2013-05-17 / Columnists

Commentary On Things Present

An Immodest Proposal
Commentary By Peter Stubben

There is legislation presently before the New York City Council to grant voting privileges to non-citizens. That’s right, it is proposed that immigrants living in New York City should be able to vote in NYC elections. Can you believe this? It may be against the Constitution and illegal in every state, in every city and in every municipality, but a majority of NYC Councilmembers, they say, are backing this proposal.

Lightning always strikes from on high, not from the ground up - and sometimes that’s how bureaucracies and governments work too. You leave your car parked on a Rockaway street for five minutes after midnight and - guaranteed! - you’ll be ticketed. Yet, for two long years now Danny Ruscillo and Glenn DiResto have been begging NYPD for security cameras (cameras already paid for and appropriated by Audrey Pheffer two years ago when she repped Rockaway in the State Assembly) to be placed on some especially violent intersections here in Rockaway. One Police Plaza though has been stalling for two years, and yammering about improper language and other nonsensical bureaucratic nonsense. All Manhattan’s streets are lined with these security cameras.

Yet, yet, there’s a word or two wrong with the official language in the Rockaway proposal/project - the bureaucrats say - so they can not yet authorize the installation of these cameras for Rockaway. A parked car after midnight is one thing, but security cameras to deter, prevent, and prosecute violent crime - proposed from below - is another. And I DO NOT mean to finger NYPD because they are one of NYC’s greatest agencies and the most respected police department in the world.

When Sadik-Khan (Commissioner, NYC DOT) decided Rockaway needed bike lanes, in one weekend DOT painted every roadway on the Peninsula to designate these official bike paths...in one weekend! But a traffic light - proposed from below - on Cronston Avenue for instance, and Queens DOT will tell you they need to do a one-year traffic study to analyze traffic patterns etc., etc., and then maybe they’ll get back to you. Surrounding the new Goldman Sachs building downtown there are three - that’s 3 - sets of traffic lights on two - that’s 2 - dead-end streets. How can you justify three sets of traffic lights on two dead-end streets...how would that work here in Rockaway, or anywhere in Queens for that matter?

Lightning bolts from the top down strike regularly when NYC is open for business. A bar in Bay Ridge that caters to British Isle expats advertises for a bartender with Brit roots and they get a $2,500 fine for discrimination; and they are told if they dare to seek remedy in court, the fine will be boosted to $7,500 or more.

Ask any NYC shopkeeper about litter fines...trash, litter, newspapers may be blowing up and down the block, but if there’s a tissue in front of their storefront, boom $100 to $300 fines by the sanitation police.

Increasingly, from the top down - and the greatest worry of the Founders & Framers 224 years ago - is the now selfjustified role of NYC leadership to restrict the rights and privileges of the US Constitution. A ‘Three Cheers for the Nanny State editorial recently run in The New York Times to justify these ‘takings’. Diet pontifications are one thing, but witness the gun issue. NYC is not Cleveland, is not Chicago, is not New Orleans, is not Oakland. NYC’s homicide rate is far, far below those cities...not because we have fewer illegal guns here in NYC, but because NYPD - under Bill Bratton - took the proactive policy to prevent, not just respond to, crime. ‘Stop, Question and Frisk’ is wildly successful and the #1 reason that Chicago drug dealers brazenly and randomly kill innocents WEEKLY right on the street, and in New York they do not; and why the murder rates of New Orleans and Oakland are twice NY’s. Yet, Council wants to eliminate ‘Stop, Question and Frisk’ and pass more gun-control legislation. As Marco Rubio has said, “It’s a violence issue, not a gun issue.” But better to restrict a provision of the US Constitution on all New Yorkers rather than be proactive in the crime ridden and crime infested areas of the City...this they think! The New York City Council is composed of 51 electeds...47 of whom are Democrats and 4(!) are Republicans. Last week they debated legislation to circumvent the 14th Amendment... an amendment that guarantees to all born and naturalized citizens the right to vote. This proposed legislation would not dilute citizenry, it would NEGATE citizenry.

We elect our representatives to guide us, to secure us and to lead us. Non-citizens would naturally vote their special interests which could EASILY be contrary to the nation’s interests.

Not bound by the US Constitution and her 27 amendments, votes by noncitizens will negate citizen votes. We are a nation of the self-governed...a theory much despised and untested in the course of civilization until 1776, and now proven to be the world’s single greatest contribution to freedom and prosperity.

The NYC Council now proposes to tamper with our self-governance: the ballot box.

If by any chance you’re keeping score, Rockaway’s Councilman Donovan Richards (212-788-7216) supports this legislation and Rockaway’s Councilman Eric Ulrich (212-788-7069) opposes this legislation. The legislation is known as: #0410-2010... A local law to allow immigrants lawfully present in New York City to vote in Municipal elections.

Change can be good - Catastrophe is not. I hope you keep this immodest proposal in mind.

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