The peoples’ work
By Mary V. Laura
BRONX, NEW YORK, April 4- If men were angels," wrote James Madison in Federalist Paper No. 51 back in 1788, "No government would be necessary," Well and good. But does that mean they are devils?
It certainly seems so. Almost on a daily basis, through the news media, we learn of another elected official being accused of or indicted on criminal behavior. Wakefield has already suffered the conviction of State Senator Guy Velella. And for which we thank God, the conviction of Councilman Larry Seabrook.
The list of elected officials who are being investigated, or who leave much to be desired is long, but we concentrate on those closest to us keeping in mind that an accusation or an investigation does not mean guilt. We repeat that. An accusation does not mean guilt. On the other hand, where there is smoke, there usually is fire. We mention Pedro Espada because we had one of his clinics right here in Wakefield. He has been convicted on at least one count.
Sadly, earlier this year The New York Post ran a news story insinuating foul play by Senator Jeffrey Klein. Nothing further has been heard which is good news, more for him than for the electorate. And now, we have Congressman Engel being criticized for taking a mortgage from one of his highest donors. Not illegal, but not right. Even so and above all, let's not forget the Spitzer debacle.
When one considers that this nation was forged by men who pledged their "sacred honor," one wonders how that honor was lost in so short a time. Consider that at the urging of former Mayor Ed Koch, the majority in both houses of our state legislature pledged to reject any gerrymandering made on a partisan basis. Seventy five of those lawmakers broke their promise, four of them from New York City and one of them none other than our own Senator Klein!
The prevalence of all sorts of hanky-panky in our government led to the formation of the Center for Public Integrity which has been around for some time. This year it ranked our state government 15th from the bottom of the 50 states. Can you imagine? That is worse than getting a D. It is almost an F.
Well, it should be no surprise. We know that we have some sterling legislators working for us whether it be in the City Council, the Assembly or the Senate, but we also know we have some duds who do very little else but work on getting re-elected usually by spreading our tax dollars to reward favorite persons or causes and taking advantage of every photo opportunity. The sad thing is that, we, the voters permit this to go on. But that is another story.
In any case, we are asking all our legislators to look into three problems that the average citizen is dealing with. They should not be difficult to solve if they put their heads together. First is the parking problem. Left unchecked, road rage will take second place to parking rage. Lives will be lost. By the same token, Muni meters should be brought to the attention of the Supreme Court as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Second, adjustment is needed in rental laws for two and three-family houses. Eviction of problematic and non-paying tenants is entirely too long, too cumbersome and costly.
And third, how about bringing some order to our zoning ordinances and our building regulations? The City is harboring hundreds of fire traps in illegal conversions.
Are these three items really so difficult to accomplish?