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Sizzle and fizzle! Old-school pols’ ‘Occupy’ rally fades in Manhattan

The Brooklyn Paper
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A crew of old-school Brooklyn politicians failed to embrace Wall Street’s “occupiers” on Tuesday, rallying at Borough Hall and marching over the Brooklyn Bridge, but abandoning its mission before getting to the epicenter of movement, Zuccotti Park in Manhattan.

Elected officials and union representatives led by Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Vito Lopez stopped short of meeting with those who have been occupying the park for the past month — or making any speeches in solidarity with the protesters in Manhattan — instead opting to break up and go their separate ways once they reached the park where impromptu political speeches are a common practice.

In fact, some of the “occupiers” had no idea that a panoply of Brooklyn pols had shown its support.

“They could have gotten on the people’s mic to announce what was going on,” said Amelia Marzec, referring to the group chanting system used by protesters to amplify public speakers. “I did not even know they were there.”

Marzec added that she didn’t see the group mentioned on the Occupy Wall Street calendar that lets people know what’s going on at the park from day to day.

But before heading to Manhattan, the politicians, including Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D–Fort Greene), Councilman Steve Levin (D–Williamsbu­rg) and Councilman Jumaane Williams (D–Flatbush), and Borough President Markowitz, talked the talk — even if they failed to walk the walk after their trip over the bridge.

“Brooklyn is in the house!” shouted Lopez, an assemblyman who represents Williamsburg and Bushwick. “All we’re doing here is advancing the agenda we’ve had for a long time around affordable housing and job creation.”

And others who took the microphone echoed the ethos of the “occupiers,” who say they are worried that the wealthiest one percent of the country controls at least one-third of the overall wealth.

“In New York City, 44 percent of all income goes to one percent of the population,” said Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store union.

Once the speeches were over, many headed toward the bridge for the march, with protesters carried signs reading “We are the 99 percent,” and “Millionaire’s tax now,” a plea to extend a state surcharge on incomes over $200,000, which expires on Dec. 31.

The rally in Brooklyn was organized without the help of Occupy Brooklyn, which rallied at Grand Army Plaze two weeks ago, and warily embraced Lopez and his gang.

“It’s good to see politicians get involved with the cause — provided they don’t co-opt the message,” said Occupy Brooklyn organizer Brian Merchant, who did not attend Tuesday’s march.

But rallying politicians dismissed the notion that they were marching for their own benefit.

“You’ll have to explain that to me,” said Lopez. “What’s there to gain?”

Other leaders noted that politicians involvement was necessary to get things done.

“Elected officials need to harness the energy out there and turn it into the policy that people are going for,” said Williams, who added that he’d like to see “occupiers” set up a base in Brooklyn. “People need to feel the connection between what’s going on here and there.”

Occupy Brooklyn general assembly (918 Kent Ave. between Willoughby and Myrtle avenues in Clinton Hill), Oct. 27, 7 pm. For info, visit www.occupybrooklyn.org.

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at erosenberg@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow his Tweets at @from_where_isit.
Updated 5:27 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

sue from brooklyn heights says:
Marty Markowitz is the biggest phony. He shakes down corporations to enhance his image and power and then marches against them.. what a joke
Oct. 26, 2011, 5:39 am
Concerned citizen from Bushwick says:
This article is phony. The reporter, Eli Rosenberg, and this newspaper (which is owned by Newscorp) have an agenda that does not include Assemblyman Vito Lopez as a friend. They are obviously against these protesters.

First and foremost, as someone involved in the organization of the March Across the Bridge, I know that there were between 300-400 people at the rally and 200-250 walked across the bridge. The Brooklynites stayed at Zuccotti Park and some even participated in Mic Check activities.
Oct. 26, 2011, 6:08 am
Actual Real Citizen from Brooklyn says:
Sure there were, "Concerned Citizen." Concerned with your own power base and image, perhaps.

There are no bigger phonies and crooks in Brooklyn politics than Vito and Marty. The actual real protestors would've roasted and eaten them if they weren't poisonous.

