NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Critics are calling it a power grab by a tainted politician.
Assemblyman Vito Lopez, one of the ringmasters of the political “circus in Albany,” wants to pull the strings and pick his successor.READ MORE: New Video Shows Suspected Gunman, Car Used To Flee Scene Of Deadly Bronx Double Shooting
In the hip neighborhoods of Brooklyn, critics call it a most uncool move. Assemblyman Lopez, under fire for sexual harassment, wants to pick the person to replace him as Democratic party boss.
“We have a dead man walking and he is still trying to spread his tentacles,” Brooklyn district leader Lincoln Restler told reporters, including CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.
Party reformers call it a blatant power grab. Lopez has moved the meeting to pick a new chairman from downtown Brooklyn all the way to Manhattan Beach and the remote campus of Kingsborough Community College, which is a mile away from the nearest subway.
After creating the inconvenience, Lopez sent out proxy ballots so Democrats could skip the meeting and let him vote on their behalf.READ MORE: Gov. Hochul: No Known Cases Of New COVID Variant 'Omicron' In New York
“To think that Brooklyn Democratic party members would give their proxy to a repeat offender of sexual misconduct is profoundly upsetting,” Restler said.
It is something of an irony that Brooklyn, seen around the world as youthful and hip, has a Democratic Party run like an old school political machine.
Now, in a sign that the machine is fading, longtime Lopez ally, Assemblyman Joe Lentol, broke with the boss to endorse Lopez critic Restler for district party leader, all while taking a swipe at Lopez’s my-way-or-the-highway style.
“We can’t have a Democratic Party that exists by fiat,” Lentol said.MORE NEWS: New York Weather: CBS2's 11/27 Saturday Morning Update
Lopez is giving up his party chairmanship, but hopes to keep his Assembly seat. Reformers are recruiting a Democrat willing to challenge Lopez with a write-in campaign.