Decisions On Staten Island
by Anthony Stasi
Jan 07, 2015 | 4566 views | 0 0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New York’s 11th Congressional District, represented by Congressman Mike Grimm until he resigned two weeks ago, is now a seat in play.

No congressional seat is ever an automatic win for either party in any district. Joe Cao won Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional seat as a Republican in what was the country’s strongest Democratic district. That election followed a scandal, but so does this one.

Grimm’s re-election in November was less about Grimm than it was about the district. This is a working-class, conservative part of the city. Grimm’s Democratic opponent was not a strong candidate. Grimm had a voting record that was more pragmatic than his persona.

He won, but now he is gone. Both parties will put up a candidate to compete in a special election. It would have been nice if the Staten Island GOP gave its support to Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, but the party is giving it to District Attorney Dan Donovan.

Put aside all of the strategic reasoning that the assemblywoman is young and from a demographic that would benefit the party. All of that is not terribly useful when it comes to the grind in Washington.

A few years ago, I dove into a Facebook debate with people who were calling for members of Congress to have their pay cut and their benefits reduced. I did this partly to stir the pot, but more importantly because I know how hard most members of Congress work.

Even the least effective members put in hours that many people do not. To represent a congressional district, while working someplace else, is a difficult job. With the pangs of social media, it is now a 24-hour workday in some respects.

Malliotakis has shown a work ethic that would fit the daily challenges in Washington. This is no slight to Donovan, who was a very good candidate for attorney general a few years ago, and may do quite well in Washington.

But the party has to find a place for Malliotakis other than toiling away in the state Assembly, where the majority is so slanted to the opposition party.

Voters in the 11th district want the same center-right representation that they had minus the drama that came with Grimm. This is what they may have gotten with Malliotakis and may get with Donovan if he wins.

Getting Contracts Done

The NYPD is due for a new contract. The union (or association) has balked at the mayor’s most recent proposal.

The NYPD are simply in more danger than ever before. Police have to do a lot more with the added concerns of terrorism. They have been thrust into the scope of national security policy through none of their own doing. The city is an international target, which was not really the case decades ago.

No contract can change whatever pain the police force has endured recently, but a new contract is something that still needs to get done. Leaving the issue on the table will only make the climate between government and the uniformed police shaky.

Now is the time to give the police the contract they need, even though it does not change the danger of their work. A city needs to be safe before it can do anything else.

The debate about adding more police fell on deaf ears with the last administration, despite the calls for it from then-Councilman Peter Vallone and others. If there is no increase in the number of officers, one could argue that some compromise on raises could be addressed.

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