Remember the heroes and zeroes of the debate over slashing the NYPD budget
“Let’s mark the date on the calendar and how long it’s going to be before we’re having a conversation about New York is crying out for more police,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea says of last week’s City Council vote to reduce the size of the NYPD. Indeed — and it’s worth remembering who stood where.
The vote on the $88.2 billion budget was 32-17, with one member in a hospital ER and another seat vacant. But what they said matters more.
Some stand out as heroes:
• I. Daneek Miller (D-Queens) voted for the budget but opposed the NYPD defunding. “Black folks want to be safe like everyone else, we just want to be respected,” he said. “We can’t allow folks from outside our community to lecture us about black lives and what we need in our communities.”
• Robert Holden (D-Queens): “I cannot vote in favor of a budget with such large arbitrary cuts to the NYPD that will make our city less safe, our police officers less respected and our middle class less supported.”
• Joe Borelli (R-SI): “We know what we are doing will create a more violent city.” And: “The council has decided to compound a falsehood that police officers are the cause of violence in our communities.”
That’s three very different politicians from very different districts, standing up for the truth.
Others come off as serious zeroes:
• Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he was ultimately “disappointed” with the budget, as he wanted deeper cuts to the NYPD and a larger reduction of its force.
• Donovan Richards (D), likely the next Queens borough president, wanted a deeper scourging, arguing, “A $1 billion budget cut can’t address the racism that runs rampant in the NYPD.”
• Carlos Menchaca (D-Bklyn) tweeted: “This Budget protects the NYPD, not New Yorkers. . . . The next Mayor and Council is in the streets. I am ready to follow them.”
• Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was off in an alternate reality, insisting, “By just saying we’re hiring additional police officers I think is sending the wrong message.” Huh? The budget cancels the July class of 1,163 police cadets and aims to shrink the NYPD headcount by attrition. He also threatened to block the city from collecting property-tax revenue — a threat based on a clear misreading of his powers under the City Charter.
• Gov. Andrew Cuomo seized the chance to . . . again punch down at Mayor Bill de Blasio: “Change [the NYPD], but we took money from them. But what does that do? The problem is bigger than that — the problem is worse than that.” What problem, exactly? As usual, he didn’t specify, nor offer any solution of his own.
These are profiles in pandering cowardice.
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