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Protestors slam Rep. Donovan outside Dyker office

Lack of communication: Sisters Eriola and Ina Pira have made several calls to Dan Donovan’s offices to try to meet with the congressman, but have had no success.
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Protestors clogged 13th Avenue in front of Rep. Dan Donovan’s (R–Bay Ridge) Dyker Heights office on Tuesday demanding the legislator meet with his constituents and defend his controversial support of President Trump’s immigration ban and congressional Republicans’ quest to undo the Affordable Care Act.

Locals want a chance to sound off to the lawmaker, but Donovan has refused to host a true public forum, one voter said.

“I think Congressman Donovan is acting without import from his constituents in Brooklyn,” said Bay Ridgite Greg Bernardi, who teaches history at a Bensonhurst high school. “I think it’s important to let him know there are constituents here looking to influence his positions. And it’s important that we understand where he’s coming from. Is he toeing the party line? I want to hear the reasoning behind his decisions.”

Donovan did hold a public call-in on Feb. 16, taking 18 questions on topics such as health care, immigration, Trump’s travel ban, and climate change, according to a spokesman with Donovan’s office. But the so-called “telephone town hall” was poorly organized and did not allow for back-and-forth dialogue, said one Bay Ridgite.

“It was a mess,” said Ina Pira, who came out to the rally with her sister. “They e-mailed us about it hours before it happened. You needed to enter a code to get through, and there was no indication of when to expect that call. I missed it. We ended up listening to it on speakerphone through someone else. And people couldn’t ask follow-up questions. It just didn’t seem like a good way for him to talk to his constituents — it’d be easier if he just met with us.”

Donovan — who was actually a mile away touring the Guild for Exceptional Children during Tuesday’s protest — was heckled at a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce breakfast earlier this month for his political stance. The mockery left a sour taste in his mouth, and Donovan now fears any large-scale town hall will devolve into mayhem.

“At the last event there were 40 people who had to be escorted out by police and that’s not a town hall — that’s people yelling at him and not letting him speak. That’s not a conversation — that’s a protest,” said Patrick Ryan. “We’ve said all along that anyone who wants to share their views, sit down with him in person is welcome to do that and some of the organizers of today’s protest are meeting with the congressman later today.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

Posted 12:00 am, February 22, 2017
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Reader feedback

Lorie Honor from Stapleton, Staten Island says:
The rally was planned in collaboration with 2 grassroots organizations, one from Brooklyn and one from Staten Island.
It would be unfortunate to not inform your readers that when Staten Island and Brooklyn talk and collaborate, momentum builds and change occurs.
Lorie Honor
Staten Island Women who March
co-sponsor of the rally for Town Hall and in support of ACA
Feb. 22, 2017, 11:31 am
Lorie Honor from Stapleton, Staten Island says:
I think your article would be remiss in not adding that the rally was sponsored by 2 grassroots organizations, Fight Back Bay Ridge and Staten Island Women who March, led by Sally Mc Mahon and myself, Lorie Honor, respectively. The collaboration is significant as we move forward together still asking congressman Donovan to hear constituent concerns from BOTH sides of the Verrazano Bridge! And while I am LOATHE to talk about crowd size, the police estimated that there were between 200-250 constituents in attendance. Not bad for a Tuesday work day.

Patrick Ryan at the rally yesterday. He was outside his office all day. Looking down at his phone for 2 hours, despite heart-wrenching constituent testimonials in support of ACA being spoken in the street 10 feet away and the opportunity given him to address the crowd of constituents gathered at his door. Mr. Ryan is mistaken if this looks likes Mr. Donovan is interested in hearing from his constituents because, while it is lovely that the Congressman was visiting a school yesterday morning, his official schedule slated him to be in his office. We have a feeling we know why he amended his schedule.

