By Eli Shapiro
If you are a resident of the Far Rockaway or Bayswater Jewish community, the name Pesach Osina and statement “special election February 19” should be stuck in your head like the line “I flip my latkes in the air sometimes” from that Maccabeats song from a couple of years back.
This election is serious business. Sure, there is the usual election concern about showing up as a bloc and demonstrating our power in numbers to the power brokers that pick apart the turnout for each election district, street by street, house by house, to see which neighborhoods are really active and which ones are not. And yes, the rumors candidate Jacques Leandre served as the defense counsel for the Nation of Islam and was a guest on the Sankofa Experience, a podcast hosted by Brian E. Muhammad, an advocate of the organization under the leadership of Louis Farrakhan, are absolutely true.
But the serious business of this election is the actual business of local government. Many people do not realize how much is financially at stake for our community should we fail to come out and vote Pesach Osina into office. Over the past five years, the 31st Council District was allocated over $30 million as part of the city budget for programming, services, and infrastructural development that was given out to agencies and organizations within the community. Leandre successfully siphoned $1.4 million of city funds for field improvements for his Rosedale Jets youth football team.
You probably did not notice such a significant amount of funds being poured into our community, because our institutions received less than 1% of those funds. Yes, you read correctly. Our community mosdos received less than 1% of the $30 million allocated for our district. It would seem only fair that since our community makes up approximately 12% of the district, we would see an equitable amount of funding for our community institutions and program, yet less than 1% is what we have actually received. Folks, we are the 1%. We have been the recipients of the 1% for far too long. It is time for our community to receive its fair share, and that will only happen with us coming out to vote for Pesach Osina.
Pesach Osina is a true public servant who is a hard worker getting things done and more often than not shying away from the limelight. In his own quiet way, Pesach has been one of the most impactful community leaders in recent years. Whether it was his work as an active board member of the Jewish Community Council (JCCRP), Far Rockaway Jewish Alliance, and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Pesach has been a real asset to the community. Most recently he started a Chanukah toy collection and distribution organization in Far Rockaway that provided toys to hundreds of needy families. In addition, Pesach has been instrumental in helping many yeshivos and mosdos deal with larger communal issues. Hatzalah was having difficulty with a utility that was being unresponsive; Pesach’s intervention led to swift action. He helped Ohel get necessary state permits in order to continue plans for a large fundraising event and has worked hand in hand with the JCC and Achiezer to assist whenever necessary with government action.
Pesach Osina is not your typical politician; he is a public servant with a track record of delivering for the community. In City Hall, Pesach will make sure our community is adequately represented and we get our fair share. Let’s make sure that on February 19 we help Pesach help us. v