On Nov. 4, at a campaign event hosted by Wai Wah Chin, the founding president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York, Lee Zeldin, who is seeking to unseat New York Governor Kathy Hochul this Tuesday spoke about issues impacting New York’s Asian community.
“We have four more days and we have an opportunity to save our state,” Zeldin told the crowd adding that, “But, in order for our American dream to be a New York dream it requires us to be able to walk our streets, to ride our subways knowing that the streets and the subways belong to you, the law-abiding New Yorker, it doesn’t belong to the criminal.”
Following the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, violence targeting New York State’s Asian community soared, claiming several innocent lives.
In his address, Zeldin referenced several recent incidents of Asian hate that have rocked New York’s Asian communities including that of an Asian woman, Michelle Alyssa Go, who was pushed in front of an oncoming subway care; the stabbing death of Christina Yuna Lee who was found deceased in her own apartment and the death of an Asian man earlier this year who was bludgeoned with a hammer.
“There is raw, violent hate and you deserve action on day one,” Zeldin said, adding that, “That means, as soon as I am sworn into office it is my pledge and it is my duty that the first action, the first day, is telling the Manhattan District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, that he’s being fired,” to which the crowd erupted in applause.
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Zeldin said that at a recent press conference, where he was speaking about the soaring crime rates in New York State, Hochul supporters attended and started yelling, “there’s no crime emergency.” Zeldin promised the crowd that, if elected, on his first day, he will “declare a crime emergency in New York” and that he will force the state legislator to come to the table and suspend cashless bail and the Less is More Act, among other things.
According to a recent study by the Manhattan Institute, the years following the implementation of New York’s 2018 bail reform laws saw crime of all sorts soar in the state.
The report revealed that the period between March 15, 2019 and March 15, 2020 burglaries in New York rose by 26.5 percent while robberies rose by an astounding 33.9 percent.
Shooting incidents rose by 22.9 percent during the same period, as well as grand larceny which increased by 15.8 percent. Car thefts increased by an astounding 68 percent in the same period.
“The only crimes to show decreases were murder (-3.2%) and rape (-11.5%), crimes for which judges could still set bail,” the report reads.
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Education opportunities top of mind
“Our children’s education has been under attack by people who want to get rid of advanced academics in the name of equity. Under attack by people who want to get rid of merit-based entry into specialty schools,” Zeldin told the crowd.
Speaking of the impact the State’s current and proposed policies have had on his family Zeldin said, “I have an Asian American family. If they [his teen daughters] were to check a box for being Asian-American, to think that they would be denied an opportunity, that they are otherwise qualified for, because they are Asian is as un-American as it gets.”
In recent years New York City and State public school officials have either considered or adopted practices that many say deemphasize academic performance in support of other goals such as equalizing student performance.
In June 2021 for instance, a plan to eliminate accelerated math classes and have all children learn together was scrapped due to intense pushback and in October of the same year the Department of Education issued grading guidance saying schools should reassess honor rolls and class rankings because they may be detrimental to some students.
In the spring of 2021, the de Blasio administration introduced guidelines for middle and high school admissions with a reduced emphasis on academic performance with the goal of increasing diversity at higher-performing schools, but the result cut out many students with high averages from being offered spots, many from the Asian community.
Philip Wong on Lee Zeldin
Philip Wong, current president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance of Greater New York and who has been volunteering as an individual for the Lee Zeldin campaign since Zeldin announced his run was in attendance and took a moment to speak with Vision Times.
“I support him [Zeldin]. I think he can really save this state, save the city and I urge everyone to come out Tuesday, Nov. 8 and vote for Lee Zeldin,” he told Vision Times.
When asked if the Chinese community is satisfied with the job Gov. Kathy Hochul is doing, Wong said, “No, no, absolutely no. The Chinese community feels like it’s not safe anymore. The streets are not safe, the schools are not safe, the subways are not safe; even the trains, the Long Island Railroad, is not safe.”
“We have seniors that get attacked when they stand in front of their own houses. We have kids that get shot while playing in the park. We have kids, they get stabbed while in school or when they get off of school,” he added.
“This is a terrible situation” he said, blasting Hochul for “not even admitting there’s a crime problem.”
“She thinks that this is a problem fabricated by the Republicans and that it’s a conspiracy. That is very disappointing. She has a security detail following her everyday, seven days a week and we don’t,” Wong said.
He invited Hochul to walk the streets of New York City to see for herself the state of affairs. “She’s just clueless, she’s lost it. We need new leadership and Lee Zeldin will get the job done, he will fix New York,” Wong said.
Wai Wah Chin
The host of the event, Wai Wah Chin, a vocal member of New York’s Asian community, took the time to speak with Vision Times about Zeldin’s candidacy.
“I want to encourage everybody to vote on Nov. 8 and think very carefully about the right people for the issues that concern us,” she said, adding that, “We have crime on the streets. We have poor schools. We have a lot of bad politicians who are not helping us. Vote for the right ones. We have some good ones over here, ones like the Zeldin ticket.”
She stressed that voters ensure they turn over their ballots on Nov. 8 and say “no” to every proposal being voted on, arguing that the proposals “are bad for us and the state.”
There are at least four ballot questions up for a vote on Nov. 8 and, if enacted, will boost spending on environmental projects, define how the city calculates the cost of living, create a new racial equity office and create a “statement of values” for the government.
In closing, Zeldin spoke about people’s “obligation” to vote, saying that it’s not just a right afforded them. “It is your responsibility. It is your duty. In order for you to have the city you want. In order for all of you to have the state that you deserve, I need everybody to do everything in [their] power with every minute, with every day, tell everybody you know that they have to come out and vote in order to be able to hold on to what is a New York dream.”