Elections are coming – make democracy work | Herald Community Newspapers

By John O’Connell

Who is to blame for New York’s increased crime, high taxes, and general sense of dread that many of us feel? It would be wrong to hold the elected officials of the state Democratic Party solely responsible. But since government is responsible for public safety, setting tax rates and public spending priorities, and the general order of civil society, you should cast a dim eye on the left.
Democrats have controlled the governor’s office as well as the Senate and State Assembly since 2019. They have held a majority in the Assembly since 1975. There are now 105 Democrats in the Assembly and only 43 Republicans. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is a Democrat. In the Senate, there are 42 Democrats and 20 Republicans, and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins ​​is a Democrat. Democrats are governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller. Both US senators are Democrats, as are 19 of the 27 members of the New York delegation to the House of Representatives.
Given these statistics, who else could be responsible for failing to effectively address quality of life issues such as shootings on city streets and incidents like the brawl at Roosevelt Field Mall on May 1? , which reporters described as a “great disruption” and one Twitter user called “a terrifying event”. It is undeniable that officials have not done enough to help citizens feel safe in their homes, on their streets, or at their kitchen tables as they prepare income tax returns and household budgets.
Fortunately, violent and property crime rates in Nassau County are extremely low, especially the further you travel from the Queens border.
But this is not the case in New York. CNN reported that major crime in New York “increased nearly 60% in February compared to the same month in 2021. The city saw a 41% increase in total major crime in the first few months of 2022. compared to the same period last year, including an almost 54% increase in robberies, a 56% increase in robbery incidents and a 22% increase in reports of rape.

The state budget is $216.5 billion. New York City’s budget is $98.5 billion. In addition to funding pensions, health plans and public service compensation programs, New Yorkers want safe streets; clean, violence-free and fast public transport; just enough taxation to meet voters’ priorities; clean water and properly inspected food establishments; non-ideological public school programs taught by knowledgeable and background-checked educators; good parks and infrastructure in good condition.

But it’s unfair, wrong, and all too easy to just blame Democrats. There was a saying about the state legislature — which applied to Republicans and Democrats alike — that Albany elected officials were more likely to leave office by indictment, arrest or resignation under legal pressure. only by losing their re-election.

The problem is not in the parties, but in the system – the systemic greed for money, power, fame or ego gratification. Instead of blaming Democrats, I think it’s the corrupt system of elections and governance that interferes the most with effectively solving our public policy problems.

Cynically redrawing electoral boundaries to favor one party, thus making it more likely that the majority party will stay in power – gerrymandering – is a sign of this systemic corruption, which the ruling party has no interest in fixing.

The system that allows district attorneys, like Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg, to decide which violent crimes and misdemeanors are prosecuted is destructive of good community order. The system that releases even violent offenders without bail – euphemistically called “bail reform” by liberal politicians – encourages recurring criminal behavior and makes law-abiding citizens more vulnerable. The illegal system of exchanging campaign contributions for the award of contracts is another bastardization of political power.

Regardless of the systemic corruptions that exist, citizens still have the power to bring about change, if only they vote. Far too many elections are decided by too few voters as a percentage of those eligible to register and vote.

Democracy is not a submission of the minority to the majority. Democracy works when turnout exceeds citizens’ penchant for passivity.

Despite the prevalence of a leftist press and social media censorship, despite largely party-dominated candidate selections and other obstacles to fair elections, we the citizens can stand up and vote.

John O’Connell is a former editor of the Herald Community Newspapers. Comments? [email protected]