Quaglione speaking at the rally. (Source: johnquaglione.com)
Last weekend’s rally against the proposed Southwest Brooklyn Marine Waste Transfer Station near Ceasar’s Bay may have been a unifying experience for many in the community, but one City Council candidate who took a rhetorical swing at his opponent during the event is now coming under attack by the rally’s organizer, Assemblyman William Colton.
While elected officials and political candidates of all stripes largely kept their statements to their opposition of the proposed station for health and safety reasons, John Quaglione, an aide to State Senator Marty Golden and a Republican candidate looking to unseat Councilman Vincent Gentile, took a swipe at the incumbent, as we reported yesterday.
“This is totally ludicrous. If you are waiting for Christine Quinn to get here, you’re going to wait a long time,” Quaglione said during the rally, according to the Home Reporter. “Every Brooklyn City Council member voted for this proposal, except for Domenic Recchia. Remember that when you vote in November.”
Quaglione reiterated his criticism on his Facebook page, this time naming his opponent.
I was surprised to see my opponent, Councilman Vincent Gentile at the rally against the Waste Transfer Station approved for Bensonhurst, because in 2006, he voted to support this very same waste transfer station. I don’t understand how in his right mind, he could even show up at a rally, and better yet, address the audience as those he is on their side and against it.
Flip flopping on this issue is a failure of character, and if the plan goes through, Mr. Gentile will have to explain why the people of Southwest Brooklyn must face a new series of serious quality of life and health concerns.
I have and remain opposed to this plan, and look forward to working with Assemblyman Bill Colton and others to stop this before it’s too late.
Since the initial post, Quaglione made several other posts to the social networking site to similar effect.
Colton fumed that Quaglione dared turned the issue into a divisive one, issuing an all-caps e-mail statement condemning Quaglione’s behavior, although he refused to name the candidate.
Here’s the relevant portion of that statement:
AT THE RALLY NUMEROUS COMMUNITY AND CIVIC LEADERS WERE PERMITTED TO SPEAK. HOWEVER IT HAS COME TO MY ATTENTIION THAT ONE SUCH PERSON WHO HAPPENS TO BE A CANDIDATE FOR CITY COUNCIL HAS POSTED MATERIAL ON HIS FACEBOOK ACCOUNT ATTEMPTING TO TURN OUR FIGHT INTO A POLITICAL FOOTBALL. I CONDEMN EFFORTS TO DIVIDE THE COMMUNITY BY USING THIS CRITICAL ISSUE AS A FORUM OF ATTACKING OTHERS. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE WHEN THE CANDIDATE RUNNING FOR THE 43 COUNCIL DISTRICT SEAT HAD NOT WORKED WITH US IN THE PAST YEARS IN WHICH OUR COMMUNITY COALITION HAS BEEN ORGANIZING PETITIONS AND RALLIES AGAINST THIS DANGEROUS PLAN, UNTIL NOW WHEN HE IS RUNNING FOR OFFICE. THIS PATTERN OF CONDUCT SERVES TO DIVIDE RATHER THAN UNITE THE COMMUNITY IN ITS EFFORTS TO PROTECT THE NEIGHBORHOOD FROM THE IMPACTS OF THIS PROPSOED GARBAGE STATION IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
In an interview with Bensonhurst Bean, Colton added that he’d speak out against anyone who sought to use the issue in a partisan manner, Democrat or Republican.
“I have no patience and no tolerance for anyone who uses it to attack anyone else. It should be an opportunity for all of us to unite to save the community from the environmental damage [the transfer station] will cause,” he said.
Though Gentile has already addressed the criticism, saying he voted in favor of the transfer station in 2006 because, at the time, there was no evidence of health or safety concerns, he elaborated on that statement yesterday in an interview with Bensonhurst Bean.
According to the councilman, the only community concern at the time of the 2006 vote was that it would bring traffic and congestion to the area as trucks funneled in. He said that he brokered a deal with the Sanitation Department to mitigate the noise and traffic, leading to his vote of support. But once his colleague Colton uncovered evidence of toxic sludge that could be dredged up in the bay, he changed his mind he said.
“You can’t be a stick in the mud. When new evidence comes up regarding the health and safety of the residents, it would be irresponsible to go forward and vote for it,” Gentile said.
View the full statement from Assemblyman Colton.