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A Man vs. The Political Machine

Dear Editor:

In my first editorial, I stated I would cast my June 22nd Republican primary ballot for Steve Sirgiovanni for New York City Council, City Council District 32. It was a blow to the gut, after so many people showed their support for this candidate, that the powers that be would do everything in their power to prevent him from representing you. I am proud to say that I still intend to vote for Steve on June 22nd. While you may have heard there was no longer a Republican primary, allow me to tell you the facts.

A New York appellate court has unanimously overturned an attempt by the Queens Republican Party to remove Steve Sirgiovanni from the Republican ballot for the June 22 primary election over a trivial and inconsequential technical issue. It is the decision of the voters of the district to decide who will be their candidate in November, not the Queens GOP, any city official or the courts. Steve Sirgivoanni and his team collected more than the required number of signatures to be included on the ballot. The efforts by the Queens County establishment have been nothing more than an attempt to hinder his campaign financially and by running out the clock on his ability to campaign and speak to the voters of the district. The unanimous New York Appellate Court ruling found that a technical rule violating the extraneous inclusion of a series of numbers below the candidates’ names on the designating petition pages was not sufficient to keep Steve or any of the candidates the Queens GOP tried to remove from the ballot.

Justice has been served by the Appellate court, and Joann Ariola will face a primary challenge on June 22nd. The Appellate court ruling even stated the Supreme Court should have granted the petition to validate the designating petitions the Queens GOP sought to invalidate, and should have directed the Board of Elections to place the candidates’ names on the ballots. This entire debacle could have been settled a month ago, but the Queens County machine and career politicians insisted that the establishment party organization could not dare be challenged by anyone else seeking to run for office. Only the people insider officials approve of could have their name appear on a ballot for office.

Steve has already overcome incredible odds. With just a small grassroots team, he has already beaten the establishment, which is no small accomplishment when the rules favor career politicians. This court ruling means that the people have a choice again. You can decide for yourself who you want to represent you. The people will get to decide who goes to the general election, as it should have been from the beginning. A fair and open primary, not political theater is what this District deserves, to choose their next    council member.

Thomas Willis


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