Next week’s June 25 primaries are the prelude to the general elections to be held on November 5. We cannot stress enough the importance of participation in both the primary and general elections. Our issues will only be addressed by elected officials if we assert our interests by coming out and expressing ourselves in large numbers on election day and demonstrate that we are serious about holding officials responsible for their policies. So, while we certainly recommend our own choices, we urge every qualified voter to come out on election day.
New York City Council
45th Council District, Brooklyn: The Jewish Press endorses Farah N. Louis for City Council in the 45th District. A former senior aide to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, whom she seeks to succeed in the Council, she impressed with her pleasant demeanor, intelligence, knowledge of issues, and motivation at her Jewish Press Editorial Board meeting. In particular, we noted her sensitivity to the needs of the Jewish community.
Within weeks of winning the interim City Council seat on May 14, Louis began working with her Jewish constituents to help alleviate dangerous traffic conditions on Nostrand Ave., in the heart of the Brooklyn Jewish community.
Kings County (Brooklyn): The Jewish Press endorses Judge Margarita Lopez Torres for re-election as Brooklyn Surrogate, a post she has held for the past 14 years with great distinction. By dint of her long experience and impressive record, she has more than merited the support of Brooklyn voters on June 25th.
Judge Lopez Torres was elected to the civil court bench in 1992 to a 10-year term and then reelected in 2002. In 2005, she was elected as Brooklyn Surrogate. The Surrogate’s Court plays a critical role in our legal system. It hears cases that determine people’s estates, including probates of wills and, generally, the proper disposition of a deceased’s assets. It also appoints guardians who protect the interests of those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The responsibilities of a Surrogate Judge are obviously of a particularly sensitive nature and require a solid knowledge of the law, firmness, compassion, a well-developed sense of equity, and a discerning intuition. The overwhelming verdict from lawyers and parties who have appeared in her courtroom is that Judge Margarita Lopez Torres has excelled across the board.
Civil Court – Countywide
The Jewish Press endorses Edward King for the Civil Court in the countywide race in Brooklyn. A graduate of City College and Antioch Law School in 1983, he began his legal career as a law assistant to Civil Court Judge Milton F. Tingling (deceased) and as a principal court attorney to New York Supreme Court Justice Randolph Jackson. For the past 35 years, he has been a solo practitioner specializing in the general practice of law. His calm, deliberative demeanor and compassionate nature were evident in his interview with The Jewish Press and we were struck by the apparent sincerity of his vow to give everyone a fair shake in his courtroom. He will make a valuable addition to the Brooklyn Civil Court bench.
Civil Court – 6th Municipal Court District – Brooklyn
The Jewish Press endorses Tehilah H. Berman for Civil Court Judge in the 6th Municipal Court District in Brooklyn. She attended Shulamith Elementary School, Yeshiva University High School for Girls, NYU, and Brooklyn Law School. She has been a member of the New York Bar since 1994. Berman has an impressive legal record, currently serving as the Principal Law Clerk to Justice Katherine A. Levine of the Kings County Supreme Court. Previously, she served in the same capacity when Justice Levine sat on the Kings County Civil Court. As a principal law clerk, she was exposed to a broad range of legal issues. She had previously practiced pension, labor, and employment law at prestigious corporate law firms.
In her Jewish Press interview, she spoke animatedly and convincingly about her passion for justice and described her pro bono work with famed attorney Alan Dershowiz on criminal appeals. She conducted extensive legal research and produced advisory memoranda and motion papers. She also emphasized that one of her primary aims as a civil court judge would be to impart a sense of fairness and provide a level playing field to litigants appearing before her.
Queens: The Jewish Press urges its readers to come out and vote for Judge Greg Lasak as Queens District Attorney. It should really be a no-brainer. Of the several candidates, Judge Lasak seems to be the only one that understands what the job of a district attorney really is: that of a prosecutor protecting the people through the vigorous investigation and prosecution of lawbreakers. Indeed, his opponents in the race are more focused on making life easier for those accused and convicted of crimes on the one hand, and downplaying certain low level crimes on the other.
Yet Judge Lasak is no Inspector Javert by any means. While he served ably for two dozen years as an effective Assistant Queens DA prosecuting homicides and other serious crimes and 15 years as a no-nonsense state supreme court justice – presiding over some of the most high profile felony cases – he also created a “wrong man unit” and took police brutality and domestic violence charges very seriously from the start. None of his opponents come even close to having his law enforcement experience. Judge Lasak is not just the first choice, but the only choice.