Brooklyn Far-Left and Moderate Dems at each other’s throat

Assemblymember Maritza Davila center calls for the resignation of Brooklyn Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and her husband, District Leader Edu Hermelyn as she is surrounded by Democratic Party reformers, Socialists and progressives. Photo by Stephen Witt

Who would have thought that the straw that broke the camel’s back in an open declaration of war between Brooklyn’s far-left progressives and moderates would be a popular Latino party song.

But that’s exactly what happened as Assemblymember Maritza Davila (D-Williamsburg/Bushwick) surrounded by progressives, Democratic Socialists, LGBT and nonbinary district leaders on Friday demanded that Kings County Democratic Party Chair Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn and her husband, Democratic District Leader Edu Hermelyn resign over remarks Hermelyn made from the song.

Among the elected officials who came out to support Davilla was U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-Brooklyn/Queens/Manhattan) Brooklyn Borough President-elect Antonio Reynoso, State Sen. Julia Salazar (D-Bushwick) and Assemblymember Diana Richardson (D-Crown Heights, Prospect Lefferts Garden, Flatbush).

Davila, who has been in the assembly since 2013 and a Democratic District Leader since the early 2000s, said in attending the executive committee of the Kings County Democrats via zoom she has never been in a professional setting where she was exposed to such vulgar, sexualized and misogynistic language, and to add insult to injury, in her native language.

“And when I tried to speak up, I was muted and called ridiculous and stupid by the Chairwoman Rodneyse Bichotte. Not only what happened in the meeting was egregious, but the response was even worse. I was accused of lying by both her and her husband,” said Davila.

According to Democratic District leader Arleney Alvarado-McCalla, a Honduran-American Latina, the brouhaha started when she and Edu Hermelyn were chatting on zoom before the start of the actual meeting. Both had just returned from the annual Democratic gathering of electeds, operatives, lobbyists and political journalists and public relations people in Puerto Rico known as SOMOS.

Edu Hermelyn said he is trying to learn Spanish and Alvarado-McCalla said she would help him and he mentioned two words from a popular Latino party song, which was playing repeatedly during SOMOS.

The two words were  – dale huevos, which according to several Hispanic sources translates literally into ‘give it eggs’. However, according to multiple Hispanic sources, huevos is also a slang word for male genitals, and the song actually has one lyric – Esta loca dale huevos, which multiple Hispanic sources say can only mean one thing – “She is crazy, give her d***”.

In any event, as they were discussing this, Davila entered the zoom and thought the line was meant for her and she became livid, in which case derogatory language hell broke loose.

“Maybe she [Davila] did feel the words were towards her because they were said as she was coming into the room. Maybe she really did feel that it was towards her but it really wasn’t. That’s where the misunderstanding is coming in,” said Alvarado-McCalla.

“He [Edu Hermelyn] apologized because she was really upset. He realized that she was genuinely upset. At first, he thought she was playing around, but it got really heated, and then he showed his face [on the zoom] and came on, and he was like, ‘I’m really sorry. I didn’t know.’ He didn’t realize what he was saying and rightfully so. It’s not his language. There was a true misunderstanding,” she added.

Following the meeting Edu Hermelyn issued the following statement:

“I apologized last night for unintentionally offending members of the KCDCC executive committee prior to the start of the meeting. I misinterpreted a Spanish phrase from a song, in a cordial dialogue with a Latino friend, who is a fellow District Leader, and it was overheard as participants, including Assemblymember Davila, joined the meeting. I hold the Latino/x community in the highest regard, and I never directed these remarks towards Assemblymember Davila. This is simply false.”

Bichotte said her priority continues to be on protecting the borough from GOP threats and uniting the Party to elect diverse Democrats up and down the ballot. 

“Executive Committee meetings follow Robert’s Rules of Order to ensure they’re conducted inclusively, fairly, and orderly. Let’s follow the rules and focus on Democratic inclusion instead of divisional criticisms that don’t hold water,” said Bichotte.

Whatever the truth is regarding the comments, it comes at a time where the progressives, Democratic Socialists and reformers in the party are stronger than ever with Reynoso becoming the highest elected official in Brooklyn – Borough President. 

On the other side, the moderates with Rodneyse Bichotte as Party Chair, helped elect current Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

It also comes as the Democratic Party suffered stunning losses in the city, state and nationally in the recent election with both moderates and the far-left pointing fingers at each other about what went wrong.