Nicole Malliotakis is Unfit to Serve

It’s been just over one week since Nicole Malliotakis took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States as a new member of Congress but it took her only three days to violate that oath with her actions on the floor of the House of Representatives on January 6th.  Her actions on that day and every day since have demonstrated her inability to effectively fulfill the position to which the people of NY-11 in Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn elected her. Her views are incompatible with democracy.  She must immediately resign.

Congresswoman Malliotakis was an NYS Assemblymember for many years, where her tenure was unremarkable.  Her attempt to become mayor of NYC was met with sound defeat but she remained popular in her home district, and across Staten Island.

The congresswoman had distanced herself from the president in the past when it was advantageous to her chances of becoming mayor. This past year when she ran for Congress she went all-in on Trump.  She sought his endorsement and sought out his base supporters knowing full well the scope of Trump’s racism, bigotry, and lawlessness.  

Perpetuating Conspiracies

Long before the events of this week, in pursuit of her election win, Congresswoman Malliotakis perpetuated election conspiracy theories and lies, spreading false news fertilizer to her rabid base.  Day in and day out, chum was cast into the water to attack Congressman Rose, BLM, Vice President Biden, and election integrity itself.

With her recent elevation to the national stage as a member of Congress, however, it has become apparent how woefully unprepared she was to understand the real consequences of decisions made in that role and how the weight of her words and actions in Congress would have lasting effects here in NY-11 and across the country.

January 6th

January 6th is the day determined in our Constitution where the Senate counts the electoral votes and certifies the winner of the presidential election. On that day, Republicans planned in both the Senate and the House to challenge the certification of electoral votes in numerous states.  They did this on the false premise that there were “voting irregularities.”    

The Republican arguments made on the floor were flagrant lies because dozens of courts in numerous states have previously heard challenges to the election and all have been summarily dismissed.  Courts asked for evidence of fraud and Trump’s attorneys had to admit – under threat of perjury – that there was none.  

States performed audits, hand recounts were done, all with no change in the determination.  Vice President Biden won the election.  The electoral college voted and the states then certified the results.  From there those votes were sent to the Capitol, where the votes were to be counted and certified.  Those votes are the voices of 81 million voters who made a choice for President-elect Biden.  Those boxes of votes contained the will of the electorate.  

At the exact moment Republicans were beginning to make their fraudulent arguments on the House and Senate Floor, domestic terrorists, under direct orders from President Trump, breached the Capitol and led a bloody insurrection that resulted in 5 deaths, including a Capitol Police officer.  

The point and purpose of Republican objection and the goals of the insurrectionists were exactly the same – to stop the certification count and subvert democracy.  They are all on the same side.

Congresswoman Malliotakis had an opportunity to change her vote.  During the violent attempted coup, as she huddled with dozens of lawmakers in fear for their lives, she could – and should- have realized that this vote was wrong.  

A Lapse in Character and Morals

The congresswoman should have realized that trying to overturn the will of millions of voters was wrong. She should have realized that turning America into the very dictatorship she claims her mother fled as a child, was wrong.  She should have known it was wrong to be on the same side of history as violent white supremacists, who were hunting for lawmakers in the Capitol with weapons and zip cuffs, and who set up gallows with a noose screaming that they wanted to hang Vice President Pence.  Nicole Malliotakis had time for clarity of thought but she decided, as she emerged from her hiding place, that she would continue to subvert democracy.  

This was not a lapse in judgment but a lapse in character and morals.  Her decision was a complete inability to understand the basic democratic principles that frame our government.

Serving as a representative requires exercising good judgment. Political parties should and do have valuable discussions about their differences in policy opinion but this vote was not a policy opinion.

Arguing over a tax rate is policy, not whether or not America remains a democracy.  We cannot have a functioning political party that does not believe in the premise of democracy.

When Congresswoman Malliotakis cast that vote, she once again, in a recorded vote, perpetuated lies that got people killed. There is absolutely nothing Nicole can say or do going forward that can remedy the seditious acts she has already committed. And it has become abundantly clear through her statements that she has no remorse and does not find fault in her decisions.   

