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In his ambitious plan to fight crime in New York, Mayor Adams calls on numerous centers of power outside of his control for help. He is asking the courts, district attorneys, the federal government and Albany to join the NYPD in saving New York from the plague of violence.
An immediate reaction was encouraging, with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg apparently changing his tune on gun prosecutions. Mr. Softie had promised it would be easy if the gun wasn’t used, but now he tells The New York Times that anyone caught with an illegal gun in Manhattan would be prosecuted in “the traditional sense,” which presumably means being charged. of a serious crime.
Unfortunately, Albany is another story, and the reaction there shows that the state capital deserves its reputation as the place where good ideas go to die. Legislative leaders responded to the mayor’s plea by saying no, no and hell no.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie dismissed calls to change the Raise the Age law that requires defendants to be at least 18 years old before they can be criminally prosecuted, saying Adams should first fix the department. of probation “that he supervises”.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins also rejected the changes to the Raise the Age law, saying changing the bail law in the way Adams wants would disproportionately affect “black defendants, brown and poor.
To underscore the intransigence, Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris told reporters that Adams, by trying to transfer 16- and 17-year-old suspects to Criminal Court from Family Court in some cases, was putting himself on the wrong foot. side of those who “do demagoguery on this issue.”
“We’ll hear him out, give him the opportunity to convince us otherwise,” said Gianaris. “But it’s a lot of what we’ve already heard.”
The rejections were predictable in that Albany Democrats are in the forefront of turning the Empire State into a free-fire zone, one where compassion for law-breakers outranks compassion for their victims. There is often no daylight between legislators and far-left activists and they make a fetish of gun control, but used the so-called bail reform and Raise the Age law to prohibit detention and prosecution of the people carrying and using illegal guns.
Test for Hochul
There is, of course, another player in Albany, and so it falls to Gov. Hochul to deliver for the city. She and the mayor previously pledged to work together to make the subways safe and move the homeless out, and Adams said Monday that “I think she understands that we’re at a real crossroads on safety in the city.”
If he’s right, Hochul will do all she can to get the Legislature to make the changes he’s asking for. But it’s a measure of how far Albany has gone off the rails that even with her help, what he wants could prove to be out of reach.
For one thing, it’s been just five months since Hochul succeeded the disgraced Andrew Cuomo and it’s not clear how much political capital she has and how much she’s willing to spend pushing Adams’ initiatives. She recently released her budget wish list and didn’t challenge the Legislature to remake the state’s out-of-control habit of taxing and spending.
For another, Hochul is in the midst of her first campaign for the office she holds and while early polls have her as a strong front-runner in the June Dem primary, she will need to do exceptionally well in the city and surrounding suburbs to win a general election.
Republicans generally win the bulk of the state’s 62 counties, but Dems run up big margins in the five boroughs, often winning nearly 80 percent of the vote to gain statewide victory. To help boost her city appeal, Hochul, a Buffalo native, tabbed Harlem State Sen. Brian Benjamin to replace her as lieutenant governor.
His alliance with Adams should also be a political advantage and is a welcome antidote to the school disputes between Cuomo and former Mayor Bill de Blasio. But now comes the test of whether that bonhomie translates into helping Adams stop the massacre and save a New York .
That’s not to say that the entire success of her plan depends on her getting Albany to cooperate. The most important part of the mayor’s program is his promise to more aggressively use the NYPD to get illegal firearms off the streets, as well as press courts and prosecutors to prioritize gun cases. .
But there’s no question that Albany’s change in bail law, for example, has turned courthouses into revolving doors. Among her requests, Adams asks that judges be able to use the “dangerousness standard” before releasing suspects.