Chelsea Reform Democratic Club

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Template:TOCnestleft The Chelsea Reform Democratic Club is very influential in New York Democratic Party politics.


In 1958, four of our club’s forefathers, each disgusted with the self-indulgent ‘Chelsea Horatio Seymour Democratic Club’, came together at the White Horse Tavern and created a new club. It’s initial reform missions were to uphold the values of the neighborhood’s vastly diverse social make-up and have annual elections of not only club leadership but also District Leaders and, most importantly, give support to the Chelsea Community Board — a council attempting to democratically solve Chelsea’s many social issues.

Four people meet at the White Horse Tavern: Bob Clampitt, John Flory, Tom McBride and Robert Trentlyon. They conceive of a plan for new reform political club to go up against The Horatio Seymour Democratic Club in the following year’s election of District Leaders and Democratic Committee members. Robert Trentlyon is first club president.

In going up against the Chelsea Horatio Seymour Democratic Club, the CRDC even enlisted the help of Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1959, the first fundraiser is held at Jim Scher and Emily Scher’s London Terrace penthouse. Eleanor Roosevelt is guest of honor.

In 1961, the club successfully backs Ted Weiss for City Council.

In 1963 CRDCʼs Ray Guenter and Anna Zuckerman run and win District Leader seats. Guenter serves til 1973.

In 1963, on the club’s third election try, it finally takes over Chelsea district leadership, with the election of Ira Shein, and Anna Zuckerman. The executive committee attributes the club’s success to extensive community work that garnered it’s needed influence. Dave Smith and Esther Smith, Mike Rubel and Flora Rubel, Ruth Levy, Ray Guenther, Marilyn Schiff, Rebecca Cooperman, and a host of others celebrate the victory.

From 1966 to 1973, there was little conflict within the club over the opposition of the Vietnam War. Many club members went to Washington, in protest. Esther Smith spearheaded the Committee of Responsibility, which brought Vietnamese children, injured in fighting, to the U.S. for medical treatment

In 1968, a citywide teachers strike called by UFT’s Albert Shanker closes most schools. CRDC votes to keep the schools open. Dave Smith cuts the chains on PS 11’s doors, and parents and some teachers cross the picket lines. Practically all the teachers among the club’s membership walk out and never return.

In 1968, he club honors it’s most illustrious member, Judge Dorothy Kenyon one of the founders of most better government groups in NYC including ACLU, with a dinner at Tavern on the Green.

In 1969, the club honors Representative Shirley Chisholm with a gala dinner. In the general election CRDC support Eugene McCarthy against Lyndon Johnson.

In 1969, Ray Guenter runs with Jane Bevans as District Leaders. Both win.

In 1969, Carole Gretzer is elected to City Council and serves until 1991.

In 1970, Richard Gottfried is elected to NYS Assembly at the age of 24.

In 1971 Esther Smith wins State Committee Woman, serving til 1994. Marina Montalvo wins District leader and holds it til ‘77.

In 1973, CRDCʼs Bob Borosky wins District Leader.

In 1975, Fred Ohrenstein is elected Minority Leader in the State Senate, a position he holds until his retirement in 1994.

In 1976, Bella Abzug leaves congress to run for the U.S. Senate and closely loses the Democratic nomination to [[Daniel Patrick Moynihan]].

In 1977 Ted Weiss gives up his seat on the City Council for a successful run for Congress. Ruth Messinger runs for his City Council seat a position she holds til 1989. CRDC’s Rose Aronoff and Richard Fischbein win District Leadership.

In 1977, the club endorses Bella Abzug in her bid for Mayor of New York City. She loses to Ed Koch.

In 1979, Ann McCarthy wins as female District Leader and John Stackhouse wins male District Leader Ann McCarthy, a Nurse Supervisor at Mount Sanai Hospital, is an advocate and volunteer for the efforts of healthcare and housing in Chelsea.

In 1983, redistricting brings N.Y.S. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried to the heart of Chelsea and the CRDC becomes his home club. The first issue worked on together was the freeze of all production and testing of Nuclear Weapons. He has since come up to bat for many other important issues including tenant rights, affordable housing, reproductive rights, expanded healthcare, and LGBT issues.

