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Archive for the tag 'elections 2013'

de Blasio (Source: Streets Blog)

Well, if you’ve managed to stay away from the television, radio, newsstands, social media or any website geared towards New York residents, here’s the list of citywide and borough winners from last night’s election, as well as those in Southern Brooklyn races:

  • Bill de Blasio (Mayor)
  • Letitia James (Public Advocate)
  • Scott Stringer (Comptroller)
  • Eric Adams (Brooklyn Borough Presidnet)
  • Kenneth Thompson (Brooklyn District Attorney)
  • Chaim Deutsch (CD48)
  • Vincent Gentile (CD43)
  • Mark Treyger (CD47)
  • Alan Maisel (CD46)
  • David Greenfield (CD44)
  • Jumaane Williams (CD45)

What do you think? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Or a whole new era for Brooklyn and New York City?

Let us know in the comments below.

Councilman Vincent Gentile, Source: council.nyc.gov

Councilman Vincent Gentile, Source: council.nyc.gov

It was a hard fought victory, but Councilman Vincent Gentile won reelection to a third term last night, defeating Republican opponent John Quaglione by 5,476 votes, a 27.1 point margin.

Now to be the most senior member of the City Council, the incumbent Democrat earned a seal of approval for his record in the community, despite strong criticism from his opponent.

“The hardworking people of the 43rd District have spoken and renewed my contract! I am absolutely honored to continue representing Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bath Beach and Bensonhurst in the New York City Council,” Gentile said in an e-mail to Bensonhurst Bean. “Since day one, I have worked to make our community the best place to live, work, and raise a family and I will make it my duty to continue this fight for the next four years. You gave me your vote and I give you my word: I will always put the 43rd first.”

Quaglione, an aide to State Senator Marty Golden, ran a campaign critical of Gentile, slamming him for what he depicted as a lackluster record despite a decade in office.

The Republican hit Gentile repeatedly for losing out on discretionary funding for the neighborhood, saying that the community slipped to 50th out of 51 districts in the amount of funding it received. He also made hay out of Gentile’s 2006 vote to support the Gravesend Bay Waste Transfer Terminal before eventually opposing it, and allowing quality of life in the community to decline.

But voters backed up Gentile, not Quaglione, apparently giving approval to Gentile’s record, as well as his history of quarreling with Council leadership, which, he said, accounted for the discretionary funding cuts from a vindictive speaker.

Voters also gave the A-O-K to Gentile’s third term, which the councilman argued would put him in a Council leadership position to obtain more resources for the neighborhoods he serves.

Aside from Gentile, other Democratic candidates for City Council had a satisfying night in Southern Brooklyn, despite the fact that it’s one of few areas where Republican Joe Lhota took a sizable percentage of the vote in his race for mayor.

Here are the other results of other Southern Brooklyn City Council races:

43rd District (Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Dyker Heights)

  • Vincent Gentile (D) – 12,638 votes (62.7%)
  • John Quaglione (R) – 7,162 votes (35.6%)
  • Patrick Dwyer (Gm) – 342 votes (1.7%)

44th District (Borough Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst)

  • David Greenfield (D) – 13,638 (82%)
  • Joseph Hayon (R) – 2,990 (18%)

45th District (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood)

  • Jumaane Williams (D) – 19,889 (96.8%)
  • Erlene King (R) – 664 (3.2%)

46th District (Mill Basin, Marine Park, Canarsie)

  • Alan Maisel (D) – 19,746 (80.3%)
  • Anthony Testaverde – 4,834 (19.7%)

47th District (Coney Island, Gravesend, Bensonhurst, Brighton Beach)

  • Mark Treyger (D) – 8,267 (71.2%)
  • Andrew Sullivan (R) – 3,112 (26.8%)
  • Connis Mobley (ScC) – 224 (1.9%)

48th District (Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Brighton Beach, Midwood)

  • Chaim Deutsch (D) – 9,361 (55.1%)
  • David Storobin (R) – 6,645 (39.1%)
  • Igor Oberman (WF) – 850 (5%)
  • Alexander Lotovsky (Other) – 138 (0.8%)

With tremendous thanks to WNYC, for the live election breakdowns.

Screenshot from the NY1 debate.

Screenshot from the NY1 debate.

Tomorrow is Election Day, and while many of the City Council elections were determined during September’s primary, Bensonhurst remains the scene of one of the most heated general elections in New York City.

