A Campaign Grows in Brooklyn

January 13, 2012
By Bendix Anderson, LaborPress Senior Editor

About a hundred lawyers and politicos gathered at Queen Restaurant January 9, for an evening of wine, good food, and political fundraising.

Bill De Blasio, Public Advocate for the City of New York, has not yet formally announced his run to become the next Mayor of New York City in the 2013 election — but it’s an open secret that he probably will. “Everyone knows that he is looking at the mayoral race,” said Chirlane McCray, strategic partner with political consultants Mack|Crouse Group and de Blasio’s wife of 20 years.

The election is still more than a year-and-a-half away but the campaign has already begun, judging from the crowd squeezed into Queen, steps from Brooklyn Borough Hall. The stated purpose of the event was to “support Bill in his future aspirations to help the City of New York,” said John C. Merlino, who organized the event along with William Schwitzer. Both are attorneys with the law firm of Dinkes & Schwitzer. Guests contributed $250 apiece for an individual ticket to the event. Higher dollar amounts bought “Supporter” and “Sponsor” tickets, all the way up to $2,500 for a “Co-Host” ticket to the event.

“It makes a huge impact to know people are supporting us,” de Blasio told the crowd.  

Guests tried four wines, each from a different region of Italy. Waiters served appetizers from baked clams oreganata to Queen’s signature mozzarella. “When people talk about mozzarella in Brooklyn, they talk about Queen,” said manager Mike Vitiello “All the mozzarella here comes from my hands, my dad’s hands or my uncle’s hands.”

“This place epitomizes what this city is about,” said de Blasio, pointing up the value of small businesses in every borough of the city. “Not just Manhattan. We need to have a city that says that every New Yorker matters. Every borough matters.” The City can and should make it easy to run a small business, he said. “Right now we fine them and penalize them for everything we can think of. That’s not right.”

Once again, however, de Blasio managed not to formally declare his candidacy for mayor. He wasn’t the only politician at the event who is clearly considering 2013. City Council member Letitia James also managed to not formally announce her intention to run for de Blasio’s current job as Public Advocate, should he run for Mayor. “I am exploring my options,” said James.


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