Letters to the Editor, Mar. 5

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

‘Local control,’ GOP-style

The GOP discovered that so-called “States’ Rights” was a good subterfuge to sabotage a more liberal federal government. We first saw this during the Civil Rights era where Southern governors stood in school house doors, wearing “never” buttons that said “no” to integrating public schools.

The States Rights pseudo-libertarian talking point was that local government was “closer to the people” than those snotty bureaucrats in far away Washington, DC. Sounds almost believable, right? There might even have been some truth in it.

Except that it turned out to be just another GOP lie. The NY Times recently had an article about so-called pre-emption laws. This is the latest ploy used by Republican statehouses to thwart leaders and voters in liberal municipalities. These pre-emption laws have barred cities from regulating landlords, building municipal broadband systems, raising the minimum wage, demanding background checks for would-be gun owners, legalizing marijuana, or raising taxes on the rich to support public education.

And it’s not just the Southern states. New York City couldn’t even lower its speed limit from 30 to 25 mph last fall without permission from Republican legislators in Albany!

And thanks to the Urstadt Law, New York City can’t pass stronger pro-tenant laws than the upstate landlord-owned Republicans would allow.

Now what could be more local than city speed limits, rent protection, and public schools for people living in New York City?

Pre-emption is as if someone in the state legislature representing my section of Manhattan, was able to eliminate deer hunting near the Canadian border!

I also wouldn’t blame an upstate farmer for getting angry either if Manhattan representatives tried to tell him how to farm.

Pre-emption, however, is never used to reduce the power of more right-wing areas. It is only used to prevent liberal municipalities, towns, and districts from voting on measures that best serve their local needs.

And you don’t have to be a Republican to support pre-exemption. Our so-called “Democratic” Governor Cuomo might as well be a Republican because he made sure the New York Senate went GOP in the last election.

Elliot Markson, ST

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