‘Local Politics’

Sex Abuse in Flatbush

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Susan Edelman of the NY Post reported on the sexual abuse of Orthodox children and people with disabilities that Andrew Goodman allegedly perpetrated through a Flatbush non-profit, which was not named in the article.

Andrew Goodman, 27, who worked for Jewish social-service agencies, is charged with sexually abusing two Orthodox boys for years in Flatbush — one from age 11 to 15, the other from age 13 to 16.

Goodman filmed sex acts with the youngsters on a Web cam, according to the 144-count indictment, which alleges numerous violations since 2006. He has pleaded not guilty.

The handsome Goodman, who held parties in his home with liquor and child porn, also “threatened the life” of a boy who reported him to authorities, court papers and sources say. Andrew Goodman, one of 85 sex-abuse suspects arrested over the last three years by Project Kol Tzedek, has been accused of preying on the boys of Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community and — even after his arrest on sex-assault charges — was caught on video ushering teens into his Flatbush home (below). He is being held on Rikers Island in lieu of a $1 million cash bail.

He’s one of an astounding 85 accused Orthodox child molesters that Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ office says it has busted in the past three years in an initiative called Kol Tzedek, Hebrew for “voice of justice.”

However, according to Shmarya of failedmessiah, Edelman did not report the whole story.

The New York Post takes on haredi child sex abuse and in the process makes Henna White, the Brooklyn DA’s Jewish liaison, look like a heroine, and the DA’s office look like it’s cracking down on haredi child sex abuse, even though the truth appears to be much different. How does the Post manage to do this? By ignoring all evidence that contradicts its reporting…

Edelman told me the DA’s office had refused to give her information on those cases, other than some general claims – claims made previously to the Forward, the JTA and others.

I gave her the names of three activists to speak with and I again pointed out that withholding the names of these offenders allowed Hynes to cover up his preferential treatment of haredi offenders and referred her to a recording Tzvi Gluck’s remarks made on Zev Brenner’s radio show a week earlier.

What Gluck said confirms what many activists have long claimed. It also confirms what I recently reported – Agudath Israel of America and Hynes had worked out a deal that allowed haredi rabbis to determine which suspicions of child sex abuse should be reported to civil authorities and which should not, and which allows those haredi rabbis to report those cases they choose to directly to Hynes’ Jewish liaison, Henna White, rather than police or ACS, keeping the cases out of the public spotlight and away from the professionals most able to determine the actual threat to children, and who are the best equipped to do the forensic child sex abuse investigations necessary for successful prosecutions.

- Sarah

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Neighbors Weigh in on Peace Talks

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

The current state of Israel has been theorized as a big reason for Bob Turner’s win last week. Now that Palestine is attempting to join the United Nations, the Democratic district that elected a Republican is a great place to search out opinions.

USA Today spoke with two neighbors, including Betty Greenberg, who said she was in her 60s:

After Israel in 2005 withdrew its forces and dismantled settlements in Gaza, where some of Greenberg’s cousins lived, Palestinians could have kept the buildings, industry and farms left behind by Israeli settlers, Greenberg said. Instead, “the minute they left, it was razed and became one big terrorist base,” she said.

Alex Gidilov, 59, a Russian immigrant cobbler who owns Magic Shoe Repair in Midwood, said Palestinian independence is impossible because Israel provides the territory with so much.

“Israel sends them electricity, water, money,” Gidilov said. “They could be free, but they don’t want independence.”

It’s not often that Midwood residents are asked for their opinions for national publications–the last time it happened was at Weiner’s resignation. It is interesting that South Brooklyn residents are not asked about issues that effect them more directly, such as the lack of supermarkets.

- Sarah

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Turner Declared Winner, Weprin Says It’s Still Early

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Just before midnight, the AP and NY1 declared Republican Bob Turner the winner of the 9th Congressional District.

Democrat David Weprin made a brief appearance to say it is still too soon to tell. “It’s going to be a long night,” he said.

In such a heavily Democratic district, a Republican win is a huge upset. Some think a Turner win proves how unpopular President Obama is, and some feel it’s the final run for the 9th, that it will fall victim to redistricting.

