Visiting the Republican political scene in south Queens is always an amusing romp, however, this week, local political junkies really have something (and someone) to sink their teeth into down in Howard Beach. The feast begins by putting the microscope over the Old Mill Yacht Club for a meeting of the Ronald Reagan Republican Club.
But wait a minute, on an important side note, after this month, members and interested parties will not be attending any meetings at the Old Mill Yacht Club. The Reagan Republicans were officially tossed out of the Old Mill after a verbal altercation that was the latest in a string of almost “zany events” involving the club’s president, Rosemary Ciulla-Frisone. According to club insiders, there is a strong faction hoping to see Ciulla-Frisone escorted out the door—for an ever-increasing list of reasons.
But wait just another minute. Let’s not pin this info just on club insiders. Anyone in the room for the meeting on Tuesday night could bear witness to what amounted to no less than a presidential unraveling. Adding insult to injury, all this took place while cake was being served in celebration of Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday.
Now back to inside information. Where it does begin to play a part in this tale is expressed distaste from members who say that Ciulla-Frisone has been running the club as though it were a civic organization. Concerns include her disregard of member’s objections to the Democratic guest speakers she invites to address the Republican membership and her strong personal agenda. Last month, first vice-president of the club Mary Ann Carey, conspicuously absent at this month’s meeting, approached Ciulla-Frisone privately to address the issue, at which point Ciulla-Frisone erupted and began screaming in front of dozens of attendees. (Carey, a seasoned veteran in community politics and civic affiliations will most likely not return while Ciulla-Frisone remains as president.) Ciulla-Frisone’s response to Carey was heard by all in the room, “This is my club. I do what I want.”
Which brings us to the next bone of Republican contention—members have made repeated requests to form a nominating committee and hold those elections mandated by the club’s by-laws, which have been repeatedly disregarded. Outrage over her bizarre behavior is coming from members, bystanders and anyone else within earshot of her inappropriate escapades. Calls for an election were coming from every corner and were amplified on Tuesday evening when more than twenty people in the room witnessed a meltdown which included vigorous arm flailing, shouting and slurs against fellow Republicans. “I don’t get paid for this,” Ciulla-Frisone repeatedly reminded those in attendance, “and I’ve really had enough.”
Finally, an agreement is close at hand. Frisone has had enough of the club and the club has certainly had enough of her. It would be unfortunate if the Reagan Republicans would suffer in the face of this dissention, however signs of hope were certainly present. Experienced and savvy members were there in full force with District Leader Jane Deacy and Joann Ariola on hand to offer guidance and suggestions on how to effectively proceed with the impending election.
In the meantime, a little advice for future Republican club president hopefuls:
The only Democrats you should welcome to the club should be carrying forms to change their registration.
The purpose of a Republican club is to promote Republican candidates.
A political club has no room for personal agenda.
You shouldn’t call someone a “crook” in December and ask them to be your guest speaker in February.
Try not to insult your district leader while she and some of her loyal supporters are in the room.
Other than these few things, you can basically do whatever you want.
Bottom line: It is a far better thing to step aside then to be tossed out.
Until next time…