Rep. Dan Donovan takes heat from readers

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Rep. Dan Donovan’s (R–Bay Ridge) support of some of President Trump’s more controversial policy moves has angered the liberals in his district. Several have protested the freshman lawmaker, and now they’re writing us letters.

To the editor,

I am writing in response to your article of Feb. 22, “Protestors Slam Rep. Donovan Outside Dyker Office,” in the Brooklyn Daily.

I’d like to address a statement made by Patrick Ryan, an aide to Rep. Donovan. When asked why Donovan refuses to hold a town hall, Ryan refers to the Chamber of Commerce Breakfast and then states:

“ ‘At the last event there were 40 people who had to be escorted out by police and that’s not a town hall — that’s people yelling at him and not letting him speak. That’s not a conversation — that’s a protest,’ said Patrick Ryan.”

This venue was NOT a town hall. This event was a panel discussion with five or six Brooklyn Congress people present. Rep. Donovan was confronted by a group of protestors who were angry over the Muslim Ban, who he refused to meet with in a town hall.

Mr. Donovan has NOT held any live town halls where he has been confronted by protestors. Ever. For Mr. Ryan to categorize the breakfast as a town hall is untrue.

Mr. Ryan gives another alternate fact in this statement: 40 people did not have to be escorted out by police. I was present. The police informed protestors they would be escorted out if they continued to be vocal. A few left on their own accord, one or two were escorted out, and the rest stayed for the program.

It does not make sense for Rep. Donovan and Mr. Ryan to use the Chamber Commerce breakfast as an excuse for not holding a town hall. Donovan, and now Ryan, are making assumptions about constituents and then twisting events to create their own facts and beliefs.

Town hall please.

Sally McMahon

Fight Back Bay Ridge

• • •

To the editor,

As a long-time Bay Ridge resident, I’ve been increasingly concerned about Rep. Dan Donovan and state Sen. Marty Golden’s support of the travel and refugee ban, which has affected many immigrant, Arab- and Muslim-American constituents within our district.

On Jan. 29, 2017, quoted Rep. Donovan as saying the travel ban was “in America’s best interest.” He also stated “[...] we cannot properly vet people from war-torn countries, and we know ISIS will use refugee flows to infiltrate the West.” Rep. Donovan ignored the fact that refugees spend multiple years being vetted by multiple government agencies and the fact that no refugees admitted since the Refugee Act of 1980 have committed a fatal terrorist attack. He also failed to mention that there have been no lethal terrorist attacks on American soil from any citizens from the countries included in the travel ban.

He also did not address the fact that shortly after the travel ban was enacted, chaos ensued when legal residents, visitors with valid visas, as well as refugees were denied entry, and were held for tens of hours at airports, and/or deported without due process.

I did find a letter from Rep. Donovan to the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island, dated Dec. 17, 2015, in which he states [presumably regarding the Muslim ban when it was first proposed]: “... I disagree with Donald Trump’s proposal and have been deeply disappointed in some of the divisive rhetoric and [sic] that have been dominating news headlines.” It’s a wonder how his position has changed in merely a year’s time!

Shortly thereafter, Sen. Marty Golden was interviewed on the Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC. He was asked whether the bill to make New York a sanctuary state (New York State Liberty Act), would in fact increase public safety. Sen. Golden’s response was very strange, given the question, and also factually incorrect: “A number of them that drove the planes into the — 9-11 — into the buildings at World Trade Center that killed 3,000 Americans ... Are you ready for this? They live, they were here in this community, they lived here in Bay Ridge, they were visiting in this community. [...] We cannot allow the people that are going to harm us, we cannot have the next 9-11, we need to make sure that the people who are committing these crimes are out of this country. They do not belong here.”

Sen. Golden answered a question about increasing pubic safety and sanctuary states by falsely stating that immigrants in our neighborhood were behind the 9/11 attacks, and that therefore they should be removed from our neighborhood and country.

I was deeply saddened and surprised at both of their statements, given that both were used to indirectly or directly justify the supposed danger that Arab or Muslim immigrants and refugees pose to our neighborhood.

The meritless invective against Arab and Muslim Americans today is similar to the open prejudice expressed against Eastern and Southern Europeans one hundred years ago.

Congress passed the Quota Act of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924 which specifically targeted, and significantly slowed, the immigration of Italians, Jews and Greeks to America. During the debate of the 1924 Act, the famously racist Sen. Ellison DuRant Smith stated: “I think we now have sufficient population in our country for us to shut the door and to breed up a pure, unadulterated American citizenship. [...] Who is an American? Is he an immigrant from Italy? Is he an immigrant from Germany? [...] Thank God we have in America perhaps the largest percentage of any country in the world of the pure, unadulterated Anglo-Saxon stock; certainly the greatest of any nation in the Nordic breed. It is for the preservation of that splendid stock [...] that I would make this not an asylum for the oppressed of all countries, but a country to assimilate and perfect that splendid type of manhood that has made America the foremost Nation in her progress and in her power, and yet the youngest of all the nations.” Does this sound familiar?

According to City Comptroller Scott Stringer, over 83,000 immigrants in New York own businesses. Just think for a moment about your favorite neighborhood laundromat, bodega, magazine stand, or pizzeria. Immigrants run businesses, hire employees, and pay taxes. As Comptroller Stringer said, we have a moral imperative to stand up to anti-immigrant policies, but we also have an economic incentive to do so. I urge Rep. Donovan and state Sen. Golden to change course and affirm that they support all of their constituents, and that they oppose any executive order or law which unfairly targets their constituents based on religion, or country of origin.

More importantly, I ask that they begin the urgent task of bringing people together, in a time of great xenophobia, divisiveness and instability. I ask them to hold a real, in-the-flesh town hall meeting, and invite all of us to show up. I do want a respectful dialog, and the opportunity to express in person the urgent need for inclusive leadership that I have written about here.Jay Sheth

Bay Ridge

It’s the pits

To the editor,

My prayers go out to the family of the 5-year-old boy who was mauled by two pitbulls. Why the family brought these two mongrels into an apartment building is beyond me. The dogs were found caged in. There was a reason for this.

In addition, how does a landlord allow these type of dogs to be brought in to his building? Imagine meeting up with these dogs in an elevator and getting stuck with them in there? There would be nothing left of you by the time help would arrive.

Rules must be enacted by the City Council that all dogs can’t be in closed-in elevators and must be on a leash at at all times in the hallways and lobbies of apartment buildings. Of course, very large dogs should not be allowed in. It’s unfair to the other residents of the building and unfair to the dogs themselves.

At least, at my Avenue Z co-op, dog owners must pay extra money on their maintenance for the privilege of having a dog in residence. Before this, the three buildings of the co-op were inundated with dogs barking constantly while their owners were at work or just away for the day. The situation was so bad that many of us referred to the buildings as Kennel Towers and urged management over 20 years ago to rename the building with that name since the buildings had already gone to the dogs.

Ed Greenspan

Sheepshead Bay

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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