These are all questions for tomorrow. Right now, I’d still like to know what the winner, whoever it is, actually knows about these edges of his district. Thoughts on Israel are interesting and all, but what about thoughts on Coney Island Avenue?

- Mary

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Election confusion

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

According to the NY Daily News, some local voters were intensely confused about today’s elections:

[E]arlier in the day, some of the few voters who did turn up left without voting when they didn’t see any familiar names.

“A lot of people came to ask for Anthony Weiner but that’s not this district,” said a poll worker who declined to give her name.

“Nobody knows who the judges are, so they leave without voting. We have a lot of voided ballots.”

…A resident of the complex, with a yarmulke and a British accent, said that he planned on voting for Republican Bob Turner later in the day “as a protest against Obama’s stance on the Middle East.”

Told that Turner was not on his ballot and that his district was only voting for civil judges, the gentleman expressed his dismay with the system.

- Sarah

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Voting Is Underway in 9th District Special Election

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

All eyes are on the 9th Congressional District today, as Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin appear to be neck and neck for the seat vacated by Anthony Weiner. A recent Siena poll showed Turner with a slight edge, up by 6 percentage points, surprising in this historically Democratic district.

So how’s it looking in our tiny swatch of District 9? I stopped by two polling places at lunchtime to see how busy they were, and, well, they weren’t.

At PS 134 on 18th Avenue, one of the northernmost spots for this district, a couple of school security guards who had been there since the morning confirmed what I saw–they had seen very few people stopping by to vote.

Further south at PS 238 on East 8th and Avenue P, their was a little more activity. On each far corner of East 8th, men stood ready to hand out stacks of flyers for Turner–I didn’t see anyone handing out Weprin info, but there were a couple postcards that had been left behind on the sidewalk. Kings Highway was more bustling, with men wearing Turner placards hanging out near the subway.

A Midwood retiree leaving the polls didn’t want to share who he voted for, but he admitted he didn’t think it mattered. “I vote, but the economy is bad, and I don’t know if these guys can fix it,” he said. He was more concerned about the paper ballots: “The print is too small!”

Maybe the voters will start heading to the polls in bigger numbers after work. A News 12 reporter was doing their makeup in a car’s visor mirror, possibly getting ready for the big push later this evening, across the street from PS 238 as I was leaving.

Polls are open in the city until 9pm tonight, and you can find your polling location by calling 866-868-3692 or at the NYC Board of Elections site. Plugging in your address will tell you where to vote, and also what your various districts are.

- Mary

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The lighter side of the special election tomorrow

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Looks like the District 9 Congressional election is not going as anticipated – merpeople will be voting, too!

Just kidding, guys – these signs will be all over the place.

In all seriousness, gothamist writes about how historic it will be if Turner wins:

The special election for New York’s ninth congressional district (a.k.a. Anthony Weiner’s old seat) is tomorrow and children? It is shaping up to be a doozy. Because of the district’s demographics—no Republican has ever been elected to the House in the largely Democratic stronghold that covers parts of Brooklyn and Queens—many thought this would be an easy victory for Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin. But with less than 24 hours till the polls open, Weprin is trailing Republican Bob Turner by six points in yet another poll. Luckily for Weprin, robo-Andrew Cuomo is ready to make some phone calls today!

If you do live in Congressional District 9, make sure you go out to vote tomorrow – many voters received a card in the mail from the Board of Elections, informing them of the special election and where their nearby poling place. Otherwise, the merpeople win.

- Sarah

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Weprin – losing the Orthodox vote?

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

With just a couple of weeks left before the special election to replace disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner, the two candidates in the close race are each receiving some support, but they’re also facing potentially devastating turns from groups they had relied on.

Case in point, Democrat David Weprin, an Orthodox Jew, has lost support of some prominent Jewish politicians, including former Mayor Ed Koch and fellow Assemblyman Dov Hikind. After all that, the Queens Gazette questions if he’s losing his hold on the powerful voting block.

