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Metro & Beyond: Heating Up in Boro Park

Jacob Kornbluh

Hikind is relying on his brand name, which carries weight in Boro Park and parts of Midwood, to overcome the challenges of being a third-party candidate

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

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A bsent a real race in the November 7 mayoral election, the battle for the New York City Council seat vacated by David Greenfield is shaping up to be competitive.

Greenfield, whose heavily Jewish 44th district encompasses Boro Park, Bensonhurst, and parts of Midwood/Flatbush, announced in July that he would not seek a third term, instead taking the CEO job at the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. Kalman Yeger, a political veteran, got Greenfield’s place on the Democratic ballot. Yeger, who first started working in politics at the age of 19 as a community liaison to former councilman Lloyd Henry, has since advised Greenfield, and prominent current and former citywide officials.

“I know what it’s like to live, work, and raise a family in our community, because I’ve done that my entire life,” Yeger told Mishpacha in a recent interview. “I know how to fight for our community, because I’ve spent my life doing exactly that. I’ll fight every day as a council member to make things easier for people.”

Yeger’s vision includes expanding security services to kids in non-public schools, increasing the number of safe parks, and exploring changes to traffic patterns and parking rules to make it easier to get around. “I’m grateful and honored by the incredible support I’ve received from our community’s leading askanim — the people who do the day-to-day work of leading our mosdos and chesed organizations. I’m also grateful for the support of elected officials, who know and understand our community and know what it takes to serve.”

 

Challenging Yeger is Yoni Hikind, the son of longtime assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is running as an independent. Hikind is relying on his brand name, which carries weight in Boro Park and parts of Midwood, to overcome the challenges of being a third-party candidate.

In an interview with Mishpacha, Yoni Hikind touted his inexperience in politics as a plus. “I’m the candidate for people who believe that the prerequisite for a job like city councilman is simply caring for people, and knowing how to use that care to empathize, support, encourage, and help individuals in dire straits find solutions,” he said. “It’s what I call ‘Politics Unusual’ and that’s the premise I plan to run on. If a voter wants a ‘politician,’ then I’m not their guy.”

Hikind’s major election offering to voters incudes a “Cleaner Streets” initiative that aims to upgrade the current street-sweeper fleet and a “Smart City” program that would introduce technologically advanced traffic lights and garbage collection. “When NYC has cleaner streets, less unnecessary congestion, less air pollution from idling cars, and less stress caused by double-parkers and honkers, then we’ll know if these ideas I’m championing can be called a success,” he said.

Heshy Tischler, another independent candidate in the race, has proposed creating 4,000 new parking spots in the district, more affordable housing, and kosher lunch programs for private schools. “I will be a councilman who will work tirelessly for our community,” he said. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 681)

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