The Brooklyn Tea Party initially heard a presentation from Republican City Council Candidate Hard Hat Andy Sullivan prior to business meeting where Joseph Hayon announced his resignation as president. Things got raucous following the election of the new President of the Brooklyn Tea party, Frank Russo from Mill Basin.
Over a dozen hearty members of the Brooklyn Tea Party had come out-of-the-snow to hear from a Bay Ridge Republican, Andrew Sullivan, who is running to get the GOP line for City Council for a November run against Democrat Vincent Gentile. Mr. Sullivan was comfortable with his crowd, with whom he had significant prior association based on his opposition to the “Ground Zaro Mosque” several years before. He also pointed out his hard work in electing the few Republicans now in office in his part of Brooklyn. He stressed that his smaller government, lower tax and lower regulation appeal would be particularly focused on small businessmen, whose profit margins hardly exist, to middle-class union members who were being ignored and misled by their union leadership and to working people who see everything around them going down. His message was very well received, but the then-president, Joseph Hayon, explained that their would be no endorsements until all candidates for the office had been given an opportunity to be heard.
After Mr. Sullivan and a Sullivan associate left the meeting, Brooklyn Tea Party President Joseph Hayon rose and said that he had an important announcement. He then gave a succinct and pithy speech explaining why the time had come for him to resign. [ Late last evening I received the following Email from Joseph Hayon; that Email tracks closely with my recollection of his remarks to the fifteen Tea Party Members then gathered at yesterday’s meeting.] What follows are the posted remarks of Mr. Hayon upon his resignation as President of the Brooklyn Tea Party:
“Dear Tea Party Members, *** During today's meeting, I resigned as your leader of the Brooklyn Tea Party. During my term as president, we helped get two candidates (Congressman Bob Turner and Senator David Storobin) elected into office -- only to have no-principled Dean Skelos terminate, passively and aggressively, the districts they represented. *** When I was approached by our first president, John Press, I was shocked that I was even offered the honor to lead this principled group. I was the only candidate asking for Tea Party support to refuse to take the Brooklyn Tea Party pledge of 2010, and just a few months later I was president by a unanimous vote of the same group. *** From day one, the group understood that I was not 100% Tea Party. Realizing in 2011 that there was no one else qualified that wanted to lead the Brooklyn Tea Party, I agreed to lead on a temporary basis -- until someone else came along. *** While I completely value the Tea Party's general position against wasted spending, to lower our taxes, and to root out government corruption, sometimes some of the Tea Party values contradict with the family values I hold dear -- religious freedom, traditional marriage, etc. When a candidate such as Eric Salgado comes along, who is completely against the Tea Party on the issue of immigration because of his family values, I will support him over Joe Lhota (Lhota is no where close as a Tea Party candidate. He raised the bridge tolls as MTA chairman). *** I served as Brooklyn Tea Party president because the group is filled with genuine and honest individuals, who were duped by the Republicans and Democrats in Albany and Washington. The Brooklyn Tea Party needs to exist because it is one of the few groups in Brooklyn to maintain integrity. *** I explained to those who attended today's meeting that my role as president was to ensure its survival. I acted as a trustee. Your new president, Frank Russo, is completely Tea Party on the issues, has great work ethics, and has the integrity I was looking for in our next leader. He was voted in unanimously to be our next leader. *** Thank you all for the support you gave me. *** Sincerely, *** Joseph Hayon”
After a brief discussion about the need to move forward, Mr. Hayon proposed that he be succeeded as President by Frank Russo, who had been the Brooklyn Tea Party’s Director of Communications for several months since mid-2012 and into 2013. The nomination was seconded and put to a vote; and Mr. Russo was acclaimed President without any opponent being proposed in opposition (there were two pro forma objections that nobody should be elected unanimously in a organization like the Tea Party, which though greeted with levity is a very good point, indeed ).
Frank Russo outlined an ambitious agenda to formalize Brooklyn Tea Party affairs starting with the hoped for adoption of a Constitution and By-Laws that might also contain a simple statement of principles and goals; he appointed a committee to draft such (a) document(s) to put before the membership for/at the next meeting. He then discussed finalizing setting a Tea Party Caucus for the Brooklyn Republican Party, whose goal would be electing Tea Party members as County- and State- Committee Members in the 2013 GOP primaries. Mr. Hayon reported on the progress of the caucus under his leadership since it was announced at an earlier meeting, but Hayon said that he no longer wished to head the caucus. It was decided that Glenn Nocera, a Tea Party Member and President of the Brooklyn Young Republican Club, would be the Acting Chairman of the Tea Party Caucus of the Brooklyn Republican Party, because he already was an elected member of the Kings County Republican Committee. Mr. Nocera readily accepted the position.
The final item of business caused the most fireworks. As the new President, Russo wanted to propose a “rule” that henceforth there would be no posting on the Brooklyn Tea Party sites of any inappropriate material of a personal, racial or otherwise inflammatory nature. Further, that in the performance of their duties, the President of the Brooklyn Tea Party or the Tea Party's Director of Communications could immediately remove or delete such offensive material, and if necessary block posting by repeat offenders. Even though there was an impassioned debate, including several personal pleas for sensitivity to all sides in the debate, as to what constituted material that was inappropriate and inflammatory, including being silent in the face of unfair personal attacks charging racism and the like; the rule passed unanimously (including, surprisingly, the specific agreement of the person who seemed most opposed, because he thought he might be being singled out by Mr. Russo and another not present in the group during yesterday’s meeting).