For this reason, she is unfit to represent the people of the 11th Congressional District and should resign immediately.  Should she not resign, she should be expelled.  This country has no place for representatives who do not believe in democracy, and who do not uphold the oath they swear to our Constitution, our laws, and our people. 

Nicole Malliotakis Ignores Racism

     When I first started Staten Island Community News a few months ago, I had no intention of politicizing my blog. Its purpose is to provide information based on facts, personal accounts by people who experience them, etc. It is a way to show the good in Staten Island.      

I saw a video today that made me sick to my stomach, and as small as my platform is, I felt the need to use my blog to express my absolute disgust with NY-11 congressional candidate, Nicole Malliotakis’ response to a genuine question.

Let’s Breakdown the Video:

Today I asked Nicole Malliotakis what her plans were to make the South Shore safer for BIPOC. She refused to answer me. So yeah, vote for Max Rose. It really shouldn’t be this difficult to answer your constituent’s questions.

Posted by Danielle Jean on Monday, October 19, 2020

      This video was filmed by a white woman at the Shoprite on Veteran’s Road West, who approached Nicole Malliotakis to talk about her boyfriend’s experiences as a black man on the South Shore of Staten Island. She asked Nicole Malliotakis how she planned to make the South Shore safer for BIPOC. Malliotakis evaded the question by saying she’d be happy to speak with her boyfriend but would not answer the question on the spot. Malliotakis then followed up with “I support the police” and subsequently ignored the woman who had asked her the question.

Nicole Malliotakis Has A Moral Responsibility

 I came to the conclusion that speaking about this video is not a political statement for or against a particular candidate but rather against characteristics and behaviors we need less of, not more. What Nicole Malliotakis did is simple: She disregarded another human being’s pain. End of argument. It is of utmost importance to hear out and acknowledge a person’s pain. When you acknowledge that a person is hurt, you are making them feel validated as a human being. Compassion goes a long way. This woman felt like her potential congresswoman disregarded the racism her boyfriend endured. At BARE MINIMUM Malliotakis could have offered her words of comfort and encouragement. As a leader in our community, Malliotakis’ actions set an example for people to follow. This is not the example she should have set.

      Her response, “I support the police” is irrelevant to a report of racism. Racism is wrong any way you look at it. To conflate a person’s experience of racism with anti-cop rhetoric is irresponsible. One does not have to do with the other. What do the undertones of that statement suggest? Do people who are racist towards black people support the police and therefore Malliotakis supports them? Are all black people and allies who speak of racism on Staten Island anti-cop? Why is it hard to admit that some people do bad things? Is she afraid of losing votes? Does she know those are the type of people who will vote for her and not Max Rose? Why would she want those kinds of votes anyway? It’s all incredibly disturbing.

Empathy is Needed in Staten Island

     Loathe that I am to admit it, there is a good chance that Nicole Malliotakis will win the congressional seat and represent Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn at the federal level. There are more than just white South Shore people living in the NY-11 constituency and it would be in Malliotakis’ best interest (and ours) if she acknowledges that there are experiences that people endure that she has not. She should acknowledge these issues exist, even if she has not experienced racism herself. Calling for people to show respect, kindness, empathy, and good-will towards neighbors of all walks of life should be a natural and easy thing for anyone -particularly a congressperson- to do, especially when that congressperson represents such a diverse body of people. 

On October 18th, Staten Island Community News requested Nicole Malliotakis to engage in a non-partisan interview with us but she has yet to respond. We urge her to participate in an interview and we hope that she will be open to discussing cultural diversity and the impact racism has on Staten Island. 

Nicole Malliotakis repeal bail reform rally
Nicole Malliotakis at a rally calling for bail reform. Source: https://nyassembly.gov/mem/Nicole-Malliotakis

Staten Islanders: Have You Filled Out the Census?

What is the Census?

Currently, social media and television ads are bombarding Staten Islanders about the United States Census. But many people are probably wondering — what exactly is the Census?

The Population and Housing Census (also known simply as the Census) is used to determine the number of people living in the United States and its five territories. The U.S. Census Bureau (a non-partisan government agency) administers the Census every ten years.1

Why Is the Census Important?