Democratic incumbent Vincent Gentile has faced a fierce challenge from Republican John Quaglione in his reelection bid for the 43rd District of the City Council, which covers Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

Quaglione, an aide to State Senator Marty Golden, has spent months placing blame for the perceived decline in quality of life and funding shortfalls at the feet of Gentile, as well as hitting him for his former support of the Gravesend Bay waste transfer station.

Gentile, meanwhile, has fought back, depicting Quaglione as a Johnny-come-lately who, despite having the power to address some of these issues as a Golden aide, has only turned his attention to them to win votes. He has defended the slip in funding to the district by pointing out that, as someone who has criticized Council leadership on behalf of his constituents, he’s been penalized by seeing funding for the district withheld. He claims that if reelected, his position of seniority in the Council would herald a new era of increased resources to the neighborhoods he serves.

The duo took to NY1′s Road to City Hall for a very informative debate moderated by Errol Louis. Here’s the rundown, and you can watch the entire debate here:

  • Increasing the purchase age of tobacco to 21: Gentile voted against increasing the age, noting that reducing smoking is important but that the bill would be ineffective and grow the black market at the expense of local businesses. He said he preferred investments into educating minors in the perils of smoking. Quaglione said he would have voted in favor of the bill in order to keep cigarettes out of the hands of minors. He said that cigarettes serve as a gateway to marijuana and prescription drug abuse. They both said they would like to see the legal age for hookah use to be raised.
  • Superstorm Sandy: Quaglione said the storm wracked havoc on Ceasar’s Bay shopping center, a local economic and employment base in the district. He also noted that the seawall needs repairs and to be better protected. Gentile said he worked with the Parks Department to get FEMA funds for repairs to the seawall, but noted that it has taken too long. He also said that we need to look at everything that happens on the waterfront including the…
  • Gravesend Bay Waste Transfer station: Although not a question in the debate, Gentile raised the issue to hit Quaglione and Golden for being “silent on the issue” until the campaign heated up. He admitted he supported the plan prior to 2006, when it was discovered that the City withheld information about toxins in the water that could be stirred up during dredging, at which point he sided with Assemblyman William Colton to fight the station’s placement. Quaglione hit back, saying that Gentile supported it when it wasn’t part of the district, and only changed his support when the area was added into his district.
  • NYPD surveillance of the Muslim community: Gentile said that the NYPD must comply with standing laws regarding surveillance, but has noted that the NYPD did appear to violate those laws. He said he has worked with the local Arab-American community to try and bridge communication between the department and the community. Quaglione added that “there’s no room for racial profiling,” and “religious tolerance must be the priority.”
  • Independence from their political party: In response to a question from Gentile about an example when Quaglione would have voted differently from his boss, Golden, Quaglione said he would have voted different on the smoking ban in restaurants. He also said there is legislation that he would have liked to put forward that Golden did not, but did not give an example.
  • On flip-flopping: Quaglione said that Gentile has changed his position on term limits, the waste transfer station, and stipends for Council members serving on committees, and asked Gentile how he can prove he is a man of his word. Gentile responded that those were mischaracterizations of his positions on the issues, and said of term limits that he was opposed to the “legislative vote” on it, in contrast to a voter referendum. Having had it pass over his objections, he said he was “putting our community in a position of being served by the senior member of the City Council.”

Watch the entire NY1 debate.

 

Ken Thompson announcing his campaign; inset: David Greenfield

Ken Thompson announcing his campaign; inset: David Greenfield

What’s more important in an election than good ideas, strong qualifications and an unyielding dedication to the public good?

In Brooklyn politics, the answer is party loyalty and backroom deals. And nothing has made that clearer than the current race for Brooklyn District Attorney.

Exhibit A? Yesterday, Councilman David Greenfield swapped sides in the race, endorsing Democratic nominee Ken Thompson.

Greenfield had previously endorsed incumbent Charles Hynes in the Democratic primary, and spoke forcefully against Thompson in a campaign of fear, telling constituents that Thompson would “target the Orthodox Jewish community” if elected.

So what’s changed? Oh, just the political parties. After suffering defeat in the Democratic primary to Thompson, Hynes regrouped and is running on the Republican and Conservative tickets.

And now, in the general election, the field remains the same. The same two men, the same records, the same qualifications, the same ideas.

It’s the same race.

But while Southern Brooklyn legislators by-and-large backed Hynes in the primary, touting his record, experience and judgement, they’re now forced to eat crow. Thomspon beat their man and sits on their party line.

