Tag Archives: Republican primary

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”


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.


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.


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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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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(NY Times endorsement) “For Republicans, Joseph Lhota”

26 Aug

The following is verbatim from Sunday’s New York Times


“For Republicans, Joseph Lhota

You might find it odd to see this page endorsing the mayoral candidacy of Joseph Lhota, a Republican who made his mark in politics as right-hand man and chief enabler to Rudolph Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani, a two-term mayor of uncommon nastiness, has seen his once-formidable reputation shrink to a pinpoint, to the things he did on and around one terrible September day more than a decade ago. But Mr. Lhota is more than the sum of his years as Mr. Giuliani’s top deputy, and he is the best qualified of the three men seeking the Republican nomination for mayor.

Few people know better than Mr. Lhota how city government works. He was an expert budget director for Mr. Giuliani, and then became deputy mayor for operations.

In 2011 and 2012, he ran the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which, under his leadership, recovered amazingly quickly from the damage done by Hurricane Sandy.

Mr. Lhota, son of a New York City cop, is not a glad-handing pol, but a practical and efficient one. When The Times’s editorial board interviewed candidates for the mayoral endorsement, it asked them to supply one practical idea to improve the quality of life in New York. Some were flustered. Not Mr. Lhota, who gave an instant, excellent answer: park-and-ride lots at the far ends of subway lines, to coax drivers at the city’s edges onto mass transit.

Mr. Lhota is running against John Catsimatidis, billionaire grocer, and George McDonald, founder of The Doe Fund, which gives homeless New Yorkers a job and a bed. Mr. McDonald has had an admirable career, though not one that remotely qualifies him to run New York City, and we wish he would do better at hiding his contempt for some of his opponents. When he called Anthony Weiner a “self-pleasuring freak” and got to the brink of a shoving match, he inspired audiences to boo him, not Mr. Weiner, which was quite a feat.

Being mayor requires a thick skin, good humor and the ability to show or feign graciousness. Mr. Catsimatidis, an affable man, is good at that. He likes to call his fund-raisers “friend-raisers,” and it doesn’t sound ludicrous. He also promises to make this city of eight million people a cleaner, well-run, thriving place, but we won’t take him seriously until he shows he can do that at Gristedes.

Mr. Lhota has had to live down his reputation as Mr. Giuliani’s enforcer, as when he shamefully threatened to cut off funds to the Brooklyn Museum over artwork that offended the administration. He surely knows and possibly regrets that his loyalty to his old boss has complicated his current ambitions. Asked recently by The Times to name his favorite mayor, Mr. Lhota said Fiorello La Guardia. If he embodies the traits he admires in the Little Flower — “He took off his jacket, he rolled up his sleeves, and he took care of all New Yorkers,” Mr. Lhota said — he could do well in City Hall.”


(From BRC)

Interesting is that the Times calls Catsimatidis the “billionaire grocer” when he’s stated that “only 3%” of his current worth is owed to it? The Times reserves mention of his “Oil Refinery/business” and ample “real estate development”. Both topics are habitual red-meat for Democrats. The 97% would probably come as grist for the mill should he win — maybe as part of their assured general endorsement of the Dem. primary winner?  Let’s try and get the man who can lead on Day 1, front and center.

We urge you to relay to your friends, co-workers, neighbors and relatives – that Joe Lhota is the clear choice in the September 10th Republican primary.

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Surprising vids of Catsimatidis – rare mentions of Oil business, and courting votes upstate

23 Aug

An interview on TV’s Kudlow Report (sent via email/link by the Catsimatidis Campaign) led to the discovery of the following YouTube videos, appearing on successive web-pages and in the public domain. Below, you can find 3 videos — raw footage and a chronicle of the pursuit of support within Jewish orthodox communities. He calls Joe Lhota “mean-spirited” in doing so, and repeats his admirations for President Clinton.

In the first video below, Kudlow briefly mentions his ownership of United Refining Company headquartered in Pennsylvania. (This has been an aspect that the Catsimatidis campaign has been very shrewd to down-play.) During one visit to Brownstone, in fact, his campaign mentioned that the “grocer business is only 3% of his interests“.  Although not an issue in the GOP primary, in a general election we wonder how the Democrats and Media would treat a billionaire Republican who represents both Big Oil and Real Estate/Development, all rolled in himself.

Vid 1 — “Kudlow Report” August 21, 2013



Mr. Catsimatidis’ visits upstate mostly, during early and mid-August – to rally votes back in NYC. Mr. Catsimatidis also brings a message that Mr. Lhota is somehow “mean-spirited. “I don’t refer to police as mall cops.” Also: “I was a Clinton Democrat. He was the smartest President we ever had.” 

Vid 2 — YouTube – “Joe Lhota Must Calm Down” August 4, 2013



Vid 3 — You Tube – “Tours Jewish Strongholds in the Catskills” (Monticello, NY) Aug. 11, 2013


In this video, John Catsimatidis says his Oil company “provides most of the petroleum need between Pittsburgh and Buffalo”. The Rabbi asks why doesn’t he “switch to solar”? This easy conversation may be a point, in a general election. (Then following there’s a video stump speech.)


Vid 4 — YouTube – “Tours Jewish Strongholds” Aug. 5, 2013


John Catsimatidis: “If I depended on Gristedes I’d be driving a bicycle!” After hearing of plans of a John Catsimatidis Park upstate responds: “Help me to be Mayor and I don’t forget my friends.”


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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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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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