31 Oct WHY EVERYONE LOVES COUNCILMAN CHAIM DEUTSCH
Name: Chaim Deutsch
Family: Wife- Sara, 5 children (Ages 11-27) & 2 grandchildren
Married: 28 years
Lives currently: in Midwood
Davens in: Sasregen and the JCC of Flatbush (Sheya Mendelowitz’s house)
Parents Grew up in: Romania, father survived three concentration camps and then came to America.
Founded the Flatbush Shomrim Safety Patrol over 26 years ago in response to rising crime rates.
He was the first vice president and police liaison for the Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush (COJO)
Running for: New York City Councilman in the 48th district
48th District Includes: parts of Midwood, Sheepshead Bay, Homecrest, Gravesend, Manhattan Beach, Brighton Beach, Trump Village, Luna Park
Elected to the 48th Council District for his First term: November 5, 2013
Succeeded on the City Council: Democrat Mike Nelson
VUES: What is the job of a councilman?
Chaim Deutsch: To help my constituents tackle the problems they face in their everyday lives, and to navigate the City’s bureaucratic system so that they don’t have to.
VUES: Is there a term limit?
CV: Yes, two 4 year terms.
VUES: What is the hardest part about the job?
CV: To me, it’s not about what’s the hardest, it’s about what is the most rewarding and that’s helping people. If you’re not going to be proactive and persistent with the city’s agencies and the issues that affect your constituents, then at the end of the day you’re not going to be successful. Every single issue that people call, email, or come into my office about, is important to me. If it’s important enough for someone to reach out to me, then it’s important enough for me that that issue is resolved.
VUES: What is the best part of the job?
CV: When I accomplish and I am able to successfully help someone. For example, I am the Chair of the Nonpublic Schools Subcommittee and it’s really meaningful to me because I am able to use that position to help people who reach out to me with concerns about their children. I’m able to get quick and effective results for parents of special needs or special education students that need that extra influence.
VUES: What are the three biggest accomplishments of your first term?
CV: There are so many successes that we have had all across the district.
1) In Midwood: Before I was elected, we had sewer backups from the rain and ineffective sewer drainage. I was able to secure over 14 million dollars specifically for Midwood to repair our infrastructure. We will soon be rolling out a program for private homeowners to receive backflow preventer that stops sewer backups and can save residents thousands in damages. I was also able to announce that we are making vital upgrades to our electrical system here in Midwood, that will prevent those service interruptions that many residents experience during the summer.
2) In the waterfront area, we were able to secure 20 million dollars to wholly rebuild sections of the district that were damaged by Sandy. I also worked closely with the Governor’s office to advocate for several million dollars to improve resiliency and install backflow preventers.
Several parts of my district were also still suffering from the effects of Sandy with power outages and brownouts. Working with Con Edison, we were able to launch a massive, millions of dollars project to successfully repair the problem.
3) I collaborated with the NYPD to pass legislation and design an online portal for motorists involved in a collision to obtain a copy of the accident report, saving time for officers and drivers across the city. Previously someone involved in an accident would have to walk into the stationhouse to obtain the report, sometimes having to take the time out to make several visits. The portal can be accessed at: www.Collisionreport.nypdonline.org.
4) I’m proud to have the endorsement of all five police unions, because I have a very good partnership with the NYPD. I represent three precincts out of 77 in all of NYC, and I am proud that the ones I represent have had the highest reduction in crime. Reducing crime is a collaboration, and that’s why the Police Commissioner brought back a neighborhood policing program called “Neighborhood Coordination Officers” (NCOs). They are really helpful in tackling quality of life issues, and I’m really happy to announce that by the middle of January, all three of my precincts will have NCO officers (currently two out of the three do).
VUES: What are the top 3 items on your agenda for this upcoming term?
CV: One of the main problems across the city, just like in my district, is congestion. Just recently I went to a vort at Kamenetzs on Avenue N and East 19th street and I had to drive around the block for 15 minutes looking for parking. When I walked in, there were over 400 people at the vort. Can you imagine how much congestion there was for all those people too if they were also driving around the block 15 times looking for parking? 1) We need to expand parking- I have expanded parking by over 45 percent in some parts of my district like Avenue P between East 23rd and East 27th street. I changed it from parallel parking to angle parking. There are other parts of my district where I have done this also. 2) I was also able to add the Shabbos meters – the four hour parking allows people to put in enough money before Shabbos so that they can leave their car there for Shabbos. 3) One thing I’m advocating is changing the sequence of lights to help with traffic patterns. 4) We also do not have enough traffic control officers- we have too many people giving summons, but not enough people directing traffic. I’ve already brought in traffic control officers in some busy intersections in my district to keep the traffic flowing, but we need to expand this.
