Central Brooklyn Dems hold off on Teachout endorsement

After receiving an endorsement from the Public Employees Federation, gubernatorial hopeful Zephyr Teachout was in Park Slope on Thursday hoping to receive another endorsement — from the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats (CBID). However, while the group was expected to endorse Teachout at the Thursday meeting, it held off on making any official announcement. 

“In May, before Zephyr got into the race, we took no stance in the governor's race [...] We had a vote where it was either the governor or no endorsement,  and it was a tie,” said Bobby Carroll, president of the CBID. "So we decided on no stance. According to our Constitution, we have to give at least two weeks’ notice to have an endorsement, so we can't vote to have an endorsement on the governor's race tonight.”

But after hearing Teachout’s stump speech, many members of the CBID wanted to get behind her. Since rules stipulated that they couldn’t vote on Thursday, those members called for an emergency meeting two weeks later, at which they would have another vote.   

“If club members want to take the time to have a meeting in the first week of September sometime, then we'll have a meeting,” Carroll said. “We will discuss a special meeting that will happen possibly the first week of September.”

The CBID on Thursday also approved donations to candidates that it has endorsed. The CBID decided it will give Jo Anne Simon, running for the 52nd Assembly District, $2,600 — the maximum amount it can give to a political candidate.  Additionally, the CBID decided on Thursday that Jesse Hamilton, running for the 20th Senatorial District; Felix Ortiz, running for the 51st Assembly District; Nick Rizzo, running in the 50th District Leader race; and Isiris Isela Isaac, in the 6th Municipal District, will each get $500.

Benjamin Solotaire, President of the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats Bobby Carroll, Warren Miner and Josh Skaller.

Before official business began, Teachout delivered her stump speech by addressing her background, which has been in contention since Gov. Andrew Cuomo challenged her New York State residency in court. She won the battle, but still wanted to provide some background for potential voters. 

“Like many New Yorkers, I come from somewhere else,” Teachout said. “I grew up about five miles outside of a small town in Vermont. I grew up with sheep and chickens and brothers and sisters. My mom was a judge, and her basic principle was that everyone deserves to be seen and treated as independent and having equal dignity.

“In the last 12 years, I've been involved politics of every kind,” she continued. “I've worked on presidential, senate, congressional and hyper-local races. I've been involved in non-profits of every kind. I was the national director of the Sunlight Foundation, which is arguably the largest anti-corruption nonprofit in the country. I also started a break-up-the-banks organization called a New Way Forward. We just renamed it the Antitrust League this spring.”

Teachout resonated with the CBID when she discussed corruption.

“I was approached to run against Andrew Cuomo, and I said, 'hell yes,' because I had supported Andrew Cuomo four years ago when he stood on the steps of the Courthouse in Manhattan and said that he was going to clean up corruption and restore dignity to the office of governor.”

She then briefed on Cuomo-related issues, including him failing to close campaign finance loopholes, failing to veto any incumbent protection gerrymandering, not doing enough for election reform, for looting public schools to give tax cuts to banks and not taking a stance against fracking.

“[Cuomo] said that he wanted to clean up the corruption that would make Boss Tweed blush,” Teachout said. “He created an anti-corruption commission and then shut it down when it got too close to his donors...Now that is a fundamental public betrayal.”

There was also a brief question-and-answer session when people asked about the Comcast/Time Warner merger, which Teachout stated she is against. People also raised questions about Long Island College Hospital (LICH).

“Community hospitals are essential,” Teachout said. “Everyone needs access to a hospital, and it shouldn't be measured by how many miles you are away. You have to measure it by your real meaningful access to the hospital itself. Andrew Cuomo has basically said that there is no room for community hospitals in the future, as if the future was something inorganic that he has no control over.”