Since when do laws come down to a single person


Andrew Cohen has been looking toward the future for a long time. Whether it’s a future that turns him into Judge Andrew Cohen or Bronx borough president Andrew Cohen, it’s been clear for quite a while now that he’s more than ready to move on from Councilman Andrew Cohen.

It’s rare for us to use this space to respond to letters to the editor. That’s because letters are your space, even Councilman Cohen’s. At the same time, it’s nearly impossible for us to ignore letters that ultimately make news, like Cohen’s did last week.

In that letter, Cohen expressed support to remove a key Special Natural Area District provision designed to provide oversight over any activity that could jeopardize the environmental elements of our neighborhoods. While there are certainly good arguments for and against such a provision, Cohen took an unusual approach to frame his argument not on the merits of the law, but how it might affect the work of one person — Community Board 8 land use chair Charles Moerdler.

Cohen described Moerdler’s  approach to property owners seeking to modify land within SNAD as one replete with “cartoonish tirades.” Cohen described the CB8 oversight as nothing more than a grab for power.

But what a strange way to formulate a stance on something. Change a law because of how one man — who will not be there forever — works to enforce that law. Since when were laws contingent on how a single person enforces it? Is this how the councilman approaches all laws?

Last March, Cohen joined Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz in penning a letter on this very page passive aggressively addressing how this newspaper was holding the CB8 chair accountable. In that letter, the two went to great lengths to talk about how the chair was just a volunteer, who had no aspirations for higher political office.

But what is Moerdler? Isn’t he a volunteer? At 84, is he really seeking higher political office? How is his service any different from the current CB8 chair?

After a long and distinguished legal career, we’re sure Moerdler does not want for money. But his service to this community is still that of a volunteer.

And Andrew Cohen? As a city councilman, he makes $148,500 a year. Borough president makes $160,000. Supreme Court judges make $208,000.

Charles Moerdler may have to work on his people skills, but Andrew Cohen needs to be reminded that laws are designed to outlast people, and that our well-paid elected officials shouldn’t make decisions on those laws based primarily on issues they have with a single person.


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