Common Sense: Counseling the Council

For a political columnist, the New York City Council is truly the gift that keeps on giving.  Just in the past week, we had a Democratic councilmember who questioned how so many Asians were getting into public housing, another Democratic councilmember who created such a commotion for being ticketed for crossing between subway cars that the police had to take his telephone away, and the announcement that the Council’s Democratic leadership was giving strong consideration to legalizing non-citizen voting in city elections. Yes, it was a true banner week for the City Council.

The non-citizen voting proposal should be of concern to New Yorkers who are citizens and vote.  This would add legal aliens (essentially green card holders, although possibly several other smaller categories) to the pool of potential registrants and as such voters for New York City municipal elections. These elections include mayor, City Council, public advocate, and city comptroller as well as borough presidents.

You would be allowed to register in a political party, but only for the purpose of voting in a party primary for the previously mentioned public office. Inasmuch as party leadership primaries as well as special elections for non-city offices can be held on the same days as regular municipal elections and primaries, you would have two separate groups being allowed to vote but not in all the same elections. This would cause massive confusion and likely lead to fraud.

Additionally, the whole concept of non-citizen voting dilutes the value of voting for citizens who exist in a relationship with the government and their neighbors that goes beyond that of individuals who have as yet not completed the transition into a status of American citizen, which conveys in itself a number of rights and responsibilities.

Put another way, non -citizens are by definition not citizens and as such should not be considered citizens for the purposes of voting, which is the ultimate American democratic right. It is a right that is the foundation upon which our very system of governing is based.

You earn your citizenship through a time in residence and an appreciation and understanding of our laws and history, which is tested prior to one being sworn in as a citizen. And then you are allowed to register and hopefully exercise your right to vote.

The City Council should shelve this proposal and concentrate its efforts on ways to increase enrollment and turnout of New Yorkers who are actual American citizens. On any block in Bay Ridge or Dyker Heights, a third of the residents are not enrolled to vote. In other communities it is worse.

And of those who are enrolled, often less than 20 percent turn out on Election Day for city elections. Thus, in many cases, under 15 percent of the “citizens” are choosing those who determine our policies and write our laws.


The Bay Ridge St Patrick’s Day Parade was its usual great success. The viewing crowd was large, and the parade itself big with lots of bands, pipers and organizations. I marched with my Conservative Party club as we have in almost all of the previous parades.

It was good to see State Senator Marty Golden, Congressional candidate Dan Donovan and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis receiving the cheers of the crowd as they walked along the route shaking the hands of many a parade-goer along the way.

State Senator Marty Golden’s wife Colleen, a major community activist in her own right, was a deputy grand marshal as was Republican Party Vice Chairperson Tom McCarthy.

Later that afternoon, Dan Donovan opened his campaign office to an overflow crowd of volunteers and press at 9715 Third Avenue with Malliotakis, Golden, Joe Lhota, John Catsimatidis, Mike Long, upstate Congressmember Gibson and myself in attendance.


The Conservative Party’s forum on domestic terrorism, which was led by Joe Connor and focused on the story of his father Frank Connor, who was murdered by FALN terrorists in the bombing of Fraunces Tavern in 1975, was an informative as well as emotional evening.

Joe spoke of the event which occurred when he and his siblings were young children, their lives as a family following the murder, and their ongoing attempts for justice, which include the need to oppose parole and amnesties for the terrorists and the return of those who fled to Cuba.

This event was an important reminder that time does not heal all wounds and justice reversed is not justice.

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