Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons / US House of Representatives
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY)

In past weeks, for statewide office, The Jewish Press has endorsed Cong. Lee Zeldin for Governor; NYPD Deputy Inspector Alison Esposito for Lieutenant Governor and Comptroller Thomas DiNpoli for re-election. We also endorsed candidates in a number of Congressional Districts (CDs): Nick LaLota (1st CD); Andrew Garbarino (2nd CD); George Santos (3rd CD); Anthony D’Esposito (4th CD); Gregory W. Meeks (5th CD); Grace Meng (6th CD); Daniel Goldman (10th CD); Nicole Malliotakis (11th CD); Tina Forte (14th CD); Ritchie Torres (15th CD); Michael Lawler (17th CD); Colin Schmitt (18th CD); Marcus Molinaro (19th CD); and Liz Joy (20th CD). New York City Civil Court Judge Cenceria P. Edwards also received our endorsement for election as a Justice of the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.

Below are The Jewish Press recommendations for NYS Attorney General, various NYS Senate and Assembly races and the four ballot proposals.


NYS Attorney General

The Jewish Press urges voters to come out for Michael Henry for NYS Attorney General over the incumbent Letitia James. Henry is a political neophyte with no public record, but in the midst of soaring crime he at least is saying some common sense things about support for police, the strengthening of the criminal laws and for ending the disastrous bail reform experiment. Unfortunately, not so with James.

She was an early and ardent supporter of cashless bail and raise-the-age policies which, predictably, unduly restricted judicial discretion, encouraged lawbreaking and allowed serial criminals free time to commit even more crimes.

She also came up with something called the Police Accountability Act that would tighten the rules governing the use of force by law enforcement officials. In sum, her plan, as she described it, would change the law governing use of force “from one of simple necessity to one of absolute last resort, mandating that police officers only use force after all other alternatives have been exhausted.” Just imagine, cops would be required to exhaust all other alternatives in the literally split seconds they typically have to decide how to deal with a threatening suspect.

Surely this bespeaks a troubling mindset for someone with the job of New York’s top law enforcement official. In fact, it seems to us that her primary concerns lay not with the nuts and bolts of effective law enforcement but rather with how her views play politically in “woke” New York. We were thunderstruck by her comment a few months ago that there was insufficient evidence to warrant a rethinking of cashless bail because data definitively tying it to the “spikes in crime” were lacking. That is, she suggested, that somehow Covid-19 was the cause and not compromised criminal laws. To be sure it played well in what she perceived as her base. But Covid-19 is the root cause of out of control crime?!

Lest someone think that she was simply being responsible and prudent, consider her reaction to last week’s Quinnipiac University poll reporting that voters this year rank crime as the no.1 most urgent issue. James said,

We need to address a wide range of issues, including but not limited to looking at bail reform…. I understand the concern that individuals have. I understand the fear that they have. But we’ve got to work together and not politicize this very important issue.

In addition, the Quinnipiac Poll coincided with a Sienna College Poll which showed James ahead of Henry by just 11 points, down from 16 points a few weeks ago. Significantly, she won the 2018 election for Attorney General by 27 percentage points in 2018.

Yet even with her plainly political bow to politics and acknowledgement of the need to address bail reform, she still went on to say it can’t be talked about without considering other issues like pre-trial services or providing resources that could help prevent crime in the first place. Again, she played to her base.

In truth we should not all be surprised that for Letitia James the dynamics of law enforcement take a back seat to the political winds. It will be recalled that the centerpiece of her 2018 campaign was her promise that if elected, she would use the powers of her office as attorney general to “take on Donald Trump” and “investigate Trump’s New York Business.” She referred publicly to then-President Trump as “illegitimate” and described how she “looked forward to going into office of Attorney General every day, suing President Trump… and going home.” She even said that her decision to run for attorney general was largely “about that man in the White House who can’t go a day without threatening our fundamental rights.”

And all this, mind you, was before she led any official investigations of Trump. Can there be any doubt about the central role politics plays in Letitia James’s world of law enforcement?

True we don’t know much about Michael Henry, but we do like what we do know. More to the point, we know all too much about Letitia James.


NYS Senate

15th Senatorial District (SD) (Queens): Joseph P. Addabbo Jr.

