Open Letter to Governor Hochul
Dear Governor Hochul:
Congratulations on your historic re-election. I respectfully request that we now get serious about creating a “dangerousness standard” with regard to defendants in New York State – a standard that all the other 49 states and the Federal Government have. As you well know, this standard allows judges the discretion to remand our most violent repeat offenders as they await trial. It will go a long way towards ending what Mayor Eric Adams refers to as the syndrome of “catch, release, repeat,” which allows perpetrators to commit the same crime(s) again and again. Catch, release, repeat is a real thing – the crimes perpetrated are not “perception,” and frankly, you are the only one who can use the full weight of your office to convince or compel State Legislature leaders to do that which they apparently have no desire to do – keep New York City and State safe from violent repeat offenders.
The highest priority of any governor is to keep the residents of their state safe, and we are not safe – far from it. You ran for re-election, and you won. It is my hope that whatever circumstances may have held you back from vigorously advocating for this criminal justice policy are now gone or moot and we can get down to the business of doing everything possible to keep the residents of our state safe.
My constituents want and deserve what every other state and the Federal Government have and need – the “dangerousness standard.” I urge you to make this your number one priority.
James F. Gennaro
New York City Council Member, District 24
As of this writing, we still do not know who will control both houses of Congress. However, I have a few observations in the aftermath of last week’s elections:
1) Did this election sneak up on the state of Arizona? While most other states have their results within hours, it’s been nearly a week and we still do not know who was elected Governor of Arizona. For context in how inept Arizona has been in counting the ballots, Florida, with three times the population, had their election results in a couple of hours. Third-world countries count ballots faster than this. This is a national embarrassment, which has directly led to people questioning the integrity of their election. Which brings me to my next two points.
2) Is it just me or have the Democrats, of late, gone undefeated in every election where ballot counting lasts more than one day?
3) Election denier (2018) Stacey Abrams, who throughout the 2022 election alleged unsubstantiated charges of voter suppression, would have been thrilled with the election integrity procedures in my district here on Long Island. When I showed up to the polling site Tuesday morning, I was told no ID was required to verify my identity. A woman who was likely in her mid- to upper 80s asked me for my name and address. That’s it. I give you my word, I only voted once, but I could have come back multiple times throughout the day and cast a ballot under different names. And Warren Hecht still wonders why people have little confidence in election integrity and question how a man running for President of the United States, while exhibiting obvious signs of dementia, supposedly received 81 million votes.
4) For a country widely perceived in the past as center/right, there is an obsession with abortion. We saw early signs of this in August, when voters in Kansas, a decidedly red state, voted overwhelmingly to reject a state constitutional amendment that would limit abortion. Abortion appears to have trumped all other issues and played a large role in this election cycle. The right to murder viable fetuses was an extremely important issue, specifically to single women, who tend to be more liberal and voted 68% Democrat in the midterms. It is so important, in fact, that incumbent Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock now absurdly fancies himself as a “pro-choice” pastor.
5) New Yorkers like to think of themselves as more sophisticated than the rest of the country. Yet, residents of Manhattan, many of whom once lived in upscale neighborhoods that are now crime-infested environments of squalor, resembling those found in Haiti, voted for Kathy Hochul at a greater than 81% clip. Queens residents exhibited only slightly more common sense, in voting 62% for Hochul. With Hochul enjoying a Kim Jung Un-like margin of victory in NYC, it would be reasonable for her to conclude that NYC residents are extremely happy with her governance including the out-of-control crime and exceedingly high taxes. So NYC residents should expect no changes to be implemented by her to curb the unacceptable levels of violent crime. Why should she? The election numbers speak for themselves. If NYC residents were dissatisfied with her crime policies such as cashless bail, they sure have an odd way of showing it. Let’s hope last week’s shocking murder in Kew Gardens Hills on Main Street is not a down payment on future violent crime in this formerly peaceful neighborhood.
6) In 2016, the pre-election polling was widely criticized for underestimating support for Donald Trump. One of the many theories bandied about to explain how that happened, was that many Trump supporters did not want to publicly admit they supported Trump, for fear of being branded a racist. This year, the polling that universally predicted a red wave was again wildly off in their estimates. The question is why. With Democrats in control, we have inflation at a 40-year high, gas prices doubled, a southern border that is completely open, and violent crime at an alarmingly high level. My theory on this is that most hardcore liberals who only vote Democrat, when confronted, would be ashamed to admit that they voted for the party that created all these problems.
7) The best post-election meme I saw were T-shirts being sold online, emblazoned with: “Biden/Fetterman 2024. It’s a no-brainer.”
Election Day has come and gone. This reminds me of “The Outer Limits,” a 1960s television show. With the end of round-the-clock commercials by politicians, political parties, political action groups, and pay-for-play special interest groups, we now return control of your television back to you until the next election cycle. No more candidates campaign mailings clogging mailboxes and weighing down our hard-working postal employees. Finally, some peace and quiet!
