Common Sense: Counseling the Council

March 7, 2016 JERRY KASSAR
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State Senator Marty Golden (whom I serve as chief of staff) and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis were quick to denounce the looney City Council proposal to give illegal immigrants the right to vote in local elections. This is one major step beyond last year’s ridiculous proposal from the City Council to give non-citizens the right to vote.

The non-citizen voting proposal, although extremely misguided if only on the grounds that it dilutes the votes of American citizens, is probably legal and has actually been adopted in some of the more socialistic-leaning American cities. The newer Council proposal to allow individuals living in the United States illegally to vote is clearly in violation of the state and federal Constitutions and even if adopted by the Council would be overturned.

Of course, the real problem in my view is that we have a City Council populated by members who would dream up these stupid ideas. And as evidenced by their recent adoption of a 32 percent pay raise that was well beyond the recommendation of an independent pay commission and clearly opposed by the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers, this Council does not care what you or I think.

I have spent my entire life in politics. I have chaired a political party in Brooklyn for many years and have actively participated in the management of a number of campaigns. Over the years, when it comes to local elections, I have seen a very disturbing trend that might partially explain why the Council appears by its actions to be on a track that is very different from that of many of the citizens it claims to represent.

Participation in local elections, both in primaries and general elections, is down by every measurement. Fewer people are willing to take the plunge and run for anything but open seats. Fewer and fewer people vote so that it is not unusual for councilmembers to be elected by less than 15 percent of the eligible voting age population in their districts.

The often repeated quote that best summarizes my diatribe is, “If you do not vote, you get the government you deserve.” And then when you get the government you deserve, we should not be totally surprised when the Council changes a local law, essentially eliminating the broken window theory of quality-of-life law enforcement, and considers giving illegal immigrants the right to vote .

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The Council’s efforts to change policing through the repeal of many of the local enforcement tools which gave the broken window philosophy of policing its backbone were part of the storyline in a recent episode of CBS’s “Blue Bloods” police drama.

Interestingly, in this episode — which due the heavy snow on the ground appeared to be filmed in late January of this year — the Council Speaker (Whoopie Goldberg) fails to come up with the votes and thus loses her battle to stop the criminal enforcement of nuisance quality-of-life crimes.

If only we really lived in a city in which Frank Reagan were police commissioner and the City Council could not muster the votes to oppose the will of the police commissioner. I guess “Blue Bloods” is more of a fantasy show then I had originally thought.

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