A Bay Ridge Democratic club has a new president, after an election tinged, perhaps, with just a bit of that old-time horse-trading type of politics that historically has marred the partys efforts in Kings County. By the narrowest of margins, Kevin Carroll was elected president of Brooklyn Democrats for Change, a club formed approximately three years ago as an independent club, in the wake of the scandals that rocked the Kings County Democratic Party. In becoming the clubs new president, Carroll defeated Scott Klein, by a 41 to 39 margin. Ac-cording to some club members, he also defeated the efforts of one of the clubs founders, Democratic District Leader Joanne Seminara, who had backed Klein and who is said to have put a great deal of effort into Kleins candidacy. It was a hoppin meeting, remarked Carroll, who pointed out that, out of the clubs 102 members, a full 81 turned out for the election (although one member did not cast a ballot in the presidential contest). It was a horse race, noted club Recording Secretary Brian Kassenbrock, who stressed, I think the results of the presidential election showed that the membership has a large constituency that really wants to have an independent Democratic club as opposed to another manner of organization which is under the control of elected party leadership. Club member Peter Killen agreed. With the election behind it, he said, I believe that Brooklyn Democrats for Change will make a statement in the Brooklyn Democratic Party in Bay Ridge and surrounding districts for a very long time. Nonetheless, tongues are wagging about the way the election battle was waged behind the scenes. According to one source who spoke on condition of anonymity, A lot of people werent happy with the way Joanne ran the campaign. It wasnt about the independent Democratic club she said she wanted, but about having control over the Democratic club. Another insider concurred. For a club that claims to be independent, that claims to be all about honesty, that was all thrown out the window, the pundit remarked. Admittedly Kevin is young, a third source remarked, but he was, by every criteria, the person who should have succeeded to the presidency. But, the state committeewoman had decided on someone else. Kevin said, why not me? and went for it. This same source said that, since the club was founded, there has been a certain amount of tension, Between two extremes a club totally outside the control of party leadership, and one under the control of party leadership. Weve been trying to walk the middle road. The election of Carroll, the source said, means that, The tension will continue, and thats a healthy thing. Had Scott Klein won, the insider contended, it would all have been over. One source also suggested that the election was, About molding Scott Klein to run for district leader against Ralph Perfetto. Scott had indicated to people going into the race that he wants to be district leader, but hes only lived in Bay Ridge for two years, and he doesnt know the neighborhood at all. Another source said that Klein had told him he wanted to run. However, the source went on that his support will continue to go to Perfetto. We need a point where we work with each other, the pundit stressed. These kinds of things get so divisive the party is tearing itself apart all the time. We want to try to win general elections, but if Democrats are always fighting each other, its not constructive. Seminara, for her part, denied that she had tried to control the elections outcome. It was an open election, she told this paper. Nobody was trying to shut out anybody. It was a contested election no question about it, but in a democracy, elections, by their nature, are contested. Regarding the possibility that she might back Klein in a challenge to Perfetto, with whom she has had an occasionally rocky relationship, Seminara said. Thats not true either. I have no plans to do that. How about Grimms Fairy Tales? quipped Klein when asked about the remarks that had been made by other club members. For one thing, Klein said, he was, Absolutely not put up by Joanne. I think the club is great. I think its pretty true to its roots although its a young club, but I ran because there were things going on in the club I was not happy with. There was a tenor of discussion that was, frankly, very threatening to the club. My hope is that we can start communicating with each other in a much kinder, more respectful way than has been going on. Klein also said there was no truth to the rumor that he was planning to run against Perfetto. Ive known Ralph longer than most people in the neighborhood, he remarked. Ralph and I go back to 1983. Never say never, but I certain have no intention of running against Ralph. There are better things to be doing than fighting over the district leadership. Both Carroll and Seminara say they are looking forward to working together. Im looking forward to working with the new board members as well as the old ones who were re-elected, said Carroll. I want to put the whole ugly mess behind us, and I hope everyone else wants to do the same. Seminara concurred. Theres a new president, a new board, she remarked. I expect well work very well together. Ive taken great pains to praise Kevin. Hes been very supportive of the organization and of me, and Im very excited about the new leadership and board. Well move forward. Klein agreed. We can disagree on the issues, he remarked, but at the end of the day, were all about the same thing. We should be able to talk to each other in a respectful manner. Perfetto, contacted for comment, had nothing but praise for both Carroll and Klein, calling the latter, A level-headed, objective gentleman. However, he noted, if their goal is to have Democrats united in Bay Ridge, the one man who has put his work where his comments are is Kevin Carroll. He has proven he can work side by side with anyone. I think Kevin Carroll is a person in the right place at the right time.
©2007 Community News Group
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