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#I lived through NYC’s bad old days and know Eric Adams can get it back on track

#I lived through NYC’s bad old days and know Eric Adams can get it back on track

Most of the mayoral candidates running in New York’s June 22 Democratic primary don’t seem to notice: The city is slipping back to the bad old days of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is the exception.

I was New York City Council president at that time; then-NYPD Sgt. Eric Adams used to come into my office to talk to me about the city, safety and crime, seniors and New York’s economic problems.

New York City was facing widespread lawlessness. Crime statistics were shooting up. Folks were fleeing the city. Seniors did not feel safe. Houses and apartments sold at bargain rates. Black and brown communities were suffering. The economy was down. The problems were endless.

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Eric and I talked about crime, about increasing the police force and about the economy. He was worried about the city and its future.

Here we are again, 30 years later. And the choice we make for mayor will determine the future of New York.

Back then, Eric was smart, complicated and always thinking outside the box. He still is. Which is why I am going to vote for him: Eric Adams is the candidate who is going to move New York City ahead on the right trajectory. 

We cannot allow New York to once again become a city saturated with fear, insists Adams. At the same time, he notes, we face “a crisis of confidence in our police.” I agree: We can’t be asked to stand against the police; we must be for a better police force.

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Some of the Democratic candidates talk about reducing the force. Yet Adams knows that if you don’t have a strong police force and a strong presence in every community, you’re not going to have a safe, strong city where jobs can come back for everyone.

He envisions a police force that connects precincts to the people and empowers communities to have a say in their precinct leadership. He’ll require the NYPD to keep lists of cops with records of complaints and violent incidents.

Meanwhile, the recent surge in shootings is frightening our seniors, our middle class and black and brown communities. Tourists don’t feel safe. Whether the shooting is in Times Square, Brownsville or Fordham Plaza, it must stop. Seniors are afraid to walk the streets in the middle of the day. Stray bullets are killing people.

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Adams has the knowledge and the courage to staunch this spike. He believes New York’s economy will grow when the streets are safe. Small businesses can’t make a comeback until the streets are filled with employees.

Last Sunday, my good friend John Catsimatidis interviewed the beep on his radio show. Adams stressed that he’s concerned wealthy New Yorkers are leaving the city and believes a cleaner, safer New York would help keep them here.

“I don’t join the chorus that tells the 65,000 New Yorkers that are paying 51 percent of our income tax and are only 2 percent of our income-tax filers, I don’t join in the chorus that states, ‘So what if they leave?’” explained Adams. “I am just the opposite; I join the chorus that tells them, ‘We need you here.’”

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Again, I fully agree. New York City is now in fierce competition with Florida and Texas to keep our financial leaders in the Big Apple. Florida’s cities are relatively new and clean — and they’re courting New Yorkers aggressively.

COVID-19 has driven many of our residents south, in search of more open space and sunshine. We’re in a really tough fight to keep these leaders of our economy here in New York, when other cities are offering them attractive alternatives and Zoom makes it possible to work from home.

I frequently run into folks who remember my investigation of nursing-home abuses and my advocacy for seniors and senior-citizen centers. When we talk about the mayor’s race they say, “We need a tough mayor who is going to stop crime and get the city on the right track.” They’re right. And that’s precisely why I’m endorsing Eric Adams for mayor.

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Andrew Stein (D) was president of the New York City Council from 1986 to 1994.

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