Miller Urges Busch Settlement


City Council Speaker Gifford Miller is calling on the city to settle the civil suit brought by the family of Gidone Busch, who was shot by police in Borough Park in 1999.

"The Busch family has suffered a great deal and the sensible thing to do is settle the case," Miller, a Democratic candidate for mayor, said in a recent interview.

A jury in 2003 rejected the family’s claim that the cops who shot Busch after he waved a hammer at them violated his rights by using excessive force. But Brooklyn Federal Judge Sterling Johnson tossed out the verdict late last year, citing gaps in credibility by the defendants, and ordered a new trial, as yet unscheduled.

"The judge’s ruling was extraordinarily powerful," said Miller. "The right thing to do is settle this matter."

Miller went on to say, "We ought to have better training and protocols for police officers to deal with these kinds of situations, which is one of the matters at heart here. When approaching mentally disturbed individuals, the current protocols for the NYPD leave both the individual and the police officer in excessive danger."

A spokeswoman for Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo said he would have no comment because of the ongoing litigation.

Fernando Ferrer, who was supported by Williamsburg chasidic leaders in the 2001 Democratic mayoral primary, won’t win any friends there this year with his opposition to the waterfront rezoning of Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

The plan allows for the creation of more than 10,000 new housing units, a third of which will be designated for affordable housing sorely needed in Williamsburg.

Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president and Democratic frontrunner in the mayoral race, blasted the plan Monday, saying it would cost the jobs of workers in the industrial areas to be rezoned residential.

Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg said the plan was "well thought-out by the administration, [the Department of] City Planning, the Council members and the community board."

Councilman David Yassky, who represents the area, added: "This will be a big step toward easing the housing shortage, which is particularly acute in the chasidic community because of the rapid growth of the community."

The affected areas are outside the chasidic bailiwick, but Jewish families are expected to compete for available units.

"Nothing is out of bounds these days, especially the waterfront," said Isaac Abraham, a community activist.

Rabbi Niederman noted that the city is offering relocation assistance for businesses affected by the change, which was to be formalized at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. The rabbi credited Ferrer with good intentions.

"This is an expression of concern for fellow citizens," he said.

Abraham said people in the community were not yet focused on the primary, but noted that Ferrer shouldn’t feel badly if someone else gets the endorsement of UJO leaders.

"It’s the kiss of death," he said. "Everyone in the last 15 years who got it lost."

Back in 1987, the Baby M case and Iran-Contra filled the news. "Married With Children" debuted on Fox. Margaret Thatcher was elected to her third term as Britain’s prime minister. And Congress passed a bill that led to the shutdown of the PLO mission in Washington.

Now Rep. Anthony Weiner, who was 22 at the time, is going back to the future, introducing his own bill to shutter the PLO office, which was reopened amid the optimism following the Oslo Accords in the early 1990s.

Weiner was moved to revive the bill when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas recently invited Islamic Jihad and Hamas to unite with the PLO. According to the Mideast Peace Commitment Act of 2002, the president is required to close down Palestinian offices in the United States if their leaders don’t get serious about peace.

"Every six months for the last four years the president has reported to Congress that the PA failed to live up to its commitments," Weiner said in a statement. "For all the talk about accountability, the president gave a free pass to the Palestinian leadership."

The issue is bound to resonate with pro-Israel voters in Weiner’s mayoral bid.

Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, a Democratic candidate for Manhattan borough president, is winning praise for her decision not to seek the Independence Party nomination, citing the recent reaffirmation of prior anti-Semitic comments by party bigwig Lenora Fulani.

"We agree with Ms. Moskowitz that it is truly sad that the Independence Party, once an eloquent voice of the people in this city, failed to condemn Dr. Fulani for her heinous anti-Semitic remarks," said Jeff Weisenfeld, co-president of the American Jewish Congress’ Metropolitan Region.

In an interview Moskowitz said she had an "informal conversation" with members of the party’s Manhattan chapter, where Fulani holds court, in the hopes that someone would denounce Fulani’s recent call for a discussion on whether Jews function as "mass murderers of people of color," as she wrote in 1989.

"I was just hoping to get some level of accountability," said Moskowitz. "I didn’t know how else to do that but to distance myself from the line.

"In a letter to Manhattan Independence chair Cathy Stewart, Moskowitz wrote, "It must be made clear that there is no place in the party for anti-Semitism. Only if that occurs can the party have the role in reforming our electoral system that both you and I would like it to have."

Makes you wonder why Moskowitz, who noted that she is on the Anti-Defamation League board and that her mother is a Holocaust survivor, ran with the help of Fulani’s chapter in previous bids for City Council.

On Wednesday the City Council was expected to debate a resolution brought by Lew Fidler (D-Brooklyn) condemning Fulani.