Republican City Council candidate Bob Capano demanded an apology from Councilmember Vincent Gentile this week for allegedly using Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton army garrison as a “political venue” — during an annual picnic at the base.
“Vinny Gentile should know better then to bring his candidate for mayor, Bill Thompson, to campaign at a military base. This is an insult to the men and women that serve our country, as well as to the constituents of the 43rd Council District,” Capano charged. But Assemblymember Peter Abbate said Capano is the one playing politics. “I spoke to Bill Thompson’s aide and I was the one who invited him,” Democrat Abbate said.
NY1 News reported that a Thompson campaign spokesman said, “Bill was invited to a senior event hosted by Councilmember Gentile today at Fort Hamilton Park. We were not aware of Fort Hamilton’s no campaigning policy.”
Abbate said the picnics have been a tradition for the past 18 years, and elected officials like Senators Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer and Rep. Jerrold Nadler have attended — election year or not. “There is no campaigning at the picnics,” Abbate said. “I make that clear.”
A longtime political veteran breaks down the runoff for public advocate between Bill De Blasio and Mark Green this way: “Who cares?”
“Green’s support is based on name recognition, which helps most when people are coming out to vote for something else — and no one is.” De Blasio, on the other hand, has “every f---ing union, the Working Families Party army plus, whatever Vito [Lopez] and the Bronx can muster.” Meanwhile, Green has “no ground troops and no money,” the source noted.
Green, the usually astute source continued, “will be lucky to get the percentage he got in the initial election.” The former public advocate’s raising of serious — and justified — queries about de Blasio campaign contributors who are also recipients of taxpayer largess will likely fall on deaf ears, the source notes. “This might work if there were something else bringing voters out — but you are asking voters to come out to vote against a guy they never heard of in favor of a guy they never really liked.”
A few years back, City Council member Vincent Gentile, a Democrat, promoted a group formed to help with his re-election, entitled Republicans for Gentile.
This year, the tables have turned, as Gentile’s Republican opponent, Bob Capano, has unveiled a new group intended to help his candidacy, Democrats for Capano.
And, perhaps not surprisingly, the head of that group is Harriet Rosenberg, an outspoken Bay Ridge resident with years of community involvement.
Rosenberg announced her support for Capano at a press conference held just before the September meeting of Community Board 10, to which she belonged for 25 years till Gentile chose not to renew her appointment, last year.
At the time, Rosenberg had expressed her anger at her dismissal at a meeting of CB 10, telling members, “I was surprised and saddened to have been removed, retired, dismissed from the board by Councilman Gentile.”
A year and a half later, Rosenberg praised Capano for “work(ing) closely with our community when he served under Borough Presidents Howard Golden and Marty Markowitz.
“Bob,” she went on, “was always responsive to the needs of Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights, and I know he will always put neighborhoods over politics.”
While Gentile’s campaign declined to comment on the announcement, Capano contended that Rosenberg’s support demonstrates that, “My campaign transcends party lines.”
“I’m honored to have Harriet on board,” he added, promising that the campaign would be, “Rolling out more and more people in the days and weeks ahead.”
The Working Families Party was one of the big winners on election night for the Democratic Primary, as two Council candidates, Jumaane Williams (D-45th) and Brad Lander (D-39th District) won by double digit margins while all three citywide candidates, Bill de Blasio (Public Advocate), Billy Thompson (Mayor), and John Liu (Comptroller) on the party’s line outpaced their rivals.
The work is far from over, as both de Blasio and Queens Council member Liu face runoff elections in two weeks against the second highest vote getters, Mark Green and Council member David Yassky.Yassky has already received the endorsement of one former rival, Council member Melinda Katz, but Working Families Party officials promised to devote heavy resources into the race to support Liu.
Dan Levitan, a spokesperson with the WFP, said the results “exceeded everyone’s expectations and we’re incredibly happy about it,” before saying there was more to do.He dismissed questions regarding an investigative piece run by City Hall News into the fund-raising practices of the organization as having little to do with the outcome of the primary for WFP-backed candidates.
“The people talking about that the most were the opponents in these races, and voters chose to vote for people working for the issues and not running a negative campaign,” said Levitan.
Word is out that City Council member Kendall Stewart %u2013 who was trounced in last week’s Democratic primary %u2013 has refused to concede to challenger Jumaane Williams, who bested the incumbent by over 1,100 votes, according to preliminary returns.
