Archive for the tag 'joseph hayon'

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The campaign treasurer for Friends of Ben Akselrod resigned yesterday, outraged that his address was put on thousands of mailers to neighbors that said crime is up in the “negrohood.”

Sheepshead Bites was the first news outlet to report last week that Ben Akselrod, looking to unseat State Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz, sent out a mailer to thousands of residents that Cymbrowitz was “allowing” crime to rise in the “negrohood.”

Additionally, the flier contained several typos and factual errors.

The flier came from “Friends of Ben Akselrod,” one of two campaign groups supporting Akselrod for Assembly, and had the return address of the campaign treasurer, Bryan Goldstein.

Following our report, Goldstein contacted Sheepshead Bites and said that he was “not involved” in creating the literature, and that his address was used “WITHOUT permission or authority.”

“As you can imagine, when I found out about this over the weekend I was quite upset about this,” he told us on Monday. “I agreed to be the treasurer for Ben Akselrod. We’ve been friends since high school. It was not something I was thrilled to get involved with but I figured I’d do a favor for a friend.”

Goldstein, a lawyer, said that he was largely just a name on the account, occasionally signing paperwork, cutting checks and depositing donations. (It is not unusual for campaign treasurers to have little involvement in the campaign.)

But since the mailers went out, Goldstein is worried that the nefarious flub would muddy his name, and that “weirdos and nutcases” may try to contact him.

“Basically, I think the feeling was that it was no big deal to use my address …  that no harm would come of that, and obviously I disagree,” he said. “Naturally, when you see something like that and have my home address attached to that, naturally that’s very disturbing.”

Goldstein said he had no involvement in the creation of the flier, and that he wasn’t sure how it could have happened.

“I have no idea how this quote got into it; it was never explained to me and to my knowledge, Mr. Akselrod does not know about it,” he said.

Asked if, as treasurer, he issued payment for the printing, he indicated that no payments had been made to anyone that would be large enough to cover such a printing, but that it was possible he had not yet received the invoice.

At 5:27 p.m. on Monday, Goldstein sent an e-mail to Sheepshead Bites that said, in part, “Effective immediately, I have resigned as treasurer of the campaign for Ben Akselrod.”

Despite multiple requests for comment, no one from the Akselrod campaign has responded.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: State Assembly candidate Ben Akselrod is likely a little red in the face today, after thousands of mailers went out to Democratic voters in the 45th Assembly District saying that crime is up in the “negrohood.”

In an inset in the mailers, received by most in the area yesterday, Akselrod takes aim at his incumbent opponent, Steven Cymbrowitz, for “allowing” crime to rise in the confines of the 61st Precinct.

The inset reads as follows:

I am running for Assembly because I believe the number 1 job of that office is to keep the community safe. The current assemblyman has allowed crime to go up over 50% in our  negrohood so far this year. I am fighting for video cameras throughout our community to protect our seniors who are the most vulnerable and cut down on anti-semitic attacks in our community. I will also make sure the mayor gives our community more police to patrol our streets. [sic] (emphasis added)

According to the latest CompStat report issued by the 61st Precinct, the command has seen a 43.71 percent increase in crime so far this year, not “over 50%.” In the 60th Precinct, a portion of which is also in the 45th Assembly District, crime has gone up only 6.96 percent.

It’s not the inaccuracy of the numbers, however, that has spurred dozens of readers to contact Sheepshead Bites – it’s the flub in calling the neighborhood a “negrohood.”

Continue Reading »

Joseph Hayon (l) and Assemblywoman Weinstein (r)

Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein will face a Republican opponent as she seeks reelection in the 41st District.

Weinstein, who has served in the Assembly for more then 30 years, is being challenged by Brooklyn Tea Party Chairman Joseph Hayon. Hayon previously faced off against Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz in 2010, when he garnered 43 percent of the vote by spending little more than $600.

In that campaign, however, Hayon primarily appealed to religious Jewish voters by mis-characterizing a bill Cymbrowitz voted for as forcing religious schools to “teach Kindergarten children to ‘tolerate’ or sanctify same-gender relationships.” Hayon also made headlines in 2010 when, as a student at Kingsborough Community College (2001 Oriental Boulevard), the school banned him from handing out pro-life literature on campus, a decision the school eventually overturned.

