Lining the banquet table in the back room at the Bridgeview Diner on 3rd Avenue in Bay Ridge, members heard invited speakers Charles Khan, of the Strong Economy for All Coalition, and Kristina Andreotta, Citizen Action of New York, discuss the obstacles facing the progressive Democratic agenda in Albany -- including raising the minimum wage, publicly funding elections, making pre-k universal, and developing clean energy.
One of the biggest obstacles Democrats face in the New York State Legislature, according to Kristina Andreotta, is the so-called Independent Democratic Caucus (IDC), the rogue Democratic faction that broke away from the Democratic State Senate majority to caucus with the Republicans.
Why did they turn their backs on the people who elected them? Because they got more stuff from the Republicans than they could from the Democrats.
Maybe its time, said Andreotta, that Staten Island resident and IDC member Diane Savino, a former BRD guest who represents a gerrymandered district including the Bay Ridge Towers and Coney Island, heard from those betrayed voters.
City Council Member Vinnie Gentile, the only Democrat to carry the district this November -- with over 60% of the vote -- thanked the club for its hard work on his campaign. Because the City Council's Brooklyn delegation has come together this year under a Brooklyn mayor as never before, expect to see an en bloc Brooklyn vote, he said.
Former Community Board 10 chair Joanne Seminara called on Gentile to consider legislatively beefing up the city's power to close the illegal massage parlors plaguing southern Brooklyn neighborhoods. But as she described her efforts against the parlors -- and the sex trafficking they harbor -- it sounded like the real problem may be bureaucratic indifference. City agencies with jurisdiction, she said, have ignored code violations that could have leveraged the closure of many of these locations.
The BRD's plans for 2014 include a website upgrade and getting member input in designing this year's monthly programming.
When the discussion of the Melissa Mark-Viverito COIB reporting scandal I had hoped to hear didn't happen at the meeting, I flagged down club sachem Ralph Perfetto the way out of the room to get his take. Agreeing that Mark-Viverito had no reasonable excuse for omitting her rental income from her annual reports to the board, and that both she and her erstwhile Working Families Party ally deBlasio had been hurt by the disclosure, Perfetto said he hoped deBlasio would not be a one-term mayor.
According to this opinion piece, the IDC may soon become irrelevant [The Island Now.]