Kings County Politics
Parker out of Orthodox Jewish community loopWhile the state senate’s redistricting plan probably won’t pass muster (or is that pass the mustard) in court, the newly created “Jewish District” is likely to stick, which works in Sen. Kevin Parker’s favor.
Parker currently represents a wide swath of Central Brooklyn including the mainly Caribbean and African-American communities of East Flatbush and Flatbush, the mainly white, liberal middle-class of Ditmas Park, a sizable Asian Muslim community in Kensington, and the Orthodox Jewish community of Borough Park.
Under the proposed “Jewish District” he would lose Borough Park and a sizable portion of Muslim/Jewish Kensington, and pick up North Windsor Terrace, Greenwood Heights and Park Slope.
“It (the redistricting) does not affect me in a negative way,” said Parker. “The people in Borough Park would be happier because they are a little more conservative and I’m a little more liberal, but we did a lot of work together on parochial schools and kosher food.”
Parker, who is sharp on policy matters, did call the new senate lines “blatantly racist in breaking up communities of color, particularly in Nassau County, Long Island where Roosevelt and Hempstead were broken up into three or four different districts, and in upstate Rochester.
Some of these districting things will be changed drastically because they won’t hold up constitutionally in court, said Parker.
Jewish District, Simcha Felder and John Liu
Speaking of the “Jewish District,” powerful Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind denied last week a Yiddish World News Report that he would run his son, Yoni, for the newly created “Jewish District” seat in the state senate.
“I wish he (Yoni) would consider it, but I think he’s too busy,” said Hikind, adding that perhaps his old political ally, Noach Dear, would be interested in running.
Another name floating around is Hikind adversary and former City Councilman Simcha Felder, who now works for Comptroller John Liu, whose also gearing up for the mayor race.
When Liu recently had campaign finance issues, it was reported that Felder was jumping ship, but he remains under the comptroller’s charge as both a capable money manager and a maverick political operator, with a very dry sense of humor.
“I’m very happy where I am,” said Felder. “My only comment regarding the senate race is we’re having wonderful 60-degree weather today.”
The Asian District
For readers into Asian culture and urban adventure, it should be noted that Brooklyn’s Chinatown along Eighth Avenue from the East 40’s to the 60s is really booming. I’ve eaten and shopped down there several times and it’s a cool place if you dig that scene like I do.
That said, the redistricting also created an “Asian District” in the state assembly. That seat is currently held by the unflappable Assemblyman Peter Abbate, who’s been in office 26 years.
“So what that Eighth Avenue is now 51 percent of my district. My district was already 38-percent Asian and I’m still keeping Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights,” said Abbate. “I know most of the community leaders there already. I was just there last Sunday at the Chinese New Year’s Parade – the same one I’ve attended for the past 15 years. I’m very active in community events and I’m a full-time assembly member so all my energies goes to the people I represent.”
While Abate is a savvy lawmaker, the thinking here is the Asian community is a sleeping tiger beginning to rouse.
Odds & Ends
State Senator Kevin Parker said endorsing a candidate for the 10th Congressional District Race between incumbent Rep. Ed Towns, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and Charles Barron is a very tough call because Towns was his mentor and Jeffries a good colleague in the state legislature. Kudos to Assemblyman Dov Hikind for his progressive stance on the reporting of domestic violence and sexual abuse cases in the closed-off Orthodox and Hassid communities to secular law enforcement authorities, and for his pro-feminism stance on the current woman’s rights issues in Israel.
Sources very close to City Councilman Domenic Recchia said he is still considering the borough president’s race.
The thinking here is Recchia would run surprisingly well in the African-and Caribbean-American communities of Central Brooklyn because he’s shown in his home district of Coney Island that he’s not afraid to engage the community of color.
Recchia is also not afraid to express his viewpoint such as when he recently told this reporter he didn’t think NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and NYPD Communications boss Paul Browne should be fired for NYPD’s recent Islamophob video.
“Crime is down and it was their first big mess up,” said Recchia. “They said they’re sorry. Let’s move on.”