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Brooklyn, NY - In Race To Replace Felder, A Split Over Government Funding Philosophy

Published on: March 1, 2010 06:15 PM
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Brooklyn, NY - As David Greenfield drove his Honda down Ocean Avenue, he pointed to the one- and two-family homes lining the streets of Midwood and complained about how much each one cost.

“That one on the corner? A million-anda-half to two million. That little one? Only a million,” said Greenfield. “Plus, you’ve got the tickets, property tax increases, water rates, tuition costs. For a lot of young families like mine, these costs are really astounding.”

Greenfield has been thinking a lot about property costs in Boro Park, Midwood and Bensonhurst recently. In addition to putting together a campaign ahead of the March 23 special election to replace Simcha Felder, he has recently bought a home there—because, like his fellow frontrunner Joe Lazar, he did not live in the district he hopes to represent before Felder resigned to become a deputy comptroller under John Liu.

Everyone seems to agree there is an affordability problem in the neighborhood, where many parents send their children to yeshiva schools that can run $13,000 a year per child.

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But solving the problem remains a thornier question.

Lazar believes the solution is winning more funds for Jewish social organizations that help the neighborhood’s poor.

His campaign is touting Lazar as a consensus builder with 40 years working in government as former director of fiscal affairs for the Department of Buildings and former regional director for the Department of Mental Health.

Lazar was not made available by his campaign to comment.

Campaign advisor Gary Tilzer, though, spoke on his behalf, arguing that his candidate’s power will be in securing member items and other budget earmarks for the district.

“There are two kinds of Council members: those who know how to get funding from the speaker and those who don’t,” Tilzer said. “Joe Lazar knows how to find money inside a budget.”

Greenfield, meanwhile, believes these affordability issues are best addressed by putting money directly into the pockets of families. He points to his work winning a $330 state tax credit for private school parents through Teach NYS, a broad coalition of religious leaders which has used aggressive union style tactics that have rankled the Jewish political establishment. On the Council, Greenfield said he would push for a $500-per-child tax credit for public and private school parents.

Though their candidates may be divided in their take on how to approach getting cash into the district, the social and political organizations in Boro Park are not: nearly all of the major groups in the area, which encompasses a significant portion of the district, are united behind Lazar.

This is unlike what happened in several recent races, when the growing ultra-Orthodox Hasidic population has split with Assembly Member Dov Hikind, the conservative Orthodox longtime power broker.

But this special election proved different. When Hikind initially pushed for former Council member and Brooklyn Civil Court Judge Noach Dear to run, Hasidic leadership expressed concern about returning Dear to the Council, according to a source who has spoken to Hikind about the situation.

Hikind backed off of his support for Dear, who ended up not running. Precipitating Dear’s decision, Hikind announced his endorsement of Lazar.

Since then, most of the Boro Park political and social leadership has thrown their support to Lazar, though one major slice of the Bobov Hasidic community so far is remaining neutral for fear of offending Greenfield, according to a source involved in talks with that community about an endorsement for Lazar.

Observers say the unity of Boro Park was demonstrated recently when wealthy real estate attorney Nachman Caller decided to drop out of the race.

Shiya Ostreicher, a political powerbroker in the Hasidic Belzer community who is backing Lazar, asked Caller to drop out, according to an unpublished letter Caller wrote to the newspaper Hamodia that was obtained by City Hall.

Caller is Hasidic, while Lazar is conservative Orthodox, but the political leadership of the Hasidic community bypassed the chance to try and put the first Hasidic on the Council, in part over concerns that Calller would play a spoiler for Lazar.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Hikind ally, also discouraged Caller from running.

Greenfield, meanwhile, has plenty of prominent supporters as well. Kings County Democratic Party leader Vito Lopez, who is backing Greenfield, met with Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey and helped seal Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of Greenfield.

Lopez and Greenfield also have a close relationship.

“One thing I respect about him is that he’s loyal to his friends,” Greenfield said.

Lopez and Greenfield have worked together on a number of issues important to both Lopez’s majority-Catholic district and to South Brooklyn’s Sephardic Jewish community, for whom Greenfield serves as political liaison.

Last year, Lopez and Greenfield teamed to kill a bill that would have temporarily opened the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases at religious institutions. In the process, Greenfield also built close professional relationships with Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Brooklyn Archdiocese and Rabbi David Neiderman of South Williamsburg’s United Jewish Organization, two powerful Lopez allies.

But Tilzer, the Lazar advisor, indicated that they would seek to use Greenfield’s close relationship with Lopez against him.

“What do you think these people from the county party are supporting Greenfield for? Not for the community’s good,” Tilzer said. “They’re concerned about constructing housing projects and developments.”

Other maneuvers by Lopez on Greenfield’s behalf have not worked out as well as the Bloomberg endorsement.

