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December 25, 2014 / 3 Tevet, 5775
 
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Jewish Press Endorsements

We urge every eligible voter to go to the polls on November 5. Elected officials tend to pay attention to those who take the time to vote.

Mayor

The Jewish Press endorses Bill de Blasio for mayor of New York City. Since his decisive victory in the Democratic primary in September, Mr. de Blasio has eased many of the concerns that induced us to back Bill Thompson in that contest.

We have long admired Mr. de Blasio for his quick mind, signature open-mindedness and profound sensitivity to the plight of New Yorkers of all backgrounds and stations in life. We were particularly taken with his understanding of our community’s religious needs and the need for their reasonable accommodation.

Indeed, The Jewish Press enthusiastically supported him in his past races for City Council and public advocate. But all the talk of New York as a “tale of two cities” and of “taxing the rich” to pay for ever-increasing spending made us wary. It also obscured some of the important, practical things he was saying about the city having to pay its bills and prudently prepare to face a looming fiscal crisis.

On such core social issues as abortion, same-sex marriage and “stop and frisk,” Mr. de Blasio’s positions hardly differ from those of his Republican opponent, Joe Lhota – as Mr. Lhota himself acknowledged in his campaign commercials. Of course, they are two very different people with differing ideological approaches. Yet the practical problems that come with running a city like New York do not allow for many radically different options. And so, to take one issue as an example, it seems inconceivable that a Mayor de Blasio would be indifferent to any increases in crime, as some have claimed.

Joe Lhota has served the public well as MTA chairman and before that as Rudy Giuliani’s budget director and deputy mayor. But he never really connected with the voters and made his case. Mr. de Blasio, on the other hand, has connected – big time – as evidenced by the lopsided polls in his favor. He is likely headed for a historic victory on November 5 and will have an unusual mandate to lead the city.

Bill de Blasio has the intelligence, compassion and innate good sense to be a great mayor and take our city to new heights. The Jewish Press calls on its readers to vote for him on November 5.

Comptroller

The Jewish Press endorses Scott M. Stringer for comptroller. He is admirably suited for the office by dint of experience and demeanor. One of the major responsibilities of the comptroller is the overall management of the five municipal-worker union pension funds with combined assets of approximately $141 billion. As Manhattan borough president Mr. Stringer has served as a trustee for the largest of those funds and gained important experience and insight.

Given the need to regularly interact with the boards of each of the pension funds, being able to work collegially with them is key. Mr. Stringer’s background makes him ideally suited for the task. As a six-term state assemblyman and eight-year Manhattan borough president, he earned a reputation for fostering cooperation with his colleagues in government and for effective and savvy management.

Another major responsibility of the comptroller is the auditing, vetting and investigating of virtually anything involving government spending. Here again, a cooperative spirit among the comptroller, the mayor, and other public officials is essential, with clear understanding as to where the jurisdictional red lines lie.

Mr. Stringer’s credentials readily recommend themselves.

Brooklyn District Attorney

The Jewish Press urges the reelection of Charles J. Hynes as Brooklyn district attorney. Mr. Hynes is a 24-year veteran as Brooklyn DA and has more than earned being returned to office. Over the years he has transformed the reputation of the office to where it is now the first choice of many of the most talented young lawyers seeking work in law enforcement. He also built a staff of more than 500 lawyers, which rivals the size of many of the country’s largest law firms. Overseeing its work is a mammoth responsibility and management experience is crucial.

Most important, during his period in office he has initiated alternative approaches to crime prevention, such as rehabilitation programs without incarceration, that have achieved remarkable results in combating recidivism.

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