Marshall At ‘Historic’ Electoral College Meeting, Votes For Gore
City Councilmember Helen Marshall journeyed to Albany on Monday for the New York State College of Electors meeting, which couldn’t have been as happy an occasion for her as in 1992 and 1996.
On those previous visits she cast votes for William Jefferson Clinton’s first and second elections as president of the United States. On Monday, she cast her vote for Al Gore, but knew it would not help elect him president since President-elect George W. Bush has the majority of electoral votes committed to him.
Marshall, commenting on her service as a presidential elector, stated: "This is my third time to have been granted the privilege to serve as a member of the College of Electors. While this has always been a very profoundly important procedure, the situation surrounding the certification of the next president of our country, as well as the events unfolding in Florida, have highlighted its significance and I am delighted to be here voting for Al Gore in this historic election."
Marshall, a former member of the National Democratic Committee, was one of 33 electors appointed by the state Democratic organization. The number is determined by the number of Congressmembers and the two United States Senators. Republicans had also appointed 33 electors, but the Dems got to vote as electors because Gore defeated Bush in this state.
The electors’ votes have been sent to Washington and will be opened and tabulated on Jan. 6th.
Ironically, Gore, as president of the Senate, will preside at the counting of the ballots at a joint meeting of the new House and Senate and then announce officially that Bush is the new president of the United States.
Meanwhile, the state’s Democratic leader, Judith Hope, said before the electors met to vote that the Electoral College system should be changed to "something that is more reflective of the popular will of the people."
In the Nov. 7th election, that was shown to be Gore, who defeated Bush by more than 300,000 votes.
Hope said the Electoral College idea was good for the period when it was enacted because the population then was concentrated in a few large cities whose votes could control the election of a president. But now, "the population of this country is much more evenly distributed," she said.
WANTS A ‘BIPARTISAN’ BUSH: U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, one of the state’s two Democratic senators (Hillary Rodham Clinton is the other one), said on Sunday that President-elect Bush should adopt a policy of bipartisanship in his administration, following up on one of his campaign themes.
As part of that policy, Schumer said, the new president should support the rail linkup of the Long Island Rail Road into Grand Central Station. Schumer also urged Bush to support campaign finance reform, increase access to generic drugs, make college tuition tax deductible and create a bipartisan energy commission.
PRESTIGIOUS MEDAL FOR MANTON: Former Congressmember Thomas Manton, a past Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and a true son of the Auld Sod, is to receive a medal from the Parade Committee at a ball following this year’s march on Mar. 17th.
The 68-year-old Queens Democratic Party chairman with characteristic humility said the award was "a nice honor within the Irish community."
The former Marine has been involved in the parade for many years besides being Grand Marshall. Manton said the medal represents "all other things Irish." He has devoted himself to Irish causes in a career as a New York City cop, attorney, City Councilmember and member of Congress.
Manton will be the second recipient of the honor. The first to receive it was the late Cardinal John O’Connor last year. Manton is in good company.
Last year the parade committee and its sponsor, the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, held an inaugural St. Patrick’s Day ball the night of the 240-year-old parade at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. This year’s ball will be held there, too.
VALLONE URGES MORE CHILD CARE BENEFITS: Responding to a City Council resolution last August, the Agency for Child Development (ACD) raised income requirements to qualify for child care coverage and also updated the fee schedule.
Last week, Council Speaker Peter Vallone (D–Astoria) asserted these measures weren’t enough. "Only by raising income requirements across the board can the city increase the number of working families who should be eligible for subsidized care," he declared.
Vallone and child care advocates say the state-run ACD should raise the income eligibility ceiling for subsidized child care up to 275 percent of the federal poverty level.
Under Vallone’s leadership, the Council passed landmark legislation to improve the quality of subsidized child care; approved $1.5 million for child care services, and allocated $25 million in capital funding for childcare facilities.
LEFFLER ASKS FOR HOME-HEATING HELP: Citing the recent cold weather and continually rising oil and gas prices, Councilmember Sheldon Leffler (D–Queens Village) renewed his call for Council action on his bill to ask the state legislature to temporarily eliminate the state’s portion of the sales tax collected on home heating oil sales. The bill also seeks permission for the city to eliminate its share of the tax on energy products.
Pleading for the relief, Leffler said, "Home heating oil and natural gas have shown such significant increases that families will have to pay a great deal more money out of pocket in order to insure that their homes are safely and adequately heated this winter."
MCLAUGHLIN LAUNCHES SEASON: The traditional seasonal celebration in Flushing was launched last Wednesday by Assemblymember Brian McLaughlin (D-Flushing) in Bowne Park with the lighting of a Christmas tree and the Menorah lighting. "Throughout the year, I look forward to celebrating the holidays with my friends and neighbors in Flushing," McLaughlin said at the Christmas and Chanukah celebration.