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June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Mayor’

A ‘Wall of Blue’ Bids Farewell to NYPD 1st Detective Wenjian Liu

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Wenjian Liu, the first Chinese-American cop in New York to be killed in the line of duty, was honored in his home 84th precinct Sunday with a sea of blue stretching “as far as the eye could see.”

Among the crowd were representatives from all the Jewish first response and security teams, as well as many Jewish civilian residents of Brooklyn. “Hakaras hatov” – acknowledging and thanking someone for the good they’ve done – was the reason given over and over when asked why they came.

Tearfully, Liu’s young widow Pei Xia Chen thanked the tens of thousands who gathered to grieve with her.

“He is my soul mate… an incredible husband, son, co-worker and friend; my best friend. As the only son, the Number One Son, he was extremely close [to] and respected his parents, of course,” she added. “One his many passions was being a police officer. He took pride in the fact that he was NYPD… I thank you, my extended family, my family of blue.”

The couple had wed only two months prior to Liu’s death. The 32-year-old police officer, promoted posthumously to first detective, had been on the job for seven years. Together with his parents he emigrated from China 20 years ago, with a dream to become a cop.

In addition to Sunday’s funeral, Liu’s family was to hold private ceremonies in the Buddhist and Chinese traditions as well.

“God bless America. God bless NYPD. You are the best!” Liu’s father said in a broken voice after delivering a eulogy in Chinese.

In addition to his wife, his father, cousins and city officials, a police chaplain and FBI Director James Comey spoke.

“These are our most difficult days,” Comey said. “I make far too many calls [like these] … 115 police officers killed this year, a shocking increase over 2013. I do not understand evil, I cannot understand evil. Our obligation is to do good, to honor this good man and do everything to protect those who would protect us. They want to do good for other people.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was to have spoken as well, but his own father passed away on New Year’s Day and arrangements for the wake and funeral, which are to take place Monday and Tuesday, were still being made.

With reddened eyes and a husky voice, Police Commissioner William Bratton expressed the feelings of the “thousands upon thousands” of officers standing outside a Brooklyn funeral home on a “very gray morning.” He commented that Liu was about to join his partner, “his partner for all time,” First Detective Rafael Ramos – also promoted posthumously –to be laid to rest. The two were executed by deranged gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley while eating lunch in their squad car. Brinsley turned the gun on himself right after.

“Liu believed in the possibility of a city free from fear,” Bratton told his family, who had traveled from China to attend the funeral. “The NYPD has done that for millions upon millions of citizens of this city.”

Addressing the tens of thousands of officers, Bratton went on to explain: “He left China at age 12, and his parents worked hard; his father was a garment worker in Queens. Liu called himself Joe and was on the way to becoming an accountant on 9/11, the day Al Qaeda attacked the Twin Towers.” That event changed his life, and inspired Liu to become a cop instead.

“The NYPD looks like the city it serves,” Bratton noted. “Our heroes are from everywhere too.” He listed the departed and the lands from which they had emigrated to America. Ramos and Liu came last.

Salonika’s Re-elected Mayor Wore the Yellow Star

Sunday, September 7th, 2014

The mayor of Salonika, second-largest city in Greece, wore a yellow Star of David to his second term inauguration at city hall last week.

Mayor Iannis Boutaris, 72, wore the star as a gesture of respect to honor the memory of the Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II, he explained.

Boutaris pinned the star to his jacket as a resposne to the presence of a radical right parliamentarian from the Golden Dawn party, Artemis Mathaiopoulos, on the city council, the European Jewish Press reported.

Golden Dawn has become the third most popular party in the national elections.

The Nazis deported more than 90 percent of Jews from Thessaloniki (Salonika) at the time – some 60,000 Jews – and then later wiped them out. Only 1,200 Jews live in Salonika today.

Former PM Ehud Olmert Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Tuesday morning to serve six years in prison. The judge also imposed a fine of NIS 1 million ($289,000.)  He ordered authorities to seize NIS 500,000 in funds the former prime minister has collected from various sources, including numerous speaking engagements in the United States.

Olmert was ordered to begin serving his prison sentence on September 1, pending appeal.

Tel Aviv District Court Judge David Rosen handed down the sentence in what has become known as the famed “Holyland trial” after Olmert was convicted on two charges of bribery.

The former prime minister was convicted of taking bribes from contractors who built the Holyland residential complex near the Malha Mall in Jerusalem.

