Bay Democrats Keep Community In Political Loop


The Bay Democrats’ second meeting of the year on Wednesday was filled with congressional, senatorial and judicial candidates and a club favorite – Councilmember Chaim Deutsch (D – Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Midwood).

Democratic District leader Ari Kagan

Nearly 50 local residents consisting of a mix of lawyers, New York City Housing (NYCHA) residents and a pharmacist gathered at 2508 Coney Island Avenue in Sheepshead Bay for the monthly political club meeting. After a person-by-person introduction of the audience, Democratic District Leader and club founder Ari Kagan introduced the man of the hour as one of the newly appointed chairs of the city council. 

“It did take four years for the city council to realize that I’m Jewish,” joked Deutsch. “They finally voted me in to be chair of the Jewish Caucus.”

When someone heckled Deutsch to say he should be wearing his yarmulke regularly, he responded, “No, the problem is my height,” as if to say the top of the six-foot-something Councilmember’s head is out of the sight-line of most.

Lanky City Council Member Chaim Deutsch. Photo by Kadia Goba

But Deutsch came to the meeting with more than just jokes. As the newly appointed chair of the Veterans Committee, the council member announced that he scribed a letter to the Department of Education (DOE) requesting that applications for school services contain an indicator for children of veterans. Deutsch also noted that there is no statistical evidence as to the number of children of veterans in the New York City public school system. Deutsch said he has the full support of this initiative from the council’s Education Committee Chair, Councilmember Mark Treyger (D – Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Gravesend).

“Once we identify how many children are children of veterans, then we can tell them what services are available to them by having the people in the schools explain to them what’s available,” said Deutsch.

The councilmember also announced the launch of a new online site called VetConnect that will feature every service available for veterans in our city along with a bill he sponsored last month to freeze rents to veterans who rent apartments.

Currently, veteran homeowners receive certain financial exemptions while those that rent apartments do not.

In an unprecedented move to highlight his veterans agenda, Deutsch will hold his first hearing as chair at a veterans homeless shelter in the beginning of April.

“It’s nice when you sit at a hearing at a city council and visualize what a homeless shelter will look like, but I want the members of the committee and the members of the public to know what goes on at a shelter,” said Deutsch.

Deutsch told the audience he was successful in ridding people of those pesky parking violations handed out during the beginning of year when the city suspended parking.

On the candidate’s side, Michael DeCillis (D) Radhakrishna Mohan (D) and Paul Sperling (D) came to pitch local residents on why they should replace the incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-Southern Brooklyn, Staten Island) in New York’s 11th Congressional District.

Ross Barkan (D) who is trying to unseat State Sen. Marty Golden (R – Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Marine Park) in the 22nd Senatorial District also made an appearance, one that was preceded by an enthusiastic nod from Deutsch. Although the council member was clear to point out that the acknowledgement was not an official endorsement, Deutsch did have a Twitter run-in with Golden’s chief-of-staff late last year.