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Candidates spar over limits of term limits at forum

Making his pitch: Democratic candidate Andrew Gounardes tells the crowd why they should vote for him next month to oust state Sen. Marty Golden during a candidate forum on Oct. 3.
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Brooklyn’s lone Republican state senator wants term limits on state pols — but not for him.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), who is running for his ninth term to represent parts of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay up in Albany, told a roomful of voters during a candidates forum on Oct. 3 that he’d support term limits for a Democratic legislator with more than three decades under his belt, but that he’s still got years of public service ahead of him.

“I’d be in favor, we did term limits in the city Council, I’d be in favor of term limits in the state legislature — for offices paid in the state of New York,” Golden said during the forum hosted by the Bay Ridge Inter-agency Council on Aging at the Fort Hamilton Senior Center. “One of the supporters is Peter Abbate, he’s got 36 years, it’s time to move on for him, not me, I’m only here 16.”

A rep for Golden didn’t respond to exactly how many years in office would suffice before the sitting pol was ready to step down, but said his boss does support putting a cap on the number of terms an elected official can serve, especially for leadership roles in Albany.

“Sen. Golden has always supported term limits, and still does,” said Michael Tobman. “Within the framework of what the law currently is, however, he will not unilaterally limit his public service.”

Golden’s challenger for a second time, however, Bay Ridgite Andrew Gounardes said he’d only back term limits for executive positions such mayor and governor, and that giving constituents the opportunity to kick politicians out of office through elections is good enough.

“We have term limits already and they are called elections, and they happen every two years,” said Gounardes, who was endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo after besting his competitor Ross Barkan in last month’s Democratic primary. “We need to make it easier for people to participate in the voting process so they can hold their elected officials more accountable on a two-year basis.”

The three-hour forum — during which candidates for the Bay Ridge Congressional race, and Bay Ridge and Coney Island Assembly races were also invited to speak — nearly came to blows when Golden told constituent Mallory McMahon, who is a founding member of liberal political group Fight Back Bay Ridge, that he doesn’t have time to meet with her because she is a “Democratic operative.”

“I’m sorry, I’m too busy for you,” Golden said to jeers from the crowd, after McMahon questioned why his office has given her the run-around as she has tried since February set up a meeting. “She agrees with me on nothing and I have a very busy office.”

But Gounardes said he would welcome meetings with all constituents, even if they don’t see eye to eye.

“That’s just a no-brainer, even if someone doesn’t agrees with me, we’re not all gonna agree on every single thing,” said Gounardes to rounds of applause — and he later clarified that McMahon has never volunteered nor worked for his campaign after such accusations following the heated exchange with Golden. “But that’s okay, that’s the way the system is supposed to work, but what’s not supposed to happen, we’re not supposed to ignore those who disagree with us, we’re not supposed to ignore those who make us feel uncomforta­ble.”

During their closing arguments, Gounardes urged voters to cast their ballots for him on the Nov. 6 if they are unhappy with the status quo, while Golden told the room that flipping the senate from red to blue would ruin lives.

“If we get the Democrats to take hold of the Senate it would be the worst thing to happen to us, and would be the worst thing to happen to our community,” said Golden, who blasted Cuomo as corrupt on the heels of the governor backing Gounardes. “This is what you want in Albany? This is what you want?”

Meanwhile, incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R–Bay Ridge) — facing a stiff challenge from Democrat Max Rose, who was recently endorsed by former Vice President Joe Biden — failed to make an appearance because he was at an “important foreign affairs commitment in Washington,” according to his campaign rep Jessica Proud, although social media shows he was on Staten Island for another event.

And the Democratic nominee for the vacant Coney Island Assembly seat, Mathylde Frontus — who beat out establishment-backed candidate Ethan Lustig-Elgrably in the primary by just 51 votes — also had the floor to herself because her Republican opponent, Steve Saperstein, had just welcomed a baby girl the day before the forum.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Posted 12:00 pm, October 5, 2018
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Reader feedback

Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
I'm trying to decide if Andrew Gounardes is knee-deep in Lala land or just a ploy to get elected. Probably the latter. Why would any normal thinking person believe that a group of people who write the laws in this city/state are going to pass a bill that's going to be detrimental to their own livelihood. Our forefathers never envisioned career politicians when they wrote the laws of this land. Now this country is full of career politicians who serve term after term, decade after decade and only time you see or hear of these "servants of the people" is at election time when they come out and campaigned with the topic of the day. Promising and promising to fix everything and everyone. Just think my fellow Americans that after more than 200 years they would've fixed it by now. In 2007, the last time I read a survey like this it showed that only 17% of the American people were happy with the way things were going in the House and Senate. After the next election 92% of all incumbents that ran for reelection were voted back into office. It is no wonder that these politicians look upon us as gullible and naïve and yes sometimes stupid constituents who have the memory of a gnat.
Oct. 5, 11:41 am
Gerdie says:
Bob from Gerritsen Beach has a direct line to the Forefathers
Oct. 5, 3:43 pm
Bob from Gerritsen Beach says:
You're right Gerdie I do have a direct line to our forefathers and it's called reading. On this subject it's reading history books and not just listening to talking heads on the radio to get my information. I would imagine you did have a hard time dealing with my comment because it was A-political. May I suggest you turn off your radio and pick-up a book and actually use the brains you were born with to come to your own conclusions whatever they may be. I can assure you that I am much older than you are and I have been around when the working person had a much easier time raising a family and they do now. And I can also assure you that at the end of the day these politicians, no matter how harshly they talk to each other for public consumption, sit down together and count their money while the working classes quality of life continue to decline.
Oct. 5, 8:21 pm
Harry Grimek from Bay Ridge says:
This is a more accurate and less biased, less-Anti-Golden, than some other accounts I have read. Yes, I was there. This article failed to mention that Gounardes started shouting at Golden who was at the podium when Golden linked him to Cuomo who endorsed Gounardes. Golden pointed out all the criminals Cuomo pardoned or released by his parole board (whom he appointed).This got Gounardes very agitated. Max Rose was also there earlier. He sounded like you basic liberal, although less crazy than most.
Oct. 5, 8:58 pm
Sarah from Windsor Terracee says:
I wonder why y'all aren't talking about how local Republicans are running a little mini Russia- Trump operation in Bay Ridge. They use fake accounts, post fake news stories, plant hypodermic needles, etc. They are trying to scare the people by turning Bay Ridge into "Fear City" so people will vote Republican to restore "law and order". Y'all should write about THAT
Oct. 5, 9:09 pm
Julianne Cuba takes terrible photos says:
I've heard of 2 internal polls one that has Gounardes up by 6 one that has Golden up by 4 Either way Uncle Marty is in trouble and everybody is feeling the heat I'm told Kassar is breaking out his special Members Only jacket for the final month
Oct. 6, 9:52 am

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