We the People: Doing good for its own sake helps maintain quality of life in city

Some police officers from Sweden in New York City on vacation stopped an assault in a subway car in Manhattan. They stopped a violent altercation and held a suspect for the NYPD when all they wanted was to attend a performance of “Les Miserables.”

They received a lot of praise here for taking action but received much less attention in Sweden. An officer for the Stockholm Police Department said that when somebody does something good in Sweden they just get a cake and a medal because “if you see something bad you just do something to help.”

That kind of good action should be ordinary but in New York City it is becoming extraordinary. Citizens must get involved and many do take action and lend a hand without fuss or fanfare every day in New York City.

I assisted another gentleman in breaking up a knock-down-drag-out fight on a southbound R train this week. Some passengers hovered nearby with the promise of support if it escalated.

The thing is we should not have to keep peace in subway cars or on the streets but now a subtle slide toward lawlessness is going on in our metropolis. The statistics may not reflect it but it is there. Gunplay and shots fired recently disrupted Brooklyn Bridge Park where millions of dollars have transformed wasted space into beautiful public space.

There are too many guns on the streets and we must protect the quality of life for all citizens in the Big Apple. We need leaders with resolve to address these issues or we as citizens will be forced to deal with the problems.

District Attorney Daniel Donovan has raised more than $600,000 in his special election campaign against Councilmember Vinnie Gentile. The election to replace Congressmember Michael Grimm, who pled guilty to fraud charges after being reelected, has been hotly contested.

Donovan raised three times the amount raised by Gentile although he is leading in the polls. It is a shame that money makes our election system run, not the issues that matter. Big money has unfettered access to our election process that is guaranteed by the work of lawyers and lobbyists.

No matter how difficult the challenge, our current campaign finance structure must be changed. Money may buy votes through slick manipulation but that money must be paid back to donors through favors. It stands to reason that DA Dan Donovan will owe a lot of donors a lot of favors if elected.

It is time for the people of this great nation to demand a change to the status quo of politics that leaves the citizen on the outside looking in at the banquet table. The special election will take place on Tuesday, May 5.

The Gentile campaign has asked “Has Anyone Seen Dan Donovan?” The Republican candidate did not show up for a debate hosted by the Bay Ridge Council on Aging and declined an invitation to one sponsored by Arab-American and Asian-American civic groups. It might be smart politics to duck discussion of issues when leading in the polls and leading in fundraising, but we need someone to lead the people and take on difficult problems.

Additional charges are being leveled against former State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver by Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney in New York. The original indictment charged Silver with steering real estate developers who had business before the state legislature to a law firm that kicked back money to him, and with awarding state grants to a doctor who referred patients to a law firm that paid Silver big bucks.

The new one alleges that Silver earned big returns on money that he deposited in a “private, high‑yield” low risk investment vehicle unavailable to the general public, but made available to Silver by an investor. The new indictment charges that Silver “took certain official actions as requested by the investor” in return for the high-yield investment opportunity for Silver.

According to filed papers, one $642,000 investment grew to $1,400,000. It is a good thing he didn’t turn over his millions to his son since he is separately charged with running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors.

We need to elect leaders with courage and vision to restore faith in the political system.

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