September 17, 2009 / Brooklyn news / Politics / Election Coverage

GOP and Green nominees say they’ll beat Lander (maybe)

The Brooklyn Paper
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Now that he’s won the Democratic nomination for the 39th Council District, Brad Lander is facing two challengers: Republican Joe Nardiello and Green Party nominee David Pechefsky. We checked in with both upstarts to see if they stand a chance against the better-funded, better-known Democrat.

Joe Nardiello

Carroll Gardens resident Joe Nardiello is a man of contradictions. He touts the economic development work he did for both the Dinkins and the Giuliani administration, yet lambastes government waste. He champions the heroic work done by public school teachers, yet says he’ll take on their union. He says he’s done a bang-up job as the director of business development for his legal services company, yet also admits he just got laid off because the company isn’t doing as well as it once did.

And even when discussing whether he can beat Democrat Brad Lander, Nardiello is all over the place.

“I can beat him — 80 percent of the public has had enough with politicians and politics as usual,” he said. “Brad Lander is politics as usual.”

Then, a few seconds later, he challenged Lander to reject public financing of his campaign for the oddest of reasons.

“He doesn’t need public money to beat me,” Nardiello explained. “Why should he spend taxpayer dollars on mailers when he can win without them?”

Nardiello promised to campaign on several issues: opposing residential parking permits, making public schools better (including PS 58, where he sends his 8-year-old), and working for the dissolution of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

He was reminded that he’d still likely lose even if every Republican in the strongly liberal 39th District voted for him.

“This campaign will cross over,” he said. “People think politicians are lower life forms. But I’m a crossover candidate. I’m an organic Republican. I belong to the Park Slope Food Co-op. I haven’t spent my whole life trying to get elected.

“I don’t want to be labeled, except this,” he added. “I am a Brooklynite.”

David Pechefsky

The Green Party standard-bearer also isn’t sure if he can beat Democratic nominee Brad Lander.

When asked how he could triumph over a popular Democrat in a hugely Democratic district, Pechefsky paused for about 20 seconds.

“We have to engage him,” he said, pausing some more. “There were so many unanswered questions from the primary campaign, such as what are you going to do when you get to the City Council?”

We pressed Pechefsky for his own answer to the same question.

“It’s not so much what will you do, but how will you function in that environment where the speaker has all the power?” he said. “We have to show voters that they don’t have to accept that this is the way it is, that we could have something different.”

Changing the culture of the Council is this 41-year-old former Council staffer’s main reason for running. In fact, whenever Pechefsky talks about his three stints on the legislative side of City Hall, he talks about the “institutio­nal reform” he’d seek if elected.

When reminded that voters tend to nap whenever a candidate talks about institutional reform, Pechefsky, the father of two public school kids, said his priorities would be getting more pre-K seats in the district and cleaning the Gowanus Canal.

But he always comes back to the Speaker.

“I am someone who can build a coalition inside the Council to take on the speaker,” he said. “That’s the key issue. You can only have business as usual unless we do that.”

But is that the key to beating Brad Lander?

Again, a long pause.

“Yeah, why not?” he said. “I stack up well in every way. I have experience and substance. If people really want change, I will beat Brad Lander. If people are happy with the status quo, he wins easily.”

Election day is Nov. 3.

Updated 5:14 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Get Real from Park Slope says:
These fringe lunatics have about as much chance of beating Brad as Dov Hikind has of attending a same-sex wedding. Absolutely none!

Pechefsky and Nardiello ought to get together with Ken Baer and Ken Diamondstone and the looney Doug Biviano and form a 12 step group for delusional people who run for office when they have absolutely zero chance of winning!
Sept. 17, 2009, 7:58 am
I AM Real from Park Slope says:
David Pechefsky is hardly a "fringe lunatic." He's a smart, hard-working guy with good ideas who cares deeply about our neighborhoods, and is beholden to no one but the voters.

David knows the odds of winning. He's running to win, but also to make a point. The fact that victory in the Democratic primary is tantamount to coronation is not very healthy for democracy (I am a registered Democrat). Just take a look at some of Brooklyn's fine "Democrats," like Vito Lopez, Carl Kruger and Dominic Recchia, if you don't believe me. When the crooked Working Families Party is our only check on Democratic Party hegemony, we're in big trouble.
Sept. 17, 2009, 11:30 am
I AM Real from Park Slope says:
David Pechefsky is hardly a "fringe lunatic." He's a smart, hard-working guy with good ideas who cares deeply about our neighborhoods.

David knows the odds of winning. He's running to win, but also to make a point. The fact that victory in the Democratic primary is tantamount to coronation is not really healthy for democracy (I am a registered Democrat). Just take a look at some of Brooklyn's fine "Democrats," like Vito Lopez, Carl Kruger and Dominic Recchia if you don't believe me. When the crooked Working Families Party is our only check on Democratic hegemony, we're in big trouble.
Sept. 17, 2009, 11:32 am
Henry from Carroll Gardens says:
Hey Get Real

Notwithstanding Mr. Lander's impressive win on Tuesday, he is not entitled to the council seat.

