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Sikh community shaken again in Richmond Hill

Woman kidnapped and robbed, yet another press conference

A 51-year-old Sikh woman was thrown in a van, rendered unconscious, and robbed of thousands of dollars of jewelry last week outside a popular place of worship in South Richmond Hill.

The attack marks the fourth incident against the local Sikh community within the past few weeks, with the latest victim hearing the words “mom” before being kidnapped and robbed just steps from a gurdwara.

Last month, a 19-year-old Brooklyn man was charged in a spree of hate attacks, and is accused of targeting three men of the Sikh community. A second man, a 20-year-old from Brooklyn, was also charged in connection in one of the attacks. If convicted, both could face 25 years to life in prison.

The latest press conference to denounce the attacks in the Southeast Queens neighborhood came from gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Suozzi, and later at Queens Borough Hall led by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards.

Speaking outside of the Gurdwara Sikh Temple last week, Suozzi and community leaders called for peace just steps away from where the latest attack took place.

“Not only has the Sikh community been attacked, but it has been some of our most vulnerable members,” said Tejkaren Kaur Bains, a licensed state attorney from Long Island. “They’ve been beaten up while they have come here to worship.”

The self-proclaimed “common sense” democratic candidate for Governor says it will take someone like himself to change state laws pertaining to bail reform. He also touted that he was one of the first state politicians to hire a turban-wearing Sikh to his office.

“My Sikh brothers and sisters are easily recognized because they’re wearing turbans,” Suozzi said. “The fact that people can’t feel safe in their neighborhoods is just wrong.”

Suozzi hinted at negative rhetoric that was seen in the previous presidential administration, where it “became common for people to attack each other based upon their differences,” he said. Suozzi also cited the latest mass shooting which took the lives of 10 in Buffalo, calling it a “racist massacre.”

“We have to remember the basic fundamental American principle that all men and women are created equal,” Suozzi said.

Tejinder Singh, a former attorney at The Legal Aid Society of New York, said that law enforcement and the district attorney’s office eventually listened to the community in the past when some collective noise was made.

He added that police come across people from the community and frequently don’t take them seriously, “because they don’t look like people who can communicate effectively in English,” Singh said.

“Our community has to get politically involved,” Singh pleaded.

Pressed on his “fund the police” stance, Suozzi said that elected officials are needed to enforce laws, pointing to his 15-point plan to tackle crime.

“I don’t think it’s that they don’t take it seriously,” Suozzi said. “I think it’s that we have to fund the police to make people feel safe, and that we as a community need to bring attention to those crimes that we want to see enforced.”

Japneet Singh, a democratic candidate for the 15th State Senate District, said that he hopes to soon be working towards an actual plan, rather than just keep talking about a solution.

“We’re sick and tired of press conferences,” Singh said. “However, we have seen no action. We are not doing proper jobs in our city, our state and our country.”

“One misconception that a lot of people have is that immigrant communities don’t want laws and don’t want rules. We left our respective countries to escape lawlessness. For us to say we don’t want laws here in the city of New York, the most diverse city, that’s absurd,” Singh said. “I’ve been here since the age of 8, and it’s never been this bad.”

Suozzi’s folly

Dear Editor,
I couldn’t believe the shortsightedness and purely narcissistic comments Congressman Thomas Souzzi made about running for governor.
Regarding Congress, he said “I’m hoping we win the majority again and we may not, it doesn’t matter. I’m running for governor.”
It doesn’t matter? The GOP taking over the House with Kevin McCarthy, who denies the treasonous attack of January 6 and shows no respect for the rule of law, as speaker doesn’t matter?
The same Kevin McCarthy who was against the infrastructure legislation that will provide jobs for New York State? That doesn’t matter because Suozzi wants the job he was made for?
I have news for you Mr. Suozzi, things are bigger than you. To say that it “doesn’t matter” makes Suozzi yet another Democrat like Senator Joe Manchin, who will sabotage the goals of a sitting Democratic president.
Yes it does matter, how can it possibly not?
Sincerely,
Stew Frimer
Forest Hills

