By: Gary Tilzer
“To anger a conservative, lie to him. To anger a liberal, tell him the truth,”–Teddy Roosevelt.
Although President Roosevelt died 50 years before City Councilman and current Comptroller candidate Brad Lander was born, he describes him better than any current New York City reporter does. Lander’s quest for power is predicated on mendacity, corruption and overt hypocrisy. He has mastered the art of talking out of both sides of his mouth, at a time when the death of the newspaper business hampers the ability of the voters of New York City to really know what candidates stand for, beyond the public relation talking points.
Both Roosevelt and Lander had described themselves as liberal progressives. Roosevelt was a different breed of progressive than Brad Lander. His generation of the progressive campaign platform called for separating the political machine from the big companies, and included what he called Square Deal programs, designed to empower the public to fight the special interests.
During Brad Lander’s first campaign for City Council, he tried to cheat his way around campaign spending limits with the help of the Working Families Party (WFP) and a lobbyist who ran his campaign. The Campaign Finance Board (CFB) found that Lander and other candidates endorsed by the Working Families Party (“WFP”) received illegally funded campaign services from a private company created by the WFP, and the unions that work with them.
The CFB ordered Lander to repay the money his campaign paid to DFS. NY Post 9/8/09 “Working Families Charade.” NY Post 8/12/09 “Skaller and Lander trade more barbs” Skaller opened the hostilities, denouncing Lander for his ties to the Working Families Party and its offshoot, a for-profit company called Data and Field Services. In a small part of an emerging, Landers campaign manager for his council campaign and his current campaign for Comptroller is Berlin Rosen (BR), one of the biggest lobbyists in the DeBlasio pay-to-play, shadow government lobbyist mob.
Progressive Roosevelt was called a Trust Buster for breaking up big businesses that were partnering up with political machines to make money off the government. Berlin Rosen works to elect candidates like Lander to deliver contracts and zoning changes at City Hall to their developer and city contractor clients. NY1 4/2/15 “Exclusive: Who is Jonathan Rosen? The Most Powerful Man in Politics”
Lander’s lobbyist campaign consultant Berlin Rosen makes its money off gentrifying developers like Two Trees, which alongside other Berlin Rosen developer clients have changed the racial makeup of many of Brooklyn’s neighborhoods, and have made Brooklyn unaffordable to most minorities. Lander is running on a liberal-progressive platform that claims he is the best comptroller candidate to address the needs of minority communities.
Perhaps the racial gentrification and re-segregation of Brooklyn does not bother Lander because many of these new residents of Brooklyn, moving into former minority communities, are Lander’s so-called left-wing “progressive” white voters. It is in the city’s growing gentrified neighborhoods that the Democratic Socialists of America’s victories have occurred. According to census numbers, the Lander council district has become much whiter since he was elected to the council. Gotham Gazette 4/20/2020: “Voter Turnout in New York City Was Cratering; Then Came 2018”
Lander Helped Create a NYC Socialist Political Machine That is Anti-Israel
Lander wrote in the Forward Newspaper in 2017 “I’m Zionist and a Feminist. I Stand with Linda Sarsour. I do not agree with Linda on every issue. We both have strong, and divergent, views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I oppose the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) movement. She supports it. This does not make me an Islamophobe. And it does not make Linda an anti-Semite. Indeed, while I disagree with them as well, there are active members of my synagogue who support BDS as well.”
Former Brooklyn Assemblyman Dov Hikind cited Sarsour’s criticisms of Israel and her reluctance to denounce firebrand Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan as examples of her views.
While Lander says he does not agree with Linda Sarsour on every issue, his statements do not address the real damage he has done to the Jewish community and the city during the last decade. Lander helped create a socialist campaign machine in NYC, much of which has a predominantly anti-Israel leaning with such Congress members as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the top. Other major members of Lander’s socialist machine are Congressman Jamaal Bowman who Lander helped beat long-time Israel supporter Congressman Eliot Engel, who represented parts of the Bronx and Westchester for decades. Lander also supported liberal activist and “Sex in the City” actress Cynthia Nixon who ran for governor and socialist District Attorney candidate Tiffany Cabán who lost the Queens DA race by 54 votes.
