Common Sense: Week of October 18


Democratic Congressional candidate Mark Murphy continues to miss every opportunity to appear with Congressmember Michael Grimm on the same stage. Last week, he failed to show at the Dyker Heights Civic Association debate; the week before, the Bay Ridge Real Estate Board forum; and from what I am told, several Staten Island appearances.

Murphy likes to criticize, but behind Grimm’s back, eliminating any possibility for the congressmember to respond to him in person. It’s politics, so I am not going to call a candidate a coward, but failing to show up at public events designed to give the public and media an opportunity to judge the two candidates side by side raises serious questions about Murphy’s character and his campaign’s management.

Apparently, this must be a Democratic thing because Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis’s Democratic opponent John Mancuso also missed at least three opportunities on Staten Island to appear on the same stage with her.

Considering his strong support for a New York State Dream Act, which would give the children of illegal immigrants access to taxpayer-funded college aid, he might be better off staying away from audiences that can ask questions. John clearly expressed his support for the New York State Dream Act at one of their rare joint appearances which was a New York One cable television debate.

The Arab American Association forum and the Dyker Heights Civic Association debate featured Republican Tom McCarthy and Democratic Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny. Tom and Alec pretty much disagree on everything.

Alec unabashedly took ultra-liberal positions on issue after issue, often citing his Russian immigrant status and how things were back in Russia. Tom kept more closely to his community roots, giving what I would describe as more traditional conservative answers to our city and state’s woes.

For instance, Alec essentially opposes all forms of stop and frisk. Tom supports stop and frisk as conducted by the NYPD as long as it is abiding by all the official guidelines.

The Marty Golden vs. Andrew Gounardes appearances featured some hot exchanges with Senator Golden and his campaign raising concerns about Andrew’s inaccurate information concerning voting records and positions.

As an individual who works in Albany during session on Senator Golden’s legislative agenda, I found the misrepresentations shocking because the information to disprove Gounardes charges is so readily available. I understand that the senator’s campaign has provided several members of the media with the proof.

One glaring example involved a letter sent to Police Commissioner Kelly and released to the press supporting NYPD efforts to monitor terrorist organizations. Gournardes at the Arab American Association forum referenced the letter and said it showed that Senator Golden supported the spying by the NYPD on mosques. The letter said nothing of the sort.

The last weeks of political campaigns are often desperate times for candidates that are fighting uphill battles. The late State Senator Chris Mega used to call it the “silly season” because lies and half truths paid for by the underdogs often arrive by mail in your home or on your phone answering machine each day.

It is easy enough to research a legislator’s record and there are some excellent good government groups like the venerable Citizens Union that interview candidates and issue recommendations.

Do your homework. Make an informed decision, but, most of all, vote!

Jerry Kassar is the chairperson of the Kings County Conservative Party. He is a longtime community activist who has served as an officer or member of many organizations. He works for the state of New York.

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