Southern Brooklyn

In Flubbed Campaign Lit, Assembly Candidate Says Crime Is Up In The “Negrohood”


YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: State Assembly candidate Ben Akselrod is likely a little red in the face today, after thousands of mailers went out to Democratic voters in the 45th Assembly District saying that crime is up in the “negrohood.”

In an inset in the mailers, received by most in the area yesterday, Akselrod takes aim at his incumbent opponent, Steven Cymbrowitz, for “allowing” crime to rise in the confines of the 61st Precinct.

The inset reads as follows:

I am running for Assembly because I believe the number 1 job of that office is to keep the community safe. The current assemblyman has allowed crime to go up over 50% in our  negrohood so far this year. I am fighting for video cameras throughout our community to protect our seniors who are the most vulnerable and cut down on anti-semitic attacks in our community. I will also make sure the mayor gives our community more police to patrol our streets. [sic] (emphasis added)

According to the latest CompStat report issued by the 61st Precinct, the command has seen a 43.71 percent increase in crime so far this year, not “over 50%.” In the 60th Precinct, a portion of which is also in the 45th Assembly District, crime has gone up only 6.96 percent.

It’s not the inaccuracy of the numbers, however, that has spurred dozens of readers to contact Sheepshead Bites – it’s the flub in calling the neighborhood a “negrohood.”

The campaign literature also includes a photo of Akselrod standing alone in front of the 61st Precinct, a claim that Cymbrowitz is “planning to raise his pay again after the election,” and a beaming testimonial from Akselrod’s mother-in-law.

Some readers have asked if the “negrohood” mention is a typo, a Freudian slip, a joke, or even outright sabotage of his campaign. Regardless, the incident builds on the discriminatory campaign rhetoric from the Akselrod camp.

Last week, Sheepshead Bites reported on interviews Akselrod gave to the Russian-language newspaper, The Reporter, and Brooklyn Daily, in which he spread misleading information about the backers of the Voorhies Avenue mosque. In what appeared to be an attempt to stoke anti-Muslim sentiments in the neighborhood, he claimed the mosque is connected to a group that was “outlawed” in the U.S., and that Muslims’ attempts to build a local house of worship is a “provocative demonstration.”

He similarly criticized legislation Cymbrowitz voted for:

“[Students are] being taught alternative lifestyles,” Akselrod stated at his campaign announcement in May. “I strongly object to the subjects being taught in school. We deserve to raise our children with the values that we cherish. We should be able to do what is right for us.”

The statement echoed a claim from Cymbrowitz’s previous opponent, Orthodox Jewish Republican Joseph Hayon, who described the bill as requiring schools to “teach Kindergarten children to ‘tolerate’ or sanctify same-gender relationships.”

The bill Hayon and Akselrod refer to is the “Dignity For All Students Act,” passed in 2010, to protect students from harassment and discrimination. The bill establishes mechanisms for schools to report and address discrimination and harassment based on race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, gender and – the one that Hayon and now Akselrod have focused on – sexual orientation. The legislation also issued a broad mandate to school regents to develop instruction in “civility, citizenship and character education.”

Private and religious schools are exempted in the bi-partisan bill, which passed the Assembly 138-to-four, and has not yet been implemented.

We’ve reached out to the Akselrod campaign for comment, and will update this story when we hear back.

The Democratic primary election between Cymbrowitz and Akselrod takes place on Thursday, September 13.

Here is the full campaign flier:

Comment policy


  1. I don’t see how a typo can get one from neighborhood to “negrohood’ …  this seems very strange.  is anyone sure this mailer came from the candidate?  hs teh candidate made any comment on this mailer or the supposed typo?

  2. I don’t think the annoyingly frustrating auto correct could change neighborhood into negrohood.  Either way joining the word “negro” and “hood” isn’t a good thing. 

  3. Dumb:  Flub my ass! Someone read this before it was distributed and thought it was OK to leave it as is.
    And dumber: The insinuation that his incumbent opponent, Steven Cymbrowitz, is responsible for “allowing” crime to rise in the confines of the 61st Precinct.
    This guys’ Brooklyn’s Todd Akin.

  4. It would if he used it frequently enough that he added it to his user dictionary, but that would mean that he is using the term “negrohood” often enough to add it to his user dictionary. Also, does Akselrod not have any friends to proofread for him? Is that why the only person he got to support him in the mailer was his mother-in-law?

