Likes Ulrich’s Vote
The announcement by Councilman Eric Ulrich that he will vote for Melissa Mark Viverito for Speaker of the City Council is welcome news. Allowing elected Council members to choose their own leaders without deals brokered by party leaders is a step toward a more responsible Council.
Since national Republicans, with the support of Tea Party activists, took control of the House of Representatives and gained U.S. Senate seats in 2010, their strategy has been to oppose and block presidential appointments, funds for Sandy rebuilding and paying U.S. bills that are due.
Republicans used to try to improve government. Theodore Roosevelt helped pass a Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Act. Republican Senate Leader Everett Dirksen helped pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Republican Bob Dole and Democrat George McGovern put together farm aid and food stamps in a law that lasted until 2013. Ronald Reagan and George Bush supported a path to citizenship for long term U.S. residents.
Now there are tens of thousands of New York (hundreds in Rockaway) residents punished by the failure of Congress to extend unemployment insurance and food stamps until our economy can provide jobs for everyone willing and able to work, immigration laws that prevent many of our most industrious residents from openly advancing in our economy, and even parts of the U.S. where local authorities change voter registration dates, and require long time voters to obtain expensive id cards in an effort to reduce the votes in selected communities. Representatives of rural communities, mostly Republicans block laws that would allow them to keep their hunting rifles, but make it much harder for NYC criminals to get guns to shoot each other and NYC police.
The NYC Council doesn't routinely deal with national issues. They have to ask the state legislature for authority to raise taxes to pay for pre-kindergarten classes. The State Senate will certainly check to see if the City Council supports this effort.
As the most telegenic NYC Republican, Councilman Eric Ulrich gets national attention. He was chosen to head Mitt Romney's NYC campaign. If he can speak up when national Repub- licans work against the interests of New York residents as Peter King did when Sandy aid was delayed, he can help end the gridlock in Congress. A symbolic vote for Speaker will be a very small drop in the bucket.