We the people: Local congressional race down to the wire

The intoxication of power must be a powerful thing. Michael Grimm is battling prosecutors and a strong challenge from Domenic Recchia in order to hang on to it. Grimm, running for a third term, is facing a 20-count federal indictment related to his ownership of a Manhattan health-food restaurant before he was elected. Recchia, a former Brooklyn city councilmember, is the alternative to the status quo but has had a few missteps during the campaign.

The Grimm campaign mailed voters a plea from his mother to vote for the embattled incumbent because as a young child he was so strong-minded he would tell her that her sauce had too much garlic. Really? Recchia has lived and worked in politics, raised his daughters in New York City and built a law practice while serving his constituents with distinction. The real question of what makes the two candidates different should be who is better prepared to deal with and understand the issues that matter to parents, homeowners, small business people and working families.

Grimm’s fund-raising went cold after the 20-count federal indictment was announced, while Recchia has continued to receive support. Recchia raised $416,249 in the most recent quarter, compared to Grimm who raised $90,000.

Time will tell if the extra money will help Domenic Recchia connect with voters especially on Staten Island where his campaign reported he has doubled his efforts. The two candidates will debate live on NY1. It will become clearer who is the candidate for “show” and who is the one for “go” after the dust settles.

Dr. Craig Spencer, a volunteer doctor who worked in Africa, was diagnosed with Ebola last week and isolated in Bellevue Hospital. The diagnosis has raised fears about Ebola in a densely populated city like New York City. Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo held a press conference to assure the public that although Spencer traveled around the city before he exhibited signs of infection, he could not have spread the virus because it is only contact with bodily fluids after the virus is active that will spread the virus to another.

“There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed,” said Mayor de Blasio. When a patient is asymptomatic, the patient is not contagious.

“We are as ready as one could be for this circumstance,” said Governor Cuomo, and “What happened in Dallas was the exact opposite … We [have] the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience.”

New York has designated eight hospitals to care for Ebola patients, including Bellevue Hospital. All hospitals have protocols to isolate and handle anyone suspected of Ebola infection; if they test positive, they are transferred to one of the eight hospitals like Bellevue designed to treat Ebola with trained staff and protocols for protection, isolation and handling of waste.

At Bellevue, a lab for testing blood samples is located in the isolation unit so blood samples from infected patients are never out of isolation. New York City is the best prepared city for this kind of crisis but it is disconcerting to hear about new infections despite the precautions taken.
The difficulty of transmission should calm public fear. The infected person must become symptomatic, with a high fever, nausea, and a headache, along with direct contact with body fluids. Saliva, sweat, blood, urine, vomit or feces must contact another person’s mucous membranes such as the eyes, nose or mouth or an open wound. This crisis will be handled.

In Ottawa, Canada’s capital, a gunman fatally wounded a soldier guarding the National War Memorial and then entered Parliament and fired multiple shots before he was shot and killed. This was a second deadly attack on a uniformed member of the armed forces in Canada. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is a staunch supporter of President Obama’s campaign against terrorism, has stated these violent attacks will not intimidate the Canadian people.

In Jamaica, Queens, a deranged individual attacked four police officers. The attacker struck with a hatchet without a word, swinging at one officer with both hands on the axe. The officer blocked the blow with his arm. The attacker then struck another officer in the back of the head.
Officer Kenneth Healey, who was slashed in the head, was taken to Jamaica Hospital Center in critical but stable condition. The second officer, Joseph Meeker, was also taken to the hospital for injuries to his arm.

As the attacker moved to swing again, the two other officers drew their weapons and fired several rounds, killing the attacker but accidentally wounding a female bystander who was taken to Jamaica Hospital Center. A bloody hatchet, about 18 inches in length, was recovered at the scene. The attacker who was discharged from the military for misconduct and has a criminal record may have been sympathetic to jihadist terrorists.

We owe a great debt to our armed forces, law enforcement and emergency workers who are willing to risk everything to safeguard other people. Their valor is the price of all freedom. It is tested every day around the globe, and it should calm our anxiety and increase our resolve to maintain our civilization.

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