Time For City To Address Gang Problem
by Anthony Stasi
Mar 26, 2014 | 13953 views | 0 0 comments | 953 953 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Police chief Bill Bratton’s approval rating is high among New Yorkers, while that of his boss has been a little shaky out of the gate. We’ve been here before.

The last time this happened, Bratton was on his way out of government for a while. But the commissioner should have fewer worries this time, as Mayor Bill de Blasio most likely wants his head crime fighter to be a popular figure.

New York City law enforcement is more complex than it is in most other places. As mentioned here before, gang violence is a giant hidden problem in our city. The shooting last week on a Brooklyn bus that left a father of two dead was part of that growing problem.

Any violent crime, whether it is gang related or not, is an issue for the city. Gang violence is different, however. It will take on a life of its own if not checked.

The need for a larger police force and more police in the outer boroughs is still a reality. There is no formulaic way to craft policy so that this never happens again, but there has to be a way to beef up anti-gang units. Chicago saw their gang problem grow exponentially. This has to be the focus of this administration.

The GOP & Pope Francis

Many of my progressive friends love to stress how Pope Francis is more open to reform than the Republican Party. Statements like that are usually more about grandstanding. The extreme elements of our politics are rarely too concerned about the other side of the aisle.

There is, however, one strategy that the Pope has latched on to that would greatly benefit the Republicans and many other organizations that find themselves in a state of flux.

Francis tends to grapple with a few issues at a time. The Republican Party needs to define itself with party stances on a few key issues on the national level. On the local level, the issues can be more specifically defined to state and local needs.

There is no way a Republican Party can survive in American cities and urban areas while being attached to a national agenda that does not address these areas. GOP candidates in these parts are losers right out of the starting gate.

There are great Republican and Democratic candidates in areas where they never have a chance, because voters associate them to a national agenda with which they may only slightly agree. The leadership in Washington needs to put forth a small, tighter agenda with policy stances that are easy for the electorate to absorb.

As long as one party defines the other party, we are not going to have competitive elections. Pope Francis understands that the Catholic Church has a major brand problem. He knows there is serious business attached to fixing it. But he seems to be taking these steps slowly and carefully.

Maybe that is where the national GOP needs to be. The same can be said for the Democratic Party, although they appear to be unified behind the president for now.
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