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Vito power! Lopez wins another term as county leader

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Meet the new Boss — same as the old Boss.

Brooklyn Democratic Party leaders re-elected embattled Assemblyman Vito Lopez to another two-year term as party’s chairman by an overwhelming 47–3–2 victory over reform challenger and new state committeeman Chris Owens.

“I’m very happy,” said Lopez. “I’ll be there two more years. I have broad support throughout the county and I’m happy.”

The vote was cast late Monday night in Brooklyn Heights after a boisterous county committee meeting where members of the insurgent New Kings Democrats demanded Lopez’s resignation and tried to change the party’s bylaws by eliminating mass proxy voting and demanding quarterly meetings.

“Lopez does all he can to operate our local Democratic Party in the least democratic way possible,” said Matt Cowherd, founder of the New Kings Democrats. “He sends out paper proxies encouraging county committee members to skip the biennial meeting, and whenever possible, he packs the state committee with human proxies.”

Cowherd was referring to 11 at-large members appointed by Lopez himself, including six new members announced on Monday night before the vote.

But Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D–Midwood) dismissed the notion of rancor within the party.

“It was an overwhelming margin,” said Hikind.

Lopez’s coronation capped a busy week for the Assemblyman, who saw several political allies lose state committee races in last week’s primary, privately announced that his cancer reappeared, and faced intense questioning over a widening city investigation into the nonprofit he founded and the competence of its board members.

Lopez declined to comment about his health and the investigation into the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, only saying it is “one of the best nonprofit providers in the city.”

But scores of political reformers disagreed, leading a protest march two hours before the county meeting, chanting “Veto Vito!” from Borough Hall down Remsen Street to St. Francis College, where the vote and the county’s biennial meeting would take place.

“Three of Brooklyn’s past four Democratic Party bosses have been indicted on charges of corruption — and if the recent news about current party boss Vito Lopez is any indication, he is likely to meet the same fate,” said Lincoln Restler, a state committee candidate whose election was too close to call on primary night, though he now looks likely to win.

Inside the meeting, a divided Democratic Party fought over every motion, bylaw change, and points of order — but nearly every motion went in Lopez’s favor after a voice vote was called.

Owens, acknowledging that he didn’t expect to win the county position or many votes in the county committee, nevertheless declared the evening meeting a success.

“We brought people together, we got new business on the agenda, and we made some inroads,” said Owens. “We wanted the county leader to understand that we’re not going to be quiet and roll over like we did before.”

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Reader Feedback

Dan from Greenpoint says:
Vito you are going down big time!!!
Sept. 21, 2010, 11:13 am
Corruption reigns from Flatbush says:
Vito Lopez, I wouldn't change places with you for all the money in the world. As often as I've seen you at the club, I've never seen you smile. In articles written lately--with photos of you--you look like the sourpuss that you are. You're an old, balding man with, seemingly, an unchangeable frown. Yes, you're over the hill, balding, no chin, and deserving of the endless negative comments uttered by your peers. 'Corruption' is your middle name. You surely will not get the same accolades that Bernie got, when your time comes!
Sept. 21, 2010, 12:56 pm
Mike from Park Slope says:
Vito Lopez is a hero. In spite of all the phony criticism, in spite of working while dealing with debilitating illness, he perseveres and in doing so passes landmark legislation for loft tenants, he helped save public housing while other cities bulldoze theirs for luxury developments, and he has built and continues to try to build and preserve thousands of units of affordable housing.

The vote last night, 47-3-2, is a vote of confidence in his leadership. During the last five years the Brooklyn Democratic Party has increased it’s role in state decision making and authority. While so called reformers argue about having endless meetings and procedural niceties, Lopez is doing his best to try to help the people that call Brooklyn home.
Sept. 21, 2010, 2:08 pm
Suharto from Downtown Brooklyn says:
@Mike: "phony criticism"? They seem like real criticisms to me. Do you think they're phony because you don't like the people making them?

Your statement is tell: "Lopez is doing his best to try to help the people that call Brooklyn home."

Lopez is helping his own people at the expense of Brooklyn. You may be happy because you have defined yourself as the incarnation of Brooklyn, but there are many neighborhoods that feel left out and angry. He's your hero, at my expense.
Sept. 21, 2010, 2:41 pm
jim from park slope says:
The vote last night 47-3-2 only shows that Vito Lopez puts the Fear of God to the other District Leaders who are the real enablers of this control freak.
When Vito says " Jump" they all say how "High."
Sept. 21, 2010, 2:42 pm
Hopper from Los S-S says:
Corruption, corruption, fearmongering, corruption.
Sept. 21, 2010, 2:48 pm
Brownsville from Brownsville says:
Mike, you've got too start looking beyond your own nose. Teh Prospect Plaza NYCHA buildings have been rotting for years with no help from Vito. Get your privleged ass back to Kansas where you belong. Vito has let my nieghbors die while he collects $$$$.
Sept. 21, 2010, 3:22 pm
Mike from Park Slope says:
I'm from New York, and by no means wealthy at all, but what I was referring to was the Federalization of the remaining NYCHA buildings that were funding wholly by the city and state and dragging the system down. And you can't honestly blame Lopez for problems at one NYCHA development. How unfair is that? Lopez works about ten times harder than other elected officials, and all you have to do is compare him with any other elected official to see that this is true.
Sept. 21, 2010, 4:03 pm
anywho says:
Unless Lopez, Battaglia, and Fisher are in handcuffs and hauled away by the Feds,

WHO THE F CARES!

ENOUGH!
Sept. 21, 2010, 7:59 pm
Fred from Ft. Greene says:
I always love how at least one of the comments always smacks of bad-professional-or-wannabe-professional spin!
Anybody who heads an organization that's supposed to be publicly elected unpaid volunteers with and packs it with 11 people who weren't voted on by the public is a corrupt hypocrite, no spinning that! The next AG should be all over this practice!
Sept. 22, 2010, 2:37 am
Soleil from Williamsburg says:
One of those corrupt 11 Vito cronies is . . . Joe Lentol! It seems that these virulent reformers canonize "humble Joe" while knowing that he is one of Vito's 11 unelected cronies packing the Executive Committee.

If Mickey Mouse was a staunch supporter of the villainous Oil Can Hairy, even a henchman in Hairy's nefarious schemes, would he not still be a villain and Mighty Mouse' enemy?

So Joe Lentol (Mickey), a supporter of boss Vito Lopez' (Hairy) reign, a henchman appointed to protect his leadership, remains a "Hero of Reform" and a New Kings Democrats (Mighty Mouse) friend. Mighty Mouse, Mighty Mouse where are you?
Sept. 22, 2010, 12:50 pm
waitasecond from Bushwick says:
How did "reformer" and newly elected anti-vito district leader Lincoln Restler vote for County Chair.
He obviously did not vote for the only other person who challenged vito for the leadership, Chris Owens.
So how did he vote?
gm
Oct. 4, 2010, 8:27 pm
waitasecond from Bushwick says:
oh maybe Lincoln was one of the ones that didnt vote?
gm = (goodmoney)
thats even worse....
sarcasm wins?
thats gm (goodmoney)
Oct. 4, 2010, 8:31 pm

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