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Saffran backs stop-and-frisk, vocational schools in mayor race

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The City Council race to replace Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) is moving forward. Attorney Dennis Saffran has emerged as the key Republican candidate. Saffran ran 12 years ago for the 19th District seat and lost by 1 percent of the vote against now-state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), who is now running in a Democratic primary for borough president.

There have been rumors that the cousin of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has the same name, may be running, but it has not materialized. Saffran has quite a legal background, since he recently has been serving as chief of the Appeals Bureau in the office of the Nassau County attorney.

In a recent interview, he gave some of his views regarding issues confronting the Council. He is strongly opposed to non-citizens being given the right to vote in either local, state or federal elections. He said that his first bill as a councilman would be to eliminate any legislation favoring non-citizen voting.

Saffran has taken positions favoring maintaining effective law and order procedures. He supports stop-and-frisk, believing it has saved lives. He also mentioned that people who favor gun control should also be in favor of stop-and-frisk, since this is one way of controlling the circulation of illegal handguns. He indicated stop-and-frisk has given the city Police Department the reputation of a well-run law enforcement organization.

On the issue of creating an NYPD inspector general sub-office within the NYPD, as supported by Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Manhattan), Saffran thinks that would not be needed. He pointed out our law enforcement agencies in the city include two U.S. attorneys, five district attorneys, a city inspector general for all city agencies and also a state attorney general. All of these departments give considerable oversight to police activities.

As to improving city education, he supports the concept of vocational high schools that existed in the city during the mid-20th century. This concept created high schools that taught academic subjects in the morning and building trades in the afternoon. It included such courses as carpentry, auto repair and electrical work.

Saffran indicated there is a need in society for these kinds of skills, and it would be helpful for those students who are interested in learning building trades.

Turning to having more jobs available to the general public in the private sector, he believes there are too many government regulations that hold back the free enterprise system. He wants this reviewed from the standpoint of increasing job opportunities.

Saffran would oppose giving any more days off to public school students, indicating there are enough school holidays.

When I asked what Council committees he would like to serve on, he said Public Safety, Land Use and Public Education.

In his last race for Council in 2001, Saffran lost by about 400 votes. He has the experience of having run for this same Council seat 12 years ago and he seems to have knowledge of a wide range of issues. His legal background in government service should be of assistance to him in dealing with law and order issues.

The recent terrorist attack in Boston indicates that we need more people elected to our city’s legislature who have law-enforcement backgrounds.

There is a hard-fought race for mayor in the Republican primary. The two main Republican candidates are John Catsimatidis and Joseph Lhota. Campaigning will continue up to the primary election in early September.

How well each candidate does will affect the outcome of the Council races.

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