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Tuesday April 9, 2013

Leaving Blue New York, Boo-Hoo

New York is a very blue state which has been predominantly Democrat for much of my life and while I could understand this was due to its large immigrant population and the party's reputation for its allegiance to them, this repute hasn't been deserved for decades.

By Alicia Colon

Only one of my six children has left New York for economic reasons but the strain of living in this expensive nanny state is weighing heavy on my other five and their families. As a native New Yorker, I've seen its middle class population decline over the years due to its neglect of blue collar families which is ironic since this is a Democrat city. With the recent arrests of several local politicians for corruption perhaps New Yorkers will pay more attention to those they put in office. Given their past indifference in local elections this is highly unlikely.

Tammany Hall was the Democrat Party's political machine that was ultimately marred by corruption scandals involving bribes and kickbacks demanded in exchange of city contracts. Nothing much has changed in urban politics and the arrests of Bronx Assemblyman Eric Peterson and State Senator Malcolm Smith has even prompted Mayor Bloomberg to accuse Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sharing the blame for the corruption. Bloomberg implied that the governor forced passage of quick legislation without anyone having the chance to study it but isn't this the case of the pot calling the kettle black?

Mayor Bloomberg has presided over the worst nanny city in the nation. He faked being a Republican to get elected in 2001 but he has always been a liberal Democrat. He takes a salary of $1 but he has managed to grow his worth from $4billion to over $20billion. Most likely this increase has been due to his connections with real estate developers whom Bloomberg has allowed to destroy blue-collar neighborhoods in all the boroughs. In fact, studies confirm that New York is the least-free state and the Mayor's dictatorial reign is just as responsible for this as the Governor and the State Assembly and Senate.

John Merline wrote in the March 28th issue of Investor's Business Daily:

"The 'Freedom in the 50 States' study measured economic and personal freedom using a wide range of criteria, including tax rates, government spending and debt, regulatory burdens, and state laws covering land use, union organizing, gun control, education choice and more. It found that the freest states tended to be conservative 'red' states, while the least free were liberal 'blue' states."

New York is a very blue state which has been predominantly Democrat for much of my life and while I could understand this was due to its large immigrant population and the party's reputation for its allegiance to them, this repute hasn't been deserved for decades.

As soon as I was old enough to vote I registered as a Republican simply because my Aquarian nature marched to the beat of a different party than that of my family. I knew nothing about the GOP except that Abraham Lincoln was its first president and Lincoln was my favorite. I never saw a Republican campaign in the barrio and Democrat social clubs were legion.

wasn't old enough to vote for Kennedy although I wished that I could. I worked for his brother's senatorial campaign and mourned his assassination in 1968. I refused to vote for Nixon but in hindsight learned he wasn't that bad.

It wasn't until 1976 that I studied party platforms and found that, as a Catholic, I was more allied with Republicans than Democrats and Ronald Reagan became the first time my vote was successful. As a young parent I also became aware of the machinations of a state government under Mario Cuomo that was not friendly to hard working earners. Instead his oratory skills convinced taxpayers that he shared their pain but needed to raise taxes to pay for programs for the non-payers-sound familiar? Businesses fled to New Jersey (which was led by business savvy Republican Brendan Bryne) and took jobs with them.

Voters here in New York City repeatedly vote for Democrats in the State who've done nothing but stay in office for years. Laws that benefit the safety of women sit in limbo while legislators collect higher and higher salaries. Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan has been trying for years to get stronger anti-stalker laws on the books to no avail. Why are discounted health insurance plans not available to New Yorkers? One state senator promised to look into it but it looks like she was waiting for Obamacare.

While writing for the New York Sun, I had the opportunity to interview candidates running against U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler and Assembly Leader Sheldon Silver. Both of these men have puny achievement records and yet once again were reelected.

Most amazingly I discovered that conflict of interest charges mean nothing in New York. Sheldon Silver is employed with Weitz & Luxenberg, one of the state's largest litigation firms. Silver has consistently blocked tort reform in Albany and refuses to discuss details of this employment.

Azi Paybarah wrote in The New York Observer: "The Democrats enjoy a veto-proof super-majority in the 150-member Assembly. This means that they can pass bills without involving any Republicans. It also means that as long as he keeps his Democratic members happy, Mr. Silver can be in charge for as long as he decides to stick around."

New York State has been blessed with natural resources that can accommodate the tastes of the multitudes. Beaches, mountains, lakes, cultural institutions, something for everyone and at one time most adventures were affordable but now by the time the city, state and federal taxes are taken from paychecks, not much is left. The Democrats continue to advocate higher taxes and the Republicans advocate tax cuts but can't get elected here.

One young father I interviewed who's planning his departure from his hometown laments, "It's too expensive to live here with my family. My water bill and real estate taxes keep growing. I can get more for my money elsewhere. Lower taxes, lower insurance, lower cost of living. There is no middle class here. You have to be rich or live in the projects where you get everything for free."

I can't force my children to stay and participate in the resurrection of New York but I will continue to try. I hate to give up on my beloved city and state but unless we get rid of these corrupt politicians and elect principled individuals with vision for reversing the population drain, the red states are looking more and more enticing.

Will these latest charges of corruption mean anything come Election Day? Now that the city population is half wealthy, half on the dole, nobody's paying attention and the exodus from what was once the best city in the world continues. In November, we will elect a new mayor. Here's hoping he's not another nanny.

Alicia Colon resides in New York City and can be reached at aliciav.colon@gmail.com and at www.aliciacolon.com

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