Candidates who claimed they cared about the environment can now do their part. Winners and losers should have their paid campaign staff and volunteers pick up all the thousands of campaign signs that litter our roads and highways to help clean up this waste. They could also use leftover campaign funds to hire homeless or unemployed people to collect this litter. Let some people with community service be assigned this task. If candidates refuse to clean up after themselves, the local Department of Highways or Public Works should do the job and send candidates the bill.
$2.4 billion! Watch out what you wish for! Read Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” before playing. “He who has a lot of money has a lot of worries,” says Shlomo HaMelech. If you were to win the lottery and take a lump sum, it would “only” amount to 104 billion. The only ones to rejoice would be your financial advisor(s), your friends at the IRS, and your newly acquired friends and family members.
However, for the moment, let us assume that I won the lottery. (Truth be told, I don’t even know how to play it.) First, of course, I’d give maaser to tz’dakah and then maaser to my three children. (At least, I think I have only three children.) Then, I’d invest, like any sagacious New Yorker would, in real estate. I’d trade in my house on the wrong side of Main Street (East) for a house on the right side of Main Street (West). I’d buy a home in West Hempstead since that’s what so many KGH denizens do, a house in Teaneck, and a house in West Orange, New Jersey next to my sons. Of course, I can’t forget my condos in Deerfield Beach and Boca Raton, Florida. Finally, I have to buy an apartment in Jerusalem and Modiin, next to my daughter. That should cover 10-15 million. However, I’d have to raze many of these homes and build new kitchens, pools, and wine cellars.
I’d trade in my Honda Accord (Sorry, Honda.) for the car of my dreams – a Volvo. I’d feel so safe in any ugly model of Volvo, and I’ve already written that I wouldn’t buy a German Mercedes or BMW.
Sorry, jewelers, but I’m not interested in diamonds or rubies. Perhaps, I’d spend some money on a Phillipe Patek watch, but that’s it. This way, I don’t have to worry about being mugged. By the way, I’d need a fancy security system for all the above-mentioned homes.
In brief, all this accrued wealth is a lot to worry about, and I wouldn’t want my picture plastered on the front page of the papers. Therefore, let me be happy with what I have, and good luck to the California winner. Just don’t lose the ticket or put it in the wash with the rest of the laundry.
Renaming Charles Lindbergh Boulevard:
An Open Letter to County Executive Bruce Blakeman
Dear Honorable Sir:
In 1936, Charles Lindbergh was asked by the American military attaché in Berlin to report on the state of Germany’s military program.
He visited Germany twice during the next two years. With each visit, he became more impressed with the German military, and was soon convinced that no other power in Europe could stand up to Germany in the event of war.
By 1938, the Lindberghs were making plans to move to Berlin. In October 1938, Lindbergh was presented by Goering with the Service Cross of the German Eagle for his contributions to aviation. News of Nazi persecution of Jews had been filtering out of Germany for some time by then, and many people in our country were repulsed by the sight of an American hero wearing a Nazi decoration. Three weeks after the presentation of the medal, the Nazis orchestrated a brutal assault on Jews that came to be known as “Kristallnacht.” Lindbergh was asked more than once to return the medal and renounce the Nazi regime that awarded it. He steadfastly refused to do so.
As Germany invaded France and began its aerial bombardment of England, Americans began to alter their isolationist views. One group had no such change of heart: The America First Committee (AFC) was the most powerful isolationist group in the country, and Lindbergh was a member.
Lindbergh delivered a speech on behalf of the AFC in September 1941, which forever tarnished his name. Announcing that it was time to “name names,” Lindbergh identified what he saw as the pressure groups pushing the US into war against Germany.
In the speech, he repeated age-old anti-Semitic tropes, saying “Instead of agitating for war, Jews in this country should be opposing it in every way, for they will be the first to feel its consequences. Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.”
His comments were met with outrage from numerous quarters. Lindbergh was denounced as an anti-Semite. His mother-in-law and sister-in-law renounced his views. His name was even removed from the water tower in his hometown in Minnesota.
I respectfully suggest to you that it is time to also remove his name from a thoroughfare in Uniondale.
I by no means seek to diminish Lindbergh’s legacy as an aviator. As the first pilot to undertake a successful solo transatlantic crossing, he demonstrated courage and skill.
But he also trafficked in the most reprehensible of prejudices. This too is a part of Lindbergh’s legacy and ought to be remembered equally with his well-known contributions.
It is an affront to the Jewish citizens of Nassau County to allow a roadway in Uniondale to continue to bear the name of a known Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semite in perpetuity.
Lindbergh had absolutely no connection to our region, save for taking off from Roosevelt Field on his epic flight to Paris in May 1927.
To honor a pioneering American aviator who actually did have a nexus to New York, we could replace the name on the road sign with that of Amelia Earhart, who resided in New York when she attended Columbia University.
When Earhart started her career as an aviator, American women could not yet vote – it was virtually unheard of for women to fly planes. She soon became our country’s premier female pilot. She was lost during a flight over the South Pacific in July 1937 and presumed dead.
