Dem County Committee Meeting Gets Ready To Rumble


Forget Wrestlemania. If you’re looking for real chaos head over to Kingsborough Community College for the Brooklyn Democratic Party’s bi-annual Democratic Party Conference come Thursday.

Kings County Democratic Party Chair Frank Seddio
Nick Rizzo

Between old-school party boss Frank Seddio, progressive young bloods, reform-minded stalwarts, longtime powerful Central Brooklyn blacks and gentrifying millennial hipster liberals, there will be enough hoarse throats by the time it’s over to drive Halls lozenges stock up 10o points.

“This is about upholding the traditional anointed monarchist system that we find in Brooklyn in the county organization over the last century or basic process liberals who are more concerned with a few changes towards democracy and transparency, and the real fear of power,” said District Leader Nick Rizzo, who orchestrated progressive State Senator-elect Julia Salazar‘s take down of longtime State Sen. Martin like a political Gustavo Dudamel.

But as Seddio is fond of saying, he’s forgotten more political tricks than most political greenhorns will ever know, and one trick he has been playing is stacking the proxy deck.

That becuase each assembly district has dozens of Democratic county committee member seats, many of which are vacant and some of whom hardly care or know about the upcoming meeting.

Thus, Seddio and his Thomas Jefferson Democratic Club in Canarsie send out cards to committee members to give their votes to him as proxies. This year, out of fear they are losing political ground, Seddio and the club has been sending out emails and letters signed from various officials without their permission asking for proxy votes.

Not to be outdone are the New Kings Democrats, a rogue political club of mainly white progressive liberals new to Brooklyn, and playing the old divide and conquer the black community trick of putting a black face as their president or to run for office while the white leadership team makes the major decisions. In this ploy, the NKD and like-minded progressives have been scouring the county for their own proxy votes in anticipation of the meeting.

This has led to some discourse in Central Brooklyn’s powerful black political communities, who are accusing the progressives of political gentrification. Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Vanguard Independent Democratic Association (VIDA) , for example, is putting out an email to members to beware that the NKD is trying to get members to give them their proxy votes.

Robert Carroll
Assemblymember Robert Carroll

Then there are reformers – people like Assembly Member Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington), who comes from an old Irish Brooklyn political family, and sees both the old-school Dems and young bloods as two sides of the same coin.

“The NKD is coming on with all these proxies and without any real statement of what they will do. All they are saying is they want the power instead of them. That shouldn’t be the point. The point is to try to have an active Democratic Party where people are going to the meetings and organizing in their assembly districts,” said Carroll.

Thus Carroll proposes two reforms. Firstly, all proxies can only be handed to another committee member, district leader, political club or entity within the district. Secondly, any proxies given to someone outside the district should have a clear provision stating the person you are giving the proxy to has your vote.

What’s at stake in giving up your vote as a proxy are rules within the party and choosing the County Committee board, which this year, will also be contentious as County Committee Chair Charlie Ragusa is giving up the largely ceremonial seat and Joe Bova is expected to replace him.

Bova is a district leader in Assemblyman Peter Abbate’s (D-Dyker Heights, Bath Beach, Bensonhurst, Borough Park), and like Ragusa, is of the guard in Southern Brooklyn, when the Italians wielded a lot of power. Meanwhile the NKD is putting up their own slate led by their president Brandon West to become the new County Committee chair.

So the stage and actors are set for enough gavel banging and screaming to chase Robert’s Rules of Order down to the nearest bar until the dust settles.

The meeting is slated for 6 p.m., this Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center of Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard in Manhattan Beach.