BAY RIDGE – The Brooklyn Teen Republican Club chanted outside indicted Assemblywoman Pamela Harris’ office last Sunday calling her to resign .
“We are here today to spread positivity, to spread change for the borough of Brooklyn so that we can ensure we have new people elected,” said Batya Goldberg, president of the Brooklyn Teen Republicans. “Not only should [Harris] be put in jail, she should be banned from ever running again for any elected office.”
Harris was indicted in January on 11 charges including two counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of making false statements, two counts of bankruptcy fraud, one count of witness tampering and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
According to Harris’ voting records, she has had 113 excused absences since the beginning of January, making her a no-show 75 percent of the time. Records also show that she has voted 37 times, the most recent ones being on March 6.
The rally and protest outside Harris’ Bay Ridge office included some members of the Brooklyn Teen Republican Club and former District 47 councilman candidate, Raimondo “Ray” Denaro.
“My members are mostly aged 13 to 18, yet they understand something a middle-aged elected official cannot,” she said. “Corruption has no place in New York City and in Brooklyn.”
She continuously referenced former Assemblyman Sheldon Silver, a Democrat who was arrested for corruption charges (though his conviction was later overturned): “Enough Democrats have been indicted with such charges, enough of them have stayed in office for well after they were indicted, and enough of them were found guilty,” she said.
Denaro who was in attendance holding a poster said he is not running for Harris’ seat, as he is not in District 46, but will “gladly support whoever [he] think is the best person for the job.” The Brooklyn Teen Republicans have also yet to endorse a candidate, though Goldberg does have a few people in mind, they have not announced their candidacy.
When asked if Steve Saperstein (a former candidate for District 48 councilman) will run, Goldberg replied, “no comment.”
“There were families who five years later, six years later are still displaced from their homes,” Denaro said. “They’re trying to figure how they were going to get back into their houses… she was trying to figure out where her next vacation was going to be with taxpayer dollars.”
Last month, Denaro wrote an open letter to Harris calling her to resign respectfully, he said. “She had done wrong, but she could’ve made it right. She could’ve, but she won’t. The simple fact is, her salary is going to get used to pay for legal fees.”
Samil Levin, a member of the Brooklyn Teen Republicans, also urged Harris to leave office, saying she “defrauded the government… [and] defrauded its people.”
“Now, the people are standing up and the people she claims to represent will no longer be silent because we have had enough,” Levin said. He continued to say that it was a bipartisan issue– but perhaps, the other members did not agree as they continuously blamed the Democratic Party for Harris’ alleged wrongdoings. According to Goldberg, she herself didn’t know of the alleged corruption as it wasn’t public knowledge, “but to say that the Democratic party didn’t know anything, that’s ridiculous. Democrats… let corrupted candidates run, and they have to stop,” she said.
“Voters are starting to wake up and realize that many, many Democrats when they get into office, do get into situations like this, unfortunately. Although there are good Democrats, many of them do end up like this,” Goldberg said. “And I think it’s time for there to be a new wave in NYC, for voters to realize that Republicans are not the enemy, that Republicans merely want to bring good positive change to the borough of Brooklyn.”
Goldberg defended the Republic party saying the people are not racists or bigots but are in fact, a “diverse group of people.”
“Brooklyn does not take corruption lightly. Hear us loud and clear Pamela Harris, it is time for you to resign. We will not tolerate this anymore,” Goldberg said. “It is time for us to change, and it’s time for us to make a clean slate in Brooklyn and elect officials that are not going to cheat us and cheat their constituents. And if myself and these other teenagers here can realize it, then so can New York.”