Focus: Golden V. Fidler In Redrawn Senate District?

Demonstrating how cockamamie politics can get during a redistricting year, one “report” of the new electoral lines — based, by law, on the 2010 U.S. Census — has Bay Ridge Sen. Marty Golden (and Bay Ridge) linked into a district that could have him seeking reelection against Midwood Councilman Lew Fidler!

The possibility may be making for interesting headlines and theories, but it just won’t happen.

Having Golden face off against Fidler in the 22nd Senate District would require extreme, untenable gerrymandering (that’s the term used to describe politically motivated district realignment). According to veteran observers, it is out of the question.

Such a race would also assume that the Republicans — traditionally tougher than Democrats — are asleep at the redistricting switch in Albany. Party control of a legislative body is all-important during the year following the U.S. Census.

Republicans worked hard to keep the NYS Senate count in their favor in 2010, while Democrats started out with an insurmountable lead in members over the GOP in the Assembly. Both succeeded. No matter what he says this year, Democratic Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver will do his best to maintain, or even increase, his huge edge.

In addition, indulging in a little “realpolitik” for a moment, one of the last things Speaker Silver would want would be Democratic control of the New York Senate. Why? As things now stand, the longtime Manhattan assemblyman is the second most powerful Democrat in the state, next to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His influence would be reduced substantially if his party ruled the state Senate as well.

There are other reasons why Sen. Golden won’t face Fidler as he seeks a sixth term: Bay Ridgeite Andrew Gounardes has already announced his Democratic Senate candidacy, held fund-raisers, and is supported by the same people who support Councilman Fidler. It’s safe to say that Gounardes will oppose the incumbent and the youthful challenger is the odds-on favorite to lose come November.

Why Sen. Golden Will Win Another Term

It’s not just because southwest Brooklyn stands to benefit from having the fourth most influential Republican in the state representing us in Albany. Maturity counts for a lot. So does seasoning. Marty Golden came up through the ranks, starting as a NYC cop, before becoming a successful caterer and a business and civic leader. In fact, he’s the only elected officeholder around here to ever win the coveted Civic Award of the Bay Ridge Community Council — which he was accorded a year before he made his maiden electoral bid and was elected to the City Council.  

Then there’s the top-of-the-ticket problem and the reverse coattail effect of President Barack Obama, who is not favored to win a majority of the votes here later this year. Other Republican-Conservatives such as U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis will actually do much better here with GOP candidate Mitt Romney than Democrats will with President Obama.

At 26, Gounardes can only offer promises, while Golden has demonstrated competence and experience, combined with a deep knowledge of the district he started serving (in the City Council) when Democrat Gounardes was in his mid-teens.

Democrat Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny, whose district links conservative portions of Bay Ridge with much of Brighton Beach and Coney Island, has, within just a few short years (with the key backing of Democratic leaders Dilia Schack, Joanne Seminara, Kevin Peter Carroll and others, including staffers Kate Cucco and Linda Lupia), become very well-liked and trusted. An excellent ping-pong player as well, the charming, bright Russian immigrant has a life story worthy of a movie drama. He should have no difficulty winning in November, no matter who tops the presidential ballot.

Why Lew Fidler Knows Bay Ridge

As to Lew Fidler, we must note that he is one Midwood councilman who really knows Bay Ridge, because, 16 years ago, he ran Sal Albanese’s unsuccessful campaign for Congress against Staten Island Republican-Conservative U.S. Rep. Susan Molinari. Even though outgoing Councilman Albanese was respected and successful as an officeholder, even his home Bay Ridge portion of the congressional district went for the incumbent Molinari! (By a narrow margin, as Sal and Steve Harrison are sure to let us know. She had a mini-landslide in the Staten Island part of the district, ensuring the victory.)

Another thing about Lew: He’s regarded as one of the brightest guys in the City Council and is much too smart to get trapped in a vainglorious, quixotic campaign against Golden.    

As Promised: Part II of BRCC Presidents’ Luncheon

Part II: As explained in our prior “Focus,” the BRCC Presidents’ Luncheon is so big and important that we are covering it in two parts.

Here we will continue to single out the outstanding volunteer leaders in the council — Arlene Keating, Alex Conti, Al Asfazadour, Janet Gounis, Mary Ann Walsh, Jane Kelly, Eileen Potter and others — while relating a bit of the BRCC’s history and current events.

While many know that the council was founded by late brothers Walter and Vincent Kassenbrock, most aren’t aware that Bay Ridge was once your typical, unorganized, urban community. That all changed when this entire area — now known as Greater Bay Ridge — was threatened with extinction as master builder Robert Moses set his sights on a Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Backed by the huge clout of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Washington, Moses destroyed more property and neighborhoods than any public figure here in modern times. He failed only once when he tried to eviscerate a good portion of Lower Manhattan for one of his highways.

The Kassenbrocks and their allies lost the battle the waged against Moses, but gained a cohesive community, united, in a true sense, as Greater Bay Ridge. Proof of the new boundaries, contained in the BRCC bylaws, is reflected in the almost identical boundary lines of the 68th Precinct and Community Board 10.

The new precinct and CB10 were fashioned by city planners years later. To this day,
the BRCC has remained vibrant and vital because of ongoing activities like the Halloween Art Contest, essay contest, photography contest and other programs for kids.

Perhaps the most meaningful challenge of any BRCC agenda has been the worthwhile Kassenbrock Brothers Memorial Scholarship Fund, headed by Mary Ann Walsh, which has helped worthy students cover their education costs for 39 years. The fund is aptly named for founders Kassenbrock, since Walter and Vincent were both well-known teachers in Bay Ridge.
Save March 4 Date For Kassenbrock Luncheon

While the Kassenbrock Fund accepts contributions all year long, its major fund-raiser is set for March 4 — always on a Sunday — at the Bay Ridge Manor, from 1 to 5 p.m.

As with all other BRCC-inspired functions, the fund is run by volunteers, especially its officers like Administrator Walsh. Others include Assistant Administrator Barbara Vellucci, Treasurer Bob Hedlund, Recording Secretary Mary Quinones, Corresponding Secretary Deborah Braff and Historian Gloria Melnick.

Tickets are cheap at $50 per person and are tax-deductible. Just talk with Vellucci, the event chair; Maria Makrinos, the gift auction chair; or Walsh in person at (718) 833-6624.

February 9, 2012 - 11:44am



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