On the eve of the start of petitioning, a new Democratic club was launched in Bay Ridge by a long time political activist.
The United Americans Democratic Organization (UADO) −− formed by Democratic District Leader Ralph Perfetto, who had previously formed the American Heritage Political Organization −− held its first meeting at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 7420 Fourth Avenue, and welcomed two familiar faces, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles “Joe” Hynes and former Public Advocate Mark Green.
Hynes is running for re−election. After eight years, Green −− who gave up the public advocate post because of term limits −− is hoping to reclaim his old position.
Hynes made the case for his candidacy in brief comments that highlighted some of his achievements −− the foundation of a domestic violence bureau at the DA’s office, where victims can go for help, and find virtually every resource they need in a single location; the creation of the Red Hook Community Court, which, he said, serves as “an anchor for the Red Hook Community;” and a program to reduce recidivism among former prison inmates that, Hynes said, has reduced the re−arrest rate from one in three to two in 10.
“We’ve turned people who had a career in crime into taxpayers,” Hynes stressed. “In the end, it’s all about public safety.”
Why is he running again? “There’s so much more we can do, to make sure we continue the rises in public safety,” Hynes said
How well have Hynes’ programs worked? Hynes said that, when he became DA in 1990, “We were the fifth most violent place in America per capita. Now, Money magazine said we’re one of the 10 best places to live. That didn’t just happen because of me. It’s happened because of community involvement, because we have a great police force and because of programs that we have that are designed to reduce recidivism and raise levels of public safety.”
As for Green, he told the group, “You’re a new club. I’m an old advocate. So, let’s get together. Opposites attract.”
As for why he feels he is the best candidate, Green noted, “I know the job because I’ve done the job.” While he hadn’t originally intended running, he decided a few months back to throw his hat into the ring, he said, after Mayor Michael Bloomberg had engineered the controversial term limit extension.
“I watched what Obama was doing to Washington,” Green told the group, “and I thought, if he can bring progressive Democratic change to Washington, maybe we can in New York. So, I said, let the people decide. I’m going to run to answer complaints, investigate city services, be a counter−weight to the mayor if he needs one.”
Green, when he was public advocate, “did a great job,” opined Stephen Harrison. Indeed, he noted, “He defined the position. No one knew what a public advocate was when they created the position. He became our advocate as a consumer of public programs.”
Perfetto, who worked in the public advocate’s office as an ombudsman under Green, concurred. “He said, we must favor by law those who are least favored in life,” Perfetto recalled. “Those were our marching orders everyday.”