From Harlem — Lenora Fulani To NYC Charter Revision Commission: This is about Democracy.
Dr. Lenora Fulani addressed the NYC Charter Revision Commission in Harlem on Monday night.
“Now I realize that I’m simply a black woman who has never been asked, and probably will never be asked, to sit on a commission and decide something as important as whether New Yorkers should be able to vote on such a matter [as nonpartisan elections.]”
1.5 million voters are excluded from participating in the critical first round of voting in New York City elections.
The NYC Charter Revision Commission held a public hearing last night at the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building on 125th Street, a block away from the famed Apollo Theater. Seemingly designed to “take care of” some administrative issues about reporting and administrative tribunals (testimony from Esther Fuchs made a rather passionate point about the fact that political issues intervened and prevented putting a referendum on the ballot that was 10 years over-due 10 years ago about reporting issues… And there was testimony from Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs Carol A. Robles-Román about the court system that regulates city businesses such as cabs and environmental issues, etc.
But then people intervened. Recommended reading “City’s Charter Revision Meeting Disrupted by Protesters” by Jill Colvin, DNAinfo)
The Commission was moving in the direction of putting only one thing on the ballot this year — term limits — something that the voters approved twice but was overturned by Mayor Bloomberg and the Democratic Party-controlled City Council.
Insufficient! said Community Voices Heard [check back tonight for video, or see NY1 coverage by Grace Rauh here.]
Fulani repeated the objections from the Commission about why they have not committed to putting a referendum for nonpartisan municipal elections on the ballot for voters to decide:
“Needs more study”
“What if it doesn’t win???”
“What if it’s too big????”
She went on to remind the panel:
We just elected the first black President of the United States in a country that was based on slavery. (Pretty big!)
Every step to enfranchise people has required something big.
Note to NYC Charter Revision Commission: We are not counting on you to educate the public about this issue. We were on the street in Harlem for Harlem Week yesterday and signed up a hundred people who support nonpartisan elections.
Thanks to good work of attorney Dr. Phil Thompson of MIT, and stalwart good government group Citizens Union (Dick Dadey testimony)”>Harry Kresky, Dr. Phil Thompson of MIT, and stalwart good government group Citizens Union (Dick Dadey testimony)
It was a warm night in Harlem.
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