Public safety. It’s the one issue that should unite all elected officials regardless of political party — especially as our cities, state and nation experience one of the worst violent crime spikes in decades. Yet these days, it seems like nearly every single New York Democrat (and the socialists who control the party) is more than ready, willing and able to ignore this terrifying issue and instead compete to see who is best at “progressive” pandering.
On Sept. 17, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law the “Less Is More” bill — the latest in a long line of pro-criminal, anti-victim, anti-law enforcement policies out of Albany under all-Democratic rule. As with so-called bail and discovery reforms rammed through earlier by Democrats, they disguise it by making it sound harmless, even good, to everyday, law-abiding New Yorkers.
The truth hidden behind the catchphrase couldn’t be more different.
Already we’re seeing all across the state the release of hundreds of dangerous individuals from behind bars under the “Less Is More” law. For those who have been paying attention, it’s like déjà vu all over again on the cashless-bail debacle from the past two years.
Democrats who supported the bill will boast that their latest get-out-of-jail-free card for criminals is only valid for “technical” or “minor” parole violations. What they are actually hiding from you is that many of the individuals being held on “technicalities” are truly violent recidivists. The reality is that their “Less Is More” law means fewer criminals behind bars and more victims as a result.
If that weren’t enough, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance recently announced that he’s suspending bail for certain offenses, even as his office acknowledges this could result in more “low level” crimes in the Big Apple. It’s as if the DA is putting up a billboard in Times Square that tells criminals: “Keep breaking the law — there will be no consequences.” Needless to say, my colleague Sen. Andrew Lanza (a former assistant district attorney himself) and I challenged DA Vance on his insane directive.
In a reply letter, DA Vance all but asserted that it’s the responsibility of his office to let criminals, specifically thieves, go free no matter what the actual law says: “When circumstances change, so must our practices,” he wrote, citing the “crisis at Rikers.”
That crisis is the common denominator in both “Less Is More” and the Manhattan DA’s new policy. But it’s a pitiful excuse to advance even more city- and state-made disasters into our streets.
Democrats (and wannabe governors) like Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams want to start paying criminals $1,000 a month to not commit crime.
Self-styled socialist revolutionary and likely future City Council member Tiffany Cabán wants crime victims to sit with their attackers in “restorative justice” circles to sing “Kumbaya.”
From the comfort of her penthouse, Cynthia Nixon (another wannabe governor) expresses outrage at those who would dare try to stop shoplifting.
And our new governor is quickly filling positions in her administration with radical Defund the Police advocates.
Earlier this year, I warned in these pages that New York Democrats weren’t even close to being done with their pro-criminal “reforms.” They want to erase entire criminal databases. If they had their way, they’d no doubt release every single inmate from Rikers Island ASAP.
These are dangerous paths that we must avoid if we are serious about solving the violent-crime crisis plaguing our communities. The better path starts with Senate Republican proposals to support law-enforcement officials, protect victims’ rights and restore justice and accountability to our broken state parole system.
Public safety shouldn’t be a partisan issue. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I urge my Democratic colleagues to stop their pandering and join us in our efforts to restore public safety in this state. If they refuse to uphold their basic responsibilities as elected officials, the people of New York should elect people who will.
Rob Ortt is the New York state Senate minority leader.