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Posts Tagged ‘Mayor Bloomberg’

Mayor Bloomberg to the Homeless: No Cholent for You!

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Former pro-Soviet Jewry activist and local Upper West Side all around tzadik Glenn Richter has been collecting food from the Ohav Zedek synagogue and similar institutions and bringing it to homeless shelters for more than 20 years, but recently, when he attempted to bring a traditional Shabbat cholent leftovers from a shul kiddush, he was refused on account of the Bloomberg administration’s decree against giving too much  salt, fat and fiber to the homeless.

And the same goes for… bagels! How can you outlaw leftover bagels — in New York?

Richter told CBS News: “My father lived to 97; my grandfather lived to 97, and they all enjoyed it and somehow we’re being told that this is no good… I think there is a degree of management that becomes micromanagement and when you cross that line simply what you’re doing is wrong.”

Such a gentle soul. I would think the mayor needed to be told the homeless’ chief source of suffering is not too much salt, but too little home. Are you kidding me?

But, according to CBS News, Mayor Bloomberg, a salt-aholic himself, was unapologetic.

“For the things that we run because of all sorts of safety reasons, we just have a policy it is my understanding of not taking donations,” Bloomberg said.

If Bloomberg doesn’t run for a fourth term (you know he’s at least thinking about it), New Yorkers should vote for a new mayor who cares a little less. Or how about one term with no mayor at all? Could only improve things.

 

The Gray Lady Versus Our Security

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The New York Times recently threw a hissy fit over what it felt were overzealous efforts by Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Kelly to defend NYPD anti-terrorist surveillance programs the Times opposes. And just this week the Times, in editorializing on the exclusionary policies of the TAPPS high-school basketball tournament, chose to focus most of its ire not on the attempted exclusion of the Orthodox Beren Academy over its refusal to play on the Jewish Sabbath – which captivated the attention of the media across the country – but on the experience of some Muslim applicants.

The Times’s biased focus is manifest.

In a March 8 editorial the Times rebuked Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly for having “reacted with defensiveness and hostility to the disclosure of constitutionally suspect surveillance of law-abiding Muslims in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey and beyond.” The paper chided the mayor for saying the issue was not “a political football to play with” and the commissioner for having accused critics of the NYPD of using “the media to spread this information.”

The editorial concluded by saying, “Mr. Kelly loudly defends the operation and an exemplary record of preventing terrorist attacks. He should not do that so loudly that he drowns out reasonable criticisms.”

The Times’s groveling before Muslim groups is nothing new, of course. Remember its relentless criticism of opponents of the Ground Zero mosque?

In an August 3, 2010 editorial, the Times ripped into Republican opponents of the mosque for having the effrontery to disagree: “It was not surprising that Republican ideologues like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin came out against the mosque…. They have been shamelessly playing the politics of fear since 9/11.”

The Times also laced into the Anti-Defamation League for coming out against the mosque. Two weeks later the Times delivered a harsh rebuke to critics of President Obama’s comments in support of the mosque and in yet another editorial a month later the paper said that “The furor over the proposed Islamic cultural center and mosque near Ground Zero keeps giving us new reasons for dismay. As politicians and commentators work themselves and viewers into a rage, others who should be standing up for freedom and tolerance tiptoe away.”

Fast forward to the current controversy over the NYPD’s surveillance program. On March 3 the Times ran an editorial titled, “Surveillance, Security and Civil Liberties.” True to form, it was a one-sided indictment of the NYPD.

On March 7 the Times ran a news story headlined “F.B.I Official Faults Police Tactics on Muslims.” However, while the piece quoted a local FBI official’s criticisms, it also contained the following colloquy between Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the FBI, and Congressman Mike Honda during Director Mueller’s testimony before the House Appropriations Committee. Congressman Honda had asked about the NYPD surveillance tactics. Mr. Mueller’s response:

Let me start by saying, at the outset, that Ray Kelly and the New York Police Department have done a remarkable job in protecting New York. The fact of the matter is New York has been and will continue to be a target. And we have worked closely – very closely – together with them.

So, then, should anyone take seriously The Times’s pontifications about what is acceptable advocacy, especially when the paper skews headlines on news stories to fit its agenda?

In Response to AP Story, Chicago Police, Mayor Emanuel, Promise: We Won’t Spy on Muslims

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy announced publicly that his department will never conduct blanket surveillance of Muslims the way the New York Police Department had done in Newark, N.J., when he was the chief of police there.

