Allan Feinblum, a 73-year-old progressive retired businessman, is asking voters to eschew the party candidates and write in his name to represent local Assembly District 45 in the upcoming elections.
“My platform, in a nutshell, is human rights,” said Feinblum to Sheepshead Bites in an interview.
If elected, Feinblum hopes to improve gay rights, help the mentally ill, and modify the criminal justice system.
Regarding the rights of gays, Feinblum feels this issue should not be discussed in relation to the law or political campaigns. He said that other politicians spend too much time, resources, and energy on an issue out of the realm of the state.
“Marriage is a lifetime commitment between two people who are in love,” he said. “It is a human right. Lets not bring up an issue which is not law.”
Feinblum himself has been married to a woman for 50 years, yet he believes individuals should have the right to determine who they want to live with, regardless of gender.
All three candidates carrying an established party line in the election – Cymbrowitz, Ben Akselrod and Russ Gallo – have expressed opposition to gay marriage.
Concerning the mentally ill, Feinblum said many affected inmates are placed in solitary confinement on Riker’s Island, where they are treated inadequately.
Feinblum stated that mentally ill inmates cannot follow orders and consequently remain locked up for a longer amount of time. He also said they are not being rehabilitated properly and therefore when they are finally released from prison, they once again act inappropriately and are sent back.
He believes trained psychiatrists and mental health professionals should treat the mentally ill so that they can integrate into society and learn how to lead a productive life.
“I myself have a history of being depressed,” he said. “Yet all I needed to live a fully functional life was a small dose of medicine.”
With this small amount of medication, Feinblum rose and became a successful businessman, working at Merryl Lynch for 30 years.
Feinblum also feels that the entire American Criminal Justice System is warped and inefficient. His goal is to modify the system into one that “actually gets the job done.”
“The War on Drugs put a whole new group of people into jail,” he said. “The system needs to be altered so they too can be taken care of properly.”
According to Feinblum, 95 percent of prisoners are eventually released from prison. Among those, 30 percent are locked up again after a year, and 66 percent eventually re-enter the criminal justice system. This, he feels, is indicative of a problem in the way prisons are managed.
Locally, Feinblum appears to take issue with attempts to prevent the establishment of a mosque in the area. In an e-mail he sent to Sheepshead Bites, he wrote,
“I will take a pledge to vote not by party, but by my deep concern and commitment to human rights and always in the defense of the Bill Of Rights that protects the minority from the majority. I will be for the building of churches, temples and mosques wherever they qualify by law,” he said. “I will not stigmatize any group for the actions of a few. Muslims are our valued brothers and sisters in Brooklyn.”