By Chanina Sperlin for COLlive
Much has been written, and rightly so, about the importance of the New York City Council elections and the dangers of a candidate who is anti-Israel and supported by Democratic Socialists.
I am writing today to emphasize that the race for Mayor of New York City is equally crucial and why it is so important to vote for Eric Adams, the candidate that the united community is supporting.
The effects of who the Mayor will be felt in Crown Heights as it will be in the rest of the City. At least two of the top candidates in the race want to take away billions of dollars from the police department. Already police officers are reluctant to get involved for fear that a mistake can cost them their job or even send them to jail. A Mayor Maya Wiley or Dianne Morales (G-d forbid) would further weaken the Police Department, release even more criminals and violent people to the community, reduce safety on the streets, and lead us back to the ugly crime-filled days of the 1980s and 90s.
While not perfect, Adams is determined to care about enforcement and empowering officers to do their job. He believes, as we do, that even our non-Jewish neighbors want more police not less on patrol. The fact that he also talks about “community policing” is fine. We work with community affairs officers and Neighborhood Coordinating Officers on a day-to-day basis and they add a lot to our community, both in accommodating hundreds of Jewish community events every year and in preventing potential tension between the various groups in the community.
Importantly, Crown Heights was the first Jewish community – through Crown Heights United – to endorse Eric Adams for Mayor at a time when other communities were looking at newcomers to the community. In time most of Jewish New York followed our lead and together we form a significant part of Eric’s support City-wide. We are also hearing from our neighbors that Eric has strong support in other ethnic communities, and we hope he will be successful.
On this note, Crown Heights Jewish Community Council has been at the forefront of promoting positive relations with our African American and Caribbean American neighbors and has been recognized as such at every level of government in the past few years. This work makes for a better community for all.
And while we are talking about the Community Council: many people don’t understand the constant stream of elected officials, police brass and community leaders, who come by for photo-ops and the sit-downs in a Sukkah or private homes. What most people don’t realize is that those visits help form relationships that are needed in times of crisis or when our community is in need.
If not for those photo-ops, would we be able to call a Police Chief and demand extra patrols when there are antisemitic incidents or “just” regular increases in crime? Would we have been able to advocate when dozens of daycare “seats” in three community institutions were threatened recently with being taken away? Working with our elected officials the City restored them. Would we have been able to get blocks of No Parking Saturday regulations canceled freeing up over 400 spaces for residents and guests? Would we have been able to encourage stronger support for Israel among the Brooklyn Congressional Delegation, and would we have been able to partner with community organizations from other Jewish neighborhoods to bring jobs, funding, and opportunity to hundreds of our community residents over the past 10 years?
What is exciting in this election is the number of people who have gotten involved, working together, small business owners, “activists”, shul rabbis and lay leaders, to join with our organizations to register voters, get out the vote, and endorse candidates, showing the depth of involvement of the whole community that forces politicians and candidates to pay attention to our needs and the needs of the community.
All we need now is a significant turnout in the election to cement Crown Heights as a key player in the City. So far it seems that this is happening.
But don’t rely on your neighbor to be the one to go out to the polls for you. Everyone knows the famous story of the barrel of “wine” where everyone thought they could dilute it with a little water.
Remember: whether or not you voted (but not who you voted for) is a public record. That means that after election day everyone can know if you took the time to go to the polls – your neighbor, your school administrator, your friends. And make sure every registered voter who lives in your home goes to vote. So far, early voting lines have been short, and for most of Crown Heights, you will get to see the new Bedford Union Armory’s sports center that will be opening soon. Sunday is the last day for early voting.
On Tuesday, go to your regular polling stations. If you are not sure where to go or how your ballot will look check your address here: https://findmypollsite.vote.nyc. For community recommendations and endorsements, see here: https://collive.com/the-candidates-that-crown-heights-is-endorsing. If you have any questions or difficulties relating to voting you can call Rabbi Eli Cohen at the Community Council 718-771-9000 extension 7736.
Note some people have been calling to ask why they are not seeing Crystal Hudson on their ballot. The most likely answer is that they live in another Council District. She is running in the 35th Council District, North of Empire and West of Utica. The community is also supporting moderate candidates in other districts like Josue Pierre who represents Crown Heights South of Empire and Brooklyn to Nostrand (District 40). In the area South of Empire from Kingston to East Flatbush (District 41), our candidate is Alicka Ampry-Samuel. North of Sterling Place (District 36), our first choice is Tahira Moore.
Also feel free to educate yourself about other candidates that could be good second and third place options in all these races. Then, if your preferred candidate is lower down in the count, your vote will be added to other candidates who could defeat someone who we really don’t want.
— Rabbi Chanina Sperlin is a long-time Jewish community activist and Executive Vice President for Governmental Affairs of the Crown Heights Jewish Community Council (CHJCC)