Those guys should crawl back under their rocks.
Oct. 26, 2011, 7:44 am
Dennis sinneD from Williamsburg says:
Methinks Brooklyn Paper would benefit greatly if it partnered with Facebook for its "reader feedback" section like the NY Post has it. That way, we can dispense with much of the idiocy and vileness and counterproductivity that comes with pseudonymity.
Oct. 26, 2011, 8:48 am
Down with Billionaires from East New York says:
“In New York City, 4 percent of all income goes to one person, the freaking mayor."
Oct. 26, 2011, 12:26 pm
Scott from Park Slope says:
Actual Real Citizen is 100% correct. Vito isn't in jail yet because he controls the state housing committee that houses many cops' families. Marty is a doofus corporate sell-out.

We need to clean house from top to bottom in this country. Vito, Marty, and the rest of their pals in the 1% all need to go as much as Jamie Dimon & Rupert Murdoch do.

If you get rich like Steve Jobs by building tremendous value, then more power to you. But bankers are utterly worthless and create no value of any kind. We need government that gets that distinction and rewards the former while punishing the latter.
Oct. 26, 2011, 3:55 pm
Jim from Brooklyn says:

This was a rally and march of hundreds of people, and you focus on such a trivial side issue. How sad! There are important matters at stake here, such as continued funding for necessary government programs and you're trying to settle scores with a politician you clearly have a vendetta against. What a sad and cynical take from this pathetic Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper. Hopefully, as News Corps stock continues to plunge because of the ongoing investigation into illegal hacking and other conduct, you will all be fired and lose your jobs. No one else is going to hire you.
Oct. 26, 2011, 5:41 pm
anywho says:
Where is "Katie" to defend Lopez?

Lopez is in a time warp, I swear he is losing it.
Oct. 27, 2011, 5:40 am
Bill from Brooklyn says:
The biggest phonies are the New Kings Democrats that people like anywho support without thinking. Lincoln Restler comes from a family that has made immense wealth (not top 1% but top .0001%) by privatizing the natural gas industry in British Columbia Canada. Talk about back room deals and cronyism, Peter Restler, Lincoln’s father and biggest campaign contributor, seems to be the man behind the curtain of British Columbia’s center right Liberal Party, and those politicians regularly come to NYC to kiss his ring. His father basically engineered something similar to Enron in Canada for his own profit. The article below follows the money and goes where NYC journalists haven’t: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2011/03/21/SmartMeterRush/
Oct. 28, 2011, 6:03 pm
Craig from Bushwick says:
Bill from Brooklyn seems to show a good example of why I left the Democratic Party so long ago. It seems that the party, even those who are nominally "reformers" are funded by corporations.

Whether it's contributions to candidates or contributions to party committees who provide resources to candidates, most Democratic elected officials are funded either directly or indirectly by big business.

I will not work for or vote for candidates or parties funded by big business. I do not think it's possible to "reform" the Democratic Party. The party infrastructure and resources are designed to prevent such "reform."

I'd rather support the Green Party as well as support Occupy Wall Street, who has shown opposition to the roll such business has in undermining democracy.
Oct. 29, 2011, 3:51 pm
bill from glendale says:
vito and his girlfriend should be in jail she gave herself a raise ofOUR TAX DOLLARS HEY GOV SHOW SOME BALLS PUT A STOP TO THIS ALSO VITO SAIDS HE LIVES IN BROOKLYN BUT NO ONE SAW HIM THERE BECAUSE HE LIVES IN QUEENS AND ALL A SUDDEN THE LANDLAW OF THE PLACE IN BROOKLYN GOT A JOB WITH FULL BENEFITS IN THE COURTS YOU DA S BETTER WAKE UP CAUSE PEOPLE ARE FED UP HOW DARE VITO MARCH FOR WALL STREET HE AND HIS PHONEY WITCH LOOKING GIRLFRIEND BETTER GET INDICTED OR WE WILL MARCH IN BROOKLYN TILL SHE STEPS DOWN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH THATS UOUR TAX MONEY
Oct. 30, 2011, 11:27 am
Tony from Park Slope says:
If they supported the protest, they would introduce legislation opening public parks 24 hours. They would revise the laws governing parks created by developers in exchange for building code variances. They would lift the 1845 law banning the wearing of masks by more than three citizens in one place.

They don't support anything, but their own re-election.

Wait until the next time Markowitz tries to walk amongst Occupy Brooklyn protesters. He'l meet a much different greeting than he is used to getting.
Oct. 31, 2011, 6:56 am

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