Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Dropping the Ball

As primary season gets underway for elected officials in both of New York’s legislative chambers we start to see a clear picture of how various issues will be used to promote the record of a certain candidate or sully the image of an opponent.

LGBT issues, unfortunately, are often considered fair game in this game of mudslinging. What many of these candidates don’t realize, however, is that New Yorkers (of all political stripes) are not won over by championing a position that is discriminatory towards their lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender friends, family neighbors or coworkers. It certainly didn’t work when Craig Johnson was running in his special election for a Long Island senate seat last year.

Now Hudson Valley Assemblyman Greg Ball apparently feels that it’s necessary to beef up his conservative creds in a recent mailer by proudly showcasing the fact that he has defended “traditional marriage.” As a young member of the Assembly and self-proclaimed “reformer,” we find it curious that Ball would claim that he’s taken on “the good old boys” by doing things like voting against the marriage bill that passed in the Assembly last June. If you look at the list of Assemblymembers who voted for that bill, you’ll find that a vast majority of the “good old boys” voted the same way that Greg Ball voted. More progressive “reformers” in the Assembly voted for marriage.

The most insulting part of this mailer is the headline that proclaims that Ball is “fighting for the best interest of you and your family.” Apparently this excludes anyone who is LGBT or has an LGBT member of their family. By voting to deny the 1324 rights and responsibilities that come with a marriage license to the many committed same-sex couples in his district, Ball doesn’t seem to be fighting for a definition of family values that is in-step with his constituents—or one that is very reform-minded.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ball ready to roll, faces illegal immigrant activist May 8, 2008

SOUTHEAST, NEW YORK. New York State Assemblyman Greg Ball, an Air Force Captain and former business executive, says he "welcomes the challenge" after acquiring his first challenger for reelection yesterday. John Degnan, former Mayor of the Village of Brewster, New York, received the ceremonial endorsement of a group led former Assemblyman Willis Stephens Jr., whom Ball ousted in 2006.

Degnan is remembered for his failed 2007 initiative to grant ID
cards to illegal aliens
, when he invited the
Guatemalan consulate
to come to the village to offer its mobile ID card service to distribute identification cards to illegal aliens. Assemblyman Ball, who opposed the measure, also orchestrated the defeat of a similar plan by ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer to grant driver's licenses illegal immigrants.

In his 2006 state of the village address, Degnan promised that the village would construct a hiring site for Brewster's day laborers, which was defeated by a protest led by Assemblyman Ball that included agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customers Enforcement agency and hundreds of residents of the tiny village. Former Mayor Degnan told The Journal News that he had felt "enthusiastic" about playing an "integral role" in the failed effort to secure a work shelter site for undocumented residents of Northern Westchester and Putnam Counties.

During an unsuccessful
href="http://www.lohud.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070916/NEWS04/709160348">2007 campaign
for office, Degnan left the Republican party to run as a Democrat. Hispanic residents of Brewster complained of a decline in their quality of life during Degnan's mayoralty, citing overcrowding and joblessness. The ex-Mayor's opponents labeled Degnan a "slumlord", a charge which he rejected. Although he later hired a worker to fight the overcrowding, even Degnan's own supporters concede he did little to tackle the immigration issue.

Ball, fresh off a recent legislative victory to provide free
college tuition to veterans
of the Armed Forces, is known as "Albany's most ardent supporter of legal immigration". He is a state chairman of Lawmakers for Legal Immigration, an immigration reform group, and achieved prominence for his work with
href="http://www.911fsa.org/">9/11 Families for a Secure America,
enacting the
href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVq_9x_FNLE">287(g) program
to empower state law enforcement officers to act as ICE agents to crack down on crime and deport incarcerated illegal aliens, as well as a series of immigration bills that passed in the State Assembly to crack down on contractors breaking state labor laws. Illegal immigration costs New Yorkers more than $5.1 billion per year for education, medical care, and incarceration.