"Bully" Pulpits, TV Cameras and a Naked Cowboy Fully Clothed

It's been a pretty eventful week - let's recap it, shall we?

So some of you probably saw the little spat that the Councilman and I had on GerritsenBeach.net. For those who missed it, check it out here - it's in the comments.

Some people will say that what I did was a cheap political trick or tactic. Other will call it a n unnecessary personal attack on Lew. Those that think that don’t know me. Because the fact of the matter is that I've been doing this for years to friend and foe. This is how I've acted before becoming politically involved, it's how I act now and it'll be how I conduct myself if elected - I stand up for what I think is right.

In fact, a comment much like that was one of my first documented statements from my volunteer work with the Civic Association. Back during the Sheepshead Bay re-zoning, I read a Letter to the Editor from Steve Barrison of Bay Improvement Group unnecessarily insulting Community Board 15, and Sheila Nelson specifically (God Bless, Shiela… we miss you). Back then, I didn’t know anyone and had no political connections, but I took it upon myself to take Mr. Barrison to task with my own Letter to the Editor. I had no dog in the fight, but I saw something wrong and I spoke out against it.

Since then, I’ve been doing pretty much the same thing, like those two adventures I had in Manhattan Beach, or like my fight for Brigham Park. I even spoke out against Alan Maisel recently - and I consider him a good friend of the family!

It’s not about popularity, or about going along to get along – it’s about doing the right thing.

So when I saw our Councilman going out of his way to insult an anonymous poster (who by the way was off on his facts), I spoke up. Plain and simple. Being in public office doesn't give anyone the right to insult anybody. Lew was right to correct misinformation - but his second comment was, as he said in his own apology, "gratuitous and unnecessary".


Besides the adventures online this week, I had some great campaign experiences.

I started the week at 30 Rockefeller Center and NBC Studios to film my contribution to the Video Voter Guide. I took my dad along for the ride as we received a behind-the-scenes tour of what it’s like to film a real TV segment – even if for only two minutes of air-time! It was really great to get to use a teleprompter (an awesome invention – no thinking necessary, just read! Maybe that’s why politicians and TV Personalities use it so much!) and stand in front of a green screen (just like another Berardelli that works in TV! Shout out to my cousin Jeff, formerly of CBS 2 New York, currently working in Tampa FL). But the best part was Dad being there to see it all! We did two takes in less than 10 minutes, then saw the finished product.

Afterwards, we ran into Brian Williams in the lobby of 30 Rock – sorry, no Tina Fey.

I’ll be sure to link the Video Voter Guide spot once it’s up and running!

After that, I went to the Campaign Finance Board’s mandatory class, and who should I meet but Robert Burck. He’s a candidate running for Mayor – you probably know him better as “The Naked Cowboy”.

I swear, I didn’t recognize him at all! Anyways, Robert, Todd (his campaign manager) and I got to talking politics, and I was pleasantly surprised by his grasp of the issues and his strong feelings towards his candidacy. This is no publicity stunt – or at least not just publicity, in my opinion. I believe that Robert has something to offer to the public discourse in this race - if we can all get beyond the tidy-whiteys.

If our political scene has room for characters like Schwarzenegger, Ventura and Franken –why not a naked cowboy?


In the coming days, I’m going to be announcing a lot of events and opportunities to volunteer. Keep your eyes peeled for some great events!

Kickin’ Things Off With a BANG!

For those of you who couldn't make it to my campaign kick-off, he's a copy of my speech –No funny pictures. I'm serious with this one, folks. Oh, and it includes a special message for a certain "Democratic Opponent". Happy reading -GB

They say you can tell a lot about a man by the company he chooses to keep. I hope you see why I consider Alex Zablocki, Joe Mendola and Marc D'Ottavio friends – they are articulate energetic professional who want to make a difference. I hope you can spread the word about their campaigns and make your family and friends aware that there is an alternative to the same-old, same-old.

I have to say, the last place I ever thought I'd be is here speaking to all of you about why you should vote for me. But when term limits was overturned, we all received a rude wake-up call.

Lew Fidler turned his back on all of us because he decided that he was the only one from our community who could help solve a fiscal crisis that happened on his watch. Even in the darkest days of 9/11, we never let events dictate our actions, let alone behave so inexcusably. But you see, Lew is worse than the others who voted to overturn term limits because he won't admit that his vote was a power grab. He actually wants you to believe that this was a principled stance because he's always been against term limits. We know better. The true principled stance would have been to stand with us and uphold the will of the people. He instead chose to break the trust we put in him when he was part of the class of politicians that were elected as a result of term limits in the first place. Unfortunately, politics changed him – or maybe it was in him all along.

