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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Political Leadership

We raised a few eyebrows with our editorial (scroll down to 2nd editorial) on political clubs in an April edition of the Norwood News. Enough so that we got two letters in response (see end of post), always a welcome result.

But some of the comments show that people might have misinterpreted our point. Anthony Rivieccio mentions all the great community groups that are active in the area.We know and appreciate all the organizations, political and otherwise, that are involved in good works in our communities.

Political clubs are different and letter writer Ricky Martinez acknowledges this when he says, “Yes, with the demise of the Decatur Democratic Club and the past two gerrymanders of the election districts, your entire circulation area has lost some of its political effectiveness.” This is exactly the point.

The kind of political clubs we are talking about are based in the district from which Assembly members are sent to Albany. They are closest to the grassroots because they are smaller than City Council or State Senate districts and certainly smaller than Congressional districts.

Political parties are organized around Assembly districts. The county and state political parties are embodied in committees whose members are elected by Assembly district. Judges are picked by conventions of County parties whose delegates are chosen by Assembly district.

This is important stuff and it was once all organized by local political clubs. We used to have one of those in Community District 7, the above-mentioned Decatur Democratic Club. But district lines were changed and we are not the center of any elected official’s district at any level. So, the political clubs are all someplace else or have disappeared. (We hear rumors that a new one is being contemplated. Stay tuned.) With the exception of part-time staff people, there is no constituency office for any elected official in our area either.

What we must point out is that when people in leadership are simply not here every day, and that goes for bank presidents (which we used to have a few of around here) as well as politicians, important decisions that affect our lives get made by people who don’t see the conditions they are deciding about.

One additional criticism must be addressed. The 81st Assembly District is, of course, just part of our coverage area. So, here are all the districts, all the political committee people who represent them and the club (if any) that they belong to:

81st District Assembly Member: Jeffrey Dinowitz

District leaders: Bruce Feld and Randi Martos

Club: Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club

State Committee Members: Marcia Allina and William Weitz

Delegates to the last judicial convention: : Jeffrey Dinowitz, Marcia Allina, Anthony Creaney, Helen Morik, Eleanor Oliff and G. Oliver Koppell.

80th District Assembly Member: Naomi Rivera

Represents in Norwood News readership area: Norwood and Bedford Park

District leaders: Kenny Agosto and Michelle Dolgow

State Committee Members: Elaine Feder and Joseph McManus

Delegates to last judicial convention: Naomi Rivera, Rose Salzman, Jeffrey Klein, Valerie Velasquez, and Lilithe Lozano

78th District Assembly Member: Jose Rivera

Represents in Norwood News readership area: North Fordham and Bedford Park

District Leaders: Jose Rivera and Nilda Velazquez

State Committee Members: Donna Benjamin and BJ Rivera

Delegates to last judicial convention: Nilda Velazquez, Jose Rivera, Efrain Gonzalez, and Donna Benjamin

86th District Assembly Member: Luis M. Diaz

Represents in Norwood News readership area: University Heights

District leaders: Hector Ramirez and Zoraide Rosado

State Committee Members: Yudelka Tapia and Nero Graham Jr.

Delegates to last judicial convention: Luis Diaz, Yesenia Polanco, Julio Cardi, Bernice Johnson and Ivan Figueroa

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