What do you think of the candidates? If you’re still undecided and you weren’t able to get to the Town Hall Debate in Manhattan Beach, Sheepshead Bites has some videos of the packed event.

- Sarah

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Community Board 14 Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Our local Community Board 14 will be back in session in September, with a new District Manager, Shawn Campbell, running the show. The monthly meetings are usually held in different locations in the district, so everyone in the area has a chance to attend.

Not sure what district you’re in? You can see the boundaries of CB14 here.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2011
REGULAR MONTHLY MEETING OF
BROOKLYN COMMUNITY BOARD 14
EDWARD R. MURROW HIGH SCHOOL
EAST 17TH STREET & AVENUE L
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

7:15 P.M. – Public Hearing with respect to the City’s Capital and Expense Budgets for Fiscal Year 2013 (*You still have time to submit budgetary recommendations before the meeting!)

7:30 P.M. – Regular Monthly Meeting of Brooklyn Community Board 14

Please Note: There will be no public discussion on any matter on which a public hearing was previously held

AGENDA

CALL TO ORDER
MINUTES
DISTRICT MANAGER’S REPORT
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT
Recommendation – Special Permit – BSA# 92-11-BZ – 1349 East 26th Street
Recommendation – Special Permit – BSA# 101-11-BZ – 1152 East 24th Street
Recommendation – Special Permit – BSA# 115-11-BZ – 1110 East 22nd Street
Recommendation – Community Residence – 1122 Avenue L
Recommendation – Community Residence – 161-65 Woodruff Avenue, Apt.2D
Recommendation – Variance – BSA# 107-11-BZ – 1643 East 21st Street

5. TOPICAL COMMITTEES – REPORTS AND ITEMS:

Human Services
Youth Services
Public Safety
Community Environment
Education, Libraries and Cultural Affairs
Transportation

6. SPECIAL COMMITTEES – REPORTS AND ITEMS:

g) Attendance Committee

h) Task Force on the Revitalization of the Junction Area

i) Legal/By-Laws Committee

7. PUBLIC SESSION

8. ADJOURNMENT

- Mary

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Hurricane Irene takes another victim

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Special Election candidate David Weprin pulled out of the special election debate scheduled for tonight, allegedly a result of Hurricane Irene:

The race to fill Anthony Weiner’s congressional seat just gets stranger. After last week’s packed debate and knowledge-based gaffes on the parts of both candidates, today brings a new twist on the road to the September 13 special election. Citing the weather, Democrat David Weprin has dropped out of tonight’s planned debate against Republican Bob Turner. Even though Bob Turner was the candidate who was forced to evacuate this weekend.

“The hurricane caused major logistical and scheduling problems for the campaign and thus David is not able to make the debate this evening,“ said Weprin spokeswoman Liz Kerr.

- Sarah

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Turner Revealed as Adoptive Parent in High-Profile Case

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Bob Turner, the Republican nominee for the vacant seat in District 9, has revealed that he and his wife are the adoptive parents of C.J. Holmstrom, whose AIDS-stricken mother made headlines when trying to find him new parents.

Rosemary Holmstrom was diagnosed HIV positive in 1984, shortly after her husband had died from the disease, and she quickly began a search for a home for her then 7-year-old son. She received many offers, but felt the Turner family was the best fit.

The Daily News shares an update on the boy’s life:

C.J., who works in sales at a television production company, has adjusted well to life with the Turners despite his mother’s tragic death.

“It’s a difficult situation for him,” said his older brother Matt, 44. “The adoption process can be a traumatizing thing for a kid and he didn’t have to experience that. He was already 100% part of the family, as was Rose.”

“His heart is with her, but he doesn’t like to talk about it too much,” said Peggy Turner.

The special election for the congressional seat takes place on September 13. And don’t forget, next Wednesday, August 31, you can meet the candidates at a town hall meeting in Manhattan Beach.

- Mary

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Assemblyman Cymbrowitz Defends No Vote on Same-Sex Marriage

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, a democrat who represents parts of Midwood in District 45, recently sent out a summer update in which the first piece of news is about his vote against same-sex marriage this summer. The Brooklyn Politics points out the contrast between Cymbrowitz’s piece and another legislator’s, who simply listed it among her accomplishments.

