Democratic County Committee
New Kings Democrats is one of the reform clubs in Brooklyn that has fought hard against the Vito Lopez machine...and has been part of the formation of a hopefully more reform Frank Seddio machine. Even as their last fight against Vito Lopez (the re-election of Lincoln Restler) is still playing out, here are their comments on the First Act of Frank Seddio's leadership:
Good news! At Wednesday night's county committee meeting, the Brooklyn Democratic Party approved several basic reforms proposed by New Kings Democrats and its allies in the Brooklyn Reform Coalition. These include:
Eliminating the At-Large District Leaders:
In recent years Vito Lopez consolidated his rule by appointing to the Executive Committee 11 at-large members. These positions were hand-picked by the county chair and thus typically voted in line with the county chair. Their removal will restore more democracy to the Executive Committee.
Restoring Transparency to the Party's Operations:
Under Vito, the party's operations were shrouded in mystery and subject to little exposure or debate. The party will now launch and maintain a website detailing important party information including details of the party's operations, finances and nominations.
Empowering Rank & File Democratic Party Members:
The County Committee is the grassroots body within the local party's governance structure, consisting of a few thousand party members. In recent years, this body was rendered impotent, and it just rubber stamped every proposal offered by Lopez. The new reform proposals would require the committee to meet regularly, and convene its subcommittees to ensure wider participation.
Make no mistake, this represents tremendous progress for the party and real achievement for NKD and the reform movement. We want to thank you for all your hard work in helping us realize this day. A special thanks for all those of you who ran for county committee - approximately 260 people within the coalition from a wide range of neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
While this is a good start to a new era, we cannot be complacent. We need to remain vigilant, make sure these reforms are effectively enacted, and advocate for other reforms, notably involving the judicial selection process. And now that the party has (hopefully) moved beyond the acrimony of the Vito Lopez era, we must help it forge a new future, one that is inclusive, diverse, transparent, accountable and democratic.
We will be back in touch soon with details of our next meeting and updates on Lincoln's race.
I should note that at least the first reform proposal mentioned above was also part of Lew Fidler's original proposal developed in collaboration with District Leader Jo Anne Simon. Lew actually split with Vito Lopez partly because of that issue.
I will add that Lew Fidler has this to say about the same changes New Kings Democrats refers to above (was going to quote in another diary but this is as good a context as any):
I have some real hope. There is real change happening here. There is a true leap of faith on all sides. There is change not only in substance but in tone. We have at least 6 races---the defeat of Michael Grimm, Marty Golden and my personal favorite David Storobin, and the re-election of Helene Weinstein, Steve Cymbrowitz and Bill Colton---where we have competitive races with right wing, xenophobic and homophobic republicans. A united and active party can make a huge difference. And nothing will help us more than working together in common cause.
I like the image of a leap of faith because in many ways that feels like what we are making...and personally I have never been one to make leaps of faith (too much the scientist), but I guess sometimes you have to.