Vol. 17, No. 22 Nov. 4 - 17, 2004



A Beautiful Day

It will be a while before we know how many people voted in our area, but as we write this on Tuesday afternoon, anecdotal evidence suggests that, like many other places in the city and the country, voter turnout is higher than it’s been since the 1960s. 

All of us will have stories from the great election of 2004, but here’s just one that struck us as we stood in line to vote. 

An African American young man, probably around 18, wearing a hooded sweatshirt was standing in line with his mother to vote a little down the line from us. He was visibly nervous but very excited as he kept reading whatever palm card he had in his hand over and over. He said a couple of times, “It’s my first time voting.” 

He was a little uncertain once he got in the booth about what to do next, but the workers helped him and told him to pull the big lever into voting position. He voted and when he came out everyone on line applauded. He beamed. If that doesn’t illustrate the beauty of democracy, what does? 

As we went to press, there were legions of stories burning up the Internet of young voters and immigrants casting their ballots for the first time all across the country. 

We hope this year’s election is a formative one for new voters and that high voting rates will continue in our communities. As we’ve said so many times before, politicians know how to count. Neighborhoods that vote in large numbers get the most attention from elected officials. It’s that simple. 

In the meantime, all who voted and participated in the election in any way (getting out the vote, working the polls, etc.) should be proud to have been a part of what will certainly be remembered as one of the most important elections in American history. 

Scooter Lunacy

It was bad enough Mayor Bloomberg vetoed sensible legislation to ban the installation of car alarms in New York City. Now, he has actually vetoed a bill that would ban the sale of those small, motorized scooters that plagued our neighborhoods over the summer. 

What can the mayor be thinking? Yes, they are already illegal to drive in New York City, but that didn’t stop local teenagers and young men from buying the inexpensive vehicles and driving them through the streets day and night, disturbing and waking up residents. 

The scooters are also just plain dangerous. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported nearly 5,000 emergency room injuries involving the scooters in 2000. Because they are so low to the ground, they are difficult for drivers of cars to see. Those who ride the scooters rarely use helmets or take other safety precautions. And the gasoline-powered vehicles are also a fire hazard as they are usually illegally stored in apartments. 

The mayor doesn’t seem to understand the extent to which car alarms and scooters disturb New Yorkers’ quality of life. We know he likes to travel with ordinary New Yorkers on the subway every day. Maybe he also needs to spend a summer night somewhere other than his cocoon-like East Side townhouse.

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