Archive for the tag 'yeshivas'

Source: ell brown via flickr

Source: ell brown via flickr

Speed enforcement cameras are coming to select school zones across the city. The New York Times is reporting that the state legislature passed a bill that would install the controversial cameras in 20 school zones as part of a five-year pilot program.

Speeding across the city, especially in Brooklyn, has been a lightning rod of controversy in recent months. State Senators Marty Golden, Dean Skelos and Simcha Felder led the opposition against the plan to install speed enforcement cameras citywide, arguing that they wouldn’t be effective and might cost police jobs. Their opposition led to an explosion of rage from camera proponent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who demanded that constituents personally hold them responsible the next time someone dies in a speeding accident.

The fight for speed enforcement cameras was further politicized when it was revealed that Golden and Felder were willing to trade support for the cameras if Bloomberg supported a plan to pay for busing for private yeshivas. Bloomberg rejected that plan.

The Times described that the fight over speed enforcement cameras underscored the ongoing problem of requiring Albany to legislate city matters:

The fight over the speed cameras — similar proposals had stalled in Albany for years — was yet another example of how what are considered local issues often require state approval, to the frustration of city officials. New York City’s public advocate, Bill de Blasio, said on Saturday that the city should be given the authority to install speed or red-light cameras “without the need for an all-out legislative campaign in Albany.”

A school zone is officially defined as a quarter-mile space surrounding a school. In New York City, there are 1,700 public schools, not counting the private ones, so the approved legislation is serving as a five-year test to possibly pave the way for a broader citywide plan.

“Once parents realize, ‘Hey there’s this great option, but the city isn’t going to be able to bring it to me for who knows how long,’ I think there’s gonna be a lot of pressure from all over the city,” Juan Martinez, the general counsel for Transportation Alternatives, told Capital New York.

As we previously reported, those caught by the cameras would be subject to a $50 fine and the cameras will only be active one hour before and after the school day starts and ends.

Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the legislation into law.

State Senator Marty Golden. Photo By Erica Sherman

State Senator Marty Golden continues to take heat over his opposition to speed enforcement cameras as a group of protesters descended upon his Bay Ridge office at 7408 Fifth Avenue demanding he change his stance on the issue, according to a report by Capital New York.

The protest was organized by Bay Ridge Advocates for Keeping Everyone Safe (BRAKES) this past Friday and was full of people outraged over Golden’s opposition to the cameras.

“The point is you need to be in support of traffic-calming measures,” Maureen Landers, an organizer of today’s demonstration. “And his vote against [speed cameras] shows that clearly he’s not and he has not provided an alternative or a solution or taken any measures to calm traffic.”

It is believed that Golden opposes the cameras due to his ties with the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA). Golden and the PBA believe that the installation of the cameras might cost policemen jobs. However, last week, we reported that Golden was willing to support the cameras if Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Governor Andrew Cuomo agreed to fund a $5.6 million busing plan for private Yeshiva school students. Golden, along with State Senator Simcha Felder, was turned down by both Bloomberg and Cuomo. Golden, along with Felder, included the funding for the private busing plan in the state budget anyway.

Golden responded to the protest with a statement that called for the placement of more 20 MPH speed zones around schools, a proposal that did little to quell the anger of his critics.

“Marty Golden is completely tone-deaf and oblivious to the impact this technology could have on keeping our streets safer,” Andrew Gounardes told Capital New York. Gounardes is a Bay Ridge attorney who ran and lost against Golden last year and is considering a future rematch.

Source: nesnad via wikimedia commons

The fight over speed enforcement cameras is getting nastier. Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg personally called out State Senators Marty Golden, Simcha Felder and Dean Skelos for having blood on their hands in refusing to include funding for speed enforcement cameras in the state budget. In response, Senate Democrats are trying to reinvigorate the effort to get the cameras approved. However, in their recap of the week’s events, the New York Times included this interesting tidbit of closed door negotiations between Governor Andrew Cuomo, Bloomberg, Felder and Golden.

Senator Felder, too, has no use for cameras. He represents a district dominated by Orthodox Jewish voters, and his priority this session was to persuade the city and state to foot the bill to bus any child past 4 p.m., which in effect means mostly children who attend yeshivas. Mr. Felder and Mr. Golden succeeded in pushing through this legislation, which will cost the city $5.6 million this year.

As the state senators are not unreasonable men, they even offered to bargain: they might allow speed cameras if Mr. Bloomberg agreed to foot the bill for this busing program.