  5. The fact that your blog does not report that Cymbrowitz refuses to debate Akselrod and you do a entire story on a printers typo tells the reader of your blog how much in the bag for the incumbent you are.  Why don’t you sponsor a debate rather than print the assemblyman’s press releases which you have been doing all along.

  6. We might sponsor debates in the future, but don’t have the capacity to do it at the moment. We did it once – in fact, it was the first blog-hosted debate in NYC – but it was a strain and not an ideal situation at all.

    As for publishing press releases, we have published a grand total of three from Cymbrowitz since Akselrod announced his campaign – and not one of them had to do with campaign issues. One regarded ongoing complaints surrounding a local car wash (an issue that predated the campaign), the second a letter to DA Hynes, the third about a bi-partisan bill he, Storobin and several other local elected helped pass and all of whom were credited. All three were newsworthy events that had nothing to do with the campaign.

    As for the press release from Akselrod, not only was it campaign specific, but we learned during the Storobin-Fidler debate fiasco to double check this stuff. And the release showed a poor understanding of how a debate works, with Akselrod listing the questions he planned to ask Cymbrowitz. At most political debates, questions are asked only by an objective moderator.

    Lastly, we have published information about Cymbrowitz in the past that did not always put him in the best light, and we published them because they were important, factual and newsworthy. Perhaps it’s your own bias blocking this out.

  7. I agree that may be the case Guest, but did no one from Akselrod campaign look over the flyer after printing and before mailing?  That is a rookie error and he deserves to stay in “negrohood” of “Sheephead Bay” and not be sent to Albany.  

  8. You have to admit, that typo was the sugar-coating on the cake. Don’t hate.

    Besides, there’s a vast array of news from both (and all) worlds, I have read SHB forever and not once did any of Ned’s articles even insinuated favoritism or bias of any kind. Like he said, if its newsworthy, he’s going to make people know about it.

    It appears you aren’t much of a SHB reader, you should stick around. Statistics would show SHB readers are far more knowledgeable in community-affairs and local-nuclear information than the average residents. 

    So hope you stick around, welcome to the negrohood. 🙂

  9. I didn’t even bother to read it.  I just tore it up and threw that piece of trash. Most probably never heard of him anyway.

    As for Cybrowitz, I am not to happy about him either.  He seems to be favoring the Russians here, instead of focusing on the Americans.  That is wrong.  If he wants my
    vote again, he had better change his tune.

  10. First comment here? I think you haven’t established the credibility yet that entitles you to make such accusations. At any rate, you appear to be the one “in the bag” for Akselrod.

    Maybe you’re not getting sufficient air. Get someone to poke a few holes in the bag, you might think a lot clearer.

  11. looking more at this flyer’s language: what kind of jobs are “creat” jobs? and are the “coops” being reformed for pigeons or chickens? 

  12.  Unfortunately, you’re wrong. I’m a Russian speaking voter. Cymbrowitz is not listening to anyone. He does not submit any bills on behalf of his voters. He does not care about working class. The only he is talking is about Medicaid, public housing, etc. By personal behavior, he is arrogant; he is feeling being above voters not serving them. Honestly, I’m going to elect even a monkey just not Cymbrowitz.

  13. I’m residing at this AD-45. We have Cymbrowitz for I guess 10 years. I have never heard about any of his bills benefiting people inside of his district. Other electeds are fighting their constituents rights, organizing rallies, etc. Who has ever heard Cymbrowitz? Nobody. So, he is nobody. Anyone other the Cymbrowitz would be better then him. I do not care what party Cymbrowitz’s opponent belongs to. Just not Cymbrowitz. It’s better to have this seat vacant.

  14. Democrats are showing their stripes.  No doubt, from Biden to 
    Akselrod.  Birdsd of a feather.  Wake up America.  Democrats ARE the true racists.