Suozzi to enter governor’s race

Tom Suozzi isn’t bolting Congress to join the incoming Eric Adams administration as a deputy mayor, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his sights set on changing jobs.
Adams extended the invitation to Suozzi the week before Thanksgiving, and Suozzi said he would take the holiday week to think about it. But he also added the caveat that he was also interested in joining an increasingly crowded Democratic Primary for governor.
Former governor Andrew Cuomo’s term was up at the end of next year, which means Governor Kathy Hochul will already have to defend the seat she was given when Cuomo left office in disgrace.
Other Democrats who have already announced their intent to run include Attorney Letitia James and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
Suozzi’s announcement could be a problem for Hochul. Both Williams and James will run progressive campaigns, while Hochul would likely position herself as a more centrist Democrat to appeal to suburban and upstate voters.
The problem is that’s exactly the same space that Suozzi plans to occupy.
When Suozzi announced his decision on Monday, he said he would be running as a “common-sense Democrat” focused on working-class issues, such as lower income and property taxes and putting more cops on the streets.
He also said he was opposed to key issues that appeal to left-leaning Democrats. He is against a carbon tax in New York, saying that should be left to the federal government, as well as a bill that would make it harder for landlords to evict tenants without a court order.
Suozzi has name recognition on Long Island, as in addition to representing Nassau and Queens counties in Congress, Suozzi served as Nassau County executive before he was sent to Washington by voters in 2017.
Republicans made several key gains in local elections last year, which shows voters are pushing back against progressive politics and leaning more conservative. Suozzi’s political record, as well as his stance on key issues like taxes and crime, would appeal to just those type of voters.
Unfortunately for Hochul, she was counting on those voters, as well.
And it won’t hurt Suozzi that he is already thought of highly by Adams, which will help with voters in New York City. An endorsement from Adams – still a long ways off! – would be a big coup for Suozzi and can only help him with voters who might have been leaning toward James or Williams.
It’s been a long time since New York City has had a governor and mayor who actually like each other, let alone simply show even a modicum of professionalism and respect.
Reports indicated that in recent weeks party strategists were urging Suozzi to steer clear of the governor’s race and instead focus on winning back his congressional seat, which is now seen as being flippable by Republicans if the incumbent were to leave it vacant.
House Democrats are already holding onto a tenuous majority, and replacing Suozzi with a member of the GOP will only exacerbate that issue.
When asked about just that at his announcement, Suozzi had this to say:
“Congress is great, and I’m hoping we’re gonna win the majority again, and we may not, we may, it doesn’t matter. I’m running for governor, because I believe that this is the job that I am made for. Everything I’ve done has prepared me for this particular job at this particular time.”
At least one Republican candidate has already announced they would challenge Suozzi in 2022. Kevin Surdi, an ER nurse, wasted no time in characterizing Suozzi’s decision as that of an incumbent who knows they don’t stand a chance at winning reelection.
“After the Republican tidal wave in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties, career politician Tom Suozzi sees the writing on the wall and is once again putting his ambition above his constituents,” the Surdi campaign said in statement. “CD-3 is red and he knows it.”
Next year is shaping up to be a busy one for Suozzi.

Suozzi considering joining Adams at City Hall

Northeast Queens might be looking for a new congressman.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams revealed this weekend that he has asked Congressman Tom Suozzi to join his administration at deputy mayor.
Suozzi, who before being elected to the House of Representatives served as Nassau County executive and mayor of Glen Cove, campaigned hard for Adams before the Democratic Primary in June.
Suozzi says he will give the offer serious thought over the Thanksgiving holiday.
It would be a raise for Suozzi, at the very least. According to the Post, as a congressman he makes $174,000 a year. Dean Fuleihan, the current first deputy mayor, makes nearly $300,000. You’re probably thinking the same thing we are…Dean who?!
It’s not the only post that Suozzi is eyeing. He also said that he would decide by the end of the month if he plans to run in the Democratic Primary for governor next year. He would join a crowded race of bold-faced names, including current Governor Kathy Hochul, Attorney General Letitia James and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
Oh yeah, and maybe Mayor Bill de Blasio, who formed an exploratory committee to determine whether he would have a viable shot at competing.
If Suozzi decides to accept Adam’s position, it would likely help Hochul’s chance at earning the governorship from the voters as opposed to being gifted it by Andrew Cuomo’s ego and busy hands. Hochul and Suozzi would likely be competing for the same suburban voters.
In a recent Zoom call with reporters, Suozzi said he would run a moderate campaign, and distance himself from some of the rhetoric coming out of the far left.
Suozzi recently took a stand against the more progressive factions of the party when he endorsed the write-in campaign of Byron Brown for mayor of Buffalo after he lost in the Democratic Primary to Democratic Socialist India Walton.
Many progressives were upset that Brown was even continuing to campaign.
It looks like Monday is shaping up to be a big day of decisions for Suozzi.

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