Public opinion polls have been indicating that the most important issues for New Yorkers are crime and migrant asylum-seeking.
Those concerns, however, do not appear to be hitting the radar screen of leftist legislators who represent us in Albany and Washington.
Democratic legislators in the State capital, for instance, have been ignoring the fact that major crimes increased in New York City last year by 22%.
Unable to bring themselves to admit that their so-called penal reforms have contributed to the surge in crime, they ignore the cries of victims to substantively adjust the bail laws. (The minor changes in the state’s budget deal are not expected to have any meaningful public safety impact.)
Here are a few cases of ideological denseness that prove my thesis:
On April 18, a 20-year-old was shot in the head outside the Bronx office of Assembly speaker Carl Heastie.
Later that same day, a Bronx policewoman was hit in the head with a glass bottle and subsequently rushed to a hospital.
Film footage revealed that the officer’s assailant, a 45-year-old with a very long list of arrests, quietly walked up to her and smashed her. “God told him to do this,” he later told police investigators.
What was Speaker Heastie’s reaction to these two incidents in his political backyard? “We must stop focusing on the symptoms of crime and treat the disease,” he said.
I’m guessing he means the disease is guns on the streets. But a bottle is not a gun.
Heastie is so wrapped up in his ideological fantasies, that he cannot grasp that the 2019 lenient penal reforms he supported have emboldened criminals.
For example, 327 shoplifters were “arrested and rearrested more than 6,000 times” in the city last year, The New York Times reported.
Why are these shoplifters so brazen? Because they know they will suffer no consequences for their criminal activities and will be back out on the streets hours after they are arrested.
Heastie’s constituents don’t agree with his soft-on-crime policies. A New York Post poll of his Assembly District revealed that 57% of voters want the penal reforms revised.
A 55-year-old constituent told the Post, “It was bad in the ’80s. I feel like it’s creeping back to that era. If a person is accused of a friggin’ violent crime, they are supposed to go on bail or be denied bail depending on the severity of the crime. I don’t support the way it is now. This is bigger than Heastie.”
Then there is the recent outburst of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after the announcement of a tentative contract agreement between Mayor Eric Adams and the Police Benevolent Association.
Without a contract since 2017, city cops have not had a raise in seven years.
And the longtime starting pay of $42,000 for NYPD officers fresh out of the academy has been the lowest in the region.
The eight-year agreement, if approved by the PBA membership, would start rookies at a competitive $55,000 annually. It also includes retroactive pay and raises of 3.5% this year and 4% in 2024.
The new pay scale for cops was too much for AOC, a leading “defund the police” advocate.
She blasted the mayor: “We are now at a point where officially most officers are paid more than a teacher with a master’s degree serving the same kids involved in the same incidents.”
AOC’s claim is blatantly false.
Teachers with a bachelor’s degree earn $61,000 their first year in city schools. The starting salary for a teacher with a master’s degree is $68,000.
The congresswoman went on to complain that the mayor is “defunding our public schools, defunding our public pools, defunding our parks [and] defunding our libraries” to fund the police department.
That statement is also false.
If there are any cuts in government services, it will be due to the growing costs of the migrant crisis—which the mayor has said is “destroying the city.”
“The national government,” Adams said, “has turned its back on New York City…. Every service in the city is going to be impacted by the asylum crisis.”
Yes, AOC, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, Congressman Jeffries, as well as Democratic leaders in Albany, have been out to lunch on this problem.
And if these Progressive pols do not come to their senses and tackle the migrant and crime issues, New York will become what it was in the 1970s—ungovernable.