Republican City Council candidate John Quaglione is firing back at Assemblyman William Colton and Councilman Vincent Gentile, who last week condemned Quaglione for turning the Southwest Brooklyn Waste Transfer Station into a “political football.” Quaglione told Bensonhurst Bean that the two local pols are the ones playing politics.
Our report on Friday included an all-caps statement from the assemblyman, who denounced Quaglione for remarks he made during the rally that appeared to target his council opponent, incumbent Gentile. But Quaglione said he neither named Gentile nor was he speaking as a candidate; but, as a resident, he was slamming the 50 Council members who voted in favor of the project. However, since the duo raised the topic, he has no qualms pointing out Gentile’s vote or what he claims is Colton’s selective denouncement of partisanship.
Quaglione said that, although he was invited to the event, he was strictly barred from mentioning his candidacy, although the rule didn’t seem to apply to Democratic mayoral candidates.
“Colton invited me [to the rally] at National Night Out,” Quaglione said. “I wasn’t allowed to be introduced as a candidate, though the mayoral candidates were, but I spoke as a parent, who has family in Dyker Heights, who went to school in Bensonhurst, and I just came to speak my piece and now they’re calling it a political football and I’m getting attacked.”
Quaglione said “his piece” wasn’t an attack on Gentile, but rather a condemnation of the 2006 City Council vote to permit construction of the facility, a vote that was supported by all but one councilmember.
“Every Brooklyn City Council member voted for this proposal, except for Domenic Recchia. Remember that when you vote in November,” he said at the rally.
However, Quaglione singled out Gentile on his Facebook page, which is what Colton’s statement addressed.
“A CANDIDATE FOR CITY COUNCIL HAS POSTED MATERIAL ON HIS FACEBOOK ACCOUNT ATTEMPTING TO TURN OUR FIGHT INTO A POLITICAL FOOTBALL. I CONDEMN EFFORTS TO DIVIDE THE COMMUNITY BY USING THIS CRITICAL ISSUE AS A FORUM OF ATTACKING OTHERS,” Colton’s statement read.
Still, Quaglione notes that he wouldn’t be the first candidate at one of Colton’s rally to use the issue to attack an opponent.
“It’s funny because he’s saying that it’s a political football at this time. But almost a year ago to date, on your blog, there was a story about Andrew Gounardes and the waste transfer station and its relation to [State Senator] Marty Golden and how he wasn’t there. So there was politics at the rally last summer. For [Colton] to be raising concern now [saying] that it isn’t a political issue, which it’s not, is unfair,” Quaglione said.
Gounardes, a Democrat, ran to unseat Republican State Senator Marty Golden, for whom Quaglione works. Like Quaglione, Gounardes did not name his opponent.
“I also find it interesting that certain people in South Brooklyn have not joined us today,” Gounardes said in our recording of the event, at approximately 41:00. “Certain allies of the mayor and his administration, are not here uniting with the community to join us in this fight. Because they’d rather put politics ahead of community.”
It cannot be said at this time whether Gounardes named his opponent on social media or elsewhere in regards to the issue, but the perceived exception still has Quaglione crying foul.
On Gentile, though, he doubled down on his Facebook attacks in talking to us, claiming that Gentile’s change of heart didn’t come from revelations of new information, as Gentile claims, but rather on a change to his district lines.
“You don’t need much info to know that a waste transfer station is a bad thing in our neighborhood. Quite honestly, it’s going to destroy that whole portion of waterfront in terms of businesses and property values,” Quaglione said. “[Gentile] changed his mind? You know what the reality is? Vinnie Gentile didn’t represent Bath Beach back then. Now he’s running in that area and he sees this isn’t what they want. This is what it’s all about … If he’s had a change of heart, fine, but you can’t change your vote.”
Assemblyman Colton could not be reached for comment on this story, but will be updated if we hear back from him.