The night before former Council candidate John Heyer was set to endorse Lazar, two of Lopez’s advisors approached Heyer at the Cathedral Club of Brooklyn annual dinner and asked him to reconsider. Heyer declined.

Brooklyn Democratic Party district leaders have also asked Jonathan Judge, a Republican who is the third candidate in the race, not to run, since Judge could siphon off some support from Greenfield. But Judge has decided to stay in the race.

Two other candidates, a college student named Abraham Tischler and a Republican named Kenneth Rice, have also filed petitions with the Board of Elections.

With much of the Boro Park political class united against him, Greenfield is hoping his political allies in Bensonhurst and Midwood, two neighborhoods that have traditionally been less politically active than Boro Park, will drive up turnout there. He has the support of State Sen. Carl Kruger, the powerful Finance Committee chair whose district covers much of the area.

At the same time, Greenfield hopes to win some support from a younger generation in Boro Park that is also not beholden to the neighborhood’s political leadership.

“The door-knocking has gone especially well there,” Greenfield said.

“They’ve never had someone knock on their door and ask them what they needed. They’ve always had someone telling them what to do.”


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Read Comments (31)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 01, 2010 at 06:24 PM political expert Says:

greenfield did get some big-name endorsements, unfortunately for him, thoese endorsements are worthless in the district he's trying to represent. he's not running for citywide office, he's running in a district where the overwhelming majority of voters are heimish. Heimish voters vote differently.

2

 Mar 01, 2010 at 06:44 PM Ben Says:

W/ all due respect for david. Tax credits only help if you pay taxes. Secondly in this econonmic climate he's unlikey to be succesfull securing "New" funding concepts whether its tax credits or other structure. The best bet in my humble opinions is Joes expertise leveraged to drive funding from existing sources like the obama relief bill etc. There's money out there but in times like these we need a Maestro.

3

 Mar 01, 2010 at 07:02 PM Erliche Yid Says:

Conservative Orthodox? Whats that? I have known Joe Lazar for close to 40 years. He is a shomer torah umitzvos! His children & grandchildren are ehrliche B'nei Torah! He's a heimishe yid! He's davened in chassidishe shteeblach for his entire life. He wears a BLACK HAT(for all those who think that counts!) CONSERATIVE ORTHODOX!?

4

 Mar 01, 2010 at 07:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Greenfield will win, the same groups that endorsed Heyer are endorsing Lazar, LOL

5

 Mar 01, 2010 at 08:20 PM Anonymous Says:

The city is struggling to meet its obligations under the current economic climate. How can the city afford a $2500 per child tax credit under this dire economic situation?

Which dreamland is Greenfield living in, promising so much money?

6

 Mar 01, 2010 at 07:23 PM Anonymous Says:

These candidates, just do not get it. We do not need bread crumbs or funding for Ohel. Those may be important as well what we really need is to lower property taxes, lowering the water tax, permit and vital record fees etc. stop the ticket blits. These items have risen substantially in the last eight years.

All the above costs us thousand and what do we get in return, unclean streets. Why are the streets full of ice weeks after snow storms? Why cant we cross at the curbs without stepping into puddles of water?

7

 Mar 01, 2010 at 07:53 PM anon Says:

Davids tax credit is a refundable tax credit meaning that even if you dont pay taxes but have school age children you are still eligible.

8

 Mar 01, 2010 at 08:03 PM DizzyIzzy Says:

Reply to #1  
political expert Says:

greenfield did get some big-name endorsements, unfortunately for him, thoese endorsements are worthless in the district he's trying to represent. he's not running for citywide office, he's running in a district where the overwhelming majority of voters are heimish. Heimish voters vote differently.

"Heimish voters vote differently. ”

Yeah ... they stay home.

11

 Mar 01, 2010 at 07:41 PM Anonymous Says:

Greenfield cant fill Simchas shoes being the "Politician" he is there is a reason most rabonim wont support him hes a lawyer first and dosent have many friends like lazar does to help us

13

 Mar 01, 2010 at 08:52 PM Anonymous Says:

What was said about Lazar being a conservative orthodox is an outright lie! Who would smear him that way? He is a truly orthodox man, whose children wear black hats as well as he has for all these years. Someone is out to besmirch his name. Shame on them!

15

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:43 PM Genius Says:

All the power to Greenfield. He is right if the City will give $350 tax credits directly to the people then they wil be able to afford $1 million houses! Which planet is he from?

16

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Erliche Yid Says:

Conservative Orthodox? Whats that? I have known Joe Lazar for close to 40 years. He is a shomer torah umitzvos! His children & grandchildren are ehrliche B'nei Torah! He's a heimishe yid! He's davened in chassidishe shteeblach for his entire life. He wears a BLACK HAT(for all those who think that counts!) CONSERATIVE ORTHODOX!?