“We are deeply committed to respecting the civil rights of all Chicagoans,” McCarthy said, the Wasington Times reports.

McCarthy and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been laboring to calm local Muslims since The Associated Press exposed the NYPD spying program in Newark. The AP reported last month that in 2007, the NYPD’s clandestine Demographics Unit targeted the heavily Muslim Newark, photographing mosques and eavesdropping on Muslim businesses. Earlier, the AP reported that the department was conducting similar surveillance in New York City, constructing a database of places where Muslims live, shop and pray.

When the AP story broke, last February, New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a strong defense of the NYPD surveillance program, according to the Boston Globe.

“We just cannot let our guard down again,” Mayor Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show on WOR-AM. “We cannot slack in our vigilance. The threat was real. The threat is real. The threat is not going away.”

‘We Have An Obligation To Stand Even Taller’ – An Interview With Political Consultant Hank Sheinkopf

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Hank Sheinkopf is a master of the rough world of political campaigning. As president of Sheinkopf Communications, he’s worked on some 700 political campaigns on four continents, including 44 American states. His clients have included President Clinton and Mayor Bloomberg. Sought after for comment by major media outlets, he is a CNN contributor and has lectured at NYU, Harvard, and Fordham.

An Orthodox Jew living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan with his wife and two children, Sheinkopf met recently with The Jewish Press to talk about politics, religion and Israel.

The Jewish Press: Who was the first candidate you worked for?

Sheinkopf:The first person in politics I worked with for pay was Herman Badillo, when he ran for mayor in 1969. I found him very refreshing because he talked about coalitions between middle income and poor people, and I respected him immensely because he came here from Puerto Rico as an orphan, without a dime in his pocket. He worked as a pin setter in a bowling alley and somehow made a life for himself and became a lawyer and an accountant. I never met anyone who had that kind of success coming from nothing. And because of that experience I knew I could do something with my life.

Who was the most memorable politician you worked with?

I’ve worked for a lot of extraordinary people. I worked for Mayor Bloomberg, for President Clinton, for former governor Eliot Spitzer. Among the smartest people I’ve met are Bloomberg, Clinton and Leonel Fernandez, president of the Dominican Republic. Clinton started out with nothing and became the leader of the world, regardless of what people may say about him. And while most politicians make decisions based on how they’re going to get reelected, Bloomberg’s dynamic for decision making is “How can I do the good thing?” or “How can I make the city I love better?”

You campaign mainly for Democratic candidates. Have you ever turned any candidates down? Do you identify politically with Democrats and encourage others, specifically Jews, to vote for them?

I have turned people down. Do I agree with everyone I’ve worked for? No. For years this was strictly a Democratic shop, but I reject categorically the argument that Jews are required to be Republicans or Democrats. Everyone who thinks everything was wonderful with Bush should thank God that presidential terms end at a certain point because Condoleezza Rice would have cut Jerusalem in half. If I had to say where my prejudices are, I believe in free association, which is good as a Jew. I don’t think people’s associations ought to be regulated.

Who will run for New York governor in 2010?

Rick Lazio is out there as a candidate, as well as Andrew Cuomo and David Paterson. Paterson is going through a brief upsurge now because he’s taken on the State Senate. But after January 1, when the budget starts to kick in and people understand what a serious fix New York is in, they will probably be less likely to stand with the governor. I would say Andrew Cuomo’s time is coming. He’s very smart, very competent, and he’s been a friend of the Jewish people.

With President Obama’s poll numbers sinking, do you forecast a backlash in the 2010 midterm elections against the Democrats?

Obamism is not a political party, it’s a social movement. And I think social movements, when they ultimately achieve their goals, lose their sense of purpose. They tend to dissipate. And if they don’t achieve them, their adherents’ anger will increase substantially and they’ll walk away out of frustration. This social movement was based on one charismatic figure and a set of ideas around him, mostly about change. It may have been difficult to sell had George Bush not been the president previously. But people are beginning to wonder, “Where’s the beef?” They don’t see things happening quickly.

Maybe they see things happening too quickly and think Obama is moving radically on too many issues.

You may be correct. There is an argument to be made that he’s moving too quickly and too radically for some. Americans don’t like that kind of change. They don’t like anything related to the economy to move too quickly. They see the economy as precision timed, almost like a clock. If you move one of the parts, something falls apart. The stimulus package may not be working the way it should. What is happening and what they perceive to be happening is that some are benefiting and large numbers of Americans are not.

