Martin distorts Lora pledge


To the editor:

(re: “Final endorsements wave comes through,” June 17)

Rather than take on Mino Lora’s actual position on public safety, Abigail Martin is spreading inaccuracies.

In the Political Arena column published in The Riverdale Press, Martin claims that to receive the endorsement of Courage to Change — the political action committee for U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — candidates had to “support a cut of at least $3 billion to the New York Police Department each year.”

This is a complete fabrication. This is the exact language of the pledge:

“In order to provide real public safety and undo our unjust system of mass incarceration and over-policing, New York City must invest in education, housing, jobs, health care, and community-based programs.

“Will you support a plan to bring down the annual NYPD budget, and shift those funds toward community resources and programs — including community accountability services, victim support and compensation funds, community schools, and prisoner rehabilitation and re-entry programs?”

Martin also claims, “The candidate in this race who did receive AOC’s endorsement has, on multiple occasions, said the NYPD should be abolished.” As reported accurately by The Press in a Feb. 25 story, last summer — at the height of the George Floyd demonstrations — Lora expressed her anger at the police. It was one of the things that pushed her to run for office.

As a candidate, Mino has consistently used the term “defund,” and has made clear in every debate that she wants the NYPD to be able to focus on preventing and solving violent crime and hate crime. Mino and many others believe the NYPD is given too much to do that takes away from their ability to focus on safety — including handling traffic accidents, school safety, and responding to mental health and homelessness.

Abigail has heard her say this, and has no excuse for distorting Mino’s position. It seems Abigail can’t disagree on substance, and instead can only make false accusations.

This also was part of the Courage to Change pledge, which Abigail apparently could not agree to: “It is OK for two or more candidates to distinguish themselves by drawing upon facts. It is not OK to direct nasty claims and misleading allegations toward one another.”

David Neustadt

The author is press secretary for the Mino Lora city council campaign.

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David Neustadt,