The Census provides decision-makers with an accurate assessment to determine the needs of the community. It helps these leaders allocate funding towards the Staten Island community for services such as hospitals, roads, and schools.

Every year, billions of dollars in federal funding are put toward bettering communities across the country. 1.5 trillion dollars will be spent every year for the next ten years to fund many federal programs including Medicaid, student loans, and low income and tax credit loans.

Where Does the Money Go?

In 2016, New York State received $34,588592,000 for Medicaid, $4,922,406,430 for Medicare Part B, and $777,387,531 towards special needs grants based on Census data.3 Furthermore, Census data helps the Federal Government decide how many representatives each district has in the House of Representatives. The Census data assists in drawing legislative districts at the state level. 

How Will the Census Impact Staten Island?

The Staten Island Analogy

You are planning to throw the “party of the decade” (socially distant of course due to COVID-19). In order to have enough food for the party, you tell your friends and family to confirm their attendance. You decided to purchase pizza from your favorite local Staten Island eatery, Denino’s, for the 25 people that RSVP’d to the party. On the day of the party, 50 people show up but you only have enough food to serve 25 people. This leaves you scrambling to provide food for all of your guests, which results in smaller portions of pizza to ensure all 50 people are fed. 

Tying it Together

Now let’s go back to the concept of filling out your Census questionnaire. If there are 50 people in your Staten Island neighborhood, but only 25 people complete their Census, more people are at the party than the ones that confirmed their attendance. The federal funding allocated for the next ten years to improve the potholes and provide bus services in your neighborhood will only be enough to serve the 25 people in your neighborhood that completed their Census, not the entire population.

Similarly to the “party of the decade,” the resources must be evenly distributed amongst the actual population. If only half the population completed their Census and reported living in the neighborhood, the number of resources given to the entire neighborhood population will be smaller as a result. Why should you get a smaller slice of pizza when you have the ability to get a whole slice for yourself? This is why it is imperative that you fill out your Census.

The Bottom Line

Not filling out the Census means an undercounted Staten Island population. This may result in an inaccurate representation in government and may prevent our communities from obtaining adequate resources.

Quick, Easy, and Important To Do

Staten Island UAU Census
United Activities Unlimited is part of the SI Counts Coalition working to make sure every Staten Islander completes the 2020 Census. Photo: UAU

It only takes 10 minutes to complete 10 questions that will impact our community funding for the next 10 years. The Census does not ask questions about your income, citizenship status, social security number, or any credit card information.1

This year it is even easier to fill out the Census. You can:

  • Complete it online.
  • Call 1-844-330-2020
  • Fill out the questionnaire mailed to many households this past spring.

You can still fill out Census if you lost the Census code. It is quick, fast, and will help determine our futures for the next 10 years. 

Staten Island – Let’s Do This

Staten Island Project Hospitality Census
Project Hospitality is part of the SI Counts Coalition and a staffer is tabling at a recent outside sporting event to make sure attendees finish their Census. Photo: Veronica Gambon

Many Staten Island organizations have been working hard since February to help “get out the count” to make sure all Staten Islanders respond to the Census. Due to COVID-19, many of these organizations had to adjust their original outreach plans to ensure the safety of staff and the public.

Motivate Your Family and Friends

Staten Island continues to have the highest Census self-response rate compared to the other four boroughs. Our borough has even beaten our own Census self-response rates from 2010 — but we can still do better.

Let’s make sure every single person in Staten Island doesn’t “miss the boat.” Encourage others to complete their Census questionnaire before the October 31st deadline. We can continue to have the highest response rate in the City and get the resources we deserve for the next decade. Come on Staten Island, let’s leave our mark and show everyone we are no longer the “forgotten borough.” 

United States Census 2020. “What is the 2020 Census?” https://2020census.gov/en/what-is-2020-census.html. 23 Sept. 2020

Moulton, Sean and Long Steven. “The Important of the 2020 Census, Explained in Dollars and Cents.” https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2020/03/the-importance-of-the-2020-census-explained-in-dollars-and-cents/. 26 March 2020. 

