We The People: Change in the offing

It’s over. The colorful and crowded primary races are over, and the city awaits the dawn of a new day in municipal government. There will be a contest for City Hall between Democrats Bill de Blasio or William Thompson and Republican Joe Lhota. Mr. de Blasio may be an outright winner of the Democratic primary, but up to 25,000 paper ballots must be counted and Mr. de Blasio must retain his 40 percent share of the vote to avoid a run-off election. Christine Quinn faded to a disappointing third place finish.

Incumbent D.A. Charles “Joe” Hynes was defeated by lawyer Ken Thompson by a 10 percent margin in their Democratic primary. Thompson criticized the D.A.’s office for all the mistakes and wrongs over the past 24 years of prosecutions.

Hopefully, this will not prove to be a change just for the sake of a change. Ron Kuby noted that Thompson was young and ambitious, and won on a promise of change and because he was not burdened by the “baggage of error or achievement.”

D.A. Hynes was a successful prosecutor who caught the public’s attention in 1986 as special prosecutor in the Howard Beach hate crime prosecutions. He initiated programs in his office including diversion programs to send non-violent offenders to non-jail programs.

He created the Family Justice Center which hosts dozens of programs for domestic violence victims. Although his office had a number of mistakes an embarrassments, for more than two decades he served the people of Brooklyn extremely well.

The successful candidate promised to “transform” the D.A.’s office. He stated no wholesale changes in personnel would occur but he would create new units in the office. He stated he would assign a prosecutor to police precincts in East New York and Brownsville. The A.D.A.s would supervise and decide to decline to prosecute in questionable arrests.

Judge Scheindlin is creating a bureaucracy for the NYPD and ordered a federal monitor to be appointed. The City Council passed the Safe Community Acts which establish an NYPD inspector general to oversee police officer activity and ease the way for those who allege they were stopped and frisked improperly to sue the city for money. The Community Safety Acts should be a full employment program for attorneys in New York City.

In August of 2013, murders were down 27 percent from the year before and the NYPD already curtailed its stop and frisk policy due to public pressure. Officers made 58,088 stops from April to June in 2013, compared to 133,934 during the same time in 2012. That’s a 57 percent reduction without a federal monitor, an IG or 50,000 lawsuits.

Russian President Vladimir Putin lectured President Obama and America about foreign policy in a letter to the New York Times. The inaccurate and unctuous letter does remind us that there are alternatives to attack and that we can reach out to allies in the world community before we take action.

The U.N. or an international coalition must immediately take custody of Syria’s chemical arsenal and send inspectors to assure the factories are shut down. These sanctions will “correct” Syria without killing more innocent people even if they do not harshly “punish” President Assad.

Michael Bloomberg supported two Colorado lawmakers who voted for sensible gun regulation. However, Colorado voters, egged on by the NRA, recalled the state senators because of their votes. The NRA smugly tweeted that Bloomberg “wasted his money.”

This will encourage the NRA and gun manufacturers to attack more fiercely any legislator who dares to require a background check or a limit on weapon ownership.

The fathers, mothers, students and educators of this nation who want sensible rules for firearms must organize and donate money to professional lobbyists if they hope for change.

The golden rule is now in effect: gun manufacturers have the gold so they make the rule. It is the people should decide who, how and what firearms a private citizen can purchase, transfer or stockpile.

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