Do you agree with those who say America has hit moral bottom?

The problem is we have a moral moment where, without question, religion is under attack. I would argue we have hit a point where religion has become the enemy. This is the acme of the 20th century progressive argument. And that manifests itself in different ways.

We have the Catholic church suffering severe problems in the United States from a decline in membership and activity, and people are deriding evangelicals’ religiosity. We have Jeremy Ben Ami of J Street talking blithely about how his staff is all intermarried and how they have Buddhist Seders. They equate the Palestinian experience with the Jewish experience, which is insane. They are trying to dilute religiosity to fit in, and it’s not going to work.

How would you propose strengthening Jewish pride?

Those of us who want to protect our children’s future have an obligation to stand even taller. We should be educating our people, and we need to get people more involved in religious practice. Judaism is not passive – it is a commitment. We have to somehow breathe that fire, and from the fire will come people who are proud of themselves. But not by passivity. Torah study and Torah involvement and living as a Jew are practical, activist activities.

Given Israel’s dismal image, do you think a comprehensive public relations campaign would work, or would it be a case of too little, too late?

I’ve been the saying the same thing in public speeches for the past ten years – the Jewish community should take the plaques off its walls, melt down whatever silver is useable, and figure out how to fund a means of setting up programming for cable and radio to publicize our point of view. Stop trying to convince the Jews; convince the non-Jews. We should be talking to fundamentalist Christians and evangelicals. We need these Christian folks badly. They know the Tanach sometimes better than our co-religionists do, and they have tremendous respect for us as a people. We need them in Congress too because the most important person in our lives today is the chairperson of the defense appropriations sub-committee.

Ten years from now the young people coming behind us in the pro-Israel community are not necessarily going to do what is needed. They don’t have the commitment and they’ve had it too easy. If you took a census of most Jewish organizations, you will find that there is a decline in membership. It tells you that those of us who are still engaged, mostly because of some level of religiosity, will have a bigger job to do. And the way to shortcut that job is to communicate the moral argument, within the context of security for the world, to those who will ultimately make those decisions.

How would you advise American Jews to best take advantage of Christian support?

First, you have to stop listening to the Reform movement and others who somehow want to deride them. And to those who reject them for fear of missionizing, I say, no one is going to missionize me. I guarantee it. If your faith is strong enough, how can anyone missionize you? No one is converting me to anything except to a stronger belief in protecting the State of Israel, because without that the world will fall. Any time Jews have been under attack, wars have occurred, economies have fallen, terrible things have happened to humanity. The Christians apparently understand this better than a lot of our coreligionists do.

Israelis themselves seem to have bought into many of the anti-Israel arguments put forward by the left. How do you account for that?

One problem is that we Jews, and Israelis in particular, are being constantly told how bad we are. We read the web, the newspapers, the scandalous coverage of Israel by The New York Times and other outlets, and we believe that is the truth. When you are told all the time that you are bad you will ultimately believe it.

Jews are the only people I know who actually believe what other people go around thinking about them all day long. We should be worried only about what God is thinking about us and about how to safeguard the extraordinary piece of property He gave us. Either you believe in the future of the Jewish people or you don’t. We should stop this nonsense that somehow we’ve done something wrong. I would frankly say, “Go to hell if you don’t like Operation Cast Lead – next time don’t bomb us.”

How do you explain the durability of the belief among Israelis and other Jews that concessions will somehow buy Israel peace and the world’s affection?

Jews engage in extraordinary self-denial. If someone tells you he’s going to kill you, he means it. Jews don’t believe it because they don’t want to believe it. There is the incessant belief that if only we do this or that, others will love us. But Jews fail to comprehend that the world does not mind if we get killed. Only we mind if we get killed.

I was one of five Jews invited to meet with Khaddafi when he was in New York for the General Assembly. Khaddafi told us of his very simple solution to the Jewish problem. “First,” he said, “you must stop speaking Hebrew. Second, you must stop wrapping those straps around your arms. And third, you must mix in with the local population and let all the four million Palestinians come home.”

I said to myself, this sounds just like J Street’s Jeremy Ben Ami – the anti-religious fervor; the denial of our right, given to us by God, to property that He owns. We’re losing the moral moment. Israel represents that which is good, and those who would destroy Israel or make it a servant to the nations as opposed to a leader of the nations are those who hate God. And our mission is to uplift God. That’s the job we have to do.

