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July 12, 2018 / Brooklyn news / Party Line

Pols get antisocial on social media

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Locals are blasting a Crown Heights pol whom they claim sent out a slanderous e-mail about an Albany colleague after she threw her support behind his challenger last week.

The controversy began on July 6 when Assemblywoman Diana Richardson (D–Crown Heights) shared a social media post asking her constituents to vote for state Sen. Jessie Hamilton’s primary challenger Zellnor Myrie, charging that “mediocrity no longer has a place in politics,” after Hamilton — whom Richardson has criticized before — turned his back on True Blues by caucusing with the Republicans as a member of the now-defunct Independent Democratic Conference.

Later that day, Hamilton allegedly created a new website, “Woke Brooklyn,” and sent out an e-mail from it disparaging Richardson’s record, claiming she has done nothing to help the black community.

”Assembly Member Diana Richardson is selling out the Black community for crumbs! Richardson appears to support Black and Caribbean Americans, however, she has consistently put politics and political parties above her beloved black community,” the e-mail said.

But some tech-savvy locals claimed the e-mail’s came from the “Woke Brooklyn domain, owned by Hamilton.

And Richardson is now calling on Hamilton to apologize, and amping up voters to oust Hamilton in the September primary.

“It’s been 72 hours and still no word from Senator Hamilton about what has transpired. I read a heartbreaking post from one of our constituents this morning and honestly Senator, whether you know it or not you have hurt a lot of people. The public revelation that you were behind it broke the hearts of many,” said Richardson, who went on to say in a Facebook live video that he has lacked integrity since he joined the rogue conference. “Now he sees everybody is about to rally themselves on a real progressive candidate getting themselves to a position where we’re gonna get some new leadership around here and his tactic has become, ‘let me try to tear down Diana Richardson, so that I could lift myself up.’ Well guess what Senator Hamilton, we’re gonna vote you out.”

A spokesman for Hamilton did not respond to a request for comment.

• • •

Another state pol had a similar hiccup on social media when someone from his office allegedly sent out a disparaging and unprofessional tweet from his official political account.

“Yo angry Muppet, have you told the people you’re stealing money from that you are losing by 46 points?” state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) wrote in a now-deleted tweet to his Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes on July 8.

Both Gounardes — who recently picked up the endorsement of Coney Island Councilman Mark Treyger — and his competitor Ross Barkan were quick to call out the incompetence of Golden’s office.

“Well gosh I don’t think this is something very becoming for a state senator to say,” Gounardes wrote.

With this coming after so many other recent blunders from Golden’s office — including his now-fired staffer who shared posts on social media that compared Democrats and survivors of the February Parkland shooting to Nazis, and the longtime state pol himself allegedly impersonating a cop while trying to pull over a cyclist — it’s time for him to resign from politics, said Barkan.

“Honestly, this office is beyond disgraceful,” he wrote on Twitter.

Golden’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

• • •

A coalition of self-described progressives in Brooklyn are demanding three pols to stop blocking people on social media, following a May federal court ruling that deemed it unconstitutional for President Trump to block his critics on Twitter.

“We call on you to remove these blocks. Likewise, comments made on public officials’ social media platforms should be respected as any other form of protected speech. We’d prefer not to have to fight to get you to respect the Constituti­on,” members of five political groups, including Bay Ridge for Social Justice and South Brooklyn Progressive Network, wrote in a July 9 letter to a trio of Bay Ridge Republicans — state Sen. Marty Golden, Rep. Dan Donovan, and Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis.

Not only is blocking constituents with whom an official has differing views childish — and unconstitutional — but it also prevents voters from learning their representa­tive’s stance on important issues, said one Bay Ridgite.

“I’ve been blocked by both state Sen. Golden and Assemblywoman Malliotakis for pointing out their hypocrisy,” said Amy Zarkos in a press release. “It’s beyond frustrating to see my reps claim stances I disagree with and not be able to comment, all the while reading comments posted mostly by constituents who do agree with them. People who aren’t in the know aren’t getting the full story, and that’s dangerous.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at jcuba@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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