The battle for the soul of Bay Ridge’s fractious Democratic community — embodied in the epic fight for district leader between newcomer Kevin Peter Carroll and longtime officeholder Ralph Perfetto — will explode in a war of words, courtesy of the newspaper you are now reading.
Next week, Carroll and Perfetto — embroiled in the most divisive race for the largely symbolic, unpaid state committeeman post in decades — will meet in our Downtown offices on May 13 for a debate that promises to be the biggest showdown since Lincoln met Douglas.
Perfetto, the 18-year incumbent, jumped at the chance to meet Carroll mano-a-mano.
“Set it up, anytime, anywhere,” he told us. “I should do one of those Rocky Balboa things — put a bandanna on my head and go running on Shore Road.”
Carroll, 23, was less adversarial, though he admitted that the debate would be a fight.
“I view Ralph as a friend, but friends often squabble,” said Carroll.
What will they fight over? Let us count the issues!
• Carroll says that Perfetto has been MIA in recent years, devoting himself more to getting other candidates elected than advocating for good policies.
• Carroll says that only he can lead the effort to get Bay Ridge redistricted into a single assembly district.
• Carroll has slammed Perfetto for being slow to grasp the importance of preventing gas drilling in New York’s upstate watershed.
• Perfetto rests his case on a list of accomplishments, ranging from cleaning up Shore Road to expanding parking on streets.
And then, of course, there’s the most important issue: Do District Leaders even matter? The answer, of course, is how could you ask such a thing?
“I can see it’s going to be a hotly contested debate,” Perfetto concluded.
The primary is Sept. 14. A video of the debate will be posted afterwards on our Web site, www.boropolitics.com.