Saturday, August 05, 2006

Raj: "You Should Never Live In Fear"

From the Northeast Times:

Citing the skyrocketing number of shootings and the general rise in crime in the 15th Police District, Raj Bhakta hosted an emergency forum in Bridesburg last week.

Bhakta, the Republican candidate in the 13th Congressional District, said there is not enough police manpower in the district.

In Bhakta’s view, crime is responsible for the decline of many Northeast neighborhoods. He faults Mayor John Street for ignoring the woes in the Northeast.

"He’s happy to watch it go down the drain," he said.

Bhakta, who faces Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Libertarian candidate Chuck Moulton, hosted the forum at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2. He was joined by 15th Police District community relations officer Christine Murphy, Town Watch Integrated Services community support specialist Damian Padilla and longtime anti-drug and anti-crime crusader C.B. Kimmins.

Murphy told the overflow crowd, which was frustrated by the long response time by police, that officers are driving to one 911 call after another.

Padilla urged residents to join Town Watch, adding that his organization will train them to make 911 calls in such a way that the police will make their emergency a priority.

Kimmins agreed with Bhakta that there is a lack of police manpower. He encourages residents to become active in their community to show criminals that they don’t own the streets.

Bhakta, who addressed the group while standing on a chair, promised to fight for funding to add police officers and build prisons. He also favors providing Town Watch groups with money and empowering them to be more proactive in the fight against crime.

The candidate supports more undercover police work, additional foot patrols and greater use of bicycle cops. He wants any drug dealer convicted three times to be sentenced to life in prison.

"You should never live in fear," he told the audience.

In response to other questions, Bhakta vowed to fight to end Section 8 funding and expressed support for the Boy Scouts, who are being threatened with eviction from their city-owned headquarters for prohibiting gays from joining.

The challenger acknowledged that he has an uphill battle against the well-funded Schwartz, but asked residents to send him to Congress to address issues such as crime.

"Help me help you," he said.


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