Tag Archives: NYC Mayor

George McDonald Announces Support for LICH (1st Mayoral Candidate to Do So).

26 Mar

Republican mayoral candidate George McDonald announced his strong opposition to NY State government’s mismanagement of Long Island College Hospital (LICH) — which threatens the immediate care for 100,000s of patients per year from Red Hook around to Vinegar Hill, Carroll Gardens to all parts of downtown Brooklyn, and pink slips for 2,000 employees.

Last Monday evening, George McDonald was guess speaker at the Brownstone Republican Club’s March meeting and listened to our concerns, updates and positions regarding what seems a higher valuation of the real estate of the physical building by the State group of SUNY officials now charged with its (mis)management, then the actual institution’s care for millions of Brooklyn residents. Today, LICH provides a safety-net of medical support for over 2 million residents.


George McDonald said:

“Coming on the heels of the closing of LICH, it is deeply disappointing that the fiscal crisis facing Downstate is being ignored by our elected officials in Albany. Downstate is critical to the health-care network in Brooklyn and an intelligent effort must be put forth to ensure its continued viability. As Mayor, I will work with the community and our elected officials to ensure we have the resources in place to keep Downstate open and thriving.”

During the meeting, BRC president Joe Nardiello reinforced both the history and vitality of LICH – and opened discussion to the general meeting attendees for their concerns, support, thoughts on the matter. For months, the community has reached out to Governor Cuomo via voicemails and letters and thus far, has gotten no reaction.

Nardiello reminded all that none of our local elected officials have called on our Gov. Cuomo by name for response, and on-record review of what his own appointed Board at SUNY Downstate is doing (headed by Carl McCall) – when they typically will line-up in unison at bus stops to protest easier targets like the MTA. Nardiello wondered if they are favoring party-lines and protecting self-interests relative to the governor’s anticipated 2016 run for the White House, over the life and death issue that’s very much at hand for LICH.


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BRC features Mayoral candidates Adolpho Carrion, Jr. and Tom Allon.

19 Feb

In February’s meeting we met two news-making candidates for in-depth introductions to their campaigns. Having the floor in separate hours, they graciously offered ample time for Q & As– communicating on a level that resonated with most attendees.

After beginning by voicing support for LICH and introducing other local issues, BRC president Joe Nardiello introduced Mr. Carrion in the first hour, saying he’s the only candidate seeking the Republican nomination that has already won elections. The former Bronx Borough President and City Councilman has the support of Kings County GOP leadership and that of the Bronx. Mr. Carrion communicated strategies for winning as he highlighted his significant resume for seeking the Office. He has the nomination of the Independence Party and emphasized his independent run as symbolic of being apart of the Democratic Party’s special interests. photo-4

Beginning his public service as Director for a Bronx Community Board, Mr. Carrion recounted how he answered the needs of his areas from the grassroots, upward. Cleaner, safer streets and Education he said were common threads that he’d work to improve across all of New York City. He said there has to be a greater understanding of  Police procedure, and that “Stop, Question and Frisk” frequently loses the word “question” with the media. Mr. Carrion emphasized that NYC is failing our kids, judging by the numbers of inner-city students that are not ready for college and higher education. He recounted his opposition to proposals by the Giuliani Administration for a small program of school vouchers, saying that the City needs bigger more comprehensive answers.

He spoke of the City’s diversity, covered his background as a pastor and experience in business. Working alongside the Giuliani administration as Bronx Borough President, he helped guide development/retention of the Hunts Point Market, the new Yankee Stadium as well as over thousands of units of low/moderate income housing.

Mr. Carrion also has a national perspective, serving as President Obama’s Secretary of Urban Affairs for two years, and later added the experience of HUD’s New York region (Housing and Urban Development).

The 25 attendees had many questions for Mr. Carrion. One gentleman asked how he could be a better presumptive leader of the NYC Republican Party – than the last few Republican Mayors. Mr. Carrion answered that participation is a 2-way process and compared/contrasted his experience with both Mayor Bloomberg and many of the Democratic field.

In the second hour, it was Republican Tom Allon’s floor.


The owner/publisher of weekly newspapers in Manhattan, Mr. Allon has been gaining attention for his innovative ideas on Education, and for being straightforward in his criticism of how to improve aspects of the Blumberg team. When introducing him, Joe Nardiello mentioned his standout performance at January’s Mayoral forum featuring 4 Democrats and 2 Republicans (the other invited was Joe Lhota) in East New York, Brooklyn saying: “if you haven’t heard of him before tonight, you’ll find yourself telling your neighbors all about him tomorrow.”

Tom Allon immediately said he’s a Republican that can win a general election, and recommended that all Republicans in NYC should set aside the social-issues that play nationally vs. GOP candidates. Mr. Allon knows first-hand of the immigrant experience as the son of parents that had escaped the Holocaust. Raised in Manhattan, Mr. Allon began as a teacher in Stuyvesant HS and credited discussions and mentoring from author Frank McCourt (who taught at Stuyvesant at the time) to encourage his talent for writing and journalism. Years later, Mr. Allon was the person who talked Mayor Ed Koch to begin contributing unabashed movie reviews.

Earlier that day, Mr. Allon had done live radio with NPR’s Brian Lehrer (click to listen) and an interview with the NY Post.

Mr. Allon briefly gave an overview of his family, but opted more to use his time to introduce a series of ideas. His process for improving education was well received by 2-3 retired teachers attending (one, later playfully pointed out the differences between teaching in Stuyvesant and Eramus Hall, in Brooklyn). Essentially, he wants to reform the process/profession of teaching by training on the level of how doctors are rehearsed, long before they practice. “After all, teachers are operating with our children each day.” He wants to cut through the unions and emphasis that protects teachers and a system, over tackling the systemic issues at hand — considering student graduation, aptitudes, and attitude for what they draw from education.

To get more revenues into the school system, he proposes selling the air rights above schools to private investors — in order to renovate far more school buildings with private sector funds.

photo-2Mr. Allon is an advocate for economic and job development, and for continuing what’s working with the City’s approaches vs. crime. However, he offered improvements for example how Mr. Allon feels newest NYPD shouldn’t be sent to the most challenged areas, because they have the least amount of training. When his performance in the aforementioned Housing/Mayoral forum was raised, he recalled how upon listening to the Democrats’ rants vs. NYCHA’s Commissioner and misappropriation of funds/repair schedules, etc., he called for all candidates to join him that very next day in demanding his resignation from Mayor Bloomberg. They were silent.

He spoke of how he’d want to approach the many unions with contracts due for negotiation, in response to a question that evoked the first years of Mayor Lindsey. When he was asked to define his toughness, overall…he gave one of his most memorable lines of the evening. “I’ve been in Board Rooms with some of the toughest businessman that NYC has seen. Put it this way, I am Israel. I’m peaceful, and intelligent dialogue is of the utmost importance. But cross me or attack, and I won’t hold back and level where you live.” Delivered calmly, it added a perspective that made attendees (later on) take notice and comment that he would be stronger on union contracts and give/take than they believed earlier.

At times, BRC meetings exceed anyone’s expectations. The candor of both candidates, and openness to answer any question (in detail and length) – left many with a great feeling about what’s to unfold in the Mayoral primary and race ahead.

One such reaction came from a retired NY public school teacher and faithful Democrat who was attending her political meeting of any kind: “both candidates were very interesting and considerable and more people honestly need to hear about Tom Allon – they certainly will, from me.”

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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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