The mayor said no. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said no. But when his state budget emerged from behind closed doors in Albany it included this new and costly busing program.

The Orthodox, who are adroit at pulling the levers of power, and their political allies claim all children could benefit. But that argument is evidence-starved. The state paid for a pilot program this year, and city school buses have picked up 1,000 children — from 29 yeshivas and one charter school.

Senator Golden, who has charted the growth of the Orthodox population in his district, shrugs off criticism. It is, he said, “the new normal.”

So Golden and Felder would have been happy to approve the funding for speed enforcement cameras as long as yeshiva students who attend private Orthodox schools got free busing? Huh…so, using Golden and Felder’s logic, I guess this means that the safety of responsible motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians is less important than free transportation for private schools provided on the taxpayers’ dime.

It’s the “new normal” after all.

Marine Park resident Michael Sabo, 38, was sentenced to 20 years-to-life, after admitting to sexually abusing two children over the course of several years.

The plea deal came just as Sabo was to go to trial, and it spared the two kids the painful ordeal of having to relive the experience through testimony on the stand.

Here’s the Daily News’ take:

He could have faced an “almost incalculable” sentence of up to hundreds of years if convicted by a jury for nine sex abuse and 120 child pornography charges, Justice Vincent Del Giudice told him.

The father of four, who used to work as a registered nurse, then finally copped.

He pleaded guilty to molesting a 5-year-old boy for five years starting in 2001 and to repeatedly forcing a little girl to engage in sex acts when she was between the ages 6 and 9.

“I had her perform oral sex on me,” Sabo, speaking almost inaudibly and leaning on the defense table, told the judge.

“One can argue that he is a victim himself,” said defense lawyer Jeffrey Schwartz, arguing that Sabo was likely a victim of sex abuse as a child.

The sordid case came to light a number of years ago, when someone saw a picture of the boy victim – clothed but tied up – on a Russian porn site and shared it with a rabbi. It took the rabbi two years to locate the child’s family and they eventually identified the second victim, a source said.

In the photo, Sabo’s hand is visible as well as the background of his Marine Park home. A search warrant unearthed some 120 child pornography images, about half of them videos.

Sabo lived on Burnett Street, one block from two different yeshivas. When the story first broke and Sabo was released on bail, local Jewish publications expressed the community’s outrage. They also noted that Sabo had attended a Jewish school made infamous by the deeds of a pedophile teacher. They wrote:

Sabo attended Yeshiva Torah Temimah in Brooklyn. The school was made infamous when its owner, Lipa Margulies, deflected investigations of a longtime teacher, Yehuda Kolko, who last yearpleaded guilty to multiple counts of child endangerment and who is suspected of widespread sexual abuse. Sabo said he could not recall if he had been a victim of sexual abuse by Kolko.

“My therapist says it’s repressed, right now, but I don’t remember,” said Sabo.

The New York Post is well-known for its horrific headlines, laden with puns and general outrageousness. So it’s almost no surprise to see the repulsively titled “Battle is Hebrewing” (HeBrewing – Get it? Because they’re Jews!) story amongst its pages. And, knowing it’s the Post, we’ll probably all shake our heads and sigh. We’ll mutter, “Oh, that Post,” like it’s a dim-witted nephew who can’t stop drooling while publicly fondling himself. And then we’ll move on.

This is going to be one of those times, because – believe it or not – there was actually an important story under that bullshit. I think my opinion on the Post is clear (that they’re talentless hacks ridden with double-standards and catering to the lowest common denominator), now to get to the story:

The Hebrew Language Academy Charter School, which recently announced its new digs below a yeshiva, has sparked yet another controversy – this time involving a synagogue that they’ll replace as tenants.

Even the High Holidays have done little to quell an escalating holy war (Ed.-Holy war! Get it? Because they’re Jews!) between a rabbi and a new Hebrew charter school in Brooklyn.

The battle pits the city’s first Hebrew-language charter school receiving public funds against Rabbi Moshe Toiv’s Orthodox congregation housed in the same Flatbush facility at 3300 Kings Highway.

The landlord, who already runs a small Jewish high school on the top floor, has ordered the synagogue out to make space for the new and expanding charter school on the first floor.

But the members of Congregation Machzikei Torah have no exodus plans. (Ed.– Exodus! Get it? Because they’re Jews!)

Read more from the NY Post website, which has now been entirely redesigned for an advertiser. Anything to get those dolla’ bills, boys – eh?