The rezoning and other “adjustments” that came in exchange for bribes continued through the 1990s and into the next decade. These were the years in which Olmert served as mayor of the capital city and minister of industry, trade and infrastructure. Both were pivotal posts from which to smooth the way for the developers of the Holyland project.

Olmert was also recently questioned on suspicion of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television. The allegations are based on recordings given to police by former Olmert aide Shula Zaken, his closest aide, also convicted in the wide-ranging Holyland scandal. Zaken gave police the recordings as part of her plea bargain with the prosecution.

The Holyland trial has dragged on for years, tainting Olmert’s term as prime minister and shadowing the country’s years beyond while bringing down numerous aides and colleagues.

Before pronouncing sentence, the judge pointed out that Olmert is an “intelligent, brilliant people person” and called him an “avid Zionist.” He praised him for donating to bereaved families and the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center.

But he then sharply reprimanded the former state leader, saying “The crime of bribery pollutes public service, destroys governments…” and called it “one of the worst crimes.”

Rosen said Olmert was guilty of moral turpitude — a term that means the ex-politican will be forced to wait at least seven years before re-entering the field. The judge added that those who take bribes are equivalent to “traitors” in their betrayal of the public trust.

To punish that betrayal, the judge revoked the 10 percent of Olmert’s mayoral pension.

Olmert has been convicted previously charges of corruption. In 2012, he was pronounced guilty of taking bribes in a Jerusalem case.

That trial earned the former mayor and subsequent minister and prime minister a light sentence of community service only. The judge in the case said in his decision that Olmert’s state leadership as prime minister had afforded him the right to leniency.

Not so today, however.  Judge Rosen said in his decision that the higher the post of the public servant, the harsher the punishment for bribery should be.

“Those who belong to the social and economic elite of the nation should not be held to the same standard as those in common society,” Rosen said. He added in explanation that his hands were tied by law in meting out the punishment, and that he was enjoined by those legal guidelines to set a minimum sentence without discretion.

Olmert issued a statement prior to sentencing saying that he was innocent and protesting an expected sentence that included prison time.

“This is a sad day on which a severe and unjust verdict is to be handed down to an innocent man,” Olmert said in his statement.

He has 45 days to appeal in Supreme Court – which he plans to do,, said Olmert spokesperson Amir Dan. He added that he hopes “the real picture will emerge and the verdict will change completely.”

To the eternal shame of the State of Israel, this is the first time in the history of the nation that a prime minister has been convicted of a felony and sent to prison. Likewise, former president Moshe Katsav is currently serving time in prison for having raped and sexually assaulted his female employees.

Olmert will appeal the conviction and sentence in the Supreme Court, spokesperson Amir Dan said. His attorney Eli Zohar is expected to file a request for a stay of sentence in the meantime.

After Mayoral Loss, the Buzzards Are Flying over Lieberman’s Head

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

The old adage suggesting that victory has a multitude of fathers, while failure, alas, is an orphan, can be applied yet again, this time to describe the grim aftermath in Shas following the heartbreaking loss of the Avigdor Lieberman-Aryeh Deri candidate for mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion (the name should be spelled “Leon,” but the campaign opted for this, more feline spelling).

So the bad guy in this story of glory and defeat is Israel Beiteinu strong man MK Avigdor Lieberman, soon to be either the previous and next Foreign Minister, or the next man with a serial number at the Ma’asiahu prison for white collar criminals—court decision on that one expected in two weeks.

But for now, Lieberman appears to be shouldering the shame of the mayoral loss, with attacks on him coming both from sore losers and sore winners. Yes, the winning incumbent, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat now and for the next 5 years, is not doing the gracious. not even pretending.

“Lieberman is a dishonest man, a fixer who wanted to turn me into a marionette and couldn’t,” Barkat told Ma’ariv.

According to the winner, Lieberman made it his life’s mission to destroy him, Barkat, who, apparently, remained pure as the driven Jerusalem snow: “I could have made a deal and appoint Vladimir Sklar CEO of the East Jerusalem Development corporation the way Lieberman insisted, and then I would have gotten wall-to-wall support,” he said. “I refused. I took a chance and paid a heavy price.”

In Israel, it seems, to the winner goes being spoiled.

MK Lieberman for his part has been denying the Sklar appointment story, arguing instead that in his feverish yearning to win, Barkat has sold the city out to the Haredim—specifically, former Haredi mayoral candidate Chayim Epstein has been saying he’s being appointed Barkat’s deputy mayor, with pay.

