There’s no quarrel, he insists, but one Bay Ridge Democratic powerhouse has formed a new political club to give shelter to local activists unhappy with the direction of one area club.
Ralph Perfetto -- who is the male Democratic district leader in the 60th Assembly District -- told this paper that founded the United Americans Democratic Organization (UADO) after receiving numerous complaints from members of the American Heritage Democratic Organization (AHDO), which he had started in 1997.
Specifically, Perfetto said, the concerns revolved around the fact that the new leadership of AHDO, headed up by club President Scott Klein, had revamped the club rules to give club executives and members who reside within the 60th A.D. two votes, while people who live outside the district get only one vote.
Klein became the head of AHDO after moving over, with supporters, from Brooklyn Democrats for Change (BDC), another local club, which he left after being defeated by Kevin Peter Carroll by a razor-thin margin in that club’s 2007 presidential contest.
At the first meeting of UADO, which was held at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 7420 Fourth Avenue, Perfetto assured those who attended that, “Everyone who is a member of this organization has one vote. There are no weighted votes in this organization.”
Another issue, said Perfetto, was a change in focus. The new leaders of AHDO, who got control of the club while Perfetto was involved with Stephen Harrison’s failed congressional campaign, were more interested in environmental issues than in politics, he opined. “They basically converted the organization to a civic environmental group,” Perfetto said.
“I just got frustrated,” Perfetto acknowledged during a phone interview referring to the system adopted by AHDO. “I said to them, I’m not going to argue with you anymore.”
So, in late April, Perfetto sent a missive to active Democrats in the neighborhood, informing them of the new club, and inviting them to join. Despite the existence of two other clubs in the area (AHDO and Brooklyn Democrats for Change), Perfetto said in the letter, “There is still an overwhelming number of registered Democrats in the Brooklyn portion of the 60th A.D. that are ‘out of the loop.’”
Nonetheless, Perfetto said, everything is amicable. Noting that he was “working together with Joanne Seminara,” his co-district leader (who had founded BDC), Perfetto said, “I’m ultimately hoping we will all come together again, that we will let the political people work on politics and let the environmentalists work on environmental issues.”
Indeed, in an April 21st letter to Seminara, Perfetto wrote, “As the founder of the AHDO, I have no intention of abandoning it, or its members. They are all good people, and I have a very strong fondness for Scott Klein, whose friendship I hold precious since we first met in 1982. Therefore, without offending any of its good people, I will start a movement outside of the AHDO to bring back those valuable people into a working club that will ensure our re-election to our leadership positions, without the burden falling solely to the Seminara and Perfetto families.”
For his part, Carroll, said he was “looking forward to working with Ralph.
“Ralph is a fair guy, very straightforward,” Carroll went on. “He really is a model for Democrats in Bay Ridge.”
As for Klein, he declined to comment, except to say, “I believe we will all work together.”