“Good evening. I’m Frank Seddio, Chairman of the Kings County Democratic Committee and at this time I would like to move that this resolution be passed unanimously,” said Party Chair Seddio to large applause from reformers at the fall County Committee meeting held last night at Coney’s Island’s Ford Amphitheater.
The resolution, that New Kings Democrats President and current candidate for City Council Brandon West proposed, involved changes to the operation of the County’s finance committee and additional transparency by, among other things, convening an open meeting of the finance committee and publish the County’s finances on its website.
Seddio spoke after a number of NKD members voiced support of the resolution, which came after a Daily News report expressed concerns over the County’s large payments to consultants.
“Most of the points brought out are truly common sense and pretty much a lot of them we already do,” said Seddio, who pointed to the county’s finance reports already being posted on the Board of Elections (BOE) website due to semi-annual disclosure requirements of registered political organizations. The BOE database disclosures were likely one of the ways the Daily News was able to compile their article.
The vote on the resolution came after a panel spoke on the importance of the 2020 census, which Seddio said came after a suggestion by West, an example he used to show how the county is open and accessible for suggestions and involvement.
“I talked to Brandon, he and I had a meeting. So I said ‘What would be some good topics?’, ‘Well the Census might be a good idea.’ That’s why we had this tonight. Just call us, let us know,” said Seddio.
Seddio also mentioned that the Ford Amphitheater, a 5,000-seat outdoor entertainment venue opened in 2016 in which the meeting was held, could become a future meeting location for Southern Brooklyn meetings. “This is a great venue. I hope this will now become our Southern meeting place, the way the dining center had become our Northern meeting place,” he said.
Ernest Skinner, a long-time Brooklyn community activist, proposed holding more fundraiser events with low-cost tickets, due to the costs of $500 per ticket being too high for some. Seddio agreed and offered to host a fundraiser with tickets at $100. “I spoke to Josh [Skaller], I spoke to Brandon West about it. We’re going to try to host it somewhere around either Park Slope or Northern Brooklyn,” said Seddio. “And hopefully we’ll do it for $100 a head. […] Just think about it, if 500 people show up at $100 a head, that’s $50,000 and will go a long way in helping with our expenses.”
“I think a resolution like this is really important, because I think too much does happen behind closed doors. Which is not to cast dispersion on anybody who is behind the door,” said one speaker, who thought the body was slowly moving into the right direction. “I know it’s really expensive to have meetings, but we need to figure out a way where we don’t have to pound on the door.”
“There’s no door to knock on because it’s always open,” said Seddio. “We don’t need to wait for six months for a meeting to solve a problem or deal with an issue that you might think is important, whether you’re an individual or a group.”
Seddio encouraged attendees to call or email the County office and asked all participants to send a “smoke signal” if they want to see something happen within the county. He also offered attendees to join his weekly club meetings in Canarsie as a way to reach out.
“If everything else fails, there is always Thursday nights at the Thomas Jefferson Club,” he said. “You’re always welcome to come down on a Thursday night. […] If you’re doing nothing else on a Thursday and want to take the L train down to the last stop, we’re four blocks away.”
The club is located at 77 Conklin Avenue.
“You are the future of the Democratic Party. We are the largest [Democratic Party] county in the United States and we’re going to keep on going that way. And we need you to give us the input to do it. This is not an ‘us and them’. This is a ‘we’,” said Seddio. “This is not an adversarial role, it’s a cooperative role. And I look forward to hearing from any of you, at any time.”