Apparently, Robert Friedrich and the Republicans feel bitter following their overwhelming rejection by the voters (“Friedrich urges CB 13 to denounce mailing,” Little Neck Ledger, Feb. 25). That may explain their complaints about a mailing aimed at exposing Friedrich’s opposition to stronger criminal penalties for hate crimes. So let me pose this question: Is a neo-Nazi who paints a swastika on a synagogue, a school or the car or home of a Jewish family the same as a child who tags a subway car?
Friedrich, who as the Republican-Conservative candidate recently lost the state Assembly special election in the 24th District, thinks these two distinct crimes are the same.
Crimes that attack because of a person’s religion, race, gender, national origin or identity are intended to inflict fear on the entire community. Based on Friedrich’s own statements to the Republican Party, consultants in the special election produced a mailing using the most provocative symbolism to inform voters of his position and what many consider his tone-deaf insensitivity.
It is important voters know a candidate’s positions, such as Friedrich’s opposition to stronger criminal penalties for hate crimes. The campaign mailing criticized by Friedrich was an honest attempt to educate and inform the voters about his positions.
All too often that hateful symbol has been found on cars and homes and schools in the community he sought to represent. The mailing that exposed Friedrich’s position on hate crimes, also informed voters Friedrich would restrict a woman’s right to choose and opposes gun control.
Friedrich, who has lost election after election, is now cynically attacking those who informed voters about positions he holds.
Recently he appeared during public speaking time set aside for people with government service and neighborhood concerns at Community Board 13 — to attack me for defending efforts to inform voters about his wrong position on hate crimes.
In attacking me about a campaign mailing in the special election, Friedrich ignored the text in the mailing that provided the context for the use of such a provocative symbol. The side with the symbol read: “Conservative Bob Friedrich doesn’t believe Hate Crimes Deserve Special Punishment ....”
Perhaps Friedrich is ignorant of the use of the swastika in hate crimes that occurred in the district.
The other side of the flier contained a crime scene photograph that is like incidents that occurred throughout northeast Queens that I condemned, including one painted outside The Glen Oaks School while my son attended it and several painted on cars and a garage in Hillcrest when Jews observed Passover.
The public ought to know why Friedrich is opposed to stronger penalties. Friedrich must apologize for his recent behavior, including his outrageous personal attacks on me and David Weprin, the Assemblyman-elect from the 24th District.
©2010 Community News Group
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