Brooklyn Dem Party elections postponed after venue cuts power on chaotic meeting

Brooklyn Dem Party elections postponed after venue cuts power on chaotic meeting


The Brooklyn Democratic Party lived up to its reputation for dysfunction Wednesday night when what should’ve been a routine organizational meeting ran so late that the host venue cut the power before any business got done — resulting in the event being postponed until next month.

The bi-annual meeting, where party members adopt internal rules and pick who’s going to take on leadership roles, was supposed to get underway at 7 p.m. at the Coney Island Amphitheater.

But a half dozen members in attendance told the Daily News that things didn’t get started until 10 p.m., and photos posted to social media showed enormous lines on the Coney Island boardwalk outside the venue. Party brass blamed “internet issues” for delays in getting people checked into the meeting via tablets, said City Councilmember Mercedes Narcisse, who also serves as a district leader for East Flatbush.

“The thing that bothers me the most is the fact that others that have been going there for years, for decades say that this is the way things run,” Narcisse said Thursday, referring to the party’s long history of chaotic organizational meetings. “It’s so dysfunctional, and everyone’s okay with it.”

Indeed, the party has a record of botching its own meetings. The 2020 organizational meeting, which was held entirely via Zoom due to the pandemic, ran for 13 grueling hours after party leaders struggled to ascertain a roll call.

People wait on massive line at the Brooklyn Democratic party's organizational meeting in Coney Island.

Once members finally got to take their seats at Wednesday night’s botched meet, more disorganization ensued.

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Tony Melone, a county committee member who serves as spokesman for the party’s progressive New Kings Democrats contingent, said leaders attempted to seat newly-elected members in between every vote, fueling confusion and delays. The TV remote-style gadgets used for voting also kept malfunctioning, he said.

“They had an unworkable plan,” Melone said.

Shortly before midnight, the venue killed the lights — without any substantial business having gotten done, according to people present.

Video posted to Twitter showed a fight nearly erupted among some attendants once the amphitheater went dark, but Narcisse said she deescalated it before matters got out of hand.

The party will have to reconvene the meeting before Oct. 6 to finish up.

Bob Liff, a spokesman for Assembly member Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn, the party’s chairwoman, did not return a request for comment.

One of the most consequential decisions taken during organizational meetings is picking the party’s chair, a decision made in a vote by the borough’s 44 district leaders.

As first reported by The News on Wednesday, Bichotte Hermelyn plans to seek another term after months of speculation over whether she would do so amid a string of controversies under her leadership — including allegations that some of her allies engaged in fraud to consolidate power over party operations.

It’s unclear if anyone will challenge Bichotte Hermelyn for the chair post. Narcisse, who as district leader will get a say in selecting the chair, said she hasn’t made up her mind about whether she’s going to back Bichotte Hermelyn.

“They’re going to have to give me some direction because right now I’m just disappointed,” she said.

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