Reamer, Andrew. “Counting for Dollars 2020: The Role of the Decennial Census in the Geographic Distribution of Federal Funds.” https://gwipp.gwu.edu/sites/g/files/zaxdzs2181/f/downloads/IPP-1819-3%20CountingforDollars_NY.pdf

Bail Reform in NYC: Stop the Misinformation

by Kelvin Richards

NYC’s Upsurge in Violence

Bail reform is good for NYC but what is hurting the narrative is the misinformation about it.

I understand after the recent death of George Floyd and the changes in 50-A, chokehold, and diaphragm laws with the NYPD, we have seen an uptick in violent crimes. I will assert that those upticks have generally been because the NYPD have reduced the amount of proactive and preemptive policing that would have normally lead to an arrest of people with guns. This slowdown has also significantly emboldened shooters around the city.

What We Can Do About It

To reduce the violence, we need to stop demonizing the police. The police are not the enemy here. The problem is accountability.

Because people feel that police officers who abuse their discretion are not held accountable for their actions, they do not trust the system. This erosion of trust makes it harder for effective community policing, which has nothing to do with bail reform.

Separating Fact From Fiction on Bail Reform

I’ll divorce the facts from fiction when it comes to bail reform. Let’s look at the pre-bail reform system and the post-bail reform system:

Before bail reform

People who had bail set on them were usually forced to plea guilty to lesser
included offenses because it increased their chances of going home sooner.

For example, here on Staten Island, most misdemeanor cases go to trial in or around six to eight months after arraignments (first day in court after an arrest). For felonies, it could take anywhere from a year to two before you actually have your day in court in front of a jury of your peers.

Most people then weigh losing their jobs, relationships, housing, school, etc while waiting for months for a trial against pleading guilty to something that will get them home in weeks.

The assistant district attorneys know people will choose to go home instead of sitting in jail. They make very sweet offers on cases they know they cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt for a guilty plea on a lesser included charge. Clients will almost always jump on a plea deal knowing very well they could win their case if they sat in jail for months. Sometimes winning have a different meaning if your back is against the wall. Maybe winning to you is going home to see the birth of your child, or keeping your apartment or job.

Accepting these pleas increases the clients’ criminal record/history, spinning the wheels of the revolving doors of the criminal justice system. When they get arrested again, they already have a record and the process starts again.

After bail reform

With the new bail reform in NYC, people charged with non-qualifying offenses do not have to fall into this trap. They get to go home and continue their lives while their case goes through the system. Some graduate high school or college or complete drug programs. Some get married and start a family. The key phrase here is non-qualifying offenses.

People against bail reform spread fake news and say if you commit any crime in NYC, you get to go home because of bail reform. This is not true. All qualifying offenses have bail set on them and some cases get remanded (held without bail).

Qualifying offenses are

  • sex cases
  • gun cases
  • shooting cases
  • violating an order of protection cases
  • robbery cases,
  • tampering with a witness, etc.

Most violent cases are bail eligible but we don’t hear about them. All we hear about is a “get out of jail free” card. The reason for this is simple: fear mongering and blaming the recent shootings on something that has nothing to do with it.

What Bail Reform Misinformation Does

The worst part about this misinformation is it adds up and confuses bad people with guns. They think that they can get out of jail free. In the end, the police falling back emboldens these people, bail reform misinformation further encourages them, and the saga continues.

Let us be responsible and come together to work towards a safer and better NYC.
Remember to keep an open mind and separate the facts from the fiction.

Voter Information for Staten Island

In the midst of the pandemic and the USPS thrown into turmoil, Election Day 2020 is rapidly approaching. In order to combat the hurdles of voting during Covid-19 and the USPS crisis, here is a comprehensive list of voter information specifically written for Staten Island, NY. This information will be updated as more details come in so check back frequently for more news.

Are you Registered to Vote?

As a United States citizen, you are not automatically registered to vote. You have to register to vote on your own. 16 and 17 year olds can pre-register but cannot vote until they are 18 years old. All citizens 18 years and older are allowed to vote (if registered) with a few exceptions. Are you qualified to vote?

If you qualify to vote, you can check your registration status here. You can also call (866) 868-3692 and ask.

