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Posts Tagged ‘City Council’

A Closer Look at Bill de Blasio’s Record

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Bill de Blasio, the current frontrunner in the Democratic primary for mayor, has been running his second television commercial of the campaign, titled “Dignity,” since Monday. Fact checking the ad, Michael Barbaro of the NY Times found it quite misleading. Mr. de Blasio argues he’s the only candidate pledging to end the way the Police Department carries out the stop-and-frisk tactic. The problem with that claim is that his opponents have all, in one way or another, pledged to reform it, too.



Nor is Mr. de Blasio, per his claim, the only candidate proposing an income tax on the rich to pay for education. John C. Liu, the city comptroller, has proposed raising the city’s marginal income tax to pay for after-school programs, among other things.

“Dropping the misleading word ‘only’ from several of his claims, or using it more carefully, would do wonders for the accuracy and credibility of his commercials,” Barbaro concludes.

Bill de Blasio’s exaggerating his role as an advocate for the issues he believes are at the top of voters’ concerns is nothing new. In fact, his record of representing the outer-boroughs, as he now promises not to let down any New Yorker, is far from exhilarating.

Back in 2001, when he first ran for City Council in the 39th district, Mr. de Blasio was examined for mismanagement and controversial ties that had put in question his credentials at the time. “[Bill de Blasio] carries a lot of baggage as well,” The Village Voice wrote in a profile on the race for council.

“De Blasio was elected to School Board 15 in 1999, and his tenure has been rocky. Many public school parents charge that de Blasio was stubbornly supportive of Frank DeStefano, the former superintendent of District 15 who resigned in the winter amid allegations of overspending and mismanagement. Reports first surfaced in the fall of 1999 that DeStefano had begun to run up big deficits, taking himself and other school officials on several expensive junkets costing a total of more than $100,000. One year later the school deficit topped $1 million, leading to the cancellation of a popular after-school reading program while DeStefano maintained an expensive car service.

“De Blasio still defends his decision to stick with DeStefano for as long as he did. “He was a visionary and a great educator, but he was a horrible communicator,” de Blasio says of DeStefano. “I was deeply concerned, but I was not going to make a final decision until I saw the evidence.” In the end, de Blasio says, “he could have made better decisions, but I don’t think the spending was wildly excessive. Both of my parents were victims of the McCarthy era. I do not take lightly the idea of ousting someone. You have to have the evidence.”

“De Blasio has also been linked to the flap over New Square, the Hasidic village in upstate New York that has been mired in pardon scandals. Candidate Clinton assiduously courted the small Rockland community last year, winning the town by the whopping margin of 1400 to 12. Six weeks after the election, Israel Spitzer, New Square’s deputy mayor, met with the Clintons at the White House, where pardons for four New Square civic leaders convicted of fraud were discussed. In January, Bill Clinton commuted their sentences, leading to a probe by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in which several Hillary Clinton campaign aides were called in for questioning. At a Manhattan fundraiser for de Blasio in December, Spitzer made a $2500 donation, the largest permitted under the city’s Campaign Finance Board. De Blasio refused to comment on that matter, including the issue of whether he was questioned by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. De Blasio would only offer this comment: “I’m waiting to hear what’s going to happen with that.”

in 2007 as councilman, Mr. de Blasio was lambasted for not living up to his promises and for a lackluster performance as representative of his district.  In a hard hitting piece by a local blogger named “Parden Me For Asking,” Mr. de Blasio was criticized for running a dysfunctional office and keeping himself distracted from the issues that mattered to the neighborhoods he represented, going back to his time he served on the Board of Education before his run for council.

Anti-Israel, ‘Amsterdam News’ Favorite, Charles Barron Loses Vote

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

It looks like someone went up to Charles Barron and slapped him.

The former member of the City Council and the Black Panther party was handily defeated by Hakeem Jeffries for the newly redrawn 8th Congressional District. The new district is mainly African-American, with a significant percentage of Russian Jews and Hispanics. Jeffries won in a landslide with more than half the precincts reporting, taking 75 percent of the vote.

According to The Daily News, Barron is demanding a recount.

“When we launched this campaign we knew we were going up against … the entire New York Democratic political leadership,” Barron said. “You know you good when you made the governor do a robo call for a primary.”

While not the most intense election, the contest between the two candidates may have been the most interesting. Barron is better known for his derogatory comments about Jews and Israel. Among what he considers his best achievement in his three-term tenure in City Council was hosting Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe. He called Gaza a “concentration camp” and eulogized Muammar el-Qaddafi as a “freedom fighter.”

(As a parenthetical note, Barron called a proposal by a board member of the CUNY school system to have students take remedial classes in the high school “ethnic cleansing.” When I asked him about it a year later, he seemed puzzled. “I said so much stuff, I’m not sure,” he told me.

