To the editor:
(re: “Don’t need another revolution,” Jan. 23)
In your editorial, you make comparisons between the upcoming Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club leadership election and the Rainbow Rebellion, which topped former Bronx Democratic Party boss Jose Rivera in 2008. It is quite clear you don’t fully understand the current dynamic of the Ben Franklin Club, because this ridiculous comparison couldn’t be further from the truth.
You assert that Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and the current club leadership are the old guard executing payback for political vendettas and resisting change. Quite the contrary. The club has been nothing but welcoming and inclusive of all new members over the last few years, as we have always been toward new members.
One could say we have been overwhelmingly so.
Several new members were nominated and elected to the executive committee last year, including the current recording secretary. Additional new members, along with the new members who were elected last year, were nominated this year — one as a vice president candidate.
Furthermore several other new members, many now running on the “alternate slate,” have been assigned committee positions on the various club committees. Working together, longtime members and new members have updated the club website and improved our operations.
Why can’t we all continue to work together to continue the progress we have made over the past year? That is what the nominating committee proposed when it recommended its leadership slate comprised of both old and new members. Despite the progress mentioned above, and the inclusion of several new members on the nominating slate, the “alternate slate” would rather run against all incumbent leadership in an attempt to take over the club.
Let’s be clear: This attempt to take over the club, while veiled in transparency and inclusivity, is truly about power and influence. That’s unfortunate, because the current club leadership — myself included — believes that all Democrats should be working together, with the focus on winning back the White House and the U.S. Senate.
One could easily ascertain from your editorial that the outcome of the club’s election has been predetermined. You wrote, “Why can’t the Ben Franklin Club do the same thing? Just let people run for the jobs, be happy there’s enough interest that there’s actually a choice, and let the best candidate win?” This insinuation that the election process is neither fair nor transparent is an outright falsehood.
The procedure for the club elections is clearly outlined in the club’s bylaws. The membership elects a nine-person nominating committee who spends countless hours reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates. All club members are not only allowed, but encouraged to put forth their candidacies for consideration by the nominating committee.
In fact, many of the candidates on the “alternate slate” interviewed with the committee.
The nominating committee than submits a recommended slate. Any club member who wishes to run for the executive committee — whether they put forth an application for consideration by the nominating committee or not — has a multitude of ways to get their name on the ballot after the nominating committee’s slate is made public.
And this has occurred: Almost two dozen members submitted petitions in support of their candidacies, and their names will appear on the ballot along with the nominating committee’s recommended choices.
As a reporter, you have a journalistic responsibility to report the facts. None of the facts mentioned above were presented in your story. As an editor, you have the right to opine in your editorials, however, you do not have the right to pass off falsehoods as facts. Facts matter. They matter even if they come from a side that perhaps you don’t support.
The author is a vice president of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club. He’s currently the political director for the Bronx Democratic Party, and a former chief of staff for Councilman Andrew Cohen, and a former staffer in Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz’s office.