Are a large percentage of his constituents against same-sex marriage? At least one neighbor tweets his opposition to Cymbrowitz, calling on others to do the same.

- Mary

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Meet the Congressional Candidates

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Here’s your chance to ask the 9th District candidates those things you’ve always wondered! Sheepshead Bites notes that the Manhattan Beach Community Group (MBCG) will be hosting Bob Turner and David Weprin at a Town Hall Candidate Night on Wednesday, August 31. From MBCG:

This is a special election in many ways. You have the opportunity to send a message that will be loud and will be heard. To help you with your vote selection the MBCG is pleased to have arranged for Mr. Turner and Mr.  Weprin to meet the good people of South Brooklyn. Our neighboring community groups have been invited and many will attend.

Our job (MBCG) that evening is to make sure that everyone in attendance has an opportunity to be heard.

It’s a little bit of a trip PS 195, but it should be worth it if you’d like the candidates to know what’s important to this slice of Brooklyn.

Town Hall Candidate Night
Wednesday, August 31, 8pm
PS 195, 131 Irwin Street, Manhattan Beach

- Mary

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Turner Fit for King

Monday, August 1st, 2011

In the least surprising news of the day, Republican Long Island Congressman Peter King has announced support for 9th District candidate Bob Turner. Forest Hills Patch explains how any endorsement is good endorsement for the Republican businessman:

For Turner, the endorsement is another feather in his cap in an uphill campaign to win in a district where Republicans are deeply outnumbered. Turner’s campaign so far has worked hard to establish opponent David Weprin as a career politician and stir-up anti-Washington sentiment at a time when neither party is terribly popular.

Yes, but how Turner would fare on a Brooklyn quiz?

- Mary

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Brooklyn Quiz for Weprin

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

How much does your potential new rep know about Midwood, or even Brooklyn? Sadly, not much.

With Anthony Weiner’s congressional seat up for bids this September, the Democratic and Republican parties have chosen their candidates, and the Dem’s pick, Queens Assemblyman David Weprin, doesn’t seem too familiar with our neck of the woods. When the Courier News gave him a brief Brooklyn quiz, Weprin proved he’s got some learning to do:

• When asked about the area he may soon represent, he noted it has “a lot of beaches” but could only name one: Gerritsen Beach.

• Asked to name a favorite borough restaurant, he went with the old standby Junior’s, which is located miles from the district.

• Weprin said he’s brought his kids to Coney Island numerous times, but couldn’t name a single ride on the historic amusement strip (except for his parent’s beloved Parachute Jump).

“I’m not big on rides,” he said.

He’s only just begun his campaign, so we’ll help him out: Lotus Thai, Sunflower Cafe, and Tacis Beyti are all in your district. Try them out, then tell the voters of the 9th that you’d rather eat at any one of them than trek all the way to Junior’s. You’ve got until the election on September 13–that should be plenty of time.

- Mary

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Brooklyn Seniors vs. Reporters at Weiner Resignation

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned today at a senior center on the Midwood-Gravesend line, and you can read about what he said, well, everywhere.

The local scene was total mayhem, however. The line for the press and citizens for Weiner’s resignation at the senior center was the same, and very long. One member of the press complained “There’s no letting us in early? Why is he making us wait?”

Weinerreg 001

The seniors, trapped, got questions from the trapped reporters.  One asked “Is Weiner’s resignation interrupting your day? Are you annoyed at him for that?” and the gentleman replied with “No, I want to support him.” Another asked “Do you think Weiner should donate to your center, since he’s used it for political reasons?” The senior replied “You should be donating to our center, as you’re being paid to be here.” Another reporter told a different senior that Weiner disgraced himself, and the senior replied “You’d do the same thing.”

Weinerreg 002

However, their finest moment came when a heckler from the Howard Stern show started yelling obscene questions, and a senior woman replied “”He just wants to be on the camera, he’s ugly!”

