Protestors slam Rep. Donovan outside Dyker office

Lack of communication: Sisters Eriola and Ina Pira have made several calls to Dan Donovan’s offices to try to meet with the congressman, but have had no success.
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Protestors clogged 13th Avenue in front of Rep. Dan Donovan’s (R–Bay Ridge) Dyker Heights office on Tuesday demanding the legislator meet with his constituents and defend his controversial support of President Trump’s immigration ban and congressional Republicans’ quest to undo the Affordable Care Act.

Locals want a chance to sound off to the lawmaker, but Donovan has refused to host a true public forum, one voter said.

“I think Congressman Donovan is acting without import from his constituents in Brooklyn,” said Bay Ridgite Greg Bernardi, who teaches history at a Bensonhurst high school. “I think it’s important to let him know there are constituents here looking to influence his positions. And it’s important that we understand where he’s coming from. Is he toeing the party line? I want to hear the reasoning behind his decisions.”

Donovan did hold a public call-in on Feb. 16, taking 18 questions on topics such as health care, immigration, Trump’s travel ban, and climate change, according to a spokesman with Donovan’s office. But the so-called “telephone town hall” was poorly organized and did not allow for back-and-forth dialogue, said one Bay Ridgite.

“It was a mess,” said Ina Pira, who came out to the rally with her sister. “They e-mailed us about it hours before it happened. You needed to enter a code to get through, and there was no indication of when to expect that call. I missed it. We ended up listening to it on speakerphone through someone else. And people couldn’t ask follow-up questions. It just didn’t seem like a good way for him to talk to his constituents — it’d be easier if he just met with us.”

Donovan — who was actually a mile away touring the Guild for Exceptional Children during Tuesday’s protest — was heckled at a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce breakfast earlier this month for his political stance. The mockery left a sour taste in his mouth, and Donovan now fears any large-scale town hall will devolve into mayhem.

“At the last event there were 40 people who had to be escorted out by police and that’s not a town hall — that’s people yelling at him and not letting him speak. That’s not a conversation — that’s a protest,” said Patrick Ryan. “We’ve said all along that anyone who wants to share their views, sit down with him in person is welcome to do that and some of the organizers of today’s protest are meeting with the congressman later today.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

NN from Boerum Hill says:
Dan is up for reelection next year. I hope Bay Ridge voters replace him with someone who supports real Brooklyn values not this pro-Trump anti-immigrant nonsense.
Feb. 22, 2017, 8:31 am
Fatima from Bay Ridge says:
He supports our Bay Ridge values to keep America safe. We need to better understand who arrives in our neighborhood that they obey laws and are here legally. Social services are already stretched thin.
Feb. 22, 2017, 11:49 am
Rufus Leaking from BH says:
"-Trump anti-immigrant nonsense."

Uh, since his wife is an immigrant, doesn't this sound ill informed? It's anti illegal alien not anti immigrant.

Trump is only enforcing the laws on the books for years. Don't like the laws? Change the law.
Feb. 22, 2017, 4:15 pm
Vito Demarco from Bay Ridge says:
Dan Donovan is perhaps the last representative in all of New York City who has the best interests of his constituents. I applaud him for his convictions and good moral compass. Dan, you have my vote next year!
Feb. 22, 2017, 4:21 pm
Jan from Bay Ridge says:
Like him or hate him, he still needs to listen to his constituents. Have a town hall meeting. How long can he avoid these people for?
Feb. 22, 2017, 9:14 pm
Morris from Mill Basin says:
If he won't meet with his constituents, he needs to be killed.
Feb. 22, 2017, 9:25 pm
Fred from Windsor Terrace says:
Do these people want a meeting where a discussion will take place, or do they want a photo op where they can shout him down in public?
Feb. 23, 2017, 7:59 am
Gary from Fort Greene says:
Fred, like all over the country this is a mob who want to confront, intimidate and embarrass elected officials who don't see things the way they do. They don't have any interest in a frank discussion of their issues. Any official who walks into that obvious trap deserves what he gets.
Feb. 24, 2017, 5:35 pm
Old time brooklyn from Slope says:
Very true Gary
What the reactionary anti everything and offended by everything fail to get is the is is legal vs illegal immigrant
Feb. 24, 2017, 6:15 pm
Al from Bay Ridge says:
Dan don't listen to us liberals.
Feb. 24, 2017, 9:57 pm
Merlino Bruno from Dyker Heights says:
I wish these far-left radicals would stop disrupting my community with their minority view of the world. They should understand that their insincere protests and call for a town hall serve only to motivate conservatives voters like me to be more sure to voter for Donovan when election day comes.
June 26, 2017, 12:13 pm

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