Local Boy To National Stardom?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

One of Steven Ari-Z Leiner’s fondest childhood memories, he says while taking a break from campaigning, is when on his 13th birthday the late Bobover Rebbe helped him put on his tefillin. The Bobover Rebbe, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, and Maimonides are some of his heroes. Some of his secular role models include John F. Kennedy, Mayor Bloomberg, Warren Buffet, and Paul Krugman, he adds.


 That’s an indication – as New Yorkers are soon going to find out – that Leiner is a very unique Congressional candidate. He recently filed papers to run for Congress in New York’s Eight District for the election in November 2010. The incumbent, Jerold Nadler, is being tipped to run for Hillary Clinton’s old Senate seat. And Leiner, or Steven Ari-Z as he is known to his friends, is a leading candidate to replace him.


 Steve Ari-Z’s own background reflects the diversity of the Jewish community of the Eighth District. He studied in the Yeshiva of Belle Harbor and Yeshivat Toras Emes in Boro Park, before spending a year in Israel studying at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh. His father and his grandparents, Max and Bella Leiner, escaped from the Nazis and emigrated to the U.S. in 1942. His great grandparents, from both sides, had been murdered by the Nazis in concentration camps.


 His mother’s family came to the U.S. from Moscow. They were one of the first families to escape the Soviet Union. Steven Ari-Z enjoys swapping stories with members of the Russian-speaking community.


 His family’s release from Russia was secured by his late great uncle Israel Beigel (of Beigel bakeries). His grandmother, Leah Beck, was very involved in Boro Park’s Bobov’s Bikkur Cholim. His grandfather Max Leiner was a regular at the Agudah of Boro Park right until his death. Leiner fondly remembers him cycling in the snow, aged 87, to shul where he learned daf yomi with Mr. Shmuel Roth for over 25 years.

 

 


Steven Ari. Z. Leiner with one of role models Warren Buffet

 Steven Ari-Z is equally at home in the Modern Orthodox Community of Manhattan where he lives. His late great uncle Felix Doppelt also lived on the Upper West Side. To round off the diversity of his Jewish experience, Leiner also has a strong connection to the Syrian Jewish community. He spent summers during his college years living with the Gemal family in Deal, New Jersey.


 He is very proud of his Jewish background. He believes that Jews have much more to contribute on the national stage then they have done so far. He cites the insightfulness and clever ways of dissecting an issue of the Gemara, which he loves studying, as an example of skills that could be of use. He found it of use in his personal business, he says.


 Leiner is a nationally recognized highly successful life insurance businessman. He started while in college at Columbia University where he received a B.A. in political science – to pay for his tuition – and has continued ever since. His awards include admission to the Million Dollar Round Table and the President’s Cabinet.


 He points out that the life insurance business teaches you to focus on the future, not just the present. He views life insurance as protecting people’s families. It’s a very Jewish character trait, he says, to make sure your children are protected whatever happens to you. Steven Ari-Z says politicians in Washington need to understand that too, as they allow the U.S. national debt to grow and fail to make the world better for our children.


 When Steven Ari-Z talks about policy issues, he has the careful deliberation and studious thought of a Torah scholar. He pauses and thinks before he answers a question. He speaks with a sincerity often missing from politicians. Education is an important issue to him. He believes something needs to be done to help families who are coping with high tuition fees. Parents, he says, should not be forced to choose between bankruptcy and providing their children with a Jewish education.


 Steven Ari-Z is equally at home speaking about economics. He thinks the economic crisis we are in was preventable. As a businessman, he understands how higher taxes and a complex tax code stifle business development. “As Jackie Mason might say, our country should be making a profit,” he says with a chuckle.


 Before Leiner returns to the campaign trail, we ask him about the origin of his name “Ari-Z.” He smiles. He was originally called Zvi-Ari, he says. But the late Rabbi Poupko of Flatbush told him to put the Ari (lion) ahead of the Zvi (deer). Leiner listened and never looked back.

 Daniel Freedman is the director of policy analysis and communications at a strategic-consultancy company. Previously, he was the foreign-policy analyst for Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential Committee, a United Nations official, and Senator Joseph I. Lieberman’s senior writer. He also serves as a consultant to Steven Ari-Z Leiner. He can be reached at DF9713@gmail.com.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/local-boy-to-national-stardom-2/2009/11/04/

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