Earlier this afternoon, “a group of irate Orthodox community leaders” held a conference call to protest poll site changes implemented in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens. In the call, local Jewish leaders alleged their new voting location was designed to dampen turnout in their ideologically conservative community as it struggles to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.
“We’re a group of people who really, really suffered tremendously,” Richard Altabe, a board member of the Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance, said. “Or voting rights are about to be taken away from us. It’s going to be difficult enough to get people to vote….Our ability to speak and have our voices heard is going to be squashed by circumstances. I’m really, really horrified.”
In latest issue of The Atlantic, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a freewheeling interview on a multitude of issues ranging from the presidential race to his public health efforts, including a new consent form requirement for a controversial circumcision practice, metzizah b’peh, often used in the city’s Orthodox Jewish community. “I think it’s fair to say that nobody else would take that on. I mean, come on!” Mr. Bloomberg exclaimed of the political fortitude needed to even touch the issue. “Who wants to have 10,000 guys in black hats outside your office, screaming?”
If there was any question as to which candidate Councilman David Greenfield will eventually endorse for the new, heavily Orthodox Jewish State Senate seat in Brooklyn, that ended tonight.
“I encouraged him to run,” Mr. Greenfield said of the Democratic former City Councilman on Nachum Segal’s radio show. “The reality is Simcha Felder is the gold standard of Orthodox Jewish elected officials. He’s somebody who’s been working for the community for years. He genuinely cares about the community. He’s consistently delivered for the community.”
Former City Councilman Noach Dear could be about to enter the State Senate race for a heavily Orthodox Jewish seat in Brooklyn.
The news was first reported by Yossi Gestetner, who tweeted Mr. Dear “is calling around friends telling them he is 90% ready” to announce his candidacy. Sources subsequently confirmed to The Politicker that Mr. Dear is indeed making calls about the run.
Former City Councilman Simcha Felder made his intentions to run for the State Senate on the Democratic line clear in today’s edition of Hamodia, but there remains a question as to whether he ultimately caucuses with the Democratic conference. The Democratic primary electorate in district is heavily Orthodox Jewish and may very well be just as conservative as the general election when Republicans can vote as well, so supporting the GOP might not be a mortal sin for aspiring Democratic candidates here.
Further suggesting he might be open to the possibility, when he said he would run as a Democrat in his Hamodia interview, Mr. Felder added the phrase, “[B]ut as always, I will work with anyone and everyone who will work with this community.”