"while Lazar is conservative Orthodox"
Note the lower case C in conservative serves to tell you that it's an adjective and not a denomination of Jewry he belongs to. Don't get yourself in a tizzy! (Rush Limbaugh is also a conservative! Are you wondering which Shul Rush belongs to?)

17

 Mar 01, 2010 at 09:55 PM mark m appel Says:

David greenfield will never win the vote in the boro park heimesher community He aligned him self with vito lopez a person who built his political empire on the backs of being anti charedi and working with the church to protect sex preditors,our community is savy enogh to know that davd is a puppet of lopez &company; the old political hack patronage club of a bushwick politician.David has not taken any position nor has he ever advocated for youth at risk and victims of abuse,while joe lazar worked so hard to fund and support mask,our place and so many community based programs ,,,,,,,,,, we will work hard to defeat the lopez-greenfild team

18

 Mar 01, 2010 at 10:09 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

These candidates, just do not get it. We do not need bread crumbs or funding for Ohel. Those may be important as well what we really need is to lower property taxes, lowering the water tax, permit and vital record fees etc. stop the ticket blits. These items have risen substantially in the last eight years.

All the above costs us thousand and what do we get in return, unclean streets. Why are the streets full of ice weeks after snow storms? Why cant we cross at the curbs without stepping into puddles of water?

NYC property taxes are low. If you don't believe me, compare your tax bills to friends in Nassau or Westchester.

19

 Mar 01, 2010 at 10:45 PM Civic Minded Says:

Sadly, #17 is correct. Greenfield has not ever lifted a finger or said one word about children at risk nor about the plague of child molestation. ON THE CONTRARY, Greenfield has alligned himself and boasts of an endorsement from Vito Lopez, an assemblyman that dedicated his career to protecting the church and its priest-molestors.

20

 Mar 01, 2010 at 10:49 PM Anonymous Says:

None of the candidates running will be able to replace Simcha Felder, Simcha Felder was a walking kiddush hashem in City Hall.

8 Years and not a single scandel, not that I agreed with him 100% on every issue, but in general he was out there fighting and bringing back to the community what ever he could.

21

 Mar 01, 2010 at 10:53 PM 9 Dependents Says:

Greenfield's "tax credits" is an empty accomplishment. Exactly what his big role in getting tax credits was is a mystery. What role, if any, did he play? Most Boro Park families, with many children B"H, do not need "Tax Credits." Their income is barely enough to pay the rent (or mortgage) and put food on the table. Their income is offset by supporting their children, their dependents. They need cash and services, not meaningless "Tax Credits."

22

 Mar 01, 2010 at 10:55 PM Anonymous Says:

The "grants" and tax credits.....and the "entitlement" ride is over folks. Better get jobs, the politicians cannot bleed the taxpayer anymore.

23

 Mar 02, 2010 at 12:18 AM HonestAbe Says:

If you want to vote for Lazar - Genzuta Height. But don't vote for him because you disagree with Greenfield for trying to help yeshiva parents. For years, he's the only one fighting for yeshiva parents. Yeah. He got us $330 per yeshiva child. Sure. We need more. But that's a good start. And he's the ONLY one who has been fighting for us. What have YOU done besides complain?

24

 Mar 02, 2010 at 12:35 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Civic Minded Says:

Sadly, #17 is correct. Greenfield has not ever lifted a finger or said one word about children at risk nor about the plague of child molestation. ON THE CONTRARY, Greenfield has alligned himself and boasts of an endorsement from Vito Lopez, an assemblyman that dedicated his career to protecting the church and its priest-molestors.

If the bill you are talking about would've gone through it would open the flood gates of law suits against our Yeshivas.

I'm not here to protect child molestation but to open the door for law suits for past actions is wrong. Most of the administrators and principles are long gone from the mosdos.

25

 Mar 02, 2010 at 01:34 AM Anonymous Says:

“The door-knocking has gone especially well there,” Greenfield said.
They’ve never had someone knock on their door and ask them what they needed. They’ve always had someone telling them what to do."


Finally something to the point.
Will this translate into action after the election is the real question.

27

 Mar 02, 2010 at 02:47 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

These candidates, just do not get it. We do not need bread crumbs or funding for Ohel. Those may be important as well what we really need is to lower property taxes, lowering the water tax, permit and vital record fees etc. stop the ticket blits. These items have risen substantially in the last eight years.

All the above costs us thousand and what do we get in return, unclean streets. Why are the streets full of ice weeks after snow storms? Why cant we cross at the curbs without stepping into puddles of water?

Blame the way morons shovel and stop blaming the city for everything.

