Thursday, September 13, 2007

Golden’s October surprise: He’s running

By Matthew Lysiak
The Brooklyn Paper

State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) has his platform, an open field, and a fund-raising apparatus — and he may have even found a date to announce his run for mayor.

As we reported last March, Golden has definitely dipped his toe in the Republican-light mayoral waters for 2009, but he hasn’t fully jumped in.

But that may change in a few weeks, when Mayor Bloomberg is the guest of honor at Golden’s Oct. 17 fundraiser at Gargiulo’s in Coney Island. The $500-per-plate fundraiser is Golden’s biggest so far.

Golden confirmed the mayoral appearance, but didn’t commit to saying whether he’d make anything official at the fundraiser.

“All I can tell you that it will be one intense fundraiser,” said Golden with cryptic smile.

He was quick to add that he’s not merely being coy about announcing his run; he simply hasn’t decided yet. “It is a difficult call,” said Golden. “I believe in continuing the 16 years of stewardship of the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, and a lot of people are pointing me in that direction.”

Getting the nod from Hizzoner would be quite a boost to that end.

A Bloomberg endorsement would be political gold — especially for a state senator virtually unknown beyond his Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights base. Golden is considered a shoe-in to win his Senate district next year, a race that isn’t expected to put much of a dent in his $425,000 war chest. He’d need much, much more to run for mayor, but raising big cash would be easy — if (and it’s a big if!) he remains the only Republican trying to succeed Mayor Mike.

Golden also added that he was in no rush to make a decision.

“Some people have been running for mayor since the day they were born,” said Golden. “I still have some time. I can realistically wait until next year if I need to.”

Salty Dog honors hero

By Matthew Lysiak
The Brooklyn Paper

A local hero wasn’t in his usual place behind the bar, but he was in everyone’s memories.

Dyker Height’s firefighter Joseph Graffagnino, 33, who died in the Deutsche Bank blaze last month, was honored on Sept. 11 at the Salty Dog, the Bay Ridge tavern where he used to tend bar.

Graffagnino died alongside Robert Beddia in the August fire at the crippled financial building near Ground Zero, which has been empty since the 9-11 attacks and is being taken down piece by piece to minimize the spread of toxins.

Graffagnino had been tending bar at the Salty Dog just hours before he died.

On Tuesday, the bar raised $30,000 for his family, thanks to a Chinese auction, raffles, and t-shirt sales.

Graffagnino, an eight-year veteran, left behind his wife, Linda.

The bar, which caters to firefighters, hung black-and-purple bunting after Graffagnino’s death and even became the scene of an ad-hoc memorial after the Aug. 23 funeral.

On Tuesday, the bar began to fill at around 5 pm, an hour before the benefit was slated to begin.

Rich Serpice, who knew Graffagnino since they were both 14-years-old, gladly handed over his $20 at the door.

“You’ll hear everyone say it, but he really was the freaking greatest guy you could ever meet,” said Serpice. “He always had a kind word for everyone and this is one small way we can give something back.”

Contributions are still being accepted at the Salty Dog, which is on Third Avenue between 75th and 76th streets.

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