Joseph Hayon has been an activist for years, organizing conservative groups and regularly tilting at Democratic windmills come election time. The Homecrest native chartered the first Republican club at Kingsborough Community College in 2009. He’s one of the founders of the Brooklyn Tea Party, and served as the group’s president from 2010 through 2013. In 2011, he sued his alma mater for allegedly threatening to throw him off campus for protesting abortion and gay marriage. When the ultra-conservative firebrand challenged Assemblyman Steve Cymbrowitz (D–Sheepshead Bay) in 2010 and won an impressive 43 percent of the vote — despite famously spending just $600 on his campaign. And last year, the Gravesend resident launched an unsuccessful bid against Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein (D–Midwood). Now he’s taking on Councilman David Greenfield (D–Bensonhurst), calling the incumbent a liar who has betrayed the traditional values of his constituents. If elected, Hayon vows to keep the streets clean — personally if necessary — a restore city-funded child care.
Will Bredderman: Why do you think voters will kick Greenfield out of office? And why should you replace him?
Joseph Hayon: Greenfield has a track record of paying mere lip service and blatantly lying to the public. Examples: the fight against the exorbitant and unfair fees and penalties instituted by the Bloomberg Administration, supporting abortion, supporting gay marriage, supporting gerrymandered districts that split communities — followed by a press release claiming the exact opposite. Greenfield was in office for the last four years and has accomplished zilch on the most important issues facing the district. He was busier playing politics than focusing in on the voters and their needs. The informed voters in the district will not give him a chance of wasting four more years in office. While campaigning, I have heard many complaints that Greenfield never returns phone calls. Every voter in the district will have my personal cell phone number before Election Day. In is included in the voter’s guide. If my office doesn’t get the job done, they can call me. I will return all calls within 24 hours. I will not allow bureaucracy to be used as an excuse for stupidity. I will come with my personal staff to clean up the streets immediately. I will then contact the city agencies to ensure the streets remain clean.
WB: What do you believe to be the biggest issue in the district, and how are you going to address it?
JH: Education — it makes no difference how parents choose to educate their children. It happens to be that the 44th Council District has the largest network of private schools, including Catholic and Orthodox Jewish. The public schools need to better manage their funding. It is fiscally irresponsible that a private school in the district charges half the money than the public school spends on education, and still come out with better-educated children. Also, the district has a significant population of large families in need of child care assistance. Greenfield promised to get the mayor to restore childcare vouchers but never did. I’ll work with my City Council colleagues to form a coalition in support of funding the necessary programs.
WB: The district is large and very diverse, spanning large parts of Borough Park, Gravesend, and Midwood. It is home to large numbers of Asian-, Russian-, Latin-, and Italian-American constituents, as well as Jewish people. Some have praised Greenfield for bringing Italian-Americans onto Community Board 12, and for outreach to the Asian community. Will you continue his policies?
JH: Greenfield brought in token Italian-Americans, who are very willing to throw their own communities under the bus just as quickly as Greenfield does his own. Italian-Americans in this district oppose abortion, especially late-term, but Greenfield voted for abortion legislation in the City Council. I have a solid history of reaching out to all communities. When I ran against Cymbrowitz in 2010, I had the support of the local imams and the Italian-American community. I will assemble a competent staff to handle all constituent services in the district.
WB: Are you concerned that repeatedly running for different offices will earn you the reputation of a gadfly?
JH: There is a serious problem in Brooklyn. Elected officials have no challengers. Look at the election history. Weiner had no Republican challenger in 2006 and 2008. I was the first to announce a challenge against him in 2010. I dropped out when Bob Turner entered the race. I ended up running against Steve Cymbrowitz in 2010, who had no challenger in 2006 and 2008. The last election Greenfield had, he had no challenger, and he would not have had one this year, if I did not put my name out there.
People who meet me know very well that I put my name out there as a community service. The average person does not want to run for office. I am one of those people, but I also realize that my children will suffer if things don’t change in New York. Every time my name is on the ballot, the community benefits the most. Cymbrowitz, Weinstein, and Greenfield suddenly pay more attention to their constituents because there is a Republican challenger on the ballot.