Where was machine last year?


To the editor:

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

Ms. Betsy Knapp hit the nail on the head. Kudos to her and recent political reporting in The Riverdale Press. Now let’s step back, unpack it, and give it a wider perspective.

There are two Democratic clubs locally: The old line “machine” Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club, and the new just-chartered Unity Democratic Club. I am a member of the latter. I speak for myself here, and not the Unity Club

Let’s ask the question: Who is really working to elect Democrats? And who is working to protect their own tookuses?

From these pages: U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres, Bronx borough president Vanessa Gibson, and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark — all members of the Democratic “establishment,” aka “the machine,” aka the Ben Franklin Club — were noted to be on a junket to Israel the week before Election Day. Imagine that!

The predictions of a “red wave” didn’t seem to faze these comfy officeholders. Rather than like members of progressive groups like Bend the Arc and Indivisible — and especially the Unity Club, who were outspoken in their efforts to help Democrats win up and down the ballot. These folks worked the local area for Gov. Kathy Hochul when she appeared here, and well, that’s it.

By comparison, groups of volunteers originating in the Unity Club spent week after week — also in these pages — sending people to canvas for Congressman Pat Ryan, in the Hudson Valley, helping him eke out a victory. Imagine if the members of the very staid, very comfy “regular Democratic Club” joined forces to help in this effort? We might have been able to stave off the mini-red wave, which cost Democrats a number of additional Congressional seats upstate and on Long Island.

Where were Michael Heller, Jeffrey Dinowitz and son, the anointed city councilman? Certainly not expending any efforts on behalf of fellow Democrats.

Why? Too comfy. Too complacent. They themselves had sinecures, so why bother to help other Democrats?

And the party machine? Too busy on a junket. Really?

All this while The New York Times reported on the extremist right wing young Republican gathering held at a secret location in the city recently. These dangerous radicals don’t scare Mr. Heller and Mr. Dinowitz(es)? Or are they secretly helping to recreate the infamous Independent Democratic Conference, sharing power with the most dangerous people America has to offer?

Remember state Sen. Jeff Klein? Elected as a Democrat to represent us, he joined other self-serving Democrats to serve themselves and set up the IDC.  The Benjamin Franklin Club not only endorsed him, they helped him win election after election until the neighborhood said enough and threw Klein out decisively ,in 2018.

I say that the time for change in leadership in the Democratic Party in the Bronx is now. If the leadership of the Benjamin Franklin Club can’t be bothered to work for all Democrats, and expends their efforts to go after current ones who won’t “toe the line” like state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, who are they actually working for?

The answer again is crystal clear: themselves and only themselves. They have long ago abandoned our community, our borough, and worse still, fellow Democrats. It’s time to send them packing.

Join the Unity Democratic Club and help bring the Bronx out of its dirty, dismal, lazy machine past, and into the clean, clear future. We all will benefit.

Adam Stoler