Tag Archives: George McDonald

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 nbcnewyork.com — 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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Brownstone Endorses Joe Lhota.

1 Jul

BRC invited each candidate and listened to their goals, background and perspectives up close. Our attendees were able to ask questions, get answers and openly engage each campaign across 2013.

Our choice for NYC Mayor is Joe Lhota — we urge our members and their neighbors to vote for him on Sept. 10 and on through the general election. 


He’ll make an outstanding Mayor

BRC chose Joe Lhota by a large margin (68% to 13%) over John Catsimatidis. There was 18% Undecided and George McDonald received no votes. We’ll summarize the responses, as to why:

1. His potential to lead NYC and his sacrifice is second to none — across both Parties.

Unlike any other candidate, Mr. Lhota sacrificed a lucrative career as Chairman of the MTA — to take the chance of running for the Mayoralty, essentially as a call to duty in our recessionary times. Many BRC members responded to that sacrifice, as a requisite of what true leaders do. (Contrast this with Democrats that are running for Mayor — while being paid in other capacities and actually campaigning during middays in Elected Offices — Comptroller, Public Advocate, Councilmember, etc.).

Mr. Lhota has Rudy Giuliani’s support for Mayor because helped in both Giuliani terms in leadership positions – serving as First Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Finance and Operations, and before that leading Economic Development. His management style has also been honed across the private sector (a background that Mayor Giuliani didn’t possess). He knows what to expect and what to prepare for — and methods most effective for working with NY’s communities. Joe Lhota recognizes that he learned on-the-job within City Hall, and has insight about communicating and outreach. For those reasons, and because he’s his own man — we believe he can be an even better Mayor than Rudy more inclusive and capable of starting quickly without even a day of any lagging for learning how Government works in any way.

2. In citywide Mayoral 2013 forums, he’s shown a commanding knowledge.

Mr. Lhota has a perspective of one that has already seen the depth of the issues.  Other candidates talk in generalities, or conjure grandiose promises. Lhota has gotten applause speaking about Housing-policy and NYCHA’s issues in Bedford-Stuyvesant. He understands and respects City uniformed workers, and roles of unions – but aims to be reasonable. He’s relayed the struggles of Small Business, taxation and how jobs can be created – knowing how everything in the City works in synch. He’s already lessened the size of government in a challenging economy, by attrition and cutting excess spending. He has spoken on Education in specific terms, about its challenges – and options that escape other candidates that are far less familiar with the role they covet.

mayorjandebateHe knows the City from Hunts Point to the West Shore of Staten Island, back to Far Rockaway. Our BRC members have questioned him across two meetings – and he seems unaffected by any special interests. He makes clear, intelligent points. One member added: “He seems far less likely to manipulate in back-room dealings.” We trust he’s the person to lead the City and base consideration/decisions on merit.

3. There has never been a Mayor in NYC’s history with Lhota’s in-depth understanding of our Transit system, the MTA and internal processes.

While there are steady pot-shots — Mr. Lhota has explained how tolls were increased and that the NY Legislature had also added future increases (to come every 2 years). One BRC member feels this strength is a slam-dunk: “notice that transportation is never an issue — at any forum with either Party? — because he owns that issue.” Joe Lhota offers NYC what it never had – no Mayor has ever had a first-hand knowledge of operating procedures, “the two books” and hands-on experience leading the MTA/transit system and Authority. He knows exactly what is B-S and what our transportation systems need. This is an advantage, when interacting with the MTA, State legislature and Governor moving forward, on our behalf.

When Superstorm Sandy crippled our transportation system – Joe Lhota’s leadership was well-regarded, universally recognized and widely reported across the nation for bringing the System back to working condition (in 2 days).

4. Joe Lhota is the choice to rebuild the Republican Party in NYC.

Having a strong “2nd Party” in NYC is critical — for a better, more responsive government.  We have an entrenched One Party system that “looks the other way” so often to protect its own. We accept mediocrity from local elected officials. A One Party system also creates a protective bubble for many in Office. Unemployment, crime, poverty, senior housing, jobs leaving, etc. — are somehow, someone else’s doing. NYC Democrats simply fingerprint and avoid tackling large-scale problems. Our media lets them off the hook even as the City Council has been 90% Democrats for 50 years?..

Any thinking voter wants a 2-party system, at least – and can support an intelligent option.

BullElephantJoe Lhota spoke at the Brownstone Club immediately after the 9-11-01 attacks as part of the Giuliani Administration, and has returned twice in this campaign season. In a City that wonders why Republicans don’t groom others for office – he is a prime example and personification of what any NYC Republican should want in their candidate.

Both primary opponents have recently enrolled as Republicans in comparison. In fact, Mr. Catsimatidis has referred to himself as a “Clinton Democrat — but had registered as a Republican ahead of the 2009 election with a run in mind, then. Many BRC members were puzzled as to how Kings County representatives formerly identifying as “conservative Republicans” were quick to work for his campaign. Mr. Catsimatidis said that Congressman Rangel and Pres. Clinton would endorse him. George McDonald was a Democrat as recently as last year, and has gone on record (NY-1 TV forum) saying that building the Republican Party isn’t something he’s interested in.

5. BRC believes NYC has reached its tipping-point for Billionaire Mayors — and wants $ out of politics.

In NYC, we have been suffering from as one BRC member put it: “just too much Bloomberg”. Members believe that NYC would vote against any billionaire again as they had with Ronald Lauder in 1989 (who was beaten by Rudy Giuliani). The election of 2009 almost made a Mayor out of Bill Thompson — who is lagging behind in the Democratic primary, right now. This means, they didn’t vote FOR him in 2009… but against Mayor Bloomberg. In fact, local Councilmember Bill de Blasio was swept into the NYC Public Advocate office despite a scant record of achievement– with his campaign, essentially having run against the Bloomberg 3rd term. Then again, we’ve seen people win even national elections, without records of achievement.