“He hasn’t called me,” Williams confirmed. “I think he’s going to wait till it’s official.”
Indeed, Stewart told the Daily News that he would await the official tally before acknowledging a loss, contending, according to the paper, “It’s somewhat high. Something is wrong.”
His lack of graciousness isn’t winning him friends in the Brooklyn political world. Indeed, Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, who supported Williams, sent out a statement urging Stewart to bite the bullet.
“Kendall Stewart, who lost by more than 1,000 votes, should concede the election and take his beating like a man,” Jeffries contended. “It is amazing that Dr. Stewart, a certified podiatrist, is constantly putting his foot in his mouth.”
Even Stewart’s own supporters were talking about his position, the day after the election, and one said that he was unlikely ever to concede to Williams, who was one of five challengers to face him.
That same supporter questioned Stewart’s decision, a year earlier, to challenge State Senator Kevin Parker. In that race, Stewart came in a distant third, behind Parker and City Council member Simcha Felder, with 13.7 percent of the vote. “I don’t know what he thought he was doing,” the Stewart supporter remarked.
Stewart entered the City Council primary as something of an underdog, despite being the incumbent, thanks to guilty pleas on the part of two aides, charged last year with embezzling public funds allocated by Stewart to a not-for-profit organization one of them ostensibly headed up.
He also carried the baggage of being one of 29 councilmembers who voted to extend term limits.
While our reporters scoured the borough to cover the victories of Brad Lander for the 39th District in Park Slope, Steve Levin for the 33rd District in Brooklyn Heights and Williamsburg, how Mathieu Eugene kept his 40th District seat in East Flatbush and the big upset in the 45th where Jumaane Williams bested incumbent Kendall Stewart in Flatbush’s 45th District, there were several other races of note across Brooklyn.
Here’s the rundown:
District 34 (Bushwick): Diana Reyna secured her position in the City Council by receiving 45.5 percent of the vote, squeaking by challenger Maritza Davila, whose campaign benefitted from the support of Brooklyn Democratic boss Vito Lopez.
District 35 (Fort Greene): City Council member Letitia James destroyed her competition, securing 81 percent of the vote. Delia Hunley Adossa, president of the 88th Precinct Community Council and longtime supporter of the Atlantic Yards (James is against the project) received 13.8 percent of the vote.
District 38 (Sunset Park): Incumbent Sara Gonzalez bested challenger Robinson Iglesias by collecting 63.2 percent of the 3414 votes cast.
District 41 (Bedford-Stuyvesant, East Flatbush): The empire didn’t strike back. Tracy Boyland, heiress to one of the biggest political dynasties in the city, didn’t manage to usurp incumbent Darlene Mealy. Mealy secured 37 percent of the vote. Boyland was a close second, receiving 35 percent of the vote.
District 42 (East New York): Former Black Panther Charles Barron clawed his way to the top spot, securing over 50 percent of the vote. His five challengers carved up the remaining 50 percent, with the biggest piece going to candidate Regina Powell. Candidate Donnezzetta Brown got the crumbs, securing just 4.6 percent.
As candidates in the 33rd District in Brooklyn Heights and the 39th District in Park Slope scrambled for every last vote Tuesday, several incumbents just breezed through Primary Day.
City Councilmembers Domenic Recchia (D-Coney Island), Lew Fidler (D-Marine Park), Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge), Simcha Felder (D-Borough Park) and Michael Nelson (D-Sheepshead Bay, Midwood) spent the day not worrying about a thing, except, perhaps, what they were going to have for lunch.
Also on the list was Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes, who wasn’t seen on the ballot because no one challenged him in the primary. He is also running unopposed in November, supporters said.
The challenge-free election season couldn’t come at a better time for Hynes, who is recuperating from heart surgery and has been laying low over the last few weeks, although he made a point to be seen at last week’s Caribbean Day parade.
In honor of VH1’s Divas concert held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last week, Borough President Marty Markowitz declared September 17 “VH1 Divas Celebration Day in Brooklyn, USA.”
A proclamation presented at the show reads, “On behalf of all Brooklynites, I salute the incomparable hostess Paula Abdul, Divas Adele, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Kelly Clarkson, Leona Lewis, and Miley Cyrus...I deeply thank the VH1 Divas for gracing the world with their music, their talent, inner beauty and determination, providing role models for so many young women and girls around the world.”
Gotta love that “Hannah Montana.”
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