VUES: Many people do not like the muni-meters that are on the main Avenues. There are many issues with them. Has this been addressed?
CD: I brought up this issue and we now have an app that allows people to pay from their phones. I’m hoping that as more people use the app, it will become easier. (It’s called ParkNYC)
VUES: Is there anything that can be done about the 25 mile per hour laws on major thoroughfares throughout Brooklyn? That seems like a very low speed limit.
CD: Well, technically you won’t get a camera summons unless you are going more than nine miles above the speed limit. One reason for the low speed limit is safety – we have a lot of seniors in this district and in Southern Brooklyn. That being said, I think that it could be helpful to slightly increase the speed limit on major thoroughfares like Ocean Parkway, and I’ve introduced a bill in the City Council to accomplish that. Though Ocean Parkway is not in my district, many of my constituents drive on it, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to advocate for the change. But again, safety must come first. Experts say that a person is more likely to be killed when hit by a car going 35 mph instead of 25 mph.
VUES: How many Jewish politicians are there in the City Council?
CD: We have fourteen members of the Jewish Caucus.
VUES: Do you encounter a lot of antisemitism on the job?
CD: While dealing with the sub-committee I Chair for nonpublic schools, when it comes to issues dealing with funding yeshivas, there are always those in the City Council who are against it. I do everything in my own quiet way and I get results. Having the committee is one of the most important things that I do. When a parent or a yeshiva calls me up, it’s results that matter.
VUES: You seem to have a good relationship with the Mayor. Did you think he did a good job in his first term and what would you like him to do in his second term, if elected, to help you and your constituents?
CD: I am a conservative Democrat and I often agree to disagree with the policies of the City Council or the Mayor. However, it’s important to have a good relationship with the administration because it’s about getting the best possible services for my constituents. I have a relationship with the members of the City Council and they often partner with me on things that are important for my district. And I know that when I need to advocate for my constituents, they are with me.
VUES: There aren’t many politicians out there who everyone seems to love. It seems everyone loves you. What’s your secret?
CD: Growing up, my parents were Holocaust survivors and we didn’t have much. It was difficult to make ends meet. Being that my father was a chef, he was able to cook inexpensive food, like spaghetti, and make it taste like steak. I grew up with my three siblings in a two bedroom apartment. My parents couldn’t afford tuition, even back then, and paying the rent was difficult, so I understand the struggles people have each and every day. I have been doing public service and community service for the last twenty five years and I know what it is to navigate and to get the job done. I sleep with my phone 24/6.
VUES: Is there anything else that you would like to tell readers of the Vues?
CD: As a father and grandfather, my highest priority is to ensure that our streets continue to be some of the safest in the city. As crime rates continue to drop, I remain committed to supporting law enforcement as they endeavor to keep our community safe- for your family, and for mine. Please go out on Tuesday, November 7th and vote for me so that we can continue our partnership to keep our district safe for our children and grandchildren. Thank you!
CHAIM DEUTSCH FUN FACTS
If you weren’t a politician you’d … I’d be working for the VUES
Languages spoken: English, Yiddish, and Spanish
Hobbies: I really enjoy being able to help people. There’s nothing like the satisfaction of resolving a problem!
Favorite Gemara: Baba Metzia
Favorite Jewish Singer: I can’t give a solid answer. Whomever Sheya Mendlowitz has at his house.
Favorite Restaurant: T-Fusion
Cooking Specialty: An Awesome Lamb Chulent
If you could invite 3 dinner guests, let’s say for a Friday night
Shabbos meal, anyone from the beginning of time, who would you invite? It could be anyone in Tanach, a Rebbie of yours, a politician, relatives, a person known in sports or music, etc.
I usually have people come to me who don’t have a place for Shabbos dinner, so I’d take two of those people and Alan Hirsch if he’d want to come to me.