Siding with Mayor Eric Adams, frustrated merchants urged Gov. Hochul and the Albany legislature to roll back the controversial no-cash bail law to put more repeat offenders and other dangerous criminals behind bars.
The spike in crime coupled with the coronavirus pandemic has been a double whammy hammering small businesses, the Big Apple small business owners said Thursday.
“We’re in trouble. So Gov. Hochul, Speaker [Carl] Heastie, Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, majority leader, please rollback the bail reform,” Phil Wong, president of the Chinese-American Citizens Alliance, said during a Lower East Side rally.
“Listen to Eric Adams, have a special session and discuss it and talk about it. … You cannot just ignore it. This is the data. People getting shot and killed, robbing. That’s your data. Read it,” he said.
In a symbolic show of support, the rally was held outside Bel Fries, the eatery on Ludlow Street that was trashed last month by thugs following a dispute over the cost of dipping sauce.
Frank Garcia, the head of the National Association of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, said the city’s small business owners are so upset that they’re ready to ditch Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul in favor of Republican challenger, Rep. Lee Zeldin, in the November election for governor.
“Our members are fed up and willing to vote against the governor. I’m afraid she will lose the Latino vote if she does not reach out to us after this,” Garcia said.
“Zeldin wanted to be here today, he personally called, but couldn’t make it.”
Participants brought up the bodega worker Jose Alba, who was initially charged with murder for stabbing a threatening assailant to death in an act of self defense. The charges were later dropped by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg following a firestorm of criticism sparked in part by The Post’s coverage.
Hochul, during an unrelated Albany press conference, said she and the legislature will not revisit the bail law this year. She said she wanted to see how judges use revisions made to the bail law earlier this year giving them more discretion to detain recidivist criminals and defendants who have a history of gun violence.
“I’m willing to revisit everything, but let’s see whether or not the system can start functioning the way we intended,” Hochul told reporters.
“The legislature meets again next January and by that time we’ll be able to assess the real impact of our changes,” she added.
Reform enacted in 2019 stripped judges of the ability to post bail or detain defendants charged with most non-violent felony or misdemeanor crimes. The objective was to bar detaining the accused simply because they were poor and could not afford to post cash bail.
But critics said the law led to unintended consequences, such as defendants with long long rap sheets of committing prior crimes ending up back on the streets to prey on more victims.
Adams, citing NYPD data, said on Wednesday that a small group of just 10 career criminals was allowed to run amok across the Big Apple and rack up nearly 500 arrests after New York approved bail reform — and most of them are still out on the streets.