Just because Pechefsky and Nardiello are not part of the New York City political machine and may have little chance of winning, doesn't mean they are part of a lunatic fringe. They represent voices that are not often heard. Too bad Mr. Lander's supporters must now resort to name calling even after taking and continuing to take taxpayer's dollars to promote their campaign.

I would have expected better.

If Brad's opponents have zero chance
Sept. 17, 2009, 11:42 am
Getting Really Real from Park Slope says:
Pechefsky and the rest of the nutcase Green party candidates, let's remember spacey Gloria Matera and the late laughable Grandpa Al Munster's race for Governor, do nothing but waste taxpayers money.

But this is America Pechefsky you do have a right to run. At least your kids and supporters will get to keep your NYC CFB funded T-shirts with the kooky caricature of you on it to remember you by.

So what if we have to close a library or 2 on the weekends to pay for it.

Suggestion, join Ted Glick and move out of state.
Sept. 17, 2009, 11:42 am
Henry from Carroll Gardens says:

If Brad has zero chance of losing this race, why doesn't he give any public funds he receives (including any funds received from the other campaigns) to a local charity - say, PAL, a local PTA etc...
Sept. 17, 2009, 11:46 am
One who knows from Park Slope says:
David Pechefsky is smart, hard working, compassionate and effective. The City Council recognized that when it promoted him on multiple occassions -- they knew a gem when they saw one. Too bad the commenter above can't see past the image on his t-shirts. I hate to think that anyone will choose our leaders based on such a superficial assessment. And as far as the reference to other Green Party candidates....should people vote against a Democratic candidate because he's in the same party as Kendall Stewart, Elliot Spitzer and Hiram Monserratte?

David sees the weaknesses inherent in the current composition of the Council - 47 democrats and 4 republicans means almost all bills supported by the speaker get passed. That he wants to inject more debate into that legislative body is a healthy thing that will strengthen our representative democracy and ensure that District 39's voice is heard. And David has all the tools to do this. He knows how to get things done. He knows who the players are, and he's well-liked, even by those who may not agree with him.

How do I know these things? I worked with him for many years. He made a real difference then, and he'll make a difference as our Council Member.
Sept. 17, 2009, 2:16 pm
Brooklynite from 39th District says:
One think David Pechefsky got right is that Brad Lander represents the statusquo candidate.

Brooklynites, regardless of which party they belong to, have a sinking feeling that we need a City Council which will stand-up to the ever expanding power of this mayor, who appears to be running unopposed, even in the general election.

It's hard to believe that the hand-picked replacement for deBlassio--the status quo, will be able to bring the balance of power to City Council that all New Yorkers will need with this third term mayor.
Sept. 17, 2009, 4:08 pm
Joe Nardiello from 39th District says:

Campaigns are not won or lost, in the comment sections of newspaper articles -- but let's clear some issues raised, and add immediate food for thought.

An inauspicious start here to the campaign to be sure (but at least the name was spelled right)... While I respect and have read many articles both informative & just well, fun for years from Gersh (from other news-sources, as well) -- this is the first time we'd spoken. And I think we can agree that we need a little more time together to piece understanding of what is seen as "contradictions". (We can and will do better. Yes we can.)

I'm inviting all of you to look deeply -- or may miss something very different going on right now ( ...and a nod to Grandpa). People saw me at the Transportation Alternatives debate in park Slope one night for example, and I appreciated the encouragement by more that 10% of the audience that stayed later to introduce themselves as I walked off (all Democrats, and I was the last to leave) -- on the exact day I'd learned the 'Conservative' candidate did prison time and is presently out on bail in the NY Post for a slew of domestic abuse/violence and exposed the victim in a self-serving act. You want a contradiction -- about composure and restraint on the campaign trail? You have a candidate for the Dems that this article seems to show as the "favorite" -- that made an issue of the school choice of a child by his loving parents and with one of them in the hospital during a birthing time and was embroiled in a controversy with odd fingerprints as reported over translation/advertorial in Borough Park -- and here, I showed restraint about an opponent that had Court hearings in Nassau County nearly every month of the race.

Now, there's a contradiction.

Ask the other Dem candidates if you wish (all publicized and still very approachable as I'd imagine) and their campaign staffers and volunteers about Joe Nardiello -- I'll rest on their word, if you don't know any of the 1,000s of people that live here that know me across a lifetime spent what I hope to be the right way by others and in support of my community and NYC.

The choice will be clear. You want more of the same, you can have it.

