Village Democrats united, for once

By Lincoln Anderson

“That’s a photo you should get,” said a grinning Councilmember Margarita Lopez.

On a small platform outside Christopher Park at Sheridan Sq. last Sunday afternoon local Democratic political club members more accustomed to feuding were standing shoulder to shoulder in protest against Mayor Bloomberg’s charter reform item — proposal # 3 — for nonpartisan elections.

Accompanied on guitar, to the tune of “Go West,” appropriately enough by the Village People, the politicos belted out a number called “Vote No!” A sample verse:

Vote No! On Proposal 3

Vote No! To money tyranny

Vote No! They think we’re brainless beggars

Vote No! To more Perots and Schwarzeneggers

“This is class warfare against the working people,” said Lopez. “Working people can’t afford to spend $2 million on an election.”

Said Councilmember Chris Quinn, “It was very clear the mayor would have rather run as a Democrat. So he wants to change the whole system, which is unfair to voters. He couldn’t win the primary as a Democrat.”

Said Brad Hoylman, president of Gay and Lesbian Independent Democrats, “I think it’s a hopeful sign when the local political clubs organize together on an issue. There was a really good spirit of grassroots organizing today — and that’s what’s threatened by this proposal.”

Commented Rachel Lavine, Democratic state committeewoman: “Everyone needs an organizing vehicle. That’s what the Democratic Party is about. Democrats represent civil rights, gay and lesbian rights…. Partisan is not a dirty word. Partisan is about a contest of different ideas. In a democracy, we hope the better idea emerges from the contest.”

In last night’s contest, the mayor lost. As The Villager was going to press, with 96 percent of precincts reporting, 321,788, or 70.5 percent, of voters had said no, compared to 134,818, or 29.5 percent, who had said yes to nonpartisan elections, according to Chris Riley, a Board of Elections spokesperson.