Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, a likely mayoral candidate in 2013, can now be counted as a firm critic of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s handling of Hurricane Sandy.
“You remember the recent diplomatic phrase, ‘leading from behind,’” Mr. de Blasio mused on Assemblyman Dov Hikind’s radio show last night. “I think many times the mayor was not exactly on the front line. He was no Chris Christie, let’s say that.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who frequently crosses party lines to endorse Republican candidates for office, is taking his support for Mitt Romney’s presidential bid to the next level. Indeed, later this week, Mr. Hikind will hit the campaign trail in the biggest swing state, Florida, in an attempt to help deliver the critical Sunshine State into Mr. Romney’s column, according to the Jewish political blog Gestetner Updates.
On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed legislation that would have provided public funding for special education students to attend private schools, a move he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg said was fiscally prudent yet also one that was condemned by politicians representing observant Jewish constituencies.
The bill’s chief sponsor in the State Assembly, Helene Weinstein, vowed to “continue the fight” in a statement, aiming to try and get enough votes in her chamber to override Mr. Cuomo’s veto. However, being the chief proponent of the bill is apparently not enough to avoid being attacked for not doing enough on the issue, and Ms. Weinstein’s Republican opponent Joseph Hayon sharply criticized her in a statement last night.
A slew of elected officials including Congressman Jerrold Nadler, former Mayor Ed Koch, Assemblyman Dov Hikind and Councilman David Greenfield teamed up this morning for a press conference denouncing longtime councilman and current congressional candidate Charles Barron as an “anti Semite,” “scary monster” and “bigot.” They also had harsh words for Congressman Ed Towns whose retirement opened up the seat and who endorsed Mr. Barron earlier this month.
Mr. Nadler said he specifically asked Mr. Towns not to endorse Mr. Barron.
“His response was that he would think about it and do what he thought proper,” Mr. Nadler told The Politicker.
He said he hasn’t spoken to Mr. Towns since.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Councilman David Greenfield, Assemblyman Dov Hikind gathered with several other elected officials in front of the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park this morning for a press conference billed as an effort “ to Denounce Charles Barron as Enemy of the State of Israel” and the Jewish community. The politicos who showed up at the event where longtime councilman Mr. Barron was branded “hateful,” a “scary monster,” “anti-Semite” and “bigot” also expressed their support for his rival in the congressional race, Hakeem Jeffries.
“What prompted me … speaking of people that just are not familiar with Charles’ record and they just dont know who Charles Barron is, that’s a very scary thing. Right?” asked Councilman Greenfield, who organized the event. “People are not familiar that there’s an individual who’s running, who we all know very well, who is an anti-Semite, who’s a hate-monger and who’s a bigot. I think it’s very important for us to educate the public and let them know who this individual is.”
Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who’s a socially ideologically conservative power broker in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, has one main thing to say about President Barack Obama suddenly coming out in favor of gay marriage: Yawn.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that he supports gay marriage, this whole thing, this whole notion that it was ‘evolving’ and finally the baby was born today,” Mr. Hikind told The Politicker this evening. “It’s kind of stuff that gives politics such a bad name. I think everyone knows … he supported gay marriage, everything seems so calculated.”
Earlier this week, Sally Goldenberg of The New York Post had an interesting article describing how former Democratic mayoral nominee Bill Thompson is making inroads in the politically powerful Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn.
The inroads were noteworthy because, as Ms. Goldenberg notes, much of that vote is expected to go to Scott Stringer, who is the only Jewish candidate in the field, and because Bill de Blasio is a Brooklyn native with strong ties to Jewish areas in the borough.
The article quotes Democratic powerbroker and Assemblyman Dov Hikind saying “Thompson’s definitely a favorite in the Jewish community, no question about it.”
Assemblyman Dov Hikind was not happy with the new Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition of Gertrude Stein’s art collection. Mr. Hikind, a leader in the Orthodox Jewish community, has been harping on the Met to modify the exhibit with a note explaining it “was owned and collected by fascist/Nazi-collaborator Gertrude Stein.” After teaming up with Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer to raise the issue at a meeting with museum officials this morning, Mr. Hikind said he was able to convince the Met to add a note about Stein’s relationship to the Nazis.
“Visitors have the right to know that this collection exists because Gertrude Stein sold her soul; that she lived in comfort, aiding the Nazi cause while her fellow Jews were being robbed, tortured and murdered,” Mr. Hikind said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for accepting the historical accountability of full disclosure. I also want to thank Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer for joining me in correcting this glaring omission.”
brooklyn & queens
“I sing your praises, sometimes I get in trouble for doing that but I will continue to do it forever,” Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind told Republican State Senator Dean Skelos on his post-Shabbos radio show late last Saturday night. “I just want to personally thank you for being so amazingly responsive to all of New York State, but to the Jewish community in particular. You are really just a superstar.”
Mr. Skelos, the leader of the New York State Senate and one of the “three men in a room” that control decision-making in Albany, received this high praise for adding yeshiva tuition tax credits into the state budget and his recent work to fund bus service to those same private religious schools. Mr. Hikind is a longtime assemblyman and power broker in the Jewish neighborhoods of southern Brooklyn and, despite being a Democratic Party official, has been more than willing to endorse Republicans.
At the end of last year, Mr. Skelos traveled to the Masbia soup kitchen in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn where, after donning a velvet yarmulke, he chopped carrots, peeled potatoes and ladled kosher soup to the needy. He proceeded to tell a story about smuggling Jewish artifacts into the Soviet Union and joked that his own Greek Orthodox beliefs gave him insight into Orthodox Judaism, letting Yiddish words like tzitzis and shul roll off his tongue all the while. Cameras rolled and mobile phones snapped photos for the Jewish media to consume later, of course.
Earlier today, former Councilman Simcha Felder got a big boost to his recently announced State Senate campaign with the formal endorsement of the two most prominent elected officials in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community: Councilman David Greenfield and Assemblyman Dov Hikind. Their endorsements were expected, as Mr. Hikind and Mr. Greenfield had already been extraordinarily effusive in their praise, more of which was generously heaped onto Mr. Felder today as well.
“He is a dear friend, you might say I love the guy,” Mr. Hikind said about the candidate, for example, as a small army of Orthodox community leaders surrounding the officials applauded the endorsements.