Bay Ridge

Capano calls on Sarsour to resign from Community Board 10

Blasts Arab-American civic leader over anti-cop protest

December 7, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Linda Sarsour says she has no plans to step down from her local community board. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

In a move that could be seen as a pre-emptive strike against a future political rival, Bob Capano, a member of the Staten Island Republican County Committee, called on controversial Arab-American civic leader Linda Sarsour, a Democrat, to resign from her membership on Community Board 10 (Bay Ridge-Dyker Heights) in the wake of her participation in an anti-police demonstration outside Gracie Mansion on Dec. 3.

Capano is said to be eyeing a run for the Bay Ridge City Council seat currently held by Democrat Vincent Gentile. Sarsour is also rumored to be looking at the possibility of running for the seat. Gentile is term-limited and will leave office at the end of 2017.

Capano, a former Bay Ridge resident, was the director of community boards when he worked for Marty Markowitz during Markowitz’s tenure as borough president. The borough president oversees Brooklyn’s community boards.

Capano charged that Sarsour “does not represent the values of the community” and should step down from Community Board 10.

He cited a video of a protest demonstration sponsored by the Justice League of New York that took place outside of Gracie Mansion on Dec. 3, which shows Sarsour and other protesters getting arrested for civic disobedience.

One protester can be seen on the video telling a cop, “Nobody looks at you like a hero, just a racist.”

“When I was director of Brooklyn community boards, I always recommended to the borough president individuals for appointment who were in touch with the general values and needs of a community. Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights [have] always been communities known for their strong support of the NYPD and the 68th Precinct. Linda Sarsour, through her active participation at this protest where vile statements were made against the NYPD, and where she was arrested, demonstrates that she does not represent the values of the community and should not be a member of Community Board 10,” Capano said in a statement.

“If she does not [resign], Councilman Gentile and Borough President [Eric] Adams should finally say ‘enough is enough’ with her pattern of irresponsible and extreme actions and make sure she is not reappointed,” Capano added.

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Sarsour, executive director of the Arab-American Association of New York, scoffed at Capano’s statement and said she has no plans to resign.

“Capano knows first-hand that community board appointments are not based in any political litmus tests. I have been a police reform activist for 10 years and I am engaging in protected free speech activities afforded to all citizens of our district. It’s disgraceful that Capano is suggesting that only certain viewpoints are welcome to community boards,” Sarsour told the Brooklyn Eagle via text message.

“Let’s be clear: Bob Capano is trying to rebuild his failed political career on my back,” Sarsour said, noting that Capano ran for City Council and for state Assembly and lost both times. “He has political aspirations and he’s using me as his platform to give himself relevancy.”

Community boards are advisory councils who confer with city agencies on issues such as zoning and land use. Members are unpaid volunteers and are appointed by the borough president based on recommendations from the local councilmember.

This isn’t the first time Sarsour has been embroiled in controversy.

In October, a heated Twitter exchange she had with Councilmember Rory Lancman (D-Queens) was widely publicized.

Sarsour had posted a series of tweets on her Twitter account about recent Arab-Israeli clashes in Israel, including a photo on Oct. 11 of a Palestinian boy holding rocks in front of Israeli forces. The boy appeared to be ready to throw the rocks at the soldiers.

“The definition of courage. #Palestine,” Sarsour tweeted.

Lancman replied with a tweet, “No, the definition of barbarism.”

Sarsour responded, “The Zionist trolls are out to play. Bring it. You will never silence me.”

A link to the police protest video can be seen here.

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