Recently I saw a mailer by [State Sen.] Andrew Gounardes attacking the candidate that I am supporting for State Senate in southwest Brooklyn, Vito Bruno.
It shows a chalk outline of a body and a picture of Vito Bruno on the other side with huge red letters screaming “Guilty.” The picture should have been of Gounardes who supported the NO BAIL law in Albany that has released violent criminals into the streets.
This is the same Gounardes who is allied with and is supported by those who want to Defund the Police. Recently there has been a spate of murders committed in the streets of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst.
Vito Bruno marched in the streets to support the NYPD and restore their funding. Where was Gounardes? MIA. Why? Because Gounardes voted for No Bail for criminals and never spoke up to support the NYPD in their time of need.
And now in his mailers, he has resurrected the age-old smears against successful Italian American businessmen that it is the result of the fact that they are mobsters or affiliated with organized crime.
I know mobsters, as you all know, and Vito Bruno is no mobster. He went to Brooklyn Tech and graduated from Pratt Institute as an architect. He went on to manage “2001 Odyssey” the basis for Saturday Night Fever.
When people over the years asked Gounardes “Did you live near Club 2001 Odyssey?” He answered with pride “yes I did” as so many in the district have and still do.
In the 1970’s I went to many clubs, as many Brooklynites have. Does that taint us also? In the early 1980’s, Mario Cuomo, a hero of Gounardes, hosted a fundraiser for my Guardian Angels at Magique a club on the Upper East Side. Was Mario Cuomo wrong to do that at Club Magique?
Gounardes also says that Vito Bruno hired gang members to work at his clubs. I guess Gounardes doesn’t believe in giving inner-city youth a “second chance”. He talks about Noel Pagan, who became an international singer and freestyle sensation who had the chart-topping hit “Silent Morning” which resonates for so many of us.
Was it wrong for Vito Bruno to give Noel Pagan and others just like him a second chance? Of course not. How do I know? Because many second chance kids joined the Guardian Angels over the years and went on to become members of the NYPD. The same NYPD that Gounardes wants to defund and defames.
In 2018, candidate Gounardes swore to me at the annual 3rd Ave Fair in Bay Ridge that he would not be like de Blasio. He has become worse than him. He became a clone of AOC.
The biggest political mistake in my life was not to support the re-election of State Senator Marty Golden over Gounardes. I won’t be fooled again by Gounardes, and neither should you. I am supporting Vito Bruno this time around. And so should you.