I’m Not Registered. Now What?

There are several ways to register to vote:

Mail-In Registration

You can obtain paper forms in a variety of ways. Forms are available at…

  • Libraries
  • Post offices
  • Government agencies
  • Call the NYC BOE 1-866-868-3692 to request a form.
  • Email vote@boe.nyc.ny.us with your mailing address and name of your borough in the subject line. 
  • Download the form here

Mail it to: Board of Elections 32 Broadway 7 Fl New York, NY 10004-1609

Mail your registration forms by October 9, 2020 to vote on November 3, 2020. With the slowdown of mail and USPS issues, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to register well before October 9th. 

In-Person Registration

Each borough has a Board of Elections (BOE) office and you can register to vote in -person at this office. Please be mindful that masks are required and temperatures will be checked. The address is listed below.

Staten Island’s BOE office Staten Island 1 Edgewater Plaza 4 Fl Staten Island, NY 10305 Phone: (718) 876-0079

Online

If you have a valid NYS DMV license you can register online.

Voting

From vote.org:

“Registered voters do not need to show ID to vote, unless they did not provide identification with their registration. First time voters must provide identification either on or with their voter registration application. If you have not provided ID by Election Day, you are still allowed to vote by affidavit ballot, but not using the poll site scanner.”

Make a Plan to Vote

  • How will I vote?
  • Where will I vote?
  • Do I know what transportation I will need to vote?

If you are registered to vote, there are several ways to go about voting this year.

Traditional

Election Day is November 3, 2020 and you can vote in-person at your polling site. If you are unsure of what your polling site is, you can look it up here.

Mail-In Ballot Request

Important information about Mail-In Voting

  • This year, starting August 20, 2020, anyone is allowed to request a mail-in ballot due to concerns over the risk of catching or spreading Covid-19
  • Ballots will NOT be mailed to you automatically. You MUST request a ballot to vote by mail.
  • You MUST select “Unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability” if your reason for voting by mail is concern about Covid-19 
  • Your absentee ballot request must be emailed, faxed, completed online, or postmarked by October 27, 2020.

Where do I request an absentee ballot?

  • Online – This is the link to request an absentee ballot online.
  • Email application to AbsenteeJune2020@boe.nyc *Applications must be saved in a (.pdf) format to avoid delays *  If you need help converting your ballot request into a (.pdf) format, please contact statenislandcommunitynews@gmail.com and we will assist you. 
  • Fax application to 212-487-5349
  • Call 1-866-VOTE-NYC (1-866-868-3692)
  • Print and mail application to Staten Island BOE office: 1 Edgewater Plaza 4 Fl Staten Island, NY 10305

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in English). 

This is the form to request an accessible absentee ballot (in English).

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in Spanish).

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in Chinese).

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in Korean).

This is the form to request an absentee ballot (in Bengali).

I Received my Absentee Ballot. What Do I Do With It?

You can mail in your ballot to the Staten Island Board of Elections office. You can also drive-up or walk it in. Masks are required and temperatures will be taken if you hand it in in person. You can request information on how to track your ballot to ensure it was verified. We recommend personally bringing your ballot into the office to avoid any issues with the post office.

Ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, November 3, 2020.

Ballots without a postmark must be received by November 4, 2020.

Staten Island Board of Elections:

  • Address: 1 Edgewater Plaza 4 Fl Staten Island, NY 10305
  • Telephone: 1-718-876-0079
  • Driving Directions: Directions
  • By Bus: S51 to Bay Street/Edgewater Street
  • By train: Exit at Clifton Station

Voting Early

What is Early Voting?

Voting early is different than voting with an absentee ballot by mail. Voting early means you will go to a polling site and cast your vote prior to Election Day

When Does Early Voting Start?

Early voting begins on October, 24, 2020 and will continue through November 1, 2020.

Where is my early voting polling site?

You can look up your early voting poll site here. A list of all early voting sites in Staten Island is located here.

Need More Help?

Vote NYC has a wealth of information. If you prefer, you can call (866) 868-3692 to speak to someone.

We are here to help! Email Staten Island Community News with the subject line: Voting help with any questions and we will work to resolve your issue.