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JERRY KASSAR
JERRY KASSAR

I wonder if either of the two leading Democratic candidates for City Council in the Bay Ridge/Dyker Heights district will separate themselves from Mayor de Blasio by declaring his creation of a monument review commission a bad idea.

Reverend Khader El-Yateem is likely trapped in his own rhetoric which sent him to the Church of the Generals to declare a major victory for the community when a 100-year-old, little known plaque commemorating Robert E Lee’s planting of a tree was removed.

Justin Brannan in every way is the mayor’s guy.  It has caused him to defend or remain silent these past years when other Democrats were quick to criticize him. Will he come out against the Orwellian commission that has everyone from Columbus to Grant in its crosshairs?

All the Republican candidates have expressed their opposition to the mayor and Council speaker’s actions.

Personally, I feel there are any number of more important issues affecting our communities.  Regardless, the mayor put this issue into play and then elevated it into a citywide emotional frenzy by announcing that the Columbus monument was under consideration for removal.

Voters are going to want to know where every candidate stands on the monument commission before they cast their vote.

***
Bob Cassara, Fran Vella-Marrone and Community Board 10 are working very well with a New York City task force that was put together to address the destructive illegal conversion issue within Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights.

A recent meeting called by State Senator Golden, whom I serve as chief of staff, was attended by representatives from many elected officials’ offices and quite a few city agency reports were given that indicate that some solid headway has been made.

A great deal of information was exchanged, with questions asked and mostly answered. Golden asked that plans be made for regular meetings and the city agreed.

Legislation was discussed, including some legal issues with the Gentile bill that, if allowed to go into effect, could be very helpful. If the issues with the city bill become impossible to overcome, Golden committed to moving a bill through the State Senate that should be workable.

***
This year, of course, will be the 16th anniversary of the September 11t attack.  Although I do not get the sense that anyone has forgotten, I am beginning to feel that each year fewer and fewer are taking the time to remember.

As always, State Senator Golden will be holding a candlelight vigil on the 69th Street Pier at sundown.  The vigil is approximately an hour in length.

Take the time to come down and remember with your neighbors the events of that memorable day. It was a day of great sadness, but it was also a day of great courage and the heroes of that day as well as the victims should never be forgotten.

***
September 11, 2001 was Primary Day. I was at a meeting with Rudy Giuliani at his command center three weeks after the attack when an elected official asked him if he thought there was any tie-in between the attack and the election.

Somewhat annoyed, he unequivocally said NO, but he did make the additional point that the attack was an attack on our freedoms which certainly includes our right to vote.

September 12 is primary day this year. Do not let those who have no regard for our freedoms win. If you are eligible to vote on primary day, please do.

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