You want something new -- you have either Joe Nardiello or Dave Pechefsy. Would you want a Councilman in 2010 that's independent? honest? a listener? able to work like no one else has with years of perspective as a public servant ( someone that can find consensus and doesn't limit or shut-out anyone in the process? Someone that's already solving resident's issues at their doorsteps, whether or not they'll vote for him? Someone that blends the best of what's come from the GOP and the Democratic side, traditionally -- by nature of being "non partisan". Someone that takes nobody's BS and isn't afraid to speak not only his mind, but relay the sentiments of the 10,000s of people he's spoken with across these passed months on the campaign trail? you want a true Brooklyn resident to represent your neighborhoods -- pick one that's from here, and has a childhood that would make the 'Wonder Years' run home crying in comparison. Pick one that's been places and done things in Brooklyn and for Brooklynites that will come out during this campaign -- and has opened eyes of Democrats and created a undying bond among Republicans and our many, many supporters that have already crossed party lines... because they don't exist anymore. I've flattened one of those lines -- and I'm coming for the other one.

You're voting for a man, now. Not a party.

Now, you REALLY have that choice.

What happened from June to Sept. 15th was nothing less than the 'stuff of movies' and mostly done out of the media-eye. In fact, our media loves candidates that raise donations - and forgets that people are dealing a Real Recession, out here that is often times overlooked in the bubble of political circles and academia.

There's got to be some reason why we got the same %/ratio of Republicans out to the polls, then what turned out for the Democratic Party (in a greatly more publicized race, and even in the face of the GOP voters never having been used to a Primary, in their lives). There's nothing odd, here -- other than you now have a person that's created, set, defended the rights for and won (by landslide) for what was the 1st primary of its kind. Now, if that doesn't say "independent" to you, what will?

I said many times that were out to wash-away partisanship -- and now, you have a local candidate that can actually DO THAT, and now everyone can actually vote for this campaign (instead of our smaller audience, earlier in the week leading to the Primary). THIS is what not many people have heard about me, nor have really read my website ( or if you prefer).

(exhaling.. exhaling... ok, I'll be ok)...
Sept. 17, 2009, 6:51 pm
Moshe Aron kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
Its becoming one big joke “I have come to the conclusion that all of these guys are useless maniacs its a disgrace.Our supposed representatives think that we the voters are trash to be disposed of once the election is over
Sept. 17, 2009, 8:15 pm
Pat K from South Brooklyn. says:
GO JOE- GO! Let's shake it up with integrity.
Sept. 17, 2009, 10:03 pm
Anon from Cobble Hill says:
I beg to differ. Brad is his own guy. He is smart, hard working and has a very, very long list of accomplishments for working people in this city. He will stand up to the Mayor (he has already done it on the Gowanus), he did not take an endorsement from the non-community-representative DeBlasio (good riddance to that guy). Brad will work to totally clean up the Gowanus (not cave to the city's weak, developer led plan), he will prevent housing going up inside Brooklyn Bridge Park (he is already working with the other guy who promised to do that - Senator Squadron), and he will work tirelessly to prevent the current Atlantic Yards plan from going forward. That is what he ran on. That is what he promised. He put it in writing, and went door to door to advocate for those big things. He also ran on a record of actually getting thousands of New Yorkers low income housing. And he worked very hard to eliminate the developer loop holes in 421A. The talk that he is "same old" is tiresome and completely untrue. Look at the facts, look at his record and hold him to his promises - print them out from his website. He won because he will do what he has always done - openly and transparently. Let's get behind him and hold him to these promises.
Sept. 18, 2009, 10:26 am
What is Real? from 39th District says:
Anon representing Cobble Hill should refer to a discussion on the Cobble Hill Blog: You can't rewrite what actually happened in an online comment.

Lander testify in support of 12 story towers along the Gowanus before at the City Planning Toll Brother's hearing. Lander came to this hearing at the very end, avoiding hearing any of the community statements about environmental concerns. He was accompanied by deBlassio. Both make their support of the rezoning known.

When the community was looking for leaders to stand up against the massive Toll Brother's rezoning set along a contaminated waterway--with no cleanup plan, where was Brad? And when Superfund was announced, and again the community was looking for leaders to support the EPA Superfund listing, where was Brad? Did he actually come around to realize that superfund was the right thing to do, or did he just realize that endorsing a superfund cleanup had political advantages coming into the primary?
Sept. 18, 2009, 11:32 am
Anon from Carroll Gardens says:
What is Real,
I was at that hearing and heard Lander deliver testimony in favor of Toll Brothers. He called the project "exciting".
He also waffled on the Superfund. I could be wrong but my sense was that he took the pulse of the community and came out in support for political advantage.

Democrats see two other options to represent us. I look forward to hearing more from Joe Nardiello and David Pechefsky.
Sept. 18, 2009, 12:22 pm
OG from South Brooklyn says:
Okay I think Getting Really Real from Park Slope has pretty well discredited himself, but all the same I feel obliged to just say Gloria Mattera is about the furthest thing from an airhead i have ever known. Compared to the sheep expecting democratic government from the machine--!

And while Al Lewis had a rich sense of humor, there was nothing laughable about his dedication to the cause of justice and his wisdom in its pursuit.
Sept. 19, 2009, 6:43 pm
Mike from boro park says:
Lets not forget George Smith 39th District. Today I still will vote for him, he is still in the race ..
Nov. 3, 2009, 7:48 am

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