Cynicism and thunderstorms are a deathly combination. So by the time the soggy Politicrasher pulled up his bike at Gary Reilly’s fundraiser for his race to succeed term-limited Council giant Bill DeBlasio on Monday night, he was in no mood to hear any blather about how a single councilman can change the world.
But that’s exactly what the ’Crasher got — a steady diet of optimism.
Indeed, as the rains came down and the small check-writing crowd refused to become a big one, Reilly stood under the umbrellas on the back porch of Layla Jones on Smith Street and offered up that always-tasty, yet not-so-filling dish that individuals really can change the world.
Too bad the Politicrasher was on his bike or he would’ve headed straight for one of the ample bottles of Castaño ’06, a nimble little red from Spain.
Yet Reilly’s optimism is infectious. Asked how he’ll position his campaign against the four men who have already declared (and the more on the way), Reilly didn’t offer divide-and-conquer political strategies. He just said he’d “be involved and listen” to the voters.
“I will wear out the leather in my shoes as I go around this district,” he said (there goes the PETA vote!). “I will work my ass off.” (There goes the vote of people who like a councilman with a large ass!)
When asked to “go negative” on his fellow candidates — a standard Politicrasher parlor game — the only thing he’d bite was a piece of Layla Jones pizza.
When asked what his “wedge” issue will be, the Carroll Gardens resident said his main goal is to unite people on transit issues and get Albany to fix the inadequacies (Politicrasher would have to be a horrible cynic — and he is! — to point out that Reilly said this just one day after the MTA scraped yet another set of promises to repair more than a dozen stations).
What does Reilly have going for him besides a lovely wife who has committed fully to this 2009 campaign and no kids to take him away from 18 more months of nightly meetings?
After all, unlike Community Board 6 District Manager Craig Hammerman, he’s not in the New York City Hall of Fame and lacks an e-mail list that probably includes every voter in the district. Unlike Brad Lander, he’s not known as a socially conscious developer in a district that likes that kind of thing. Unlike Gowanus Canal Community Development Corporation and Gowanus Canal Conservancy head Bob Zuckerman, he is not building a park that will act as a sponge and clean up the fetid canal. Unlike Josh Skaller, who headed the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats for a few years, he’s not a political insider.
Heck, Reilly isn’t even on the community board (isn’t that the de rigueur stepping stone? How will he learn Roberts Rules of Order?!)!
What Reilly has is an issue — mass transit — that he thinks he can ride all the way to City Hall (unlike, it must be pointed out, most of the Councilmembers who drive there). And even though he lost on congestion pricing, he’s brushing himself off.
“Now, we just have to keep fighting in Albany,” he said. “That’s why I’m backing Paul Newell against [Assembly Speaker] Shelly Silver.”
Wow, this guy is an optimist! If Newell, a 33-year-old community organizer, actually beats Albany’s most-powerful man in this September’s primary, Politicrasher will actually start paying for drinks.
Until then, pass the Castaño.