Withdrawal of six candidates for Ben Franklin Club endorsement

Six of Seven candidates Withdraw From the Endorsement Process of The Ben Franklin Club for the 11th City Council District

By Robert Press

In a letter dated December 21, 2020 six of the seven 11th District City Council candidates have withdrawn their request for an endorsement by the Ben Franklin Democratic Club based in the heart of the 11th City Council District. 

The candidates claim the club violated its own by-laws by the Executive Committee vote authorizing the club president Michael Heller to change the endorsement procedure without any input from the club membership. That the club leadership through its president was pushing an endorsement for an as of yet uncalled special election, while postponing its own club yearly elections claiming the club could not hold a safe election due to COVID-19.

The six candidates ask that the club not endorse, in any possible special election should one be called in a letter to club President Michael Heller. The six candidates are Dan Padernacht, Abigail Martin, Mino Lora, Carlton Berkley, Jessica Haller, and Marcos Sierra. The seventh candidate Eric Dinowitz did not confirm his participation in the joint statement, as mentioned in the letter.

Comments by the six candidates ranged from, the actions being taken raise the question of the integrity of the Ben Franklin Club, I support to the members of the club who object to the executive committee unauthorized suspension of their by-laws, a refusal to participate in a sham process, it’s important to shine a light on the improper actions of groups that have an impact on the electoral process in our community, and there seems to be elements in this race that are intent on swaying the outcome of this process. 

Once Councilman and newly elected New York State Supreme Court Justice Andrew Cohen hands in his letter of resignation from the City Council Mayor Bill de Blasio has three days to call a special election within eighty days from the vacancy. We have been told that a date of February 27th is scheduled for the 11th and 15th Special Elections to fill both vacancies in the city council. Only Governor Cuomo can postpone the special elections to the June primary, as he did when he postponed the special election for Queens Borough President and a Brooklyn city council special election in early 2020 to Primary Day June 23, 2020 due to COVID-19.

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