There is little question that such socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), Jamaal Bowman, Nixon and Caban hold extraordinary influence on New York City’s growing gentrified voters, where their endorsements carry incredible weight. This is dangerous while the city’s economic future and political direction are in flux. It is becoming crystal clear that the knowledge and values of the people who built NYC are no longer present in the people who are running the city today.
In her ringing endorsement for Lander in the city’s comptroller race, AOC told the New York Times in a statement she released that, “Brad understands that for the government to be able to deliver the bold transformative change we need, it has to work for and with the people.” The endorsement is a further sign that Ms. Ocasio-Cortez intends to use her influence to shape elections in New York City; thus mirroring a trend that has already been seen across the country.
Jewish Voters Don’t Know Much About Brad Lander
Most orthodox Jews in Brooklyn do not know the real Brad Lander. They see a councilman who has funded Shmira Civilian Volunteer Patrol and other Jewish organizations. Despite his openly anti-Israel supporters such as AOC and Linda Sarsour, Lander shows up for food giveaways to the poor in Orthodox neighborhoods. Brooklyn’s Muslim community declined Andrew Yang campaign’s offer to distribute free food after the Ramadan fast after Yang communicated his support for Israel.
Even online publications like City & State 4/15/19 describes Lander as duplicitous on the current state of affairs in the Middle East: “Lander is Pro-Israel, But Moving Left,” noting that he supports Palestinian self-determination and protests “Israeli occupation of the West Bank” while opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Lander asserted that he does not believe that his fellow City Councilman Kalman Yeger is not a bigot following Yeger’s comment that Palestine does not exist, but nonetheless voted to remove him from the Immigration Committee.
Lander has in the past said he supports the right of Palestinian self-determination and laid the blame for violence in the region and the death of Palestinian civilians at the feet of both Hamas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Before he became president in 1901, Teddy Roosevelt, in his role as the Police Commissioner of New York City, waged war against the notoriously corrupt Democratic Party machine known as Tammany Hall. Roosevelt charged that Tammany Hall gained its power with illegal campaign practices and engaged in deals for corporate monopolies in City Hall.
Police Commissioner Roosevelt said, “I have not the slightest sympathy with any policy which tends to put the policeman at the mercy of a tough, or which deprives him of efficient weapons.” Even the serious issue of policing finds Lander on both sides. Lander was the leader of the “defund the police movement” in the city council which saw $1 billion slashed from the NYPD budget.
Lander: Public Urination in the Streets if You’re Not Dressed as Santa
While in the City Council, Lander was a major player in having a law passed that decriminalized quality-of-life infractions like public urination, but sang a different tune when he encountered a bunch of SantaCon drunks a few years back. Shortly after the quality-of-life violations were decriminalized, Lander wrote on Twitter: “OK, I’ll admit it. Being in Midtown during SantaCon where thousands of kids dress as Santa, makes me want to restore higher penalties for public urination for just this one day.” NY Post 12/12/16 “City Councilman is ticked about fallout from a law he backed.”
NY Post: “NYC pol with 8 speeding tickets in school zones has to be shamed into saying ‘I will slow down”
NY Post: “Lander is subject to the law of hypocrisy. . . Lander supported the Reckless Driver Accountability Act to punish and potentially seize the cars of drivers repeatedly caught breaking the law on speed or red-light cameras. . . Now meet Brad Lander, the speed-hungry politician who has racked up eight speed-camera violations in the last five years, in each case pleading guilty and paying a fine for going more than 10 mph over the speed limit.”
Meet Lander the crusader, after it turned out that Dorothy Bruns, who in 2018 plowed through a crosswalk and killed two children in Lander’s district. She had previously raced through many school zones and run many red lights, with no consequences brought to bear. Lander supported the Reckless Driver Accountability Act to punish and potentially seize the cars of drivers repeatedly caught breaking the law on speed or red-light cameras.
Now meet Brad Lander, the speed-hungry politician who has racked up eight speed-camera violations in the last five years. In each case he pled guilty and paid a fine for exceeding the 10 mph speed limit. (All told, he has received 118 violations since 2013; the vast majority of which have been parking tickets.)
Lander, however, is subject to the law of hypocrisy. His cavalier disregard for following his own rules may make life-saving lectures about responsible driving sound to many like pure political claptrap. And that could literally cost lives. Putting Lander in charge of the city’s finances is irresponsible.