The “Republican brand” has been to connected again to the wealthy – and this began in earnest with the “two Americas” campaign of John Edwards in 2008 (which attracted Bill de Blasio to the midwest to campaign for Edwards). Across the 2012 presidential season, NYC voters were barraged by an “anti-1%” sentiment that was hung onto the Republican candidate (that “only” had a $350 million self-worth, comparatively vs. the billions of John Catsimatidis). In fact, Occupy Wall Street protestors — set up across 2011 and 2012 — and never once rallied against policies of the Obama White House, nor the frequent $26k per plate mega-fundraisers.

NYC has to be more savvy.

Lhota can stand up to scrutiny vs. any Democrat in any debate or forum. He can win. Joe Lhota’s communicated he’d be ready to lead “on Day 1” — and we believe no other candidate is so qualified.

lhotamediaHis understanding of our City is comprehensive. His background includes Mayoral-level government, public transportation, economic development, finance & budgeting of City agencies, interaction with all City divisions (as First Deputy Mayor under Giuliani), engaging the public at open Town Hall forums within each borough of the City, and executive management that pertains to NYC tourism with sports teams and entertainment with the NY Knicks, Rangers and Madison Square Garden oversight. He was raised in The Bronx and his father was an NYPD officer, his uncle a taxi driver — and he’s lived in Brooklyn for 26 years. BRC believes he has a unique grasp of the layers and inter-connection of life in NYC and its suburbs.

Democrats in the White House and Albany are providing scant leadership on the Economy. The next Mayor also faces unions that have a signed agreement from Democratic candidates — and want retro-pay and their contracts. NYC needs far more than talk. We need a Republican that can improve our City on so many levels. We need a leader to build a team and effectiveness we can trust. We need a Mayor that can get things done without a year of appointments and disappointments. We need a leader that will not need to learn how to adapt into government as he goes along.


The 2013 elections have become a circus of caricatures. Put any of them against Joe Lhota, and the voters will see the difference.

He simply is the best person for the job.

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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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George McDonald Brings a Focus That is Well-Received.

19 Mar

George McDonald proved himself a passionate speaker during Monday evening’s meeting of the Brownstone Club, particularly on subjects of crime, small business support, welfare and NYC’s “right to shelter” rule.

“Work defines you,” said Mr. McDonald in his remarks that covered his extensive experience in leading and founding The Doe Fund, a multi-state non-profit organization that seeks to restore and bridge homeless men to mainstream work.  “Because they mostly seem OK with this (societal condition), I made my departure with the Democratic party long ago. I didn’t like it, either, when Pres. Obama said that many can aspire to join “the middle class” during his State of the Union – when the American Dream is founded on aiming higher!”

George McDonald at Brooklyn's Brownstone Republican Club.

George McDonald at Brooklyn’s Brownstone Republican Club.

“Early on with The Doe Fund, I spoke with 100s of men about what they wanted – and they all said “a job”. It is the way to confidently adjust from incarceration or drug abuse,” said Mr. McDonald. “That why we call our program Ready, Willing and Able… because its what they are. They want to contribute, to work and be self-sufficient.”

He went on to relay his accomplishments with many ‘graduates’ of his programs, across our geography – and connected reasons why they fall into this condition with the failings and lack of proper focus of NYC programs. Education and crime are both costs to New York City for what it overlooks, and how young people fall through the cracks. But, he’s seen them. He’s helped many. He knows ways to re-construct mechanisms to lessen the burdens on this citywide segment of NYC’s population.

“We also cannot have 20% of our homeless coming to NYC, being from outside of the City – for the burdens it puts on the system. The “Right to Shelter” rule, where the public cannot know or ask for ID…but must shelter or face lawsuits, etc. has to be ended. The costs are staggering. Ultimately, no one is made to work or needs to try and get out of this.”

McDonald also said that NYC seems to do all it can, to harm small businesses…who can employ so many more as an economic engine.

“Tonight’s speaker was the most ‘real’ to me…in that he seems to really care about raising the condition for so many struggling people across New York,” said one Brownstone member of the candidates she’s met so far in 2013. “So far, I would walk his petitions if he needs it, come the time.”

George McDonald was very friendly, and was well received before and after his extensive question & answer period. He was knowledgeable and fielded questions ranging from gun-laws to local housing concerns to the safety of NYC shelters, and also vowed to discover more and “communicate” with State officials as per Brownstone’s concern over our local hospital (LICH) being threatened by the very SUNY leadership that was supposed to be stewarding its health and rebound from Continuum’s mismanagement (which seemed to put Real Estate value/grabs over the focus and care of the institution).


Clearly, there’s solid interest at BRC meetings in seeing Republican mayoral candidates up-close.

On an evening that weather-wise felt more like early February with piling snow, hail and biting cold…the number of BRC attendees may have easily been low. Instead, about 30 were on hand, a number even more surprising when word spread of a tandem event in Manhattan drawing potential attendees to an off-Broadway play on the upper eastside. (It was Tony Lo Bianco reprising Mayor Fiorello La Guardia in “The Little Flower” as sponsored by Gristedes supermarkets and hosted by its owner and declared GOP candidate John Catsimatidis).

While the general public is just beginning to hear the names, and reflect on media coverage of GOP mayoral candidates – the pregame is well underway.

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