A strong command of the issues, detailed solutions rather than excuses, compassion for the voiceless and a passion for helping them, a proven track record as a legislator, a powerful performance in both debates, and a grand vision of how to make the oft-heralded “greatest city in the world” even greater are the overriding reasons why we wholeheartedly endorse Nicole Malliotakis in her bid to become the next mayor of New York City.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that we – the newspaper of the Greek-American community – spiritedly endorse a fellow Hellene, and we would be disingenuous if we did not fess that we are filled with pride about her candidacy.
But the main focus of this editorial is why we would support her over incumbent Bill de Blasio even if she did not have an ounce of Greek blood in her.
We do not render judgment, whether positive or negative, based on ethnicity, but naturally, in our serving the community and lauding the accomplishments of Hellenes in America, when good, hardworking, respectable individuals seek elected office and happen to be of Greek descent, then we are particularly proud.
Such is the case with Nicole Malliotakis. Yes, she is Greek-American, but quite importantly, she also happens to be the candidate who, in our estimation, is best equipped to lead New York City for the next four years and beyond.
It is not that de Blasio has been a terrible mayor, as his harshest critics contend. Statistics show there was a general drop in crime during his watch, continuing a longstanding pattern established by his two immediate predecessors, Rudy Giuliani and then Mike Bloomberg. To some extent, de Blasio deserves credit. But as Malliotakis astutely points out, there are real-world, day-to-day, quality-of-life crimes – the kind that often slip below statisticians’ radars – such as human trafficking, subway groping and other types of sexual assault, and rampant littering.
Giuliani understood how to transform the city into one of the safest in the country by beginning with quality-of-life crimes. And Malliotakis understands that too.
De Blasio’s solutions to the homelessness crisis has been to house them in empty hotel rooms throughout the city, just as he plans to close Rikers Island prison and instead build jails to house prisoners in the five boroughs. In stark and notable contrast, Malliotakis’ plan involves fixing what’s wrong with the existing system and infrastructure, not obfuscating it by spreading it to different neighborhoods throughout New York.
Last year’s presidential election proved that the electorate is simply fed up with establishment politics-as-usual. That was exemplified not only in the election of Donald Trump, a candidate who never held elected office previously, but also in the strong candidacy of Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” who in a capitalist country almost wrested his party’s nomination from Hillary Clinton, a standard-bearer of the establishment.
New Yorkers, though usually unmistakably original, in that sense are a microcosm of America. They too feel neglected, like they are losing their beloved city – their home – to the donor class and to the special interest groups. In Malliotakis, they have a candidate who speaks for them.
We’ve heard Democrats say “I guess I’m going to vote for de Blasio,” or “I’m not thrilled with de Blasio, but he’s what we’ve got.” Is that really the best way for the people to wield the awesome power and privilege of their vote – by choosing someone about which their support is admittedly lukewarm? We appeal to those Democrats today to put partisanship aside, because in local politics, the boundary lines between Democrats and Republicans are far less pronounced. After all, it wasn’t so long ago that Ed Koch ran for mayor as a Democrat…and as a Republican – yes, at the same time.
Most of all, we take exception to de Blasio’s exploitation of President Trump’s unpopularity among New Yorkers to link Malliotakis to him by suggesting that she is anti-immigrant. To the contrary, as the daughter not only of a Greek immigrant father but also a Cuban refugee mother, she understands the immigrant saga in America from two different cultures. More pointedly, she has a consistent pro-immigrant record and is a strong supporter of a pathway to citizenship for PHIs (persons here illegally). Where she does draw the line, however, is in concealing from federal immigration authorities the identities of PHIs who are violent convicted felons.
But de Blasio practices that policy and plans to continue doing so. Why? If he is pandering to immigrant groups, thinking they would condone harboring PHI felons just because they may share an ethnic heritage, then that is the biggest insult of all. Would we Greeks root for a convicted felon of Greek descent? We should be outraged at that suggestion, as should every other ethnic group.
Think about it: suppose the person responsible for the horrific terrorist attack in Manhattan on October 31 had a previous felony conviction and the mayor had alerted the authorities. Then, he would have been deported and would not have been able to embark on a murder spree.
Of course we are proud of Malliotakis because we love our Greek heritage. But we also love our city. It is where our offices are, where our families and friends live and work, and where our children go to school and play on the streets and playgrounds. Accordingly, we want to ensure that it is in the best possible hands. And in this year’s election, we believe the choice is very clear. Malliotakis for Mayor!