28

 Mar 02, 2010 at 06:07 AM Anonymous Says:

The danger of trying to act like beggers instead of being aggressive in getting vouchers and funding for the heimishe community is there will be comprimise on dangerous issues like gay marriage. Some of these shnor groups whos executives live of government funding could not give a hoot if the increase of kids of risk keeps going up because it means more government programs for their pockets. Unless we have outspoken fearless candidates who will gain respect as orthodox Jews who support Jewish values, Im staying home along with my family. I wish all the candidates success as they are all heimish and frum but Im tired of the baloney two faced politics that only gets crumbs for our community and we always comprimise on moral values and then wonder how so many of our heimish youth are doing things that we as frum adults have no clue. I spoke to quite a few youngsters ranging from 16 to 25 this Purim and they showed me how many are mechallel shabbos with their long peyos hanging,how many dont believe in a Creator,how many are living 24 hours under a purim disguise and doing things that their heimishe parents have no clue.

29

 Mar 02, 2010 at 10:05 AM Bulldog Says:

Please be aware of something very important. This area, Kensington, its technical name, is not Borough Park There are blacks, Chinese, Hispanics, Muslims, and independent Jews like myself who take no orders from anyone! This is not a theocracy! Remember that

30

 Mar 02, 2010 at 11:41 AM Anonymous Says:

I can't understand why the other candidates or anyone else is not challanging greenfields bragging that he got the $330 tax credit. Where are the elected officials who know the truth? Greenfield not only was against the $330 credit he actually lobbied the electeds they should vote against it...you can take credit for anything somebody else did as greenfield is doing and say it loud and many times and people will believe....and that's why greenfield kept on repeating his made up story on every response at the debate...if you have nothing to say just keep on repeating lies...

31

 Mar 02, 2010 at 02:02 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Erliche Yid Says:

Conservative Orthodox? Whats that? I have known Joe Lazar for close to 40 years. He is a shomer torah umitzvos! His children & grandchildren are ehrliche B'nei Torah! He's a heimishe yid! He's davened in chassidishe shteeblach for his entire life. He wears a BLACK HAT(for all those who think that counts!) CONSERATIVE ORTHODOX!?

Conservative POLITICALLY, is that not clear to you? The more I read the more disturbed I get by the lack of simple comprehension I see here and the scarier it gets to know these people have some power through their votes and they do so all the while misunderstanding basic issues. Hashem bring them some clarity!

32

 Mar 02, 2010 at 02:14 PM Anonymous Says:

This young fellow, takes credit for everything and blames everyone else for the problems.
The issue is, that no yeshiva knows exact what he has to offer, the supposed beneficiaries of his agendas, are quiet not convinced of his nice stories.
Full of hot air, history of photo-ops, and long press releases taking credit, and that's about it.
On the other hand, yeshivas are struggling daily, tuition is limited, programs is cut, donations are dry, our yeshivas all of them in such big trouble and they need every inch of help in the next few years.
Lazar will help all yeshivas, not be obligated to Bloomberg's tax hike's, tickets, and all new harassing regulations (he isn't endorsed by him).
We need a heimishe soul out their to represent us in the goverment corridors, and not a mouth piece who will antagonize every second person he comes across.

33

 Mar 02, 2010 at 05:08 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #27  
Anonymous Says:

Blame the way morons shovel and stop blaming the city for everything.

Cleaning the cross walk is no ones responsability but the city and the same goes for the roads.

34

 Mar 02, 2010 at 05:10 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

None of the candidates running will be able to replace Simcha Felder, Simcha Felder was a walking kiddush hashem in City Hall.

8 Years and not a single scandel, not that I agreed with him 100% on every issue, but in general he was out there fighting and bringing back to the community what ever he could.

"bringing back to the community what ever he could"

Which is what? Nothing! Stop selling someone as a mentch and other no value credentials, we need a fighter that can bring more than a ban to feed pigeons.

35

 Mar 02, 2010 at 05:13 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #18  
Charlie Hall Says:

NYC property taxes are low. If you don't believe me, compare your tax bills to friends in Nassau or Westchester.

Who cares what they pay, do you know what they get in return? You know they pay zero for transportation. Besides, do you know what they pay in china? We know what we used to pay 10 years ago and there was no increase in services since then.

36

 Mar 02, 2010 at 05:20 PM Charlie Hall Says:

Reply to #24  
Anonymous Says:

If the bill you are talking about would've gone through it would open the flood gates of law suits against our Yeshivas.

I'm not here to protect child molestation but to open the door for law suits for past actions is wrong. Most of the administrators and principles are long gone from the mosdos.

No, opening the door for law suits for past actions is correct. There does not seem to be any such thing as a "statute of limitations" in halachah. If I caused you damage four decades ago, I'm still chayev to reimburse you. And the victims of child abuse incurred damage that should be actionable in beit din, such as the need for years of therapy to recover from the abuse, except that there is no beit din competant to judge such a case. Thus it is totally consistent with Jewish values to allow these kinds of suits.

37

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