To the editor:
(re: “Biaggi battles Klein for first time,” May 3)
The Ben Franklin Reform Democratic Club meeting ran close to three hours. A part of the story not covered was the pushback from club members in the audience who felt their points of view needed to be heard.
I joined the club at the end of February, paying in cash when I attended a meeting. My understanding was that my dues would allow me to be a voting member. When I arrived on April 25, I was told that I could “ask questions, but not vote,” as not enough time had elapsed since I had paid for membership.
After the meeting, I heard rumblings from others who had been barred from voting, stating that “their checks had been held.”
An extremely vocal participant in the audience insisted that there be a period devoted to comments. What then transpired was a robust conversation about both candidates.
Statements address to Sen. Jeffrey Klein covered a range of topics. They included his non-appearance at the Northwest Bronx Indivisible town hall, his long-time alliance with the Republicans in the state senate which had prevented the passage of progressive legislation, his receipt of perks known as “lulus,” and monies owed to the district’s schools.
There was a reference to those speakers in the last paragraph of the story, via Klein’s challenger, Alessandra Biaggi, who said “a lot of people stood up and spoke for me.” Biaggi additionally noted “that’s not my political club. That’s his political club.”
If I had one specific impression from the event, it was that of an “old boys club.” The incumbents in attendance spoke glowingly of Klein (one official had several turns at the mic).
It was not an evening that evidenced a momentum toward change from the presently elected officials.
However, it was clear that a large number of stakeholders were present who are adamant that the time for change is now.
Perhaps the Indivisible movement is the new political club of this decade.
Marcia G. Yerman