Time for Dems to work together


To the editor:

(re: “Time to make a change at the top,” Dec. 15)

Although I am not among the lucky few criticized by acting Unity Democratic Club president Betsey Knapp, as Democratic State Committee member from the 81st Assembly District, I have a few comments to offer.

It is disappointing that the leader of the so-called “unity club” would act in such a way as to create disunity. Sadly, though, this does not surprise me. Ms. Knapp and her acolytes acted in a similar fashion several years ago when they staged a failed coup to assume leadership of the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club.

This year, Ms. Knapp also stated to The Riverdale Press that members of the Ben Franklin Club would not be permitted to join her club. While Ms. Knapp’s “proposal” to do this was not adopted by her club’s executive committee, it raises the question of how Ms. Knapp plans to encourage unity in the 81st Assembly District if her primary actions have been to exclude or criticize other Democrats.

I became aware of the dump Jay Jacobs letter, but was never asked to sign, which I would have refused to do anyway. I do not know Mr. Jacobs, but I understand that he has operated the state committee in a competent and inclusive fashion. The reasons behind losing four House seats continue to be widely discussed by elected officials, organizers, political scientists and the chattering class with many theories being thrown around.

I would offer that it is obvious that voters with moderate tendencies have become increasingly alarmed by the leftward drift of many New York Democrats, partially explaining losses in suburban and upstate districts that had been trending Democratic.

Moderate Democrats had thus become tainted by such views. I believe that Republicans picked up votes throughout the state. The loss of former Nassau County executive Laura Curran, a talented and effective public servant during the last election to stalwart Republican Bruce Blakeman, was a clarion call that few Democrats paid attention to.

I would suggest that Ms. Knapp change gears and endeavor to create a more inclusive, statewide Democratic tent by emulating the name of her organization, starting by acting to unify Democrats of varying views on the political spectrum.

Michael Heller