So do they show conviction and stick with the man they previously said had better ideas and a stronger record?

Nope, they jump ship and rally around their party.

Greenfield’s not the only one. He’s just the latest in a long list of Democratic elected officials bending over backwards to not sound ludicrous.

Some other examples? Councilmembers Vincent Gentile and Lew Fidler, Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny and Democratic county boss Frank Seddio. In fact, the only Southern Brooklyn Democratic legislator we know of who continues to back Hynes post-primary is Councilman Michael Nelson.

He’s term-limited out. And I suppose he’s not looking for a job with the party come 2014.

Greenfield, meanwhile, said the change of heart came after sitting down with Thompson and getting to know him personally.

“I will tell you that I actually have had the opportunity on several occasions now to get to know Ken Thompson,” Greenfield said at a press conference yesterday, according to Politicker. “Consistently, across the board, the feedback that I’ve gotten has been incredibly positive and I, myself, have been impressed. Ken is somebody who has a stellar background as a law enforcement official.”

Of course, Thomspon had a “stellar background” before the primary, too. But it seems Greenfield didn’t do his due diligence before the primary endorsement. Instead he saw opportunity to undermine his rival, Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and score points with the county party.

And this is the way endorsements work. It’s rarely about who’s the best qualified to serve the community, but who’s in the best position to benefit the endorser. Today, that’s Ken Thompson.

To the candidates reading this: this is why I ignore your endless pleas to cover your endorsements. Call me when it means something.

Hayon, left, and Greenfield, right.

Hayon, left, and Greenfield, right.

We told you last week about Councilman David Greenfield’s defense of Hasidic store owners, who are being targeted by the Human Rights Commission for demanding customers dress modestly.

The business owners hung signs from their windows demanding customers adhere to a dress code, which spurred the commission to file suit against the Williamsburg-based businesses. Greenfield recently argued that it’s an example of New York City bureaucracy getting in the way of religious tolerance, and that it’s no different than nightclubs banning baggy jeans or high-end restaurants requiring jackets.

Greenfield’s opponent, Republican candidate Joseph Hayon, went into a tizzy over the news, wondering why Greenfield had failed to come to the rescue of out-of-district business owners sooner.

Here’s the full statement he put out:

Back in February 2013, the NYC Human Rights Commission notified several store owners in Williamsburg that they will sue them for posting signs asking customers to dress modestly. Then on October 24th, 2013, my opponent, David Greenfield, issued a press release calling it an outrage and requesting that the HRC drop the lawsuit. The bigger outrage here is WHERE WAS THE ONLY ORTHODOX COUNCILMAN HIDING FOR MONTHS, where was Mr. Greenfield all these months while the trial was getting closer and closer? We heard no outrage on this issue from Mr. Greenfield until two weeks before he stands for re-election and is facing a stronger than anticipated challenge.

The Jewish community deserves a pro-active councilman that is responsive to our concerns and takes immediate action. While he rightfully called this issue an outrage, Mr. Greenfield could have also introduced legislation to allow such modesty signs throughout the city so no other business falls victim to the anti-religious Bloomberg Human Rights Commission but Greenfield failed to introduce any such legislation. Why?

Unfortunately, being asleep at the switch is a pattern Mr Greenfield tends to follow and proves that Orthodox concerns are hardly a priority for him. When the Bloomberg Administration announced the Metzitzah B’peh regulation a year ago, Mr. Greenfiled only announced legislation banning Bris Milah regulations in September of 2013, more than a year late. Where was David Greenfield?

Why didn’t Greenfield address these issues months ago?

This is Hayon’s first run for City Council after two failed bids to unseat incumbent assembly members in Sheepshead Bay and Flatlands. He first ran against Sheepshead Bay’s Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz in 2010, and Flatlands’ Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein in 2012. In both campaigns, he attacked the candidates for not being sufficiently Orthodox. He blasted Weinstein for her support of same-sex marriage, and sought to appeal to religious Jewish voters by mis-characterizing a bill Cymbrowitz voted for as forcing religious schools to “teach Kindergarten children to ‘tolerate’ or sanctify same-gender relationships.” Hayon also made headlines in 2010 when, as a student at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard), the school banned him from handing out pro-life literature on campus, a decision the school eventually overturned.

Republic City Council candidate John Quaglione. Source: Facebook

Republican City Council candidate John Quaglione. (Source: Facebook)

Step one: get elected.

