Opinion: Businesses shouldn’t have to board up

Workers board up a store ahead of election results in Manhattan, New York
Workers board up a store ahead of election results in Manhattan
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

As this column is being written on the morning of Election Day, storefronts are boarded up across New York City for fear of looting and rioting. How sad. Unfortunately, this is understandable, considering the crimes associated with the protests over the summer, which were virtually given a free pass by Mayor de Blasio and the district attorneys.

National chains and mom-and-pop shops spent last week preparing for riots, or as Democrats now call it, “civil unrest.” As if they don’t have enough problems from the pandemic, some places are even closing temporarily out of fear. Elliot Kurland, the owner of Leica Store in Soho, is shutting down for at least a week, and mentioned all of the recent anti-Trump protesters battling the police.

Here in Brooklyn, Jessica Richards, the owner of a beauty supplies store called Shen on Court Street, also boarded her store up in fear of the riots. 

“It’s just unfortunate that people take it out on small businesses just trying to survive,” she said.

Trump supporters will most likely not be destroying public property, setting fires, and attacking police if the president loses. As we saw a few months ago, the new dominant left has committed these crimes, which explains why Democratic elected officials refused to condemn or prosecute some of them.

These officials should act differently to avoid another round of rioting and looting after the election, although I hold out little hope that they will.

For starters, Mayor de Blasio should take the advice of GOP mayoral hopeful and businessman John Catsimatidis, who tweeted last weekend, “Mr. Mayor, Let there be no doubt, that the NYPD and its leadership need to feel that it has your approval to do their jobs, to the fullest, in protecting our citizens and businesses from the wave of criminals and professional looters…I urge you to communicate that message ASAP for the safety of all New Yorkers, which is of paramount importance.” 

Secondly, the city’s district attorneys should unite and state unequivocally that looting, resisting arrest, attacking police, vandalism, as well as all other crimes associated with these protests will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Our city, and our law abiding residents and business owners, deserve no less.

On another note, the results of key local elections in southwest Brooklyn will determine if new life can be brought back to the Brooklyn GOP. The key races are Malliotakis vs. Rose for congress; Vito Bruno vs. Andrew Gounardes for state senate; and Michael Tannousis vs. Brandon Patterson to fill Malliotakis’ vacated seat in the Assembly.

If the Republicans can win two of three, it will demonstrate a clear repudiation of the tilt to the far left by Democrats in an area long known for middle-of-the-road politics. It also will spell trouble for Councilman Justin Brannan in his re-election bid next year.

Bob Capano has worked for Brooklyn Republican and Democrat elected officials, and has been an adjunct political science professor for over 15 years. Follow him on twitter @bobcapano.