19th SD (Brooklyn): Roxanne J. Persaud

22nd SD (Brooklyn): Simcha Felder

23rd SD (Richmond / Brooklyn): Jessica Scarcella‑Spanton

24th SD (Richmond): Andrew J. Lanza

34th SD (Bronx): Nathalia Fernandez


NYS Assembly

24th Assembly District (AD) (Queens): David I. Weprin

25th AD (Queens): Nily D. Rozic

41st AD (Brooklyn): Helene E. Weinstein

42nd AD (Brooklyn) Rodneyse Bichotte

43rd AD (Brooklyn): Brian A. Cunningham

45th AD (Brooklyn): Steven Cymbrowitz

46th AD (Brooklyn): Alec Brook‑Krasny

47th AD (Brooklyn): William Colton

48th AD (Brooklyn): Simcha Eichenstein

49th AD (Brooklyn): Peter J. Abbate Jr.

54th AD (Brooklyn): Erik Martin Dilan

61st AD (Richmond): Charles D. Fall

62nd AD (Richmond): Michael W. Reilly Jr.

63rd AD (Richmond): Vincent C. Argenziano

64th AD (Richmond): Michael Tannousis


The Four Ballot Proposals

The Jewish Press urges a NO VOTE on each of the proposals.

Proposal No.1: The Environmental Bond Act

A “Yes” vote on this initiative authorizes New York State to raise $4.2 billion by issuing bonds with the money earmarked for pollution reduction, wetland protection, zero emission school bus fleets, urban forestry programs, shoreline restoration, safeguarding flood prone infrastructure and similar “green” projects.

All of the projects have a surface appeal. Who could be against clean water? But the proposal reeks of prior boondoggle initiatives with similar goals costing billions, which always seem to get lost somewhere in the ether with nothing to show for the effort. Plainly, it is not made clear that this time would be different.

Of particular interest is the part of the proposal that requires that at least 35% of bond revenue benefit “disadvantaged communities” which makes us believe that aiding the environment is not the point here.


Proposal No. 2: Adding a New Preamble to the New York City Charter

A “Yes” on this measure would authorize New York City government to amend the City charter to include a preamble that emphasizes the City’s commitment to diversity. The beginning of the preamble reads:

We the people of New York City, declare that our city is a multiracial democracy, and that our diversity is our strength. We honor and respect the cultures, languages and histories of all who call and have called this land home, and we celebrate their revolutionary imagination, courage, and resiliency.

According to the Racial Justice Commission, an official NYC Charter Revision Commission, the new preamble would not have the force of law but could serve as a “guide to City government in fulfilling its duties.”

To us it is purely and simply a blueprint and official imprimatur for systematic official efforts to achieve numerical racial diversity in all aspects of city life. We can all imagine where this sort of thing is headed: in a word, artificial preferential treatment. If there is any doubt on this score, please see Proposal No. 3.


Proposal No. 3: Creating A New York City Office of Racial Equity

Voting “Yes” on this proposition would authorize the City to create a mayoral office of racial equity, as well as require every city agency to submit biennial reports on their efforts to achieve racial equity within their ranks. A separate commission would also be set up to help the agencies with pointers about reaching racial equity goals. And we should take due notice that this is about “equity” and not “equality.” Of course, the former speaks to guaranteed results, while the latter to equal opportunity.

This all sounds suspiciously to us like Critical Race Theory on steroids. Indeed, they seem to be bent on legitimizing viewing everything in City government through the lens of race.


Proposal No. 4: Requiring The City To Measure The “True” Cost Of City Life

A “Yes” vote on this proposal would require the City to adopt a new metric for measuring the cost of living in the City that would not take into account public or private assistance. According to the Racial Justice Commission this would “refocus the conversation away from poverty, or the poorest of life’s conditions, towards an emphasis on dignity. The measure could be utilized in advocacy, labor negotiations, and, where appropriate, setting new eligibility standards for programs and benefits.”

Of the 4 propositions, No. 4 contains the most obtuse language and concepts defying easy parsing. But what comes through loud and clear is the juxtapositioning of the amorphous “dignity” standard with “new eligibility standards for programs and benefits.” It is plainly, like the other three, aimed at authorizing the City to prefer some people over others in order to achieve racial equity.


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