Who’s to lead Brooklyn? A vote for Marilyn Gelber
By Dennis Holt
It is tempting to say, “Carlo, we hardly knew ye,” after hearing that Carlo Scissura, former chief of staff for Borough President Marty Markowitz, has decided not to run for Brooklyn borough president next year, but rather to become the next president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
This “Kennedyesque” reference will of course be amended not long after Scissura takes over the chamber job: Brooklynites will get to know a great deal about him.
I was moved to offer the following thoughts after noting a small item in Friday’s New York Post that had this headline: “B’klyn Beep a 1-Horse Race,” referring to State Senator Eric Adams as the one horse. The fact is, of course, there will be many people who will think about running for this position because right now it’s the second most important political job in town.
Borough presidents don’t have a lot of political power anymore but they can set a political stage and strongly occupy a pundit’s position. And I hereby nominate one who can do both and more.
In fact, she is probably more qualified to be borough president than any of the recent presidents, even if Howard Golden and Marty Markowitz have been highly qualified people.
Gelber, first of all is a city planner, and once served as Brooklyn’s member of the City Planning Commission. She was Golden’s chief of staff when so many of the critical decisions were made that led to the new Brooklyn — One Pierrepont Plaza, MetroTech, and the birth of the movement for Brooklyn Bridge Park. She negotiated some important agreements for Rudy Giuliani when he was mayor — for which she got no credit from Giuliani.
She became head of Independence Bank’s Community Foundation and now heads the very effective Brooklyn Community Foundation. Her extensive experience in both the public and private sectors strongly contributed to her resourceful and productive performance. She knows Brooklyn, and the city, as well as any other single person.
I hope she runs and I hope her friends and associates persuade her to do so and support her enthusiastically. I hope she wants to run. For what it is worth, here is her first vote.
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