But this is expected. After all - Lew is a major part of an obsolete culture of career politicians and machine politics that is strangling our communities in south Brooklyn. You see it all around – in fact, the people who run this business has seen it firsthand. Lew Fidler and those that are cogs in the machine put power and influence above community. They point to how much money they can bring to our community – money that goes to those who bow down to the will of the machine - as if this tainted money is some kind of acceptable trade-off in exchange for allowing this broken system to leech off of us like some kind of cancer, stifling creativity, quieting dissent and building apathy towards government. After all, why bother participating when the usual suspects run everything, right?

Lew "works" a broken system – I want to fix the broken system.

In the few times Lew has acknowledged my existence, he has referred to me as his "Republican opponent" – like I'm wearing a scarlet R that will cause the countryside to run for panic! He doesn't know that he's doing me a service – I want everyone to know that I am Republican. I want everyone to know that I'm not a cog in the machine. I want everyone to know that I'm part of an emerging group of creative, young energetic citizens stepping up to take on career politicians like Lew. We're here to take a crowbar to machine politics.

But we need your help - If we as a community do not make our stand now, then career politicians like Lew Fidler will only become bolder, and who knows what other rules they'll twist to their favor.

For my part, I'm standing up now and issuing an open challenge to Lew Fidler. Lew: I'm calling you out. I'm taking this fight to the people, and I challenge Lew Fidler to meet me anytime, anyplace to not only debate me on the issues but to answer for the acts he's committed against all of us. No lawyers can save him from this confrontation like they stopped those who actually had the temerity to challenge Lew within his own party. By all rights, I should be campaigning against one of them or any number of potential candidates who would've run had Lew Fidler not put personal politics ahead of community.

Lew forgot that the real strength of our city is in our communities, not in the people we allow to go to City Hall. Politicians come and go, communities endure. It's up to you to remind him. Our community must now send a strong message – The days of the career politician and his machine are over.

Our city faces many challenges. We must find ways to do even more with less, bring transparency to the darker corners of government and get this city back on the path of prosperity for all New Yorkers.

I've have a record of fighting for our community when our officials dropped the ball. While the community waited on Lew Fidler to re-zone Sheepshead Bay – you remember, when he said that he'd get back to us and then never did? We're still waiting by the way! Anyways, while Lew was letting Sheepshead Bay turn into Condo-Ville, I worked with my neighbors, fought hard and WE re-zoned what we could. Weren't we all lucky when he showed up after we did all the heavy lifting to stand out in front to take the credit!

When Lew told us that a waterfront park was a pipe dream, I mobilized our community, fought hard and now Brigham Park will soon become a reality.

The stakes we face are now much higher, so once again, I'm asking you to join me. Fight side by side with me to meet these challenges. Together, I have no doubt that we can meet any challenge. On Election Day, cast your vote for Gene Berardelli for City Council, and let's get to work.

Kickin' Into High Gear - With a Little Help!

Many people have asked me, "So when are you going to really start your campaign?" To be honest, I didn't feel comfortable campaigning and taking people's money unless I was securely on the ballot.

Well, that arcane, out-of-date, draconian process known as petitioning is finally over for me, and I'm proud to have the endorsement of both the Republican and Conservative parties.

So it's time to set this campaign off! August 9th at 10 AM at Cherry Hill Gourmet, I'll be officially starting my campaign. And in doing so, I'm enlisting the help of a few new friends of mine.

Alex Zablocki is running for NYC Public Advocate - you may have seen an idea we collaborated on regarding the plans for Canarsie Cemetery. In my opinion, Alex is one of the bright young stars of the New York political scene. His grassroots campaign is spreading throughout the city - and with good reason. Alex is intelligent, energetic and never afraid to take on all challenges.

Joe Mendola is running for NYC Comptroller. When you talk to Joe, you immediately realize how imminently qualified he is to manage the city's finances. With the personal exception that he graduated from Fordham (Let's Go Jaspers!), Joe's resume is more impressive than any other Comptroller candidate. But just as important is Joe's commitment to his family and his community.

Alex Zablocki and Joe Mendola comprise the first citywide Republican ticket in the past 12 years! Thanks to them, we are striding in the right direction!

Marc D'Ottavio is running for Brooklyn Borough President. As a Vice Chair of the Republican Party in Brooklyn, Marc has been instrumental in the effort to get the party back on the map. Marc will be an advocate for small business, and a fighter against BP Markowitz's "monument to himself" known as the amphitheater in Asser Levy Park.

Folks, we're the candidates out there that the Brooklyn political machine do not want you to know even exist. We're the candidates that will actually remember that we come from the people, and will listen to you.

We're all up against career politicians who have forgotten who's really in charge. They've forgotten that public service means actually serving the people - not further personal ambition.

Help us get the word out! Come out next Sunday! Bring a friend! Bring two friends! Come to listen, but know that we're coming to listen as well.