Political Potpourri: January 19, 2012

January 19, 2012 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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By Paula Katinas

Councilman Vincent Gentile, who sponsored two self-defense classes for women in his Council district in the wake of a spree of sex attacks on females in several Brooklyn communities, has arranged for two more sessions.

Gentile will sponsor free self-defense classes today, and Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Salvation Army at 252 86th St., on the second floor. Both classes will begin at 8 p.m.

Instructor Mike Cunningham will teach women how to defend themselves.

For more information, call Gentile’s office at (718) 748-5200, ext. 200.

Police are investigating at least 20 attacks in Park Slope, Sunset Park and Bay Ridge that took place in 2011. In each of the incidents, the attacker approached a woman and groped her, police said.

* * *

Assemblyman Dov Hikind said he is shocked by the series of anti-Semitic attacks that have taken place in the community of Midwood in recent days.

The New York Police Department identified two more large swastikas scrawled on the Yeshiva of Brooklyn building located on Ocean Parkway and Avenue L, according to Hikind, who said anti-Semitic graffiti was also discovered in other locations in the community earlier.

Hikind said that he was awakened at 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 15 by concerned neighbors who called to tell him that anti-Semitic graffiti had been found down the block from his home on East 5th Street between Avenue L and the dead end in Midwood.

A large black swastika had been painted along with two smaller black swastikas on a private driveway with the scrawled hate message, “Die Jews.” Across the street, two swastikas were also painted on the door of an apartment building at 1293 East 5th Street, Hikind said.

 “Can you imagine coming home and seeing swastikas painted on your property?” Hikind asked. “This is just the latest in a series of ongoing anti-Semitic occurrences in Brooklyn and throughout New York City, and people are justifiably very concerned and upset. Almost every day, there seems to be another incident reported.”

Hikind called for swift action by local police.

“I am calling on the NYPD to use every resource available to apprehend the person responsible for these heinous acts so that people in the community can once again have peace of mind,” he said.

* * *

State Sen. Marty Golden, who has introduced bills to crack down on auto insurance fraud, is renewing his efforts in the wake of a shocking incident in which suspects firebombed cars in Midwood.

Golden said millions of New Yorkers were offended and terrified by the seemingly anti-Semitic car firebombings in Midwood in November. But the crime that rattled the city turned out to be just a smoke screen to conceal auto insurance fraud, according to Golden, who said the crime costs New Yorkers millions of dollars a year and puts lives at risk.

Golden and the consumer group New Yorkers Stand Against Insurance Fraud (NYSAIF) are asking that the state legislature tackle auto insurance reform this year.

“Criminals like these in Midwood are staging auto accidents and racking up fake medical bills – driving auto insurance rates ever higher. They are getting away with it, because of loopholes in New York’s ‘no-fault’ auto insurance laws,” Golden said. “These crooks have reached a new low. These despicable thugs have been ripping us off for years, driving up insurance rates and risking lives. Now, they’re dividing and terrorizing our neighborhoods, just so they can make a quick buck.”

“What has to happen for the state to get serious about reforming our auto insurance laws? This has got to be the year,” Golden said.

* * *

Need help filling out your tax return?

Marty Golden can help. The senator announced that he would provide free income tax preparation services, for the 15th consecutive year, to senior citizens and residents of his district earning less than $30,000 a year. Appointments will be available at his district office at 7408 Fifth Ave. on Thursdays and Saturdays from Feb. 2 through April 7. Thursday appointments will be scheduled from 6 to 8:30 p.m. and appointments will be scheduled for Saturdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m.

“The volunteers, along with my staff, provide a great service to many people who meet the qualifications each year. I am proud to announce for the 15th year that my office will be hosting free tax preparation services. Appointments are necessary and local residents who would like an opportunity to file their taxes on time and completed at no charge should contact my office,” Golden said.
The volunteers who will be providing assistance are college students who are studying accounting at local colleges.

For more information, call Golden’s office at (718) 238-6044.

* * *

The race to replace former state Sen. Carl Kruger has begun.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that a special election for the state Senate seat formerly held by Kruger will take place on March 20.

Last week, Republican David Storobin, who announced his intention to run for the vacant seat, opened his campaign office. Storobin, who is a lawyer, is the vice chairman of the Brooklyn Republican Party.

On the Democratic side, City Councilman Lew Fidler has announced that he will run for the seat.

Kruger resigned from the state Senate last month after pleading guilty to corruption charges.

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