind while gauging its members’ opinions internally.

The meeting was not planned to include discussions/delivery of petitions. But that was changed with the presence of the Catsimatidis campaign.

Catsimatidis representatives and open discussion

While most all candidates are provided their own dedicated time with Club attendees, Mr. Lhota’s two appearances drew visitation from a competing campaign. Attending this evening was strategist Robert Ryan of the Catsimatidis for Mayor campaign – and a trio of GOP Young Republicans associated with Kings County (Gene Berardelli and Russell Gallo, both former guest speakers at BRC and Diane Sepulveda recently named to a NYS State ranking of YRs). Kings County GOP is now directly supporting John Catsimatidis for Mayor.

Well into the 2nd hour, the meeting changed from local issues at hand (like the open discussion of Long Island College Hospital/LICH from a nurse-practitioner in attendance) – as the Catsimatidis campaign team steered the topic to June/July petitioning and soliciting support, and talking-points of why Brooklyn County GOP leaders feel he’s the best candidate. As a last-minute speaker, BRC president Joe Nardiello added and introduced Russell Gallo – who announced he was recently named the “Brooklyn Campaign Director for Catsimatidis for Mayor”.

Mr. Gallo opened a late-topic and stated why Catsimatidis had the strongest chance of winning (funding) and his support for keeping NYPD’s Ray Kelly leading the NYPD. (Mr. Catsimatidis himself spoke during the April meeting, just a few weeks ago.) During one question from Joe Nardiello (“as a conservative Republican…what are your thoughts about a GOP candidate that’s called himself a ‘Clinton Democrat’ just last year on NY-1?”). Mr. Gallo responded that many, including him didn’t start out as Republicans and deferred to Mr. Ryan.

BRC president Joe Nardiello then opened the floor for a lively discussion of the Catsimatidis strengths/weaknesses – himself playing “moderator”. Mr. Nardiello invited open debate, questions and shows of hands. On the topic of GOP party building, for example, Gene Berardelli expressed that Mr. Lhota has not been “really present at all across these last 7-8 years” and “where was he since the Giuliani years” in comparing the behind-the-scenes support since 2009 given by John Catsimatidis. Mr. Nardiello said the notion of nurturing ‘successors’ from other Mayors and leaders has long (“for 100 years”) been an issue within the Republican Party. He asked Mr. Berardelli “if a Mayor Giuliani is a Republican 2-term Mayor and he’s brought forth his Republican Deputy Mayor as a GOP candidate – aren’t you now campaigning against what has long been wanted by Republicans…as Rudy has actually now provided a successor?” There were other points debated, including the “89-19”-line referring to the national Romney campaign’s losing numbers in a woeful NYC effort, and the 2009 election that nearly saw Thompson win vs. the public’s feelings about a 3rd term billionaire buying that election.

BRC members react to $$$ offer

It was Mr. Gallo’s offer of $15/hour to walk petitions and flyers for Mr. Catsimatidis that drew a reaction – with many believing it a step too far for the meeting at hand. A BRC member from Bay Ridge also communicated that earlier in the week there was an offer of $12/hour – and wanted to know why it was “25% higher in Cobble Hill” (but was not provided an answer).

In fact, many BRC members expressed their disappointment – that the Catsimatidis campaign was present from the beginning of the meeting. As a whole, the Brownstone club is fiercely independent – and is comprised of many veterans of politics, and longtime New Yorkers with political savvy. In fact, immediately following the meeting more than 1/3 of the 35 attendees openly expressed that Cats’ campaign was in their terms, for the evening: “too obvious”, “heavy handed” and “ill-timed”. Another added that it was “insulting” to be offered money to get petition signatures (whether by the hour or by signature/sheet). “You do it, because you believe in the candidate,” said one. Another member said it felt like another attempt “to try to buy support”. Another: “this is more of what’s wrong with politics, when there’s too much money in it”.

Over 10 members afterward expressed they didn’t want to see anything of this sort again – and two felt they were “beset upon by County” instead of being offered an “independent choice of which petitions to carry”.

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Candidates prove Small Business issues are in their wheelhouse.

1 May


St. Francis College hosted its second Mayoral forum on “Workforce Development and Small Business issues”. Tuesday’s quick-moving forum featured GOP candidates John Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota, George McDonald and Independence party candidate Adolpho Carrion, Jr.

Answers were candid and in-depth, and showed each candidate understands the challenges facing the NY economy. Each answer demonstrated an advantage of the Republican contenders vs. the Democrats who all gathered for the exact forum earlier in April (no matter their lack of a first-hand connection with the subject matter). Too bad, they couldn’t do this together.

NY-1’s Errol Louis moderated the forum, with an interesting array of questions presented by each of NYC’s chambers of commerce and hosted by the Brooklyn Chamber. Mr. Carrion showed clear skill across many answers. Mr. Catsimatidis was passionate about issues facing storefront businesses, as he’s been contending with them for 40 years. Mr. McDonald has run the Doe Fund for 25 years.

Joe Lhota’s experience as Deputy Mayor and within business management made for intelligent responses – but was attacked on the issue of raising Verrazano tolls (he called it a “cheap shot”). Revealing was Mr. Lhota’s response of the increases being an “every two year” occurrence by NYS legislation – that the public may not be aware that next year, and 2 years from then, the tolls are going up further.