  15. the whole thing looks like a parody. There is a school of thought that the young orthodox woman running against Kevin Parker is a fake – an art project or something. Maybe this guy is too…

  16. I am  a Russian as well. Cymbrowitz does not care about Russians. He cares about one particular group that gets money from him and gives him back. Cymbrowitz talks about Russians because he belives that they will buy his BS and vote for him. Dream on

  17. I haveto stick up for Ned too. The poster named “Peter” is either a ringer for the other side or just misinformed. I was never too impressd by Cymbro., but since I live in Helene “Rip Van Winkle” Weinstein’s district, I don’t get a vote, literally or figuratively. The next big show in my part of the Bay I think will involve Simcha Felder and my current State Senator, Dave Strohbin(sp?) Or can soemone tell me if Simcha has a Democratic Prmary next month? Does anyone care??

  18. The Right wingers seem to be full of misanthropic malapropisms lately. First “legitimate rape” from that madman from Missouri and now some idiot with cottage cheese for brains disses our nabe. They say Joe Biden has foot and mouth disease? 

  19. Ned, please quote the statute that exempts Yeshivas from Education Law 801-a, which was amended with the Dignity for All Students Act.

  20. The negrohood is usually patrolled by an auto-correction officer, so I’m not really sure what may have happened in this case (be it upper or lower).

  21. LOL @ blaming Cymbrowitz for the crime in this area.  Ben Akselrod is lashing out, since, he has nothing else he can say against Cymbrowitz.  Wonder what rock this Akselrod crawled out of.  Go the the captain of the police precinct and tell him your concerns.

    You don’t deserve to be an assemblyman in this district.  Cybrowitz is doing a decent job.
    I do not like the fact that is he KISSING UP TO THE RUSSIANS, while neglecting the
    people who were born in the USA and have worked all their lives.  Do something for them.

  22. has this candidate or anyone from his campaign made any kind of statement with regard to that extremely ummm unfortunate ‘typo’ ?

  23. Thank you, Anon.

    Joseph – it’s plainly stated in Article 2, section 17 of the bill: Moreover, even a cursory glance at the text of the bill, the bill’s summary, and the attached memo of the bill makes very – VERY – clear that this is a bill targeting a perceived problem in PUBLIC schools. In Section 10, which describes the intent of the legislation, every mention of the word “school” is preceded by “public.” And even the definition of “school property” is given as “LAND CONTAINED WITHIN THE REAL PROPERTY BOUNDARY LINE OF A PUBLIC ELEMENTARY OR SECONDARY SCHOOL.”Finally, Mr. Hayon, regardless of whether this is applicable to public or private schools, your very characterization of this bill been misleading and hateful. During your 2010 campaign, I listened as you spoke to a group and told them that your opponent at the time, Assembymember Cymbrowitz, voted for a law mandating that schools teach kindergartners about gay lifestyles. That is a really twisted interpretation of this bill, which mandates simply that an age-appropriate curriculum of tolerance be taught to kids. There is nothing that specifies that they must address the lifestyles, cultures, habits or otherwise of any particular group.I don’t know about you, but when I was in elementary school I remember being taught tolerance in a very simple fashion. The teacher separated us into groups by hair color, then further down by eye color, then something else entirely benign until just one or two students stood apart from the rest, showing to the class how arbitrary distinctions between people can make cause feelings of alienation.The kind of gross distortion you and others make of this law can lead a rational person to only a few conclusions – that you are either callous and thoughtless in your reading, or that you care little for the facts and are happy to exploit anti-gay sentiments for your political gain.And before I hear the old cry of “bias,” let me make clear that I don’t care what political stripe you are. My only bias is towards the factual and against the fabricated – and on this issue, you’re representing the latter.

  24. Errrrr….at the risk of offending the Politically Correct but Deliberately Factually Challenged – who IS committing crimes in the area? Or aren’t we supposed to notice?

    “Negrohood” – a brilliant new meme is born!

  25. “Some readers have asked if the ‘negrohood’ mention is a typo, a Freudian slip, a joke, or even outright sabotage of his campaign.”
        Man, it’s great to be a Democrat. That you’re racist or an idiot isn’t even one of the multiple choice options! In fairness, though, the guy can’t even spell his own name properly. It’s Axelrod. hahaha

  26. That was not a “typo”. It was deliberately done! How can a typist leave out so many letters from a word? Neighborhood! The person left out the i…h…and b…then put the  r in front of the o. Mistake? No! Intentionally? Yes!

  27. My first thought was “Sabotage.” No way is that an auto-correct artifact, and only someone with an enormously overdeveloped Will-To-Believe could think it was a Freudian slip.


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