June 14, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

UJA-Federation of NY Quizzes Top NYC Mayoral Candidates

In the active primary battle underway in New York City, with eight accomplished and top-polling candidates competing to be the Democratic nominee for mayor, it is no simple matter to identify the best candidate for the job. And with the primary set for June 22, time is of the essence.

Fortunately, UJA-Federation of NY offered a unique opportunity to evaluate the candidates, by holding a candidates forum on Zoom on Tuesday, April 20. With over 1,200 people registered to watch, the event elicited broad interest.

In the interest of giving a sense of the outlook of each candidate, here are the candidates’ responses to two questions of particular interest to the Jewish community.

The two moderators from UJA-Federation of NY, Eric Goldstein and Meryl Tisch, remarked on the rise in antisemitic violence and acts of anti-Asian hate in NYC, along with pressing questions about police misconduct. They asked each candidate: “How will you balance the need for public safety with concerns over police behavior?”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Goldstein: “We can have both (safety and faith in the police).” He promised to look closely at how the city uses the funding it gives to police and look at more proactive measures to fight crime.

Former NYC Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia: “We’re seeing a loss of trust in the NYPD. New Yorkers want both safety and accountability.” She vowed to institute measures of community engagement, create a better police presence in high crime areas, and encourage more reporting of hate crimes.

Tech entrepreneur and former candidate for US President Andrew Yang: “Many New Yorkers are concerned with safety. And the rate of crimes solved has dropped. We must improve this.” He stated that one approach he’ll take is to work hard to reduce homelessness and will seek a 50% reduction in his first term.

Former Federal Housing & Urban Development Director in NYC and Housing Commissioner Shaun Donovan: “We need a mayor who has addressed communities in need. I know we can create safety and respect at the same time.”

Ray McGuire, head of global corporate and investment banking at Citigroup: “We must make a change in our relationship
with the police … at this moment in time, amidst crisis and racial and religious hatred, we need a leader who people can trust.”

City Comptroller Scott Stringer: “We need a reckoning in New York City and reform of the NYPD. We must refocus their work on violent crimes and improve their crime clearance rate, which is currently at 26%. And we must recognize that some 911 calls are mental wellness issues, more suited to social workers than officers.”

Maya Wiley, former civil rights lawyer and counsel to Mayor DeBlasio: “We can be safe from crime and from police misconduct. We must focus the NYPD on the job of policing and away from trauma care in schools and away from responses to mental health situations.”

The moderators noted that many New Yorkers have strong bonds with the State of Israel, yet some groups in the city have tried to delegitimize Israel and asked mayoral candidates to pledge not to visit Israel. They asked the candidates: How do you respond to these calls?

Eric Goldstein: “I’ve visited Israel twice and will do so again. We should never demonize a country because of philosophical differences.”

Kathryn Garcia: “I will happily visit Israel. I’ll point out that Israel is New York State’s 4th largest trading partner. We must continue to have close ties with them.”

Andrew Yang: “It will be an honor to visit Israel, on my first foreign trip as mayor. … My company is inspired by Israel’s entrepreneurial spirit.”

Shaun Donovan: “I fundamentally believe that New York needs strong bonds with Jewish communities around the world. And we need a strong economic relationship with Israel. I believe there is a spiritual and economic basis to our ties with Israel.”

Maya Wiley: “My life partner is Jewish, the son of Holocaust survivors … we took a family trip to visit sites of Nazi persecution in Germany … We have to come together (as a city), there is too much that has divided us. I say yes to bridging and no to hate.”

Due to time constraints, Raymond McGuire and Scott Stringer were not asked the second question.

The moderators pointed out, at the outset of the event, that an eighth top polling candidate—Dianne Morales—had informed them that she decided not to participate in candidate forums.

UJA Federation of NY has also prepared a website with more comprehensive answers from many of the candidates and guides to the new ranked choice voting format debuting in this year’s primary election. To view this site, go to:
https://tinyurl.com/86md8a6b

By Harry Glazer

 

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