The Great Debate — a summary • Brooklyn Paper

The Great Debate — a summary

Incumbent Ralph Perfetto (left) and challenger Kevin Peter Carroll savaged each other for about an hour in the first Web-cast debate for a district leader position in Brooklyn history.
Community Newspaper Group / Andy Campbell

During their 50-minute debate, Democratic District Leader Ralph Perfetto and challenger Kevin Peter Carroll engaged in a lively interchange of ideas, agreeing sometimes, and disagreeing more often. Here are the highlights:

State Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge) was a bone of contention. Both Carroll and Perfetto wanted Golden to lose to a Democrat, but Perfetto said that Golden did an acceptable job when he was in majority in the state Senate because he “brought money home.” Carroll slammed the GOP standard-bearer as someone who “voted with the upstate majority against the district” regardless of whether he was in the majority or the minority party.

• Carroll and Perfetto also clashed over which Democrat should replace Golden. Perfetto’s clubhouse, the United Americans Democratic Organization, backs New Utrecht HS teacher Claudio DeMeo, while Carroll’s Brooklyn Democrats for Change supports grad student Mike DiSanto. Perfetto touted DeMeo as “strong on education,” while dismissing DiSanto, saying, “I don’t know about his credentials. We feel with the issues at hand, you can’t go with on-the-job training.”

• Perfetto questioned Carroll’s absence from two local rallies — one about possible firehouse closings, and another to protest the elimination of the B37 bus. “I was there. Kevin wasn’t there,” Perfetto charged. “I’m there on community issues. I’ve been an activist all my life.” Carroll retorted that he has to “make a living,” though one of the rallies was on a weekend.

• The rivals clashed over New York’s current judge selection process, a system that allowed former Councilman Noah Dear to get on the bench. Perfetto admitted that Dear was the exception to a process that has “basically nominated some good judges” over the years. Carroll disagreed, saying that the current system, which involves party delegates attending judicial conventions, “is the wrong approach.” He said that the goal should be to “get rid of the convention process because it puts it in the hands of the executive committee too much.” He called for judges to be elected by the people.

• On a lighter note, the candidates have very different palates. Asked to name their favorite Bay Ridge restaurants in a lightning round, Carroll touted the burgers at Skinflints while Perfetto showed his loyalty to Italian food, choosing Ponte Vecchio.

— Helen Klein

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