In 1988, 1989, Governor Cuomo helps get Tom Duane and Doris Corrigan re-elected as District leaders.

In 1989, CRDC works hard for to elect David Dinkins for Mayor, Ruth Messinger for Manahattan Borough and Deborah Glick for StateLegislature. All three win with David Dinkins beating Mayor Koch in the primary, ending Koch’s 12 year reign and then goes on to beat Rudy Guiliani in general election

In 1991, Tom Duane runs for City Council. Fellow CRDC member, Christine Quinn heads up his campaign and he wins historic battle against Liz Abzug in the primary and handily wins the general election.

In 1991, after three terms of District Leader, Tom Duane steps down to run for City Council. The clubʼs Paul Groncki is endorsed by the Gay Press as “the opennly heterosexual candidate for District Leader.” He wins.

The Democratic County Committee elects Jerry Nadler as congressman to replace the deceased Ted Weiss on the Nov. ballot. Scott Stringer, cousin of Bella Abzug, runs for and replaces Jerry Nadler in the NYS Assembly.

In 1993, Tim Gay and Doris Corrigan, run for District Leaders. Thomas Schuler heads up their successful campaign. The Club also endorses State Senator David Patterson for Public Advocate. He loses to Mark Green "but never forgets our backing".

In 1993, the club works hard to reelect David Dinkins as Mayor. He loses to Rudy Guliani in the general election

In 1994, Fred Ohenstein steps down as NYS Senator. Catherine Abate runs and serves until 1998.

In 1997, the club works hard on Ruth Messinger’s run for Mayor against Rudolf Guliani, and for Deborah Glick for Manahattan Borough President. Both lose but Glick remains in the NYS Assembly.

In 1998, CRDC backs Eric Schneiderman and he wins Catherine Abateʼs seat in the NY State Senate.

In 1999, the club campaigns hard for fellow member, Christine Quinn, as she runs for Tom Duane’s empty seat on the City Council. Thomas Schuler heads up another winning effort.

In 2002, CRDC endorses Mark Green for Mayor, yet the election is overshadowed by 9-11 and the Bloomberg years begin.

In 2003, Steven Skyles-Mulligan is elected president of CRDC, and he begins a decade of beating the drum of real reform. The club begins writing strong resolutions and letters that are sent across the state and country. It is a practice that continues today.

In 2004, Kathy Kinsella steps down as District Leader. CRDC’s Mary Dorman runs and wins.

In 2005, CRDC backs City Council President, Gifford Miller for Mayor; club favorite Norman Siegal, an ardent civil rights lawyer, for Public Advocate; and Scott Stringer for Borough President. Gifford loses Democratic primary to Fernando Ferrer. Ferrer loses to Bloomberg in the general election. Siegal loses and Stringer wins.

In 2005, Tim Gay steps down as District Leader. The club works hard for it’s own Thomas Schuler.

In 2008, CRDC supports Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary.

In 2009, The CRDC backs Bill Thompson for Mayor, Christine Quinn for city council, Norman Siegal for Public Advocate and Scott Stringer for Borough President. Bill Thompson comes close to beating Mayor Bloomberg, Quinn wins and Stringer win, and Siegal loses to Bill deBlassio.

In 2010, The club supports Andrew Cuomoʼs run for Governor and also works hard in getting Eric Schneiderman elected in a hotly contested State Attorney General Race. He wins on a platform to root out fraud in government pension and Medicaid.

In 2011, CRDC ʼs own, Muriel Beach, NYCʼs Chapter President of Senior Action Council, headed to Albany to help fight threatened programs for elderly, including the closing of senior centers across all five boroughs. Cuomo restores funds.

In 2011, legalized same-sex marriage is passed in Albany! It is a testament to the hard work of our club’s own [[Richard Gottffried]], who wrote the original draft for the State Assembly, Tom Duane, who fought hard for it in the State Senate, and the advocacy of Christine Quinn and the political manuevering and perseverance of Governor Cuomo.[1]


As of January 2013;[2]

Endorsements, 2012

The club endorsed;[3]

Prominent members

As of January 2013;[4]

Political Links

As of January 2013;[5]