Friday, June 24, 2011
The Democratic-controlled Assembly has already approved the Senate's version earlier this evening, so it is now expected that Governor Andrew Cuomo's signature will be imminent, thus making New York the seventh - and most populous - American jurisdiction to enact equality (after Connecticut, DC, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont).
I am a New Yorker by birth, and never cease to be proud of the Greatest State in the Union. Below are the results of the roll call vote:
Adams (D) Yes
Addabbo (D) Yes
Alesi (R) Yes
Avella (D) Yes
Ball (R) No
Bonacic (R) No
Breslin (D) Yes
Carlucci (D) Yes
DeFrancisco (R) No
Diaz (D) No
Dilan (D) Yes
Duane (D) Yes
Espaillat (D) Yes
Farley (R) No
Flanagan (R) No
Fuschillo (R) No
Gallivan (R) No
Gianaris (D) Yes
Golden (R) No
Griffo (R) No
Grisanti (R) Yes
Hannon (R) No
Hassell-Thompson (D) Yes
Huntley (D) Yes
Johnson (R) No
Kennedy (D) Yes
Klein (D) Yes
Krueger (D) Yes
Kruger (D) Yes
Lanza (R) No
Larkin (R) No
LaValle (R) No
Libous (R) No
Little (R) No
Marcellino (R) No
Martins (R) No
Maziarz (R) No
McDonald (R) Yes
Montgomery (D) Yes
Nozzolio (R) No
O'Mara (R) No
Oppenheimer (D) Yes
Parker (D) Yes
Peralta (D) Yes
Perkins (D) Yes
Ranzenhofer (R) No
Ritchie (R) No
Rivera (D) Yes
Robach (R) No
Saland (R) Yes
Sampson (D) Yes
Savino (D) Yes
Serrano (D) Yes
Seward (R) No
Skelos (R) No
Smith (D) Yes
Squadron (D) Yes
Stavisky (D) Yes
Stweart-Cousins (D) Yes
Valesky (D) Yes
Young (R) No
Zeldin (R) No
Sunday, December 05, 2010
In my blog and in message board discussions concerning the Tea Party, I have been consistent in my predictions: The Tea Party has had strength because they have been unified in what they have opposed; but, when the time comes when they are forced to agree on what they are actually in favor of…, well, it is then, I predict, that the movement will fracture. It is far easier to agree on a common bogeyman than to agree on the solution or replacement for the bogeyman.
Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips’ comments over the last two weeks on voting rights might just convince many Tea Partiers that they have signed on with a lunatic, and precipitate that fracture.
On the other hand, if the Tea Party rallies to his defence, we are in bigger trouble as a nation than I had ever dreamed.
On his Tea Party Nation internet radio program on November 17, Phillips said:
"The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote. It wasn't you were just a citizen and you got to vote. Some of the restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today. But one of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you're a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you're not a property owner, you know, I'm sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners”
I kid you not. His comments can be heard here:
These comments are devoid of reason. Has he ever been to Manhattan, and seen city block upon city block of apartment buildings…places where thousands of people live in units rented from absentee landlords who live somewhere “roomier?’
Can he truly believe that these thousands of people have no interest in their communities? In their children’s schools, their garbage pickup, the traffic patterns in their neighborhoods, crime in the streets and subways they use to go to and from work, and their fire and police protection?
Who does he thinks serves on community boards and Parent-Teacher organizations and Parks Commissions? Landlords? Or the mere residents, the renters whom he feels have a lesser stake in their community?
Does he think they don’t pay sales taxes and income taxes and meals taxes every day?
It is unfathomable to me that a political leader would actually suggest this as a rational policy. This is the kind of thinking that lead to the Scottish Clearances and the Irish Famine in another century – the notion that ‘tenants’ were merely ‘problems.’
In an effort to make sense out of his statements, I thought perhaps he was simply putting himself in the place of an 18th century aristocrat, and explaining why they may have included property requirements for voting in the late 1700s.
But then, two days ago, Phillips sent out an e-mail designed to rally his supporters in response to the outcry about his comments. In it, he referred to a Property-owning requirement as a “wise idea”:
"A couple of weeks ago, on the Tea Party Nation radio show, I was talking with David DeGerolamo of NC Freedom about the Founding Fathers and the original Constitution. During the course of our discussion, I mentioned that the founding fathers limited voting rights to property owners. I commented this was a wise idea."
He made no retraction. No clarification. In fact, he confirmed his position. He then went on to criticize those who objected to his comments, saying that the “left went nuts,” “spastic” and “into hysteria.”
Not just the left, Mr. Phillips. Seniors in Nursing homes. College Students. Renters. Single parents living in shelters for the abused. Native Americans on Reservations. Grandparents living with their children. None of whom would qualify for voting rights in Mr. Phillips’ world.
Mr. Phillips seeks a wholesale evisceration of American democracy and the US Constitution, which permits no other qualifications for voting other than being a citizen 18 years of age or older.
No poll tax. No literacy test. No Property-ownership requirements.
And hopefully, no successful Tea Party efforts to change this.
Friday, February 27, 2009
This country continues, at breakneck pace, to destroy its Constitution and eviscerate the Rule of Law. Under Bush, it was done in the name of "National Security." Under Obama, it's done in the name of Populist Mob Rule.
The House of Representatives has voted to permit the non-voting representative from Washington, DC to have full voting rights as a member of Congress. It is argued that it is unfair that the District of Columbia's 592,000 people have no voice of their own in Congress.
I do not argue that point. However, granting these citizens a Representative requires more than Congressional Mob Rule in a fit of moral outrage: it requires a Constitutional Amendment.
Article I, Section 2 of the U. S. Constitution states:
"The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second
Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of
twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who
shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen."
The Constitution is clear that STATES have voting representatives in Congress. Not Districts, Not cities, Not territories.
If Washington DC, with 592,000 people, why not New York City with 8.3 million people? Why not Puerto Rico, with 4 million people?
When the District of Columbia sought the right to vote in Presidential elections, everyone understood that the Constitution only permitted Electors from the States to cast ballots for President. Appropriately, the nation adopted a Constitutional Amendment (the 23rd Amendment) in 1961 to permit DC residents to vote for President.
This is no different. If the residents of DC want to be represented in Congress, there is a clear process: Amend the Constituion, don't just ride roughshod over it.