Queens sets a notoriously low bar for its elected officials. Many have been convicted of serious crimes committed while they were in office. But there should be some standard below which the voters should not go.
We suggest drawing the line at arson. That’s the charge that Jeff Gottlieb, then a teacher at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside, was hit with in late 1971. He pleaded guilty to criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, but the fact is he took some gasoline and set his apartment on fire. It was in a multi-family building. Outside of random gunfire, you could hardly think of an act showing a more callous disregard for human life. Luckily, no one was hurt, according to sources who spoke to the New York Post, which broke the story Sunday.
Gottlieb, who lives in Flushing, served no prison time, took a couple months off from teaching, was treated at a psychiatric hospital and returned to work the next school year.
Now he’s running for the 6th Congressional District in a fierce primary, one of six Democratics in the running. His supporters should ask themselves if he’s really the candidate they want to back. People can change, but purposely setting a building on fire is just too reckless an act to ignore.