To the editor:
(re: “Biaggi, Ben Franklin Club part ways in a political divorce,” July 9)
The Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club was founded in my living room in 1959. Of all five words in that name, the most important is the word “reform,” because at the time, the Bronx Democratic Party was split between the “regular” Democrats controlled by the party boss Charlie Buckley — from the old school of machine bosses harking back to the Tammany Hall days — and the “reform” Democrats, who were the candidates and their supporters who demanded progressive reforms.
Not just on the issues of the day and how they affected the local electorate, but reforms to “politics as usual.”
From the mid-1960s onward, “No more backroom bosses!” was one of our campaign slogans.
Yet, over the decades, the Ben Franklin Club stopped being reformers and morphed into the “regulars” that the club’s earliest members sought to beat at the ballot box. The solution became the problem. The reformers were replaced with next-gen party bosses who cared more about party entrenchment than progressive advancement.
Under “Boss” Jeffrey Dinowitz, the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club is no more “reform” or “Democratic” than it was under “Boss” Charlie Buckley.
The 2020 electorate in the Bronx has spoken loudly. They want “reformers” again: Progressive candidates who care about issues, not more self-congratulating from those who only care about remaining entrenched.
It’s long past time for the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club to return to its roots, get rid of the “backroom bosses,” and focus on the progressive issues (and candidates) that were the genesis of the club to begin with.