Here it comes, folks — an editorial about a district leader race.
Wait, don’t turn the page! For once, a contest for the obscure, unpaid, rarely challenged job of state committeemember is actually important this year.
Yes, we see you reaching for the corner of the page, but before you flip, consider this: If we don’t fix the bottom rung of electoral politics in this borough, we’ll never solve the truly big problems.
So come on, give us a couple of minutes on this one, won’t you? We promise, it won’t hurt.
Here’s the situation: Each party has two district leaders — a man and a woman — for each Assembly district in the state. These district leaders don’t do much except pick poll workers and help get candidates on the ballot — oh, and they also help rig the political game against anyone who might challenge the county’s party chairman.
For the Democrats, that’s the thuggish Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
Lopez is solid on legislation in Albany. But his real game is consolidating power locally so he can have a say in who gets the patronage jobs, which contractors get the city contracts, and which developers have to kowtow to the non-profit groups that he controls.
But in order to do all that, Lopez has to remain county boss — and for that, he needs district leaders who march in lockstep.
But Vito’s problem is that two district leaders in Brownstone Brooklyn — Jo Anne Simon and Alan Fleischman — don’t ask, “How high?” when he says, “Jump.”
Simon and Fleischman bucked Lopez when he picked party hacks for the Surrogate’s Court. They stood against Lopez when he tried to get an unqualified person on the Board of Elections. And they fought him when he tried to put the scabrous Noach Dear on the bench without a judicial screening panel.
That may not sound like a big deal, but no leader — from the White House down to Vito Lopez’s clubhouse in Bushwick — should surround himself with loyalists who are too afraid for their jobs to question poor decisions.
But that’s what Lopez wants. To challenge Simon and Fleischman, Lopez is backing two newcomers. Maybe that’s politics, but we’d prefer if Lopez would find candidates with more experience than Hope Reichbach and Stephen Williamson.
Reichbach is best known as the spokeswoman for Lopez’s protege, Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsburg), and for having a father who is a family friend of Lopez.
And Williamson isn’t known at all.
But what does Lopez care if they have no real experience? He only wants people close to him who owe their careers to the Bushwick puppetmaster.
That makes a mockery of democracy.
So there you have it, folks — our amazing district leader editorial.
That wasn’t so bad, was it?