Unfortunately for Hayon, Weinstein’s district – which spans the eastern part of Sheepshead Bay, Flatlands, East Flatbush, Midwood and Canarsie – is far more Democratic than Cymbrowitz’s, and has a less dense population of religious Jewry for him to rely on. Still, he intends to position himself as the social conservative in the race, and will attempt to make Weinstein’s vote for same-sex marriage the central issue in the campaign.

Politicker reports:

Mr. Hayon is known in Brooklyn political circles as a particularly passionate opponent of the gay marriage legislation signed last year, and he hinted that Mr. Cymbrowitz’s vote against the bill — and Ms. Weinstein’s support of it — factored into his decision-making, in addition to redistricting changing the shape of the map.

“Weinstein’s vote to redefine marriage will play a major role in this campaign,” he explained in an email. “Voters do not forget easily, and they are still angry at the marriage vote.”

It’s curious to see that Hayon chose Weinstein’s seat as his objective after performing so well in Cymbrowitz’s district in 2010. That’s potentially because Cymbrowitz’s primary election challenger, Ben Akselrod, adopted many (if not all) of Hayon’s stances – including the mischaracterization of the bill mentioned above, opposition to gay marriage, and opposition to the Voorhies Avenue mosque – as we noted after his Akselerod’s campaign announcement.

It could also be that State Senator-elect David Storobin may also look to Cymbrowtiz’s seat as many have rumored. Storobin appears to have won the race against Fidler (though the Board of Elections still needs to certify the results), but the district will vanish come January. Storobin shares many of the same views as Hayon, and Hayon worked on his campaign, so it’s unlikely either would benefit from competing against each other in a Republican primary in a (statistically) Democratic district.

However, when Sheepshead Bites spoke to Storobin last week, he said he still had not thought at all about what he would do after his district disappears and that the rumors are nothing more than just that.

Conservative Democrat Ben Akselrod announced his campaign for State Assembly yesterday, setting the stage for a primary battle against incumbent Steven Cymbrowitz, who has occupied the seat since January 2001.

Akselrod took to a podium in front of Baku Palace (2001 Emmons Avenue), flanked by two dozen or so supporters on Sunday, touting his Russian immigrant roots and commitment to conservative Jewish values. Among those who stood with Akselrod were Russian leaders including radio host Gregory Davidzon and Ari Kagan, as well as local rabbis and Akselrod’s former boss, ex-State Senator Seymour Lachman.

(Akselrod begins speaking in the above video at the 20:00 mark.)

The campaign appears poised to seize upon the growing political clout of Southern Brooklyn’s Russian and Jewish voting blocks, which recently helped deliver wins to Republicans Bob Turner in Congress and David Storobin in the State Senate (Storobin’s win, notably, is still in court as the campaigns squabble over a handful of votes in the neck-and-neck race; regardless, the strong showing for a political neophyte in what was once believed to be a Democratic bastion can be considered a victory nonetheless).

To find a prelude to those successes one must only look back two years, to the last time Cymbrowitz faced a challenger: Republican opponent Joseph Hayon in 2010.

Spending only $615, Hayon reaped 43 percent of the vote – a narrow victory for an incumbent with a sizable warchest.

Akselrod appears to be cribbing from the GOP campaigns of his upstart predecessors – especially Hayon.

For example, Akselrod spoke of curriculum requirements in New York schools that challenge conservative Jewish customs.

“[Students are] being taught alternative lifestyles,” Akselrod stated. “I strongly object to the subjects being taught in school. We deserve to raise our children with the values that we cherish. We should be able to do what is right for us.”

That echoes the crux of Hayon’s campaign, in which he railed against a bill Cymbrowitz voted for that supposedly requires schools to “teach Kindergarten children to ‘tolerate’ or sanctify same-gender relationships.”

In reality, the bill Hayon and, presumably, Akselrod refer to is the “Dignity For All Students Act,” passed in 2010, to protect students from harassment and discrimination. The bill establishes mechanisms for schools to report and address discrimination and harassment based on race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, gender and – the one that Hayon and now Akselrod have focused on – sexual orientation. The legislation also issued a broad mandate to school regents to develop instruction in “civility, citizenship and character education.”

Private and religious schools are exempted in the bi-partisan bill, which passed the Assembly 138-to-four, and has not yet been implemented.

