BY MARK HALLUM
Borough President Melinda Katz officially launched
her campaign for Queens District Attorney against
Councilman Rory Lancman and retired Judge Gregory
Lasak on Tuesday morning at MacDonald Park in
The news conference addressed topics of inequal-ity
in the justice system such as ending cash bail and
treating gun violence as a public health issue as well
as preventing recidivism.
“For far too long our system has allowed the wealthy
to pay for freedom while the poor who posed no danger
just sit in jail,” Katz said. “We must end the practice
of cash bail because the system penalizes poverty …
and has been extremely detrimental to communities
of color. It requires ending prosecution for low-level
marijuana arrests, it requires knowing that gun violence
needs a public health response.”
Katz pledged to take an aggressive approach to the
district attorney’s office, if elected. According to the cam-paign,
she would seek a “hard on hate” vigorous enforce-ment
of hate crime laws; a more vigorous prosecution
of rape, sexual assault and domestic and gender-based
violence; fighting for worksite accountability and worker
protections; and protecting elders from abuse.
After graduating from St. John’s School of Law,
Katz was an associate at a law firm before running for
State Assembly and later for City Council.
Her remarks, however, were punctuated by a lone
Amazon protestor who called attention to Katz’s wel-coming
22 DECEMBER 2018 I LIC COURIER I www.qns.com
attitude toward the online retail giant choosing
Long Island City as their HQ2.
“Melinda Katz is complicit in the Democratic Party
machine in looting the taxpayers, giving Amazon $1.5
billion when our infrastructure is falling apart,” Adam
Wilkes, the single protestor, said.
Wilkes was escorted away from the news conference
Community Affairs officers from the 112th Precinct.
Katz has supported Amazon moving space at An-able
Basin for the 25,000 jobs, half of which an
Amazon spokeswoman claims would not require a
tech background, but on the condition that they help
pay for transportation improvements.
Sitting DA Richard Brown has not officially thrown
his hat into the race for another re-election.
Brown, 86, has a long record as DA, having been
elected in 1991 and serving as a member of the New
York Judiciary for 18 years before that.
“I welcome Borough President Katz to the growing
field of career politicians running for District Attorney,”
Lasak said. “As the only non-politician in this race, I
look forward to putting my decades-long record of
fighting crime and freeing the innocent up against
Katz was re-elected as borough president in 2017,
and with the DA’s seat coming up for election in 2019,
could leave Borough Hall two years early should she
be the voter’s choice of top prosecutor.
If Katz wins, a special election would be declared
by Mayor Bill de Blasio within 45 days; the deputy
borough president would serve in the interim period
if a vacancy occurs in the borough president’s office.
Lancman made his official announcement for DA in
September also planning to make a “real transforma-tive
change in Queens.”
Photo by Mark Hallum
BP Melinda Katz announces run
for Queens DA