The nice appointment is considered to be his reward for keeping his name on the ballot even as it was becoming obvious he was going nowhere—and with that helped siphon off some of Lion’s Haredi votes. It’s a good theory.

But the worst thing for Lieberman was not the spectacle of the winner Barkat doing a victory dance in a fashion that would not go well over in the States, where the first thing a loser does is congratulate the winner, to be followed by the winner complimenting the loser. Over in the Jewish State, we win, we fillet the loser, fire up the barbie, have a beer.

The worst thing for Lieberman is how his own campaign has been badmouthing him. Ma’arive quotes Likud-beiteinu campaign workers who said “Lieberman pulled the rug from under all of us… He couldn’t deliver the goods… He didn’t deliver the Likudniks, and he especially didn’t deliver the Russians he promised… All the Israel Beiteinu voters in Jerusalem supported Nir Barkat… Israel Beiteinu used to have 2 seats in the city council – that’s now been erased… Even when combining the Liebrman and Likud votes, they barely make it past the blocking percentage…”

Finally, senior Aryeh Deri operatives put all the blame on Lieberman. The rift between Deri and Lieberman is serious. Last week, Deri told his listeners on Haredi radio station Kol Barama that they had to vote in large numbers, to secure a Shas-Lieberman partnership. Now, after the defeat, Deri told those same listeners that they lived up to his expectations—they awarded 35 thousand votes to Moshe Lion, but on the Likud-Beiteinu side the failure was overwhelming.

Deri’s seniors are angry at Lieberman, but they’re livid at Deri himself for falling prey to Lieberman’s machinations. It was a known thing that Lieberman could round up 10 thousand Russians in Jerusalem – that’s the number that voted for his faction in 2008. So how come all the Russians went for Barkat? Was Deri being naïve when he figured Lieberman for a solid real estate asset, when, in fact, that asset is infested with termites and about to fall on its own foundations?

Lieberman had nothing to tell his followers and the press other than his own version of you win some, you lose some. If he’s taken down by the court two weeks from now, it would mark a sea change in Israeli politics, an earthquake that could empower the right or the left, depending on whom you ask.

Moshe Lion Claims Dirty Politics by Barkat’s Team in Jerusalem Race

Monday, October 21st, 2013

Last week Jerusalem mayoral candidate Moshe Lion took a hit after the publication of Aryeh Deri’s statement on the race for Jerusalem’s mayor and what it means for national politics. This week Moshe Lion’s team have gone on the offensive, and are taking a shot at mayoral incumbent Nir Barkat.

Shas’s Aryeh Deri and Yisrael Beteinu’s Avigdor Liberman are strongly supporting Moshe Lion for the position of mayor of Jerusalem, in what is part of a larger battle in national coalition politics.

Aryeh Deri’s backing of Lion has hurt the candidate in National-Religious circles, where Deri is not looked upon favorably.

Since the death of Rav Ovadia, Shas is a less than united party, and there exists opportunities for outsiders to exploit those deep divisions and dislike of Aryeh Deri by many of those within the Shas party. The politically astute Aryeh Deri is in a weakened political position due to the death of the party’s spiritual head, and he needs this win to consolidate his power base around him.

Channel 2 reported on a recording of Kobi Kahlon, Barkat’s #4 on his City Council list, offering a Shas official control over the Hareidi Education portfolio and other committees in exchange for Shas’s support in the elections.

Lion’s people say this is proof that Barkat is selling out the residents of Jerusalem for the Chareidi vote.

Others might use the phrase “divide and conquer”.

JewishPress.com received the following quote from a spokesperson in the Moshe Lion campaign:

“Finally, Barkat’s true face has been revealed. While he accuses others of secret deals that don’t exist, except in his imagination, he is behind closed doors offering a blank cheque to the Haredim if they will just support him. This conversation represents merely the tip of the iceberg and is widely representative of the type of crooked conversations that have been taking place over the last few months and have already secured Barkat significant Haredi support. Just as he won the last election through backroom deals with the Haredim, Barkat is hoping to buy the elections at the expense of the residents of Jerusalem.”

Elections are on Tuesday.