While some predicted that it wouldn’t be much of a contest, the election achieved notoriety by the sheer number of endorsements that Jeffries received. He was endorsed by The New York Times, The New York Post, The Daily News. The New York Observer didn’t actually endorse Jeffries, but instead shrilly begged for President Obama to step in and stop Barron.

Virtually the only paper of note to endorse Barron was the Amsterdam News. (Note: The link to the AN endorsement will take you to the Barron website, because the original endorsement on the newspaper’s site has been scrubbed. JP)

“The man is a hater and a bigot whose only redeeming quality is his candor,” the Observer wrote about Barron. “The man makes no attempt to hide his loathing of white people, Israel, his colleagues and anybody else who doesn’t share his demented views.”

In terms of fundraising, Jeffries managed to rack up over $350,000 compared to Barron’s measly $50,000.

Barron did manage to get the endorsement of the city’s largest public union and Congressman Ed Towns, the previous holder of the seat. Barron also unwittingly received a toxic endorsement from David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan. In the video, posted on Youtube, in between bouts of anti-Semitic paranoia Duke stuck out an olive branch in the style of the late Rodney King.

“Black leaders like Barron should work to lessen the enmity between blacks and whites and realize that the Jewish extremists in America keep the whites and blacks from mutually solving our interests and differences,” Duke says in the clip.

During the election itself, Barron supporters clad in yellow faced off against a virtual army of Jeffries supporters.

“The election results prove that the Jewish and African American communities are more united than most people would assume,” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of the Friedlander group, a public and government relations group based in DC and New York. “The voters rejected a divisive demagogue and elected a bright, talented and forward thinking individual who has the potential to develop into a star.”

The question has also become what to make of former Congressman Ed Towns, long thought to be a strong supporter of Israel, who nonetheless endorsed Barron.

“I voted for Charles Barron,” Harold Mansfield, 77, told the Bayside Patch. “I vote every year, every chance I can get. I always voted for Ed Towns because he takes care of us seniors, and he said Barron was his man, so that’s my man.”

Jonathan Noble, a former District Legislative Director for Rep. Towns and an Orthodox Jew, said he was surprised by the Towns endorsement. But he added, “I hope this does not diminish Towns’ legacy as a bridge-builder. I’ve always admired him for that.”

Bill Thompson Courting Orthodox Jews in Quest of Mayoral Post

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

The NY Post reported that Mayoral hopeful Bill Thompson has been “surprisingly successful” in seeking the Orthodox Jewish vote in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind, a Democrat, who supported Thompson for Mayor in 2009, said “Thompson’s definitely a favorite in the Jewish community, no question about it.”

Thompson’s rival in the Mayoral race, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, who is Jewish, is not cutting it, apparently, with his co-religionists across the river.

Thompson told The Post, “I’ve established relationships in the Orthodox community across the city. I’m getting a pretty positive reception. It isn’t a question of whether you’re Jewish or not.”

He added: “It is a question of leading the city; it’s a question of services to communities.”

Bill de Blasio, who represented Borough Park in the City Council for eight years, is also in the running for the city’s top job.

Are You Allowed to Cry ‘Heil Hitler’ in a Crowded City Hall?

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Aida Ahmad and Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times report that “tempers flared” at the Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday when a councilman said he was tempted to “clock” a speaker who called out “Heil Hitler” during a public comment period.

It started when Michael Carreon, a resident of Los Angeles’ 14th council district, objected to the rules of decorum at a City Council meeting on Tuesday.

Carreon directed his comments to a few council members who, apparently, weren’t paying attention to him, and so Councilman Tom LaBonge, who was chairing the meeting, stopped him. LaBonge instructed Carreon not to address his comments to specific members, as per city rules.

Carreon, a regular at these meetings, was livid.

“The city’s going to hell in a handbasket, and you’re going to sit up there and dictate?” he said. “I’m upset, so I guess I’ll just salute you.” He raised one hand in the air in a Nazi salute, and shouted: “Heil Hitler.”

That’s when Councilman Paul Koretz, who is Jewish, stood up from his seat and said: “That’s a highly offensive thing, I’m very tempted to go over there and clock ‘im.”

You’d expect the offending Heil shouter would be carried out by security guards at that point, but a City attorney who was present at the meeting said his comments weren’t grounds for eviction.

At another point Tuesday, Matt Dowd, another frequent City Hall critic, used the F word when addressing the assembly. Soon after, the meeting was adjourned.

Conclusion: You can cry ‘Heil Hitler’ in a crowded LA City Hall, but say one F word and everybody runs home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/are-you-allowed-to-cry-heil-hitler-in-a-crowded-city-hall/2012/04/11/

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