For the entire debate – posted by Brooklyn Independent TV on youTube – just click.

Online summary by Brooklyn’s Home Reporter News (click). 

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BRC meets an approachable, personable Joe Lhota – as he introduces his Mayoral campaign locally.

29 Jan

Meeting summary: Jan. 28 at Sam’s Restaurant

In welcoming Brooklyn’s Joe Lhota, the Brownstone Republican Club was able to hear from a rare Mayoral candidate who could actually walk home afterward.

Mr. Lhota was clearly at ease before the meeting began, during an impromptu and casual ‘meet and greet’. One BRC member later remarked that while Mr. Lhota projects the professional demeanor of a former First Deputy Mayor and MTA Chairman “he was surprisingly approachable… He’s authoritative before a room… but in person, he impressed me as a regular guy, as well.”lhotaBRC

Local issues were first updated before giving the floor to invited speakers – and they included support for CCG (Coalition for Carroll Gardens) in a court proceeding to counter the City’s plan of putting over 170 homeless men into a building zoned for 10 apartments. BRC President Joe Nardiello emphasized the need for Senior Housing by lamenting the loss of CG resident Celia Cacase (priced out) and relating it with the Mayoral forum on Housing in East New York. Nardiello also updated on LICH, both the sidewalk protest of local pols, support of a petition-drive of Joan Millman’s and a meeting of coalition of local doctors relative to LICH happening concurrently the BRC meeting.

First of the invited speakers was Joe Lhota, and Nardiello introduced him by underscoring Lhota’s sacrifice, and reminding the meeting’s 32 attendees of his resigning as MTA Chairman for the uncertain and competitive race for our Mayor. Nardiello mentioned Mr. Lhota could be a Mayor with “the most complete understanding of its transit system, ever” plus a working relationship with the NY Governor.

During his remarks, Joe Lhota joked that the true sacrifice was leaving Cablevision and taking on the challenging role as MTA Chairman. While its common knowledge that he has been given credit for outstanding leadership during the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, Mr. Lhota detailed some successes and shared credit for how the innovative thinking of his workers was supported – to get the system up and running as quickly as he’d accomplished.

Mr. Lhota covered his bio of being raised in the Bronx (and the son of a NY policeman) – through his schooling at Harvard and beyond, ultimately to settling in the Heights with his wife. Lhota’s focus with the Giuliani administration was at first in economic development and as Deputy Mayor of Finance – providing a unique aspect of management in the NY public sector with many City agencies. Ultimately, he was the First Deputy Mayor and with experience covers the gamut and geography of all of NYC. Joe recounted Town Hall meetings – and the need to be responsive throughout. Mr. Lhota detailed his support for NYC’s small businesses and how best to have the City less invasive.

Joe Lhota’s emphasized his views on Education – a uniform concern across NYC he says needs to be managed with greater participation by parents, and at the “Borough level” as well, something he says is being gradually lost. He complimented his competition for Mayoral office – and detailed his own strengths some of the Democratic candidates. Mr. Lhota says that while many Republicans shy from primaries – he believes it is good for the Party, and complimented the pending announcement of John Catsimatidis (relaying his personal fondness and friendship).

In a lively Question & Answer period, Mr. Lhota handled questions ranging from approaches/strategy with specific Democratic candidates and details of expertise within the Giuliani years, of development of the Brooklyn waterfront, economic development, job creation, his own perception, his take on reconstruction of areas affected by Sandy, traffic problems with the BQE, to taxes, to tolls on the Verrazano Bridge affecting commuters and local businesses. Mr. Lhota was interesting throughout, and we look forward to welcoming him back to Brownstone, in the near future.

The first meeting of the Brownstone Republican Club this year was a memorable for range of topics discussion, interaction with attendees, and two strong speakers that connected with most everyone present. gene1

Our second speaker of the evening was Brooklyn attorney Gene Berardelli and spoke dramatically about SuperStorm Sandy at its 3-month anniversary. Gene graciously returned to BRC to recount his first-hand experience of survival in his Sheepshead Bay home, and area – in protecting his family throughout that frightful evening. Playful at the beginning, with his cousin being a nationally renowned weatherman that Gene phoned ahead of deciding to wait out the storm…to the serious advice of heeding OEM, should there ever be another reason to receive a warning.

His account was nothing short of heart-stopping and heroic, and was met with rapt interest – as Gene described the water entering the home, filling the basement, his hands being shocked/electrified as he shut-down 2 breakers in waist-deep water (but left on a 3rd for his ailing father, dependent on an electric device to breathe).

Gene told of the sounds of transformers popping, the flashes of light, throughout the sleepless night – and how he kept his family on the 2nd floor to avoid the water. He gave an excellent reminder of Community – about how his block’s story hasn’t been told, but heroism abounds. How an older woman saved the lives of 31 neighbors, actually “swimming out” many, including a 93-yr old man. How any frustration subsequently, with the months of rebuilding or forms, is made small by these memories of how they ALL made it through that night, and those weeks.

And so, we begin a new year at BRC.

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