Letter #1 to Steven Richman (un-edited)
General Counsel to The City Board of Elections
Manhattan, New York City
Dear Mr. Richman,
Come Election Day, the 5th of November, voters in all the five boroughs will go out and write my name “SMITHIE” on the ballot. They are mostly going to be Veterans, Police officers, Police Sgts., Fire fighters, City Parks and Sanitation workers, including a huge coalition of artists, writers, actors, conductors and musicians.
You were doing your job. Nonetheless, I think I should let you know that:
…whatever the form of this city, the essence of being a multi-cultural New Yorker is due to how we relate to it – as an individual, as part of a group, as part of a class, as a member of a profession or a political party.
…that as General Counsel to the City Electoral Board, you are best poised to display the best example of a public’s spirit – advice, moderate, control and subordinate board members’ lesser loyalty to a common weal. And that common weal in this case is how best to move the city forward after Bloomberg.
For example, I was in front of the board – fresh from a nasty accident (sustained whilst campaigning by a subway) lost the use of both arms, could barely move a muscle talk less of holding myself up, yet tried to plead my case because you stalled and disappear for more than two weeks of Jewish holiday celebration.
Left loads and loads of messages for you despite the fact that you left no delegate and no forwarding instruction as to how to conduct public business in your office whilst away for Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah and Purim.
But all fell on deaf ears, because of what you told the Commissioners at a recession that was held behind closed doors. Do I have no representative? No. Was it allowed a witness? No. Was there anyone on my side? No, not that I know off.
Now, blocking someone’s access and erasing a name off an already printed ballot is a mockery of the price of liberty. It is a mockery of our British given “excellent ways” – which is about making governments responsible for the people they govern.
And as a General Counsel to the city’s Electoral board, I must admit that your actions are making it difficult for New Yorkers to exercise their options – of who they’ll prefer to run the city as Mayor.
If you disagree with me, then I’ll ask, what exactly are old timers like Rev. Adolfo Carrion and Pastor Erick Salgado doing on the ballot? Marking times again! With their terrible records or is it just another (procedural way) of making a mockery of the best to come out of hardworking Latinos and the Afro-Latino communities in general?