Archive for the tag 'gene berardelli'

Many say Davidzon (right) is only running to cause Storobin (left) to lose, but it might mean losing out on business for the media mogul.

Many say Davidzon (right) is only running to cause Storobin (left) to lose, but it might mean losing out on business for the media mogul.

A high-ranking source in the Brooklyn Republican Party is elated that Russian media mogul Gregory Davidzon is throwing his hat into the ring with a surprise write-in campaign for the 48th Council District, saying that it’ll prove whether or not his support is worth paying for.

Davidzon has long held himself up as the “kingmaker” of the Russian community, a title that picked up traction in the mainstream political press after his support helped garner wins in the Russian community for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Comptroller John Liu and, most surprisingly, Congressman Bob Turner.

But the kingmaker’s power has come under doubt in the last few election cycles, having failed to earn wins for candidates he supported, including Lew Fidler in his race for State Senate against David Storobin, Ben Akselrod in his bid to unseat Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, and, most recently, Ari Kagan in his race for the 48th District Democratic primary.

The recent record has some politicos wondering if it means the power broker’s influence is ebbing.

“It’s a free poll for us,” a high-ranking source in the Republican Party leadership, who asked to remain anonymous, told Sheepshead Bites. “We can finally see how much support he’ll bring in. It’ll be a way to tell if it’s worth paying for.”

The source was referring to the consulting fees Davidzon commands in return for advertising, on-air support and Davidzon’s personal endorsement, for which candidates have been known to pay upwards of $10,000. Many have turned to the broadcaster and publisher after he gained a reputation for an almost slavish following of Russian-American seniors who vote at his whim.

That means the write-in campaign could be bad for business if Davidzon fails to garner much support in the race, as it could prove that fan-base a profitable myth.

“I’m dying to see what he can do now. If he gets two percent of the vote, it’s not worth fighting for his support anymore,” said the GOP source.

Davidzon has spent the last several days making phone calls to those in both parties seeking endorsement, having won several prominent ones already from both parties. But, our source, who was also approached, said that Davidzon disclosed that he has no hopes for winning the race, only at causing Republican contender David Storobin to lose.

“He’s acknowledged to me privately that he can’t win, but he just wants to chip away at David’s lead. There’s a bit of a rivalry right now about who really is the king of the Russians,” he said.

He added that Davidzon’s been successful at picking up the support of Republican leaders, since Storobin is on the outs with the party.

“Storobin isn’t well liked in the party right now,” the source said, noting that the party is in the midst of a civil war. [Our source is a supporter of current chairman Craig Eaton].

Still, he said he’d be withholding his support from Davidzon in favor of party loyalty.

“I can’t [support Davidzon]. There’s a Republican in the race, even if we don’t like him, we just can’t do that,” he said.

Our source isn’t the only one staying out of the fray. Republican operative Gene Berardelli, also of Craig Eaton’s Kings County Republican Party, said it’s a lose-lose to get involved.

“As a Republican, I don’t know what to make of it. On the one side, you want someone from your party to win, on the other you don’t want to offend Davidzon because he can get you votes in the future,” said Berardelli. “This is one of those situations where you just back away very slowly.”

He added that some of the support Davidzon has received, like that of Democratic Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny and Democratic District Leader Ari Kagan, endorsements that have baffled Democratic Party leadership, comes from fear of losing the mogul’s support down the line.

“He’s one of those guys where you go against him, and you offend him, he will never forget,” said Berardelli, noting the Brook-Krasny faces reelection next year.

Source: Markowitz's office

Using tonight’s State of the Borough address, Borough President Marty Markowitz is expected to revive plans to establish ferry commuter service between Manhattan and Southern Brooklyn neighborhoods including Sheepshead Bay. Markowitz’s push comes less than a year after a city study determined Southern Brooklyn unworthy of such a costly service.

Markowitz will take to the podium at Brooklyn College tonight for the 2012 State of the Borough address. The address begins at 6:45 p.m. and can be viewed live here.

According to a Daily News report, Markowitz plans to “push for the expansion of city ferry service to connect Manhattan to Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay, the Canarsie Pier and the 69th Street Pier in Bay Ridge.”

If that proposal sounds familiar, it’s because it is.

Way back in 2009, the New York City Economic Development Corporation unveiled the Comprehensive Citywide Ferry Study, which identified possible landing locations for an expansion of commuter ferry services around the city and weighed the costs and benefits.

When the EDC rolled into the Sheepshead Bay – Manhattan Beach area for a public hearing on the plan, they got an earful.

“It’s romantic. It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. But practically speaking, it’s not practical,” Bay Improvement Group President Steve Barrison said at the hearing.

Critics of the plan blasted it as an impractical way to make the commute. At an estimated 45 minutes for the trip to Manhattan, it would cost approximately $6.00 per rider, offering little incentive for those paying $2.25 for a trip of the same duration on the subway. They also worried about the effects of parking in the area, and noted that any ferry service in the area would require the Bay to be dredged.

Keep reading, and find out what the EDC concluded.

