We the People: Balancing justice and quality of life

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman announced operation Justice Reboot designed to reduce the time inmates will be in jail waiting for trial.

More than 400 defendants have been incarcerated for more than two years without being convicted of a crime while awaiting trial. The plan is to have a protocol so that cases pending trial automatically have the defendant appear in court every 45 days for a plea or trial.

The plan drew support of several Brooklyn lawmakers including Congressmember Yvette D. Clarke and Assemblymember Joseph Lentol.

This comes as prosecutors also examine convictions of inmates with an eye to overturn wrongful convictions. However, the rush to reconsider injustices to defendants and convicts should be balanced with the need to keep gains in public safety achieved over the past 20 years.

Quality-of-life should remain the priority of City Hall. The city’s well-deserved reputation as the safest big city in America keeps the flow of tourism dollars that is the mainstay of the local economy.

Meanwhile, the state and city have been quietly warehousing some of the most violent sex offenders in a shelter on East 30th Street where convicted pedophiles and rapists live next door to schools and some of the most expensive housing in the nation. Does that make any sense?

Why should citizens be forced to live next door to a shelter and hope that nothing bad happens to them or their children? Why can’t the authorities find a more appropriate place to house convicted sex offenders? This situation deserves at least as much attention as does the plight of defendants on Riker’s Island waiting for trial.

Another situation that deserves attention is the special election in our 11th Congressional District. It is assumed that if voters turn out in small numbers, the Republican Dan Donovan will have an advantage.

Democrat Vincent Gentile has been ringing doorbells and shaking hands all over Staten Island to let that part of the district hear his message of change. If the voters of Staten Island and Brooklyn want to send someone to Washington who offers an unmatched work ethic as well as a distinguished legislative history, they will have to get to the polling sites on May 5, 2015.

The presidential race has begun, with Republicans jumping out to an early lead: three candidates for the GOP — Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio — to just one for the Democrats — Hillary Clinton.

The three Republican senators are a triumvirate of political misdirection. When Senator Cruz announced, he asked an audience to imagine a world without the Internal Revenue Service.  Sounds dreamy, but he is talking nonsense. However, making little sense is no problem for the firebrand from Texas.

Senator Paul promised to return the nation to our principles of liberty and limited government with no explanation on how it will be accomplished. Senator Rubio said that our leaders are stuck in the 20th century. Well, a lot of good things and great leaders came from the 20th century. I’m not sure the future is so wonderful that we want to cast off our past.

The Republicans will most likely be joined in the campaign for the White House by Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida; Scott Walker, the union-busting governor of Wisconsin; Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey; Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas; Rick Santorum, former senator; Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas; Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana; and others.

Right now, Hillary stands alone and in the end she may stand alone again because, despite the enmity of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, she has the singular experience and ability to move our nation in the right direction.

She will appeal to young and college‑educated voters as well as African-Americans and progressives who supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. She has a sensitivity to the issues of working women and can refer to her personal experience as a mother and grandmother to show voters that she is in the best position to address income inequality and help the middle class.

Her economic message will include the need for fair employment opportunity, a higher minimum wage, paid family and medical leave, early childhood education, and affordable child care. Hispanic voters who gave her overwhelming support in the 2008 Democratic primaries will have to be convinced by her stand on immigration and education reform.

It is likely that Florida, with its growing population and electoral votes, will be critical to a Clinton victory. If she must defeat Jeb Bush there, a mere reminder about his brother’s war in Iraq will probably make the choice clear for voters.

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