Though Cymbrowitz’s name was never uttered during the announcement, other elements of Akselrod’s platform were thinly-veiled attacks on the sitting assemblymember.

“Nobody should be defending illegal construction in your backyard because of political correctness,” Akselrod declared, as he rattled off his stances on issues as varied as education (above), small business regulations and integrity.

The quote appeared to be in reference to the Sheepshead Bay mosque being built at 2812 Voorhies Avenue, which has been an ongoing struggle. Opponents of the mosque frequently mix arguably legitimate complaints about building violations and zoning with racist, anti-Muslim rhetoric – and the main opposition group, Bay People, along with the Brooklyn Tea Party, has slammed Cymbrowitz in the past for not speaking out against the mosque’s development.

Notably, at least two members of Bay People were at the announcement to support Akselrod.

Also notably, the mosque is not in Cymbrowitz’s district.

As the campaign gears up, it will be an interesting battle for political observers. If, as in the Fidler-Storobin campaign, the 11-year incumbent seeks to snap up the Jewish and Russian voting blocs by trying to appear more aligned with their interests, he’ll likely lose the battle of public perception to the candidate who is actually Russian and a devout Jew – despite the fact that Cymbrowitz has directed a bevy of funds to Jewish causes over the years and supported the community’s social agenda (such as his vote against legalizing same sex marriage).

However, an Akselrod win would blunt the campaign of David Storobin, who many believe may attempt a general election challenge for the seat as well. Party labels aside, Akselrod and Storobin appear to have almost identical stances on most issues.

However, if Cymbrowitz takes a different tack – a rather unlikely one – and mobilizes new voters from other portions of the community to pull a win, he could redefine the evolving political narrative of the area and create a new power base. But once he gets past those primaries, if Storobin jumps in the race, he’ll be pressed to make the same case twice.

Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz will face off against Ben Akselrod, a Russian-speaking Orthodox Jew, in a Democratic primary that may unseat the 12-year veteran of the Assembly.

Rumors first surfaced of a potential Akselrod campaign in mid-April on Politicker, and last Friday he registered a campaign committee. He will officially announce his campaign this weekend at Baku Palace, just a stone’s throw from the assemblymember’s district office.

According to Politicker, an Akselrod candidacy in the general election could possibly stymie growing Southern Brooklyn support for Republicans, particularly among Russian and Orthodox voters who turned out to deliver wins to Bob Turner and David Storobin in what was believed to be heavily Democratic areas (True, Storobin’s win is not yet official; however, regardless of whether he obtains the seat or not, the upset from a political unknown is widely regarded as a GOP victory).

In 2010, Cymbrowitz obtained only 57 percent of the vote when he was challenged in the general election by Joseph Hayon, a relatively unknown Orthodox Jew who campaigned on a platform of ultra-conservative social issues - a prequel to the increasing political muscle of the conservative Orthodox community, which more recently revealed itself as a devastating obstacle to Democratic incumbency.

Similarly, whoever wins the Democratic primary for the 45th District will likely have a Republican opponent in the general election, as the GOP sets its eyes on future gains across Southern Brooklyn. And with Kruger’s seat vanishing and a new “Super Jewish” district being created (for which Simcha Felder has announced intentions), some observers suggest David Storobin may make a go for the seat.

Correction (5/7/2012): The original version of this article mistakenly stated that Cymbrowitz faces Joseph Hayon in 2008. It was actually 2010, and the post has been updated to reflect that. 

Courtesy of Paypaul via Flickr

Kingsborough Community College decided last week to roll back a decision banning a student from distributing a pro-life magazine on campus after the intervention of a religious speech advocacy group.

Back in September, the school ordered student Joseph Hayon to stop distributing copies of Live Action’s national pro-life magazine, The Advocate. Urged on by Live Action, a new media anti-abortion venture, Hayon contacted the Alliance Defense Fund. The ADF provides legal assistance and training for a host of causes on the religious right.

On March 11, the ADF sent a letter to Kingsborough officials requesting the decision be overturned in respect of the First Amendment.

“KCC simply cannot silence speech because some people find it offensive,” they wrote.

Kinsborough Community College agreed, and swiftly reversed its ban, saying they would respect Hayon’s right to distribute The Advocate.

[via Live Action]