Jerusalem’s Arabs Support Arieh King

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Even as the Channel 2 Television Authority refused to run Arieh King’s political commercial, in which he stated he wants to block Jerusalem’s “moazins” from blasting prayers over the loudspeakers at all hours, King ran a parlor meeting in the home of Awaida Yunis in the neighborhood of Wadi Kadum in Jerusalem, according to a report in Makor Rishon.

King, a well known pro-Israel activist, is running for Jerusalem city council in the upcoming elections, representing Jerusalem’s  periphery neighborhoods, including the one he lives in.

But while other candidates for mayor and city council have been meeting with various rabbis, King has been busy meeting the Muchtars (clan leaders) of the various Arab neighborhoods.

Yunis who hosted the parlor meeting said that while he doesn’t support all of King’s political agendas, this election is about services, and he want eastern Jerusalem to receive the same quality of services that the west side of town receives.

Yunis said that his neighborhood of 1500 Arabs will all go out to vote for King, whom they believe will work to clean up their neighborhoods, and improve municipal services.

King said that most of the Jerusalem’s Arabs want to remain under Israeli sovreignity, and that his party “United Jerusalem” will fight to make sure it stays that way.

King added that he has been working for years with his Arab neighbors to improve the cleanliness of the streets and increase local security.

King promised his listeners that he will work to build more parks and schools in the Arab neighborhoods.

GOP Choice: Dirty Suit with Full Pockets v. Reliable Republican

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

GOP voters have a tough choice to make of which candidate they’d put up as a against the eventual Democratic nominee for Mayor of New York City. On the one hand, Joe Lhota has the experience and the temperament to serve as mayor on day one, but in a City whose Republican voters are outnumbered by a 6-1 ratio, the Republican needs a chest full of coins to at the very least get out his message to voters.

On the other hand, John Catsimatidis has the money to wage a campaign against the Democratic nominee for mayor and has brilliant ideas on how to keep the city safe and move it forward. There’s one hurdle though, voters don’t seem to take him seriously.

In an interview with the WSJ, Dan Isaacs, chairman of the New York Republican County Committee, admitted that Mr. Catsimatidis is “not your conventional candidate” in terms of his “mannerisms and appearance.”

As an example, the WSJ reporter points out an appearance by Mr. Catsimatidis last Monday, where the candidate wore a dark suit with a large, eye-catching stain.

“Yeah, he’s got a dirty suit and maybe he’s got a stain on his tie or his shirt. But you know what? He’s real,” Mr. Isaacs said. “And I’d rather have a guy like that than someone who’s perfectly coiffed and is full of bull—. And that ain’t John. John calls it like he sees it. He’s honest.”

At his campaign launch on the steps of City Hall, Mr. Catsimatidis pointed to his suit as an example he’s not a Michael Bloomberg billionaire. “I’m not wearing $5,000 suits,” he said. He didn’t even shy away from showing it off, when Hunter Walker from Politicker (now TPM) came close to see what make the suit was.

“I think it was $99 at Joseph A. Banks,” he said. “So, I’m not wearing a $5,000 suit and this is what I wear every day.”

Mr. Catsimatidis is currently trailing Mr. Lhota in the GOP primary by a 6-11 point margin, but has managed to turn the race into a horse race.

Speaking to the WSJ, Mr. Catsimatidis said he’s willing to spend whatever it takes to win City Hall. “Money is not an object. It’s getting the message across to everybody,” he said, estimating he will ultimately spend about $8 million on the primary and, presuming he wins, as much as $19 million in the November general election.

As of early August, he’d spent about $4 million on his campaign, roughly 2.5 times the amount spent by Joe Lhota. Campaign finance records show Mr. Lhota with roughly $1.7 million cash on hand.

Bill Cunningham, a former communications director for billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg who helped steer Mr. Bloomberg to victory in 2001, told the WSJ that Mr. Catsimatidis faces an uphill battle in the primaries since primary voters tend to be more conservative.

“He’s running against a lifelong Republican,” Mr. Cunningham said. “On resume, and temperament and experience, [voters] may look at Catsimatidis and say, ‘He has wonderful experience in the business world but Lhota has much more experience in government and politics.’”

In order to counter that impression, Mr. Catsimatidis has argued on the campaign trail that Mr. Lhota is mean-spirited and has a bad record of raising taxes, by pointing out that as MTA head Mr. Lhota raised toll prices that ultimately hurt New Yorkers who struggle to make ends meet.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/gop-choice-dirty-suit-with-full-pockets-v-reliable-republican/2013/08/18/

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