Turner, with aides, on his way to the fundraiser.

Republican hopeful Bob Turner came to Sheepshead Bay yesterday seeking support to best Assemblyman David Weprin in the race for the Ninth Congressional District, the seat recently vacated by Anthony Weiner.

In the wake of a surprise cross-party endorsement from former mayor Ed Koch, the 20-or-so attendees – which included Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, GOP radio personalities Russ Gallo and Gene Berardelli, Brooklyn GOP Vice Chair David Storobin, and Republican district leaders from around the borough - buzzed with excitement in the law offices of Brooklyn GOP Chairman Craig Eaton, located at 1662 Sheepshead Bay Road. The energetic attendees were optimistic about the media mogul’s chances in an increasingly conservative district, opposing someone they characterize as an out-of-district Democratic contender whose campaign stumbled out of the gates.

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Source: REUTERS / Brendan McDermid for

I, as I am sure most of you are, am emotionally depleted from the mention of Congressman Anthony Weiner’s name, a name that I’ve known of, under more normal, pre-Internet circumstances, since I was in high school. The steady assault of “Weiner” jokes for the past two weeks (it feels like two years!) are old and tired, and a personal adversity is nothing to laugh at. But news is news, and even the not-so-fun stuff’s got to be reported upon… I guess.

So what are you waiting for? Read our report already!

The site of the proposed mosque at 2812/2814 Voorhies Avenue

Opponents of a proposed mosque in Sheepshead Bay came before the Sheepshead Bay/Plumb Beach Civic Association last week to rally support for their fight, but instead found little sympathy for their struggle.

A handful of neighbors came to the Tuesday night meeting to present their case against the mosque, which may soon be built at 2812 Voorhies Avenue and will also include a school and community center. But board members of the civic association and Community Board 15 chairperson Theresa Scavo bristled as the opposition turned towards race-baiting and ethnic fears.

“On what grounds are you opposing them?” said Scavo. “You can’t turn around and say ‘Oh they’re Muslim.’ Who’s going to look like the bad guy?”

Though initial statements from the mosque’s opponents emphasized potential traffic, parking, and noise problems as the cause for their concern, racist undertones began to bubble to the surface of the debate.

Read more about what happened at the meeting and to see documents from the mosque’s opponents

Though some say Fidler owes the city $88,550 in campaign finance funds, the councilman says he expects to return around $10,000

Councilman Fidler has told Crain’s Insider that he hopes to return about $10,000 of the $88,550 in taxpayer funds he received from the Campaign Finance Board for last November’s elections.

Fidler drew the ire of city press ever since he received the $88,550 – making his total war chest over $170,000 – in matching funds, with the Daily News going as far as demanding he return every penny of taxpayer dollars. His opponent, Gene Berardelli, only raised about $4,000 and did not qualify for matching funds.

Sheepshead Bites has been in constant communication with Fidler’s staff, and though he’s waiting for a city audit to announce the precise amount, the councilman told us from the beginning that he expected to return “five figures.”

The news comes as the Campaign Finance Board launches hearings to review the efficacy of funds, particularly, according to Crain’s, whether it helped grassroots candidates compete. As the race for the 46th illustrated, the CFB’s matching funds stifled challengers with small fundraising apparatuses, and instead funneled public money to incumbents facing underfunded and overwhelmed opponents.

From Crain’s Insider:

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On Tuesday, Sheepshead Bites and sponsored the first blog-hosted political debate in New York City, rounding up candidates for the 46th City Council District. The debate featured incumbent Lew Fidler (D), Gene Berardelli (R), and Derek Sacerdote (L) with Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association President George Broadhead serving as moderator. The 46th District covers the neighborhoods of Bergen Beach, Canarsie, Georgetowne, Starrett City, Flatlands, Futurama, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Mill Island, Gerritsen Beach, Madison and Sheepshead Bay.

A feisty debate, the candidates wrangled over special interest groups, term limits, making New York City affordable, transit issues, and more. And yes, we got to see a taste of that nastiness, as allegations of antisemitism flared once more.

Questions for the debate were compiled from readers of both Sheepshead Bites and, as well as from local leaders on the Community Board and civic associations, and local news outlets. Moderator George Broadhead had the final say in determining questions.

People keep asking us: who won the debate? Well, we don’t want to become horse-race commentators. Instead, we’ll let you do that! But we will say we thought all the candidates expressed themselves well, and gave us a good idea on where they stand with a variety of issues. After the debate, we certainly felt like we had a better idea of their individual viewpoints, and each candidate held their own.

We want to once again thank all of our participants, and our moderator, who were patient and accommodating towards helping us put together this event. We’d also like to thank Baron DeKalb-Knights of Columbus, who supplied space, and Joe Mikos, who handled the video.

Check out the video and hear where your potential councilman stands on issues important to the city and our little nook, then let us know below what you thought of their responses!

Sheepshead Bites in association with is producing the first debate hosted by local bloggers in New York City. We’ve drawn together the three candidates running for the 46th City Council District, including the sitting councilman, Assistant Majority Leader Lew Fidler. The 45-minute debate will be taped tomorrow afternoon without an audience, then streamed on both sites on Thursday.