John Quaglione, the Republican candidate hoping to unseat City Councilman Vincent Gentile, has published a “to-do list” if elected, setting forth his priorities in the Council.

A vast majority of items on the list revolve around community quality of life concerns, as well as public safety.

“Since my campaign for City Council started, I have made the need for us to improve our quality of life a top priority.  Now, with just about two weeks to go until Election Day, I am outlining some of the key plans I have for our district and for the residents who live, work and raise their family here in Nay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst and Bath Beach,” said Quaglione in a press release.

While the candidate has dubbed it a to-do list, it appears to be more of a wishlist, advocating more classroom seats, more police, and more funding for various programs – without providing a roadmap to obtaining the funds in an increasingly cash-strapped city.

Moreover, many – though not all – of the items on the list are also stated priorities by his rival, Gentile, such as fighting the waste transfer station (albeit, this is a point of attack for Quaglione), creating a graffiti removal program, restoring X28 weekend service, and conducting community cleanups.

View the full to-do list after the jump.

gentile2

Gentile announced the program during a press conference yesterday, in front of a graffiti covered wall on Bath Avenue. (Source: Gentile’s office)

Councilman Vincent Gentile is leading a charge against illegal graffiti throughout the 43rd District, teaming up with a local beautification group to get the job done.

The local pol announced the graffiti cleaning program yesterday, which includes a 24-7 hotline for residents to call and have graffiti removed.

“Graffiti is a blight on our communities and affects our quality of life,” Councilman Vincent J. Gentile said in a press release. “It increases store vacancy rates, decreases property and presents a sense of chaos and disorder on the streets while negatively impacting our civic pride. That is why, beginning today, we will be launching the most aggressive graffiti cleaning campaign ever initiated in southwest Brooklyn!”

Gentile has allocated $33,000 to the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst Beautification Preservation Alliance to operate the program, which will kick off by inspecting all major commercial corridors within the 43rd Council district and removing any graffiti.

“Graffiti continues to be a source of frustration and concern for the business owners and residents of southern Brooklyn,” said Patrick Condren, the executive director of the Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst Beautification Preservation Alliance. “Graffiti vandals cost our community tens of thousands of dollars in removal and clean up each year. With the assistance of all concerned merchants and residents we can enhance the image and aesthetic value of our beautiful neighborhoods.”

After inspecting and removing graffiti from commercial streets, including from rolldown gates, side walls, fences, doors and mailboxes, the group will then visit the sites monthly for follow-up inspections and maintenance.

Graffiti has become a prominent issue in Gentile’s reelection bid, with Republican opponent John Quaglione saying that the incumbent has allowed graffiti to proliferate in the neighborhood. But Gentile dismissed any suggestion that the program was a response to his opponent’s allegations, saying that it has been in development long before the race kicked off.

“This program has been in the works for quite a while and will be one of the most aggressive graffiti cleaning campaigns ever initiated in southwest Brooklyn,” Gentile told Bensonhurst Bean. “The secret weapon will be a special 24/7 anti-graffiti hotline that residents and merchants can call to report locations of graffiti or request its removal.”

To have graffiti removed, residents and business owners can call Gentile’s hotline at (718) 748-5200 ext. 201.

Councilman Vincent Gentile, Source: council.nyc.gov

Councilman Vincent Gentile, Source: council.nyc.gov

Councilmen Vincent Gentile and David Greenfield issued press releases slamming the proposed increase in the water rate that we wrote about earlier today.

In particular, Gentile went after the year-after-year increases that has left homeowners paying nearly double what they paid in 2005, and the fact that the city is using the money to pay off debts (for what it’s worth, the debts were incurred during the 1970s, long before the mayorality was a twinkle in Bloomberg’s eyes).

Here’s his statement in full:

“Mayor Bloomberg is at it again with yet another 5.3% water rate hike that will undoubtedly hit homeowners the most,” Vincent Gentile, 43rd City Council Candidate said. “Since 2005, the average family in New York City has seen their water bill go up nearly 80%. Even more despicable, some of the revenue from these backdoor tax hikes is used to pay previous bills the City has racked up, which have nothing to do with water usage. Homeowners shouldn’t have to bear the consequences of decades of irresponsibility and poor fiscal management on the part of the City. Average citizens are struggling enough without the City picking their pockets for extra cash. Crippling homeowners to pay for outsized budgets is bad policy and outright wrong. In the Council I will continue to work to develop a budget that cuts wasteful spending and uses revenue efficiently, so that we can pay our bills without unfairly burdening our middle class.”

