May 18, 2010 / Media / Brooklyn news / Podcast / Politics / Bay Ridge / Committeman Confrontation

Candidates savage each other in district leader debate

The Brooklyn Paper
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Incumbent Democratic District Leader Ralph Perfetto says that a vote for his inexperienced challenger Kevin Peter Carroll would be a vote for the Republicans.

Swinging his mightiest blow to date against the 24-year-old Carroll, the lifelong pugilist — who has held the unpaid leadership post for nearly 18 years — said that Carroll’s support for redrawing state assembly lines so that Bay Ridge could have only one assemblymember would play right into the GOP’s slimy hands.

In particular, he slammed Carroll’s willingness to team up with Fran Vella-Marrone, the vice chairwoman of the Kings County Conservative Party, on the redistricting effort.

“I wouldn’t work with her unless I wanted to make it a Republican district,” Perfetto said in a rip-roaring 50-minute debate in our Downtown offices last Thursday, as the two candidates traded punches in an effort to claim the reform mantle.

But Carroll fought right back, saying that members of the borough’s political establishment, including Perfetto, have allowed party leaders to maneuver for their personal benefit rather than working for the benefit of the community.

“[Bay Ridge] the minority in five assembly districts,” said Carroll. “We don’t have one person in Albany fighting for our representation.

“The only reason why Bay Ridge hasn’t been put into one assembly district is because the people who are supporting Ralph Perfetto right now have said we don’t want Bay Ridge to have one voice,” he added.

Perfetto is endorsed by Assemblyman Vito Lopez (D-Bushwick), the county Democratic leader — a strong indication that the incumbent is not as independent as he claims to be, Carroll also said.

“I am the independent reform candidate in this election,” Carroll proclaimed. “He is the county candidate in this election.”

But Perfetto said he prides himself on bucking Lopez. He even ran against Lopez for the position.

“There’s still a bit of ice” between him and Lopez, he said. “It’s gotten a little warmer, but I still need a coat.”

The jabs and counter-jabs continued for the entire debate:

• Perfetto said a district leader’s role was to get Democrats elected, then hold them accountable. But he admitted that his political club, the United Americans Democratic Organization, has already endorsed Rep. Mike McMahon (D-Bay Ridge) — even though the group condemned his vote against the president’s health care legislation earlier this year.

“I don’t think the leaders across the borough have shown any accountability in holding politicians’ feet to the fire,” Carroll charged — though later was forced to admit that his club, Brooklyn Democrats for Change, has also endorsed McMahon after the falling out over health care.

• The role of the district leader was also a bone of contention. Perfetto said he uses the position to advocate for individuals in need of help, such as immigration assistance, removing an abandoned car, and disability funding for a veteran who had been denied, he recalled.

“Initially,” Perfetto said, “I was criticized for turning a political club into a civic association, but I felt if you want the people to vote for you, you have to do something for them in return.”

But Carroll said he would move the job away from “nuts and bolts.” “Leader is implied in the term ‘district leader,’ ” Carroll added. “We have to be promoting various issues that affect not only our community, not only our borough, but our city and our state,” such as the future of the city’s upstate watershed, which has been threatened by potentially devastating gas-drilling, and getting the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to meet the needs of area residents.

The election will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 14 — and we will be covering it every step of the way. The entire debate can be viewed on our Web site,

Updated 5:18 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

gimme a break from Brooklyn says:
just because vito endorses someone does not mean county does... the challengers to joanne and alan are not being backed by county and contrary to ralph and kevin's argument Vito has not personally endorsed them either.

all these "reform" candidates make me sick.. they are all full of CRAP (excuse my french)... they are vying for a seat and they will say anything to get elected...
May 17, 2010, 11:59 pm
gimme a break from Brooklyn says:
"he's one assemblyman out of 150"

LOL!!! seriously kevin!! there is a reason why the NY Times, CNN, NY Daily News, NY Post, Fox News, NY1, The Brooklyn Paper, & The Brooklyn Courier have called him "the powerful" & "the influential" Vito Lopez. They've called him a political genius, and on and on.. No wonder you won't be able to get elected because you do not realize the power and influence that some people hold over other legislators.. get a new career dude
May 18, 2010, 12:20 am
westbrook from Bay Ridge says:
Ralph Perfetto handidly won this debate and I am sure will go on to win the Primary 9/14/10...
May 18, 2010, 12:22 am
community organ from Heights says:
in a 9-0 vote the supreme court ruled in the case New york state board of elections v. lopez torres that the ny state supreme court judicial convention system was constitutional and actually quite successful.... people get informed JEEZ
May 18, 2010, 12:24 am
spotlessmind from bay ridge says:
Savage each other? Who writes these headlines? Did you even watch this boring debate? Nobody got savaged.
May 20, 2010, 9:03 am
Truth Seeker from Bay Ridge says:
Just heard Perfetto was arrested and is faceing jail time see for yourself
June 9, 2010, 9:46 pm
Truth SEER from Bay Ridge says:
We ALL know Kevin Carroll's cronies set this whole thing up with Scott Shifrel @ the Daily News. It has their fingerprints ALL over it; a clumsy Carroll smear job.

The "Cousin Vinny" case has been pending for 2 years and NOW it hits the streets?! Puhleez.

I guess Team Carroll is fine with helping out Dan Donovan - a Republican -by smearing Mr. Perfetto. So long as Kevin Carroll (a.k.a. Verucca Salt) gets what (s)he wants.

I know who I will be voting for on September 14th...
June 15, 2010, 11:09 pm
Grigori Yefimovich from Pokrovskoye says:
Paul, you need to take your meds. The Carroll Campaign obviously does not have that kind of juice with the Daily News. You need to overcome your pettiness and let go of your political loss.
Sincerely, Grigori Yefimovich
June 28, 2010, 12:39 pm
Gail from The South says:
Grigori your so right, Paul seems to think that Carroll is bigger then life. The fact is that Ralph used his pull with DA Hynes to avoid being arrested (for a crime he committed) for 2 years and now that he has been arrested it all the Carrolls campaigns fault. Puhleez. Political corruption at is best as far as I am concerned. The fact is that anyone who is faceing criminal jail time is unfit to serve in my book and that includes "My cousin Ralphy"
July 2, 2010, 11:54 am
Lynn-Marie Piagentini from Owls Head Court says:
The news story said that somebody from the Brooklyn DA's Office recognized right away that Mr. Perfetto was representing a client but wasn't a lawyer.

Why wasn't he arrested right then and there and charged with Contempt of Court as well as practicing law without a license.

Why did it take the Special Prosecutor over a year and a half to bring just one misdemeanor charge. This all should be over already.
Aug. 16, 2010, 7:10 pm

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