Brooklyn Reform Coalition Goes after Vito's Turf

In the wake of the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal, a group of Progressive Brooklyn Democrats have joined forces to take control of the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

The Brooklyn Reform Coalition, in response to Lopez's practice of pressuring rank-and-file County Committee members to hand their proxy votes to party bosses, is launching a "counter-proxy campaign" promoting reform candidate Jo Anne Simon as an alternative proxy.

Lopez, the reformers say, has ruled the local party with an iron hand, stifling debate, dissuading members from taking part in party governance, and punishing dissenting party officials.  As a result, the party has became merely a vehicle for Lopez.

The reformers want to see the Brooklyn Democratic Party, one of the country's biggest Democratic organizations, assume a leadership role in national politics.

The Coalition's proposed reforms:

Eliminate At-Large District Leaders:

Lopez, in recent years, has sought to consolidate his power through an Executive Committee of 11 at-large hand-picked members, who have re-elected him as county chair and stifled reform within the party.

Restore Transparency:

The Reform Coalition wants to mount a website detailing the party's leadership, operations, finances, endorsements, and scheduled meetings and events.

Empower Rank-and-File Members:

Under Lopez, the County Committee merely rubber-stamped Lopez's proposals. The Reform Coalition would hold regular meetings and convene subcommittees to ensure wider participation by rank-and-file members.

"Never again should the local party be commandeered to satisfy the whims and ambitions of one person," said New Kings Democrats President Alex Low.

District Leader Jo Ann Simon said the local party needs a clean break with the past and a transparent, accountable future focused on solving problems instead of picking fights.

The Brooklyn Reform Coalition, formed this year to unite the borough's reform-minded political clubs, included the New Kings Democrats, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, Southern Brooklyn Democrats and the Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform.

Its stated goal is to clean up scandal-scarred Brooklyn Democratic politics.

Press Contacts:

Jo Anne Simon, Democratic Party District Leader, 52nd AD (917-685-3747
Alex Low, President, New Kings Democrats (646.402.5825
Robert Carroll, Vice President, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (718-916-8158
Matthew McMorrow, Co-President, Lambda Independent Democrats (917-696-1781
Jennifer Thorpe-Moscon, Chair, Southern Brooklyn Democrats (646-641-8046
Ede Fox, Prospect Heights Democrats for Reform (917-725-1517)

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