Weinerreg 004

Weiner exited rather quickly through the back door. A group of seniors were sitting near that exit, since they’d been there for lunch and had a great spot. When the press tried to follow his rush out, they pushed into the seniors, which earned the ire of one of the center’s employee’s – “Don’t you see the seniors? What’s wrong with you?”

A final grumble: News van, parked illegally in the bus stop:

Weinerreg 005

- Sarah

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Anthony Weiner to Resign in Midwood

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Or right on the border at least: His press conference is set for the senior center at 1001 Quentin Road, just off Coney.

- Liena

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Neighbors Speak Out About Weiner

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

What do Congressman Anthony Weiner’s Midwood constituents think of the mess he’s gotten himself into? CBS 2 News stopped by to ask, and their report shows people are mostly disappointed in him. Some choice quotes include:

“What an idiot!”

“He’s a real embarrassment.”

“Once you lie…people can’t trust you.”

“Clinton pulled it off!”

- Mary

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Potential Consequences of Weiner Scandal

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Just a couple weeks ago, Congressman Anthony Weiner, whose district includes parts of Midwood, seemed a likely candidate for mayor. Following his admission yesterday to sending that lewd photo to a woman on Twitter (and then some), not only are his mayoral dreams down the tubes, but Salon suggests his entire district may be in danger of disappearing as well.

Because of New York’s dismal census results, the state will be losing two of its 29 seats in the House of Representatives prior to the 2012 elections. Which districts to reapportion will depend on a lot of details, but the 9th District now seems a likely target: it would be easy to divvy up into other districts, and doing so would also provide the party an opportunity to dump Weiner, who said he’s not resigning. Furthermore, says Salon:

Politically, this would make a great deal of sense. Weiner’s district clocks in at D+5 in the Cook Partisan Index (a commonly cited measure of a district’s partisan tendencies in relation to the average national vote share of the party’s two previous presidential nominees), which actually makes it the city’s second least Democratic district (after the Staten Island-based 13th District, which is now held by a Republican. Moreover, Weiner’s district is actually trending away from his party. No district in the nation swung more from Democrat to Republican between 2000 and 2004 — a whopping 25 percent in the wake of 9/11 — and Barack Obama actually did worse in there than John Kerry. Given his problems, it’s not inconceivable that Republicans could wage a serious campaign against Weiner next year, providing a clear incentive for Democrats to dismantle his district.

Only time will tell, as the state probably won’t begin talking about redistricting until next year. That hasn’t stopped delegates from hiring lobbyists, though, so it will be fascinating to see what Weiner’s office tries to do if there’s more talk about losing the 9th.

- Mary

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Demonstration in front of Golden’s office planned tonight

Monday, June 6th, 2011

An anonymous local blog is planning a protest today at 6:30 pm in front of Senator Golden’s 7408 Fifth Avenue office.

Not only does Senator Golden vehemently oppose marriage equality, he now wants to TAKE AWAY RIGHTS WE CURRENTLY HAVE and stop New York State from recognizing same-sex marriages that were performed outside of New York.

Golden boldly told reporters that the people in his district “don’t give a rat’s ass about social issues.”

Come down and let him know how you feel!!

- Sarah

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VIN removes story about Rep. Weiner

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Vos iz Neias is a news site for the worldwide Orthodox community, and includes news coverage for the NYC Orthodox population. According to Failed Messiah, there is evidence that VIN posted a story covering the Weiner incident that was removed.

The two stories posted on the ultra-Orthodox and hasidic news site Vos Iz Neias were benign.

One was a simple recap of Weinergate, the other a brief post about Weiner hiring an attorney to deal with it. But each story was removed from the VIN website without notice or explanation.

Why the censorship?

Perhaps it was because the subject of the story – a lewd picture – riled VIN’s rabbinic censors or hasidic community activists known as askanim.

Or perhaps the issue that riled these censors was the threat the story poses to continued Weiner earmarks that benefit the ultra-Orthodox community, including Ohel, the powerful Orthodox/ultra-Orthodox social services agency that is a VIN advertiser.

There’s more to the story, including screencaps, at the source. Some commenters say that they feel VIN removed the story because they consider it non-news; what do you think?

- Sarah

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