The debate promises to be lively, as the two leading candidates – Lew Fidler and Republican opponent Gene Berardelli – have been trading barbs in the comments section of Sheepshead Bites and (herehere, and here). They have discussed such issues as campaign financing, term limits, and discretionary funds, with the arguments getting very heated. They have at times labeled each other arrogant, questioned each other’s honesty, and Fidler has called Berardelli’s charges anti-semitic. Meanwhile, Libertarian Party candidate Derek Sacerdote has been waging a grassroots campaign, including going door-to-door in several areas of the district.

George Broadhead will serve as moderator of the debate. A self-described “old Brooklynite,” Broadhead signed on with strong recommendations from community leaders as a fair, independent, and objective member of the neighborhood with high integrity. He currently serves as President of the Gerritsen Beach Property Owners Association, is the past Post Commander of the Veterans of Foreign War Post 107, and past Commander of the Kings County Council of the VFW. A former U.S. Marine, Broadhead was awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action after serving in Korea. He has also written for several publications, and was the Western Manager of Newhouse Newspapers.

We’re very proud to be the first local bloggers to independently host a City Council debate. Sheepshead Bites was founded on the idea of sparking discussion in our community and engaging it’s jaded members. We’re happy to have the opportunity to continue bridging the online-offline divide, inform our neighbors, and kindle a desire to participate.

In that spirit, we’re inviting all of our readers to submit debate questions for consideration. You can add them to the comments section below, or send them privately by e-mail.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Gene Berardelli for City Council over the weekend, raising the stakes in his fight against sitting Councilman Lew Fidler.

In the release from the Berardelli camp, Bloomberg cited the candidate’s work with Brigham Street Park and his efforts in downzoning a portion of Sheepshead Bay as reasons hizzonah would lend his support to the first-time candidate for public office.

“I need a fighter like Gene Berardelli in the City Council so we can keep the city moving in the right direction. I strongly endorse Gene Berardelli in the race for City Council and urge the voters of the 46th district to support him too,” said Mayor Bloomberg in the release.

With just a little over three weeks left until the election, the endorsement’s effects are questionable. Berardelli probably wont be fundraising anymore, and his meager $3,000 or so of contributions is hardly enough to do such campaign basics as send mailers to the district’s residents. But he will appear on the Republican ballot in a year in which the Republican mayor has spent record amounts on media and other materials promoting himself and the party.

But while Berardelli is able to ride off the media-inundated coattails of the sitting mayor, it appears his opponent nailed the resources necessary to buy a little attention himself.

Councilman Fidler has received more than $63,000 in taxpayer funds after submitting a statement of need to the campaign finance board. Although Berardelli has not raised nearly enough money to be eligible for matching funds from the city, Fidler was able to get three times the amount he normally would by citing the district’s past turnout for a Republican mayor, as well as submitting 40 pages of documentation that included campaign coverage by Sheepshead Bites.

Gene Berardelli Launches Anti-Lew Fidler Website

City Councilman Lew Fidler (46th District) gets a raw deal in the world of web publishing. He’s got at least two nosy, noisy bloggers in his district. And as the Assistant Majority Leader and the so-called “King of Discretionary Dollars“, he draws a lot of fire from the citywide digerati where lesser-known foes would go under the radar. To his credit, he’s far more active in the online community than his colleagues, a noble feat that often invites more flogging than flattery.

Poor Lew. His suffering knows no end. Republican opponent for City Council, Gene Berardelli, has unveiled a new website with an ingenious name: Decorated with a perfectly comic motif of dancing fiddlers, a bobble-head-esque Fidler, and the apocalyptic “Lew Fiddles. We Burn” tagline – the site is owned and operated by the Berardelli campaign. It features articles from around the internet criticizing Councilman Fidler on a variety of issues, from sources including Room Eight and NYC Council Watch.  So far articles have focused on his involvement with LawCash, pork-barrel spending, profiting off of the housing crisis, and failing to engage in a public debate. It also includes satirical photos and a “Whack-a-Lew” game where visitors can tase the good councilman’s nipples.

Apparently, has its own contributors that produces editorial content, and Berardelli says in his release that anything he writes will bear his name. So far though, all original posts are labeled “ Staff”. While Berardelli notes in the release that he’s “responsible enough to stand behind all content on this site, even if not written by me” – we’re still pleading for him to make contributors reveal themselves. Anonymous posting is questionable enough on blogs; elected politicians (and those who aspire) shouldn’t meddle with such muck.

Overall, though, the site is an obvious attempt to goad Fidler into a confrontation. It pokes fun at the councilman and is begging for a response. From the campaign’s inception, Berardelli has issued several challenges to his incumbent opponent to meet for debates, but the councilman has been dodgy. Berardelli closed his press release by writing, “If the Councilman has a problem with the characterizations, he can come see me – I’m no shrinking violet myself.”

We’d love to see that scene. How ’bout it, Lew?

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