Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Brad Lander Problems

Some time back, the blogger going by the name of "Chaim Yankel" wrote an article called "My Brad Lander Problem...and Israel's." In this diary he outlined a strongly anti-Israel stand Brad Lander took some time back and made it the central focus of his opposition to Lander.

This issue is NOT the main reason I oppose Brad Lander. Although I do disagree with him on this issue (I am solidly pro-Israel though also sympathetic to the Palestinians, so Brad's anti-Israel stand is not my cup of kosher wine), this is not so important to me when it comes to city council. Furthermore, though Chaim Yankel saw Brad's anti-Israel position so unacceptable he called it "extremist," I consider it wrong, but within the range of mainstream.

But I do differ strongly with Brad on several key points, and these are the reasons I oppose him so strongly. I have my horse in the race: Josh Skaller. So Brad and I knew from the start that I would be opposing him. But I never expected to come to dislike Brad. I expected to respect and like him the way I respect and like every other candidate in the race, all of whom I consider nice, competent, wonderful people.

But I have come to dislike Brad. And I don't say that lightly. John Heyer, Gary Reily, Bob Zuckerman all are wonderful people. I disagree with Heyer on key issues, but he is a true gentleman. Gary and Bob are great people who I just think won't win. If they DO win, I'd be happy. In Bob's case I feel he has followed Josh's positions too often rather than leading, though I realize he was limited by a past association that he was betrayed by. I can go up to any of these candidates, all of whom know I oppose them and all of whom I have written about to explain my choosing Josh over them, and they all are friendly, even-tempered and even seem happy to see me. Brad is a tempermental, childish brat who seems to feel opposition is just unacceptable. He and his campaign have been nasty and displayed public anger management problems and, in all honesty, have shown an amateurish obsession with any opposition that come their way. All other campaigns, Josh, Bob, John and Gary, take opposition in stride and remain calm and friendly.

Brad goes into rages. I have seen it. Members of other campaigns have told me about it. And even people who have met him in other contexts tell me the same without any prompting from me. That alone is a strike against him: he doesn't have the temperment to be in office.

I will say that I also differ from Lander in values and policy perspectives. Again, I disagree with his anti-Israel position. Furthermore, I differ from him on a key issue of conflict of interest. He believes it is okay for people to exploit political connections for profit, and he has verbally supported companies and individuals whose stated purpose is to exploit political connections for profit. I call that a conflict of interest. He takes money from such people and defends them. And that is above and beyond the Ratner connection where Ratner thinks Brad is open to purchase even if Brad is trying to be coy. The issue of whether he thinks gays are "abominations," as stated in the ad in a Yiddish newspaper billed to his campaign but rejected by Brad himself, is not an issue to me. I know he is trying to court the vote of bigots. And I know he is not a bigot himself. The issue would be moot to me if everything else about him was okay.

But I do differ from Brad when it comes to whether it is acceptable to rub shoulders with people who are anti-gay and who deny that the Nazis killed 5 million non-Jews in the Holocaust. Brad accepts the support, in fact eagerly welcomes the support of intolerant, anti-gay politicians like Dov Hikind. I do not agree that this is acceptable. I reject the intolerance of Dov Hikind. Brad will issue a press release rejecting a single position taken by Hikind but still proudly stands with him despite Hikind's open and public intolerance. I differ with Brad on this.

Sure, I agree with him on other I do with every other person in the race except maybe John Heyer (though Heyer is a nice, even tempered guy, not prone to the tantrums it seems Brad is prone to). So EVERYONE running in this race (except maybe John Heyer) is someone I agree with on most issues. That makes some of these key issues of Israel (not directly, but indirectly, a city council issue), conflict of interest (MAJORLY a city council issue), tolerance towards intolerance (also a city council issue), and, I will add, temperament (not necessarily a major issue, but certainly one issue) all are reasons to oppose Brad given the fact that there are several other excellent candidates in this race who do not have these major flaws.

Simply put, I expected to trust Brad Lander but in the end I find that I do not. There are too many scandals and dubious stands and dubious contributions that I cannot trust him. So I strongly urge people to support Bob Zuckerman or Josh Skaller instead. I trust them. They don't have scandals or anger management problems detracting from their candidacy and are clearly two of the most progressive and honest candidates in the race.