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Jerry Kassar’s Common Sense: Here we go again

HERE WE GO AGAIN

President Obama — in one of the briefer Inaugural addresses, lasting only 18 minutes — made clear his intent to move ahead with his left-wing agenda. Even his few words of conciliation were followed by him previewing what will be significant tax and debt increases. There is little chance the House of Representatives will go along without a fight. And for that we should be thankful.

The faces of the second term’s top leadership will also be changing. Is Hagel a good choice for secretary of defense and Kerry for the State Department? Both are controversial choices that have received tough questioning from Senate members and the media.

Frankly, neither man in my opinion brings to the table the same experience and qualifications of those they are replacing. And believe me, I was not a fan of either Hillary or Panetta.

The president has also drawn a line in the sand on a variety of gun control issues. His problem is that New York and some other northeast states are not a microcosm of the nation on this issue. The proposals do not even seem to have the votes to pass the Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate, let alone the House.

Interestingly, I heard commentary to the effect that in 60 congressional seats currently held by Republicans, opposition to his gun proposals is the single biggest issue. Andrew Cuomo should take note.

The president, from a popular vote perspective, won a close election signaling a deeply divided nation. A poor conciliator, he governs as though he has a mandate that does not exist.

This is not to say that the Republican-controlled House is exempt from some blame for stalemates and policy gaffes. Nevertheless, the role of national leadership rests with the president. I do not think he has been a good leader for all Americans. He has a second chance. He should not squander it.

***

The Bay Ridge Community Council luncheon held as usual at the Bay Ridge Manor was a great success. The luncheon brings together the many civic, religious, educational and political leaders that make Bay Ridge happen. Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights — with 110,000-plus residents — is bigger than most cities in New York State. There is a lot going on here. And this is the group that coordinates so much of it.

U.S. Senator Schumer, fresh off the national stage chairing the Inaugural Committee, gave remarks as well as City Comptroller John Liu and District Attorney Hynes. State Senator Marty Golden (for whom I work as chief of staff), and Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis, Alec Brook-Krasny and Peter Abbate were present, and Senator Golden, Assemblymembers Malliotakis and Brook-Krasny spoke. City Councilmember Vincent Gentile, a past president, also spoke.

This is the council’s 62nd year. Each year, among its many activities are an essay contest, Halloween art contest, a picnic, special presentations on important topics, a scholarship fund and the list goes on. The council has battled gerrymandering and zoning. It holds an annual debate that is the highlight of the political season.

I wish the council continued success in the upcoming year.

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John Quaglione has filed papers as part of the process of planning a run for City Council. John has worked very hard as Senator Golden’s spokesperson and deputy chief of staff. Very active in St. Anselm’s Parish, John makes an excellent addition to a field that also includes Andy Sullivan. Liam McCabe, who works for Congressmember Michael Grimm, has also expressed an interest. They are all lining up to oppose Councilmember Gentile who is allowed to run for one more term before he is term-limited.

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