Lorie Honor
co-organzier of Rally for Town Hall and in support of ACA
Staten Island Women who March
Feb. 22, 2017, 12:07 pm
Jelly says:
Listen Snowflakes, I used to live in a Congressional District in Brooklyn where the Representative never had town hall meetings and all he cared about was gay rights and other liberal causes. He did not represent my interests or values. When I called to tell them I was more concerned about job growth and the economy I was treated with hostility. Too bad if Rep Donovan doesn't cow tow to your demands. Grow up and stop acting like sore losers.
Feb. 22, 2017, 4:40 pm
Regina Paleau from Westerleigh, Staten Island says:
Dear Jelly, We are grown ups who would love to be doing something else with our time rather than fighting for a basic right for all Americans, including you and those you love, Jelly. We are not sore losers, we are winners because we don't make one phone call and go home to nurse our wounds because that didn't change the world - we keep on speaking out and working for what we believe in, Jelly.
Imagine if in 1776 the American colonists had said, "Well King George doesn't have our best interests in mind, but we'll just have to accept that." Our country and liberties were hard one, by people who gave their lives for these ideals. We follow in their footsteps, protecting our rights and standing up to injustice. (And fyi, you will be taken more seriously if you use your name, rather than hide behind a condiment. It's okay to disagree with us - but own it. That's the grown up thing to do)
Feb. 22, 2017, 4:59 pm
Jelly says:
Basic rights for Americans or illegals? How come my former rep Jerrold Nadler didn't hold meetings several years ago when many of his constituents including me were out of work? Instead I go emails about gay marriage so he could impress his upper west side wealthy constituency. As for the affordable care act, how do you know it doesn't need reform? Have you read the whole act? I doubt it. In the USA you shouldn't be forced to have health insurance or do anything else you don't want. Making people pay a fine for not having insurance is sheer tyranny. And they call trump a dictator.
Feb. 22, 2017, 9:40 pm
Hillary from Prison says:
how ugly are those 2 liberal snowflake scumbags?!?!?!? get ready,... here comes THE WALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Feb. 23, 2017, 12:54 am
Brooklyn Gal from Bay Ridge says:
There will be a town hall in front of Donovan's office (7308 13th Avenue, Brooklyn) starting at 1pm on February 25. Go to Moveon.org to rsvp.
Feb. 23, 2017, 8:59 am
Jelly says:
And where was Justn Brenan? Eating donuts across the street playing on phone?
Feb. 23, 2017, 12:50 pm
Derrick from Manhattan says:
I only jumped on here to reply to this "Jelly" posting silly comments. I think EVERY gov official had a problem with unemployment in their areas, but certainly that couldn't have been the only issue. If it offends you that a gov official would have an interest in "Gay Rights", you may certainly leave to a more "comfortable" environment, maybe the MidWest?

And regarding the ACA comment, why not require everyone to have it? If not, guess who will pay? ALL OF US regardless.

To tell a CITIZEN to sit down and shut up, it NOT AMERICA. The gov works for us, not the other way around sir.
Feb. 23, 2017, 12:58 pm
pancho from brooklyn says:
I think all you dem should all go back to the mid west or were ever the hell you come from and take the LGBT people with you and leave us city people alone we don't like anyone forceing anything on anyone specially when it comes down to my kids school bathrooms we have rights too all you want to do is push the blacks and Hispanics out of the inner city and that we'll ever happen
Feb. 23, 2017, 1:57 pm
The Real Jelly not the imposter says:
Hey Derrick,

Remember the economic implosion recession caused by bad loans and bad regulation etc. That was my gripe with Nadler. I am not against his zeal for gay rights. I simply think that there were bigger problems a few years ago that were more important than gay marriage. Yes every district has employment problems You rich high paid Manhattan people might have skated by the recession. Many of us all over the country have felt its effects and are still trying to get out of the rut like my credit debt that I never had before the 2008 economic implosion.
Feb. 23, 2017, 2:55 pm
ROSALIE907 from GRAVESEND says:
Jelly, you lose any credibility you may have had when you call us "snowflakes." You need to grow up.
Feb. 24, 2017, 12:14 am
Jelly says:
Who is us? People who don't get there way and cry about it are the ones who have to grow up. I hope you get your town hall but realize there are others in your district who disagree with you. If your Rep doesn't agree with you vote against him in the next election.
Feb. 24, 2017, 1:32 am
Chris from Dyker Heights says:
Everyone who lives in Dyker Heights knew this was staged. We're not impressed either. I guess no1 bothered to look at the electoral map by disctrict. These people are well in the RED, they should know better. Are you saying Mr. Donovan should listen to the small percentage of people protesting outside his office or the majority of his constituents that expressed their feelings on election? Are these peoples opinions more important that the majority of others in this disctrict? Luckily the majority rules in a democracy even though these people believe otherwise. You have a few options, relocate, deal with it, or get more people to vote like you next time around. Stop clogging up our avenue with this, we see enough of it on the news. All you are doing is hurting local small business with your eye sore.
Feb. 27, 2017, 12:46 pm
Costa from Bay Ridge says:
Conscious Constituents made a video about how much of a JOKE these tele-town halls are. Find it on YouTube, search "conscious constituents donovan".

I don't think this is an issue of liberals telling conservatives what to do and think, rather it's an issue of constituents sharing their opinions and beliefs with their representative in the House. I stand with these constituents, and I am gravely concerned that our Representative Dan Donovan is not listening to constituents and not accurately representing us. Every day, our president proves he is unfit for his office, and every day that Rep Donovan does not protest this with his voice and his votes represents another log to fuel the fires of unrest in District 11. It's crazy what conservatives and republicans are letting Trump and his posse get away with in terms of making the rich richer and the poor poorer.

Even if you've voted republican all your life, you have the chance to repair our economy. Vote for the candidate that will raise taxes on the rich and increase minimum wage. This is the only issue you need to pay attention to, because this is not an issue of conservatives vs liberals (that's what Trump and the GOP and even some of the Democrats want's us all to think) this is about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Let's not get confused here, lets all stay sharp, because we are letting the rich rob us all blind.
March 7, 2017, 12:06 pm

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