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Gangi: Another Mayoral Oddball
April 10, 2017
Robert Gangi, a genial old gent, [he says he’s 73] announced last week he’s running for mayor. In joining Bo Deitl, Paul Massey and Sal Albanese, we now run the full ideological gamut of fringe candidates.
Ex-cop Deitl, long a favorite of Fox News until his contract was not renewed a year ago, is a spawn of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly — journalistically, that is. Unlike Ailes and O’Reilly, he has not, so far as is known, been sued for sexual misconduct.
Massey is a big-bucks Queens realtor lacking name recognition. His most recent public statements announced his gravesite visit to the late Lubavitcher rabbi, Menachem Schneerson, and his castigation of Mayor Bill de Blasio for not supporting Donald Trump’s air strikes against Bashar Assad in Syria.
Albanese is a relatively mainstream Democrat, a former city councilman and two-time mayoral loser, who focuses on what he calls “the corrupt political class,” with its “campaign contributions from wealthy, conflicted donors and consultants they hire.”
Then there is Gangi, an anti-de Blasio reformer who sets his candidacy apart from the other three by his outspokenness about the NYPD and its policies.
He faults the department for continuing stop-and-frisk and broken-windows policing — attacking minor crimes to prevent major ones — which he says discriminate against black and Hispanic New Yorkers.
His view of the NYPD reflects the narrative of much of the mainstream media that has gained currency over the past two years after the deaths by police of black Americans Freddie Gray in Baltimore; Laquan McDonald in Chicago; Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in Staten Island.
Gray’s death led to riots in Baltimore; McDonald’s to a political upheaval in Chicago. Police in both cities reportedly “disengaged,” as FBI director James Comey has suggested, and spikes in homicides followed. New York, following Garner’s death, experienced only hints of disengagement [See NYPD Confidential May 25, 2015 and June 22, 2015] and crime has continued to fall.
Although he ran on an anti-police platform, the NYPD has become the centerpiece of de Blasio's success as mayor. Stop-and-frisks and arrests for minor crimes have declined. The drop in the numbers of city’s crimes continue a trend that began dramatically in 1994 with the introduction of former commissioner Bill Bratton’s broken windows policing. Then, the annual homicide number had approached 2000. In 2016 it was 335.
Bratton’s successor, Jimmy O’Neill, is attempting to reengage with the city’s minority communities by restoring what was known under former commissioners Ben Ward and Ray Kelly in his first term as “community policing.” Bratton ridiculed the idea as “social work” and Kelly abandoned it when he returned in 2002. O’Neill now calls it “neighborhood policing.” Its effectiveness remains to be seen.
The department is no longer one of all Irish and Italians cops. Despite Gangi’s claims that its policies are racist, the number of Hispanic cops in the department is approaching 30 per cent. This so-called minority may soon become the NYPD’s majority.
Copyright © 2017 Leonard Levitt