My conservative cousin from New York, a sober-minded fellow, looks past Carlos Danger and identifies the real scandal in New York — the disastrous policies being peddled by all leading Democratic candidates for mayor. He writes:
Lately the New York City Mayoral race has taken on an ominous tone. The carnival atmosphere created by the candidates pathetic pandering to municipal unions and Weiner’s peccadillos is rapidly yielding to disastrous proposals that would dismantle the fabric of public order.
To hear the candidates talk, you’d never know that crime is at a 60-year low and that murder rate is down 75% from its peak in the early 90’s. Instead, the Mayoral hopefuls want to radically change the way our Police Department combats street crime.
Their main target New York City’s Stop and Frisk law that allows officers to pat down civilians when there is reasonable suspicion they’ve committed a crime. They charge the police with racially profiling minorities in these stops.
No evidence has been offered to support these charges. In fact, the data show that the physical characteristic of those stopped on the street closely matches victims’ descriptions of their assailants. Candidates seem oblivious to this, as well as to the fact that a majority of New York’s patrolman are Black, Latino, or Asian.
The constitutionality of the Stop and Frisk Law is now before a federal judge. It’s been reported that Eric Holder is considering appointing a federal monitor to oversee the operations of the NYPD. After the trashing the Police Department is taking in this campaign, a new Democratic Mayor would be hard pressed to object to Holder’s intrusion or to appeal an adverse court ruling on Stop and Frisk. Christine Quinn says the program “is out of control”; Bill Di Blasio and William Thompson are demanding serious reform of police operations.
What’s puzzling is why there are votes to be gained in the Democratic primary from opposing successful crime prevention measures. Since Stop and Frisk started in 2002, tens of thousands of weapons have been taken off the streets. Many formerly crime-ridden areas of New York have seen strong revivals.
I can’t understand why voters in such formerly unsafe neighborhoods as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick, Harlem, or Mott Haven would want to rein in the very tactics that enable them to walk the streets with some assurance of safety. Yet, candidates polling must indicate that the opposition of Al Sharpton would be fatal to their primary chances.
The Democrats’ onslaught upon public safety doesn’t end with Stop and Frisk. Now they are turning their gaze to the Police Department’s anti-terrorism efforts.
There’s now a substantial Muslim voting bloc in New York City. The Muslim Democratic Club of New York estimates there are 105,000 registered Muslim voters in NYC. The Club is upset about reports of police surveillance of mosques and other Muslim institutions. And at least some of the leading Democratic candidates for Mayor share this anxiety. John Liu has called the surveillance program unconstitutional and Bill Thompson says it’s “disgraceful.”
Most of the major candidates attended an iftar, a feast to break the Ramadan fast, held at a Brooklyn Municipal golf course. Weiner and Quinn, who so far haven’t caved in to calls for an end to the surveillance program, sought other ways to ingratiate themselves with this growing bloc of voters.
Weiner noted that his wife is a Muslim. Christine Quinn said if she becomes Mayor the public schools will close for two Muslim holidays.
Quinn, a long time Lesbian activist and crusader for same-sex marriage, eagerly embraced many of the Muslim leaders attending the iftar. She has given new meaning to the old adage that “politics makes strange bedfellows.”
These are strange days in NYC politics and we’ve haven’t even gotten around to discussing Eliot Spitzer yet.