The largely civil encounter between the City Council candidates in the 43rd District — Democrat Justin Brannan and Republican/Conservative John Quaglione — sponsored by the Dyker Heights Civic Association (DHCA) was overshadowed by the absence of the third candidate in the race — the Reform Party’s Bob Capano who, prior to the encounter, had sent out a press release charging that he had been shut out of the forum.
“Although I have been invited to attend every other community City Council debate, including ones sponsored by the Bay Ridge Council on Aging, the Bay Ridge Community Council, the Arab-American Association of New York, and the Bay Ridge Center, I was not asked to participate in the Dyker Heights Civic Association forum,” Capano contended.
“This organization is run by the leaders of the Brooklyn Conservative Party and undoubtedly, they view any public attention that I get as potentially taking away votes from John Quaglione, who recently replaced Mr. [John] Bruno on their ballot line,” Capano went on. “The Reform Party and I believe the people deserve more choices, not less. It is sad when a community organization puts party politics ahead of allowing their members to hear from all candidates on the ballot on Election Day.”
Capano made an unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination. On Primary Night, he went to Quaglione’s victory party to offer his congratulations, noting at the time that Quaglione had run “an honorable race.”
Asked about Capano’s assertion, Fran Vella-Marrone, the president of DHCA and the vice chair of the Kings County Conservative Party, told this paper she didn’t know Capano was running on the Reform Party line till she “found out by accident,” and at that point, she said, “I had already set everything up. I had to send the stuff out immediately.
“During the primary,” she went on, “he said he was going to support whoever won the primary, so once the primary was over, I assumed that we had two candidates. It’s not that I don’t want him to participate. I had no idea he was running. He knows we have the debate. He could have contacted me and said he was running.”
His absence from the October 10 debate, she added, has “Nothing to do with the Conservative Party, John Quaglione or anyone else. If he had said he was running, I would have included him.”