Meanwhile, Greenfield focused on ongoing concerns over the use of new electronic meter readers that allow usage to be monitored remotely. Here’s a chunk of his release:

Councilman David G. Greenfield is demanding that the city back off its proposal to again raise water rates in the coming year until it can resolve all outstanding issues that customers have had with sky-high bills ever since the city installed automated meter readers on homes and businesses several years ago. The city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recently announced that homeowners and businesses are facing a yet-to-be-determined increase in their water bills next year, after being hit with a 5.6 percent increase this summer and a 7 percent increase last year. Since 2005, water bills have increased 78 percent, including double digit increases in four straight years from 2008 to 2011. According to a report in today’s Daily News, the city collected a record $3.3 billion in water revenues during the prior fiscal year, up from $2.1 billion in 2008. That means the average water bill for a single-family home is now nearly $1,000 a year – up from $554 just five years ago.

However, during the same time period, countless property owners have seen their bills increase by much higher amounts since the city began installing automated meter readers on buildings around the city in 2009 to remotely determine a property’s water usage. Many residents have reported receiving  water bills that are two or three times higher than they were in the past, despite having fewer children at home and using a minimal amount of water. This was consistent with issues that other cities faced after installing similar technology, prompting Councilman Greenfield to call on the DEP to conduct a full audit and review of the new electronic meters, which were installed as part of a $250 million project, to ensure that they are accurate and are not overcharging residents.

While the DEP and Bloomberg administration has maintained that its system is accurate, Councilman Greenfield continues to receive complaints from frustrated property owners over incredibly high water bills that do not match the actual water usage at their home or business. In response to these continuing billing issues, Councilman Greenfield believes that the Water Board, which is appointed by the mayor, should not approve any future water rate increases until the DEP finally conducts a full audit of the automated meter readers to ensure they are accurate and to eliminate concerns from the public that thousands of customers are being overcharged.

Our friend Brian Hedden of Bay Ridge Odyssey was kind enough to record and pass along this video of the debate between Councilman Vincent Gentile and Republican opponent John Quaglione. The debate, held Monday night, was hosted by the Dyker Heights Civic Association.

The two touched on many topics, from who they supported for Brooklyn district attorney, to funding for the district, public safety issues, and term limits. It was a lively debate, with Quaglione frequently going on the offensive, leaving the incumbent to defend his record. Gentile highlighted his achievements, and noted the increased influence he would hold in the Council if reelected due to his seniority.

On a side note, Quaglione took note of our recent whining that Bensonhurst was being left out, as the current debate schedule only has debates hosted in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights. The candidate has requested that Bensonhurst Bean hold a debate, and has challenged Gentile to appear with him in the neighborhood. Bensonhurst Bean does not at this time have the organizational capacity to host or moderate a debate. But if anyone out there is interested in setting one up, e-mail us at nberke [at] bensonhurstbean [dot] com, and we’ll do everything we can to get the word out and provide coverage.

Source: Facebook

Treyger, with Colton (Source: Treyger campaign)

Mark Treyger, a community activist and aide to Assemblyman Bill Colton, scored a decisive victory against his opponents in the Democratic primary to replace term-limited Domenic Recchia as the City Council representative for the 47th District.

Treyger locked up 45.55 percent of the vote thanks to 3,058 people who cast their vote for the progressive activist, handily defeating rivals Todd Dobrin and John Lisyanskiy, who received 28.67 percent of the vote and 25.78 percent, respectively.

It was a tough race, influenced by hundreds of thousands of dollars from independent spenders, or PACs, including Jobs for New York, a real estate backed group that backed Treyger and spent thousands to drag Lisyanskiy’s name through the mud.

Just before primary day, another PAC, the Small Business Coalition, representing Sephardic Jewish business owners, distributed mailers to voters alleging that Lisyanskiy profited off of Superstorm Sandy, outraging the candidate.

And the outside funding – which, by law, could not be coordinated with Treyger’s campaign – appears to have paid off, knocking Lisyanskiy into third, behind Dobrin. Dobrin, backed by one of the unions who contributed to the Jobs for New York PAC, was not targeted by the PAC’s negative mailers.

Meanwhile, to the north, incumbent City Councilman David Greenfield also won victory over his primary opponent, Jacob Flusberg. Greenfield trounced his rival, securing 90.56 percent of the vote.

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