The life story of Charles Lindbergh includes his disgraceful embrace of fascism and anti-Semitism, and his refusal to return the medal conferred on him in 1938 by the Nazis shows him to have been un-American. He befriended those who wanted to destroy American democracy. He did not believe in the dignity, the worth, and the equality of all human beings.
To honor such a man is wrong, particularly in a county that is home to at least 250,000 Jews, because it is an ongoing slap in the face to each of them.
We are burdened to live in a time in which anti-Semitism is again rearing its ugly head on both the extreme left and the extreme right of the political spectrum.
The threat that anti-Semitism poses to all of us is real, and we cannot safely ignore it. That alone should be reason enough for people of good will of every race and faith to take the necessary steps to strip Lindbergh of the honor that an earlier generation of political leaders erred in bestowing.
Israel on Course to Enter a New Era
It has been over a week since the Israeli public elected a new government, once again to be led by the Likud chairman, Benjamin Netanyahu. While Netanyahu’s victory is good for the general welfare of Israel, the real triumph is the election of Israel’s most right-wing government in what was the highest turnout election since the creation of the state more than 70 years ago. What we witnessed is a decisive vote by Israeli citizens to be governed within religious and conservative frameworks. The Religious Zionism party headed by Bezalel Smotrich, was mandated with a record 14 seats making it the fastest growing political party. Israel’s far left parties such as Labor were utterly rejected, and Netanyahu is tasked with forming a coalition government within the next few weeks.
As expected, neo-liberal forces and Islamic extremists have expressed disbelief and outrage over these revelations, particularly finding displeasure with Itamar Ben-Gvir. As I wrote in my previous column, the Israeli public had democratically made their voices heard and chosen their representatives, it is irresponsible and reckless to condemn and refuse to cooperate with a government who challenges your ideological and world view. Understandably, there are some cases where Ben-Gvir may have gone too far to provoke certain groups and caused some instability; however, for the most part if you look at his policy views, they are not extreme or radical. It is important for Ben-Gvir to present himself a rational actor and be able to reach out and work with other members in the government, even those on the left. This is the only way he could survive in this new coalition.
One of the best representatives of the Religious Zionist movement is Bezalel Smotrich who ran on justice reforms and the incorporation of religious teaching inside the classroom for everyday Israelis. He is measured and has great policy positions. His best chances of making a difference in this new government, would be taking the role of Justice or Education minister. United Torah Judaism and Shas should also receive their top ministerial preferences as they have been working long to be in the negotiating position they are in now.
The energy in Israel is that we are moving towards the right direction and on the righteous path to sanctify everyday life. From educating secular Jewish youth with the Torah, taking a hardline approach to protect citizens from terrorism, and putting measures in place to safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our nation state, there is still much work to be done. However, it is great to see the Jewish people stand up in their ancestral homeland and yearn for something greater. It is a team effort, and we need to work with our friends from the other side across all political spectrums to unify as one and propel our cause further.
Vlad “Benzion” Mosheyev
Mr. Hecht, as a defense attorney you are familiar with the laws of evidence. You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. Your characterization of the Paul Pelosi attacker as a “right winger” is off base unless you prove it. I have seen no evidence to back up your claim and as such, you are no better than a propagandist on MSNBC.
Rabbi Schonfeld was spot on in his comments regarding Jonathan Greenblatt and the ADL. It’s too bad Mr. Hecht didn’t receive a pre-published copy. Then maybe he would have changed the praises he sings to the Obama hack. Jonathan Greenblatt hates Israel and Torah Orthodox Judaism. He has turned the ADL into a left-wing political organization no better than J Street. When he was in the Obama White House, he didn’t stop Samantha Power, the UN Ambassador at the time, from withholding a veto to the UN resolution condemning Israel. He essentially was willing to take a $500,000 bribe to make this Kyrie Irving episode go away.
Mr. Hecht thinks that Kanye West and Kyrie Irving are heroes for the Right. I am a conservative and I don’t consider either one a hero. Mr. West visited the White House when Donald Trump was President. Louis Farrakhan and Rev. Al Sharpton visited the White House when Obama was President. Are they heroes to you, Mr. Hecht? Talk about anti-Semitism! And I believe they are both “left-wing.”
Adam Silver is a coward and only cares about money and the NBA brand. It’s why he kowtows to China and doesn’t take a stand against the Uyghur concentration camps in China. He should have come out immediately to condemn the Irving tweet and called a meeting in his Manhattan office. Instead, he waited several days for others to handle.
We call out all hate and bigotry immediately because it’s wrong. There will, unfortunately, always be racists and anti-Semites. We must continue to fight it and call it out for what it is. Hate, pure and simple.
Finally, you can stop with the name calling. We aren’t “Trumpies.” Based on the results of the election we sent a scathing rebuke to the former President that he’s in the rear-view mirror. His scorched earth insults of other Republicans is just irritating. He is turning off the base. With Republicans taking the House and control of the purse, gridlock in Washington will be a good thing.