2001-10-20 / Letters

Who Gets To Debate?

Who Gets To Debate?

Dear Editor:

This letter was sent to the Forum, however, given Mr. McLoughlin's political support for Ms. Ariola and the
fact that my last letter to the Forum obviously so ruffled Mr. McLoughlin's and Ms. Adams' feathers that
I merited an editorial devoted solely to my opinions (my response to that editorial was not printed, but I
am giving them the benefit of the doubt since it was sent at a time when current events were far more
important than my opinions) I doubt that it will be printed there.  Therefore, I hope that the Wave
considers this letter worthy of printing.
This letter is in response to a letter from Chris Biscione that appeared in the Oct. 11th issue of a mainland paper which commented upon a quote attributed to Joe Addabbo in yet another mainland paper in which he basically said Joanne Ariola had not spoken at any candidate's forums. He went on to say that as a result he did not know her platform.

  The writer of that letter, a Mr./Ms. Biscione is certainly entitled to his/her opinion, however most of us know that opinions based upon fact are usually far more valid. I attended a number of local candidate debates and forums. Ariola appeared to speak at none of the ones I attended. In Biscione's letter it was stated "Joe, you know as well as I do that the debates and forums you are referring to were for the Democratic candidates only, for the primary".  If that statement is true, then perhaps Biscione could explain why it was that Curran, not a Democratic Primary candidate, and Baxter, also not a Democratic Primary candidate took part in most debates and candidate forums? 

In fact, at the debate held in Breezy Point at St. Thomas More, Baxter, Ariola's opponent in the Independence Party Primary (which the Forum, in an article written by Ariola supporter John McLoughlin, erroneously reported that Ms. Ariola won when in fact, she lost that Primary to Baxter and the Forum has not seen fit to correct that error or others that appeared in the same article.), particularly pointed out Ariola's absence. 

All of the candidates except Ariola spoke at the Citizens Union debate held at Beach Channel High School.  All of the candidates except Ariola spoke at the Community Board 9 candidates' night in Ozone Park.

The City Council is a public position. Public debate of public issues takes place in public places. The fact is that Ariola has been noticeably absent from those public places and from those public debates and meetings not just now during the election season, but throughout the last few years. 

When she worked for Councilman Stabile and was on the public payroll she showed up in public but she hasn't been there since. One conclusion that can be drawn from that fact is that perhaps she prefers the back rooms of politics and the games of political campaigns more than the open debate of ideas and issues. 

Articles in last week's issues of the Forum and the Wave in regard to the DEP sewage/bay issue clearly point to that preference. Perhaps Ariola would document her attendance and what she said, as a citizen not as a city employee, at any meeting or public hearing in the past four years at which issues related to that sewer plant were openly discussed? Her opinions are noted in those articles, but her efforts toward finding solutions for the ongoing issues relating to Jamaica Bay and its problems are not documented.


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