The city council’s override of the Mayor’s veto of the two police accountability bills known as the Community Safety Act may well mark the start of a new community driven movement for change in the status quo. The campaign to overturn the City’s discriminatory and unconstitutional stop and frisk policy culminated with the City council passage of the Community Safety Act bills, but the movement began in the streets, churches, schools, CBO’s and other neighborhood based locales with complaints, organizer outreach, rallies, educational and strategic planning sessions. The campaign focused on improving police accountability, but it was really about engaging the voice and the will of the neighborhoods and communities that are heartbeat of NYC.
Now, as we commemorated the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s March on Washington for Jobs and Equality, is an appropriate time to say good-bye to the policies and practices of Mayor Bloomberg as well as to his followers and enablers in the City council. In the Bronx, communities like the Mott haven, Melrose, Lower Concourse, West Farms, Crotona, and Hunts Point need leadership that will speak out and organize for change against the continuing high unemployment, poor schools, the loss of affordable housing, inadequate health care, violence and crime. These communities need leadership with a vision that goes beyond just keeping oneself in power so as to benefit family, friends and financial contributors rather than the community. These communities need new homegrown leadership that is free of the taint of fraud and corruption; leadership that deals with friends and foes alike with respect and civility rather than arrogance and vulgarity.
On September 1Oth, the voters of New York City will have the opportunity to honor Dr. King’s memory and dream by electing a new mayor who not only believes in, but sees the positive in every community, but especially in those communities where the Bloomberg administration seemingly only saw a den of thieves and murderers who had to be harassed and scared into submission by the police.
In the new Bronx 17th Councilmatic district, which stretches from 149th St to Tremont Ave and from Concourse Village west through Hunts Point, the voters will have a similar opportunity. The voters can give four more years to a candidate who believes that she doesn’t have to bother with rules or respect when it comes to keeping herself in power whether it be through fraud in the petitioning process to get on the ballot (Daily News cite) or by personal attack and lack of civility during a formal debate (NY1 link).
Eight and a half years is plenty of time to have an impact. Yet child poverty in Hunts Point is running at 49%, asthma rates continue to be near the highest in the nation, unemployment is way above the City average and gun violence is rampant. Where’s her impact? Eight years is enough.
I don’t have all the solutions to the issues that have to be confronted, but I believe my community does and that the people in the neighborhoods have the intelligence, capacity and will to get things changed for the better. I will stand and work with the people of the 17th Councilmatic District to make sure that they will not only be heard and seen in protest, but sought out and courted in advance of any change in practice or policy that it going to affect them. Electing political leaders who will further facilitate the dignity and civic engagement of our communities will be our best tribute to Dr. King.
Vote Julio Pabón